If you cut public schools out of my story there wouldn’t be many pages left.
Gretchen began her career teaching seventh grade middle school in her home state of Iowa (John Kinsella was right, it is like heaven) and then in Chicago where she taught ninth and tenth grade Language Arts and co-founded the school’s debate team. Gretchen’s desire to improve educational opportunities for all children led her to pursue her master’s in public policy at the University of Chicago. It was there that she became a serious data nerd. Gretchen went on to develop data dashboards and school scorecards for both Chicago Public Schools and then the District of Columbia Public Schools as a strategic data fellow at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard. Most recently, Gretchen served as director of the District of Columbia’s Student Longitudinal Education Data system, where she led the effort to collect, store and provide student-level information for multiple stakeholders. Gretchen joined 50CAN in April 2011 as VP of Policy and Research, where she helps set the organization’s policy and research agenda to drive fundamental education reforms in America’s state capitals.
I aspire to be like Sal Kahn. Here's why:
There is a lot of talk around leveraging technology for student learning. Sal Kahn (founder of Kahn Academy) has figured out a way to do this by teaching content online in an intuitive, innovative way. His approach allows students to learn at their own pace without the self-consciousness or pressures they might experience in a typical classroom. He is helping empower students to pursue whatever opportunities they choose to pursue, which, at the end of the day, is what I aspire to help make possible.
Why I love my job:
I love that I get to work for an organization committed to not just questioning the status quo but to actually tackling and proposing solutions for how to fix public education.
My connection to public schools:
I attended public schools from kindergarten through college, was a public school teacher, worked for a public school district and a state department of education, and now work for a nonprofit working on public school reforms. If you cut public schools out of my story there wouldn’t be many pages left.
What I'm bad at:
Remembering where I put my keys. Finding them is an ordeal every time I leave the house.
The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:
Each bubble displayed on a graph represents a story. It’s our job to unpack and compare these stories, to understand their similarities and differences, their successes and challenges, and use this information to help direct our actions moving forward.