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Meet the fourth cohort of TED-Ed Innovative Educators!

By Neveen Mourad on March 26, 2019 in TED-Ed Innovative Educators

TED-Ed Innovative Educators, cohort four

TED-Ed Innovative Educators, cohort four


What could education look like if every innovative voice from the classroom to the superintendent boardroom was shared and amplified globally?

The fourth cohort of TED-ED Innovative Educators and the TED-Ed Team are embarking on a mission to find out. We are extremely excited to introduce cohort four of the TED-Ed Innovative Educators program– sixteen amazing and influential leaders in education who together are setting out on a journey to improve education by elevating the most important ideas in education worldwide.

Using TED Masterclass, each TED-Ed Innovative Educator will hone in on their most important idea in education and develop it into a TED-style talk. Not only that, but they will play a vital role in catalyzing a movement to empower educators everywhere to develop, refine, and share their best ideas in education, with the ultimate goal of improving education everywhere, for every student.

Curious to see how TED Masterclass will help these inspired leaders in education amplify their ideas? So are we! We’ll be back later this year to share the evolution of their ideas as you watch them deliver their TED-style talk. Start by reading below – and stay tuned for more to come!

We asked each educator one question: if you could share one idea with every educator in the world, what would it be?

Jerry Almendarez, Superintendent, Colton Joint Unified School District, Colton, CA, USA:

“Educational inequities – identifying inequities within your own district and determining how to address them.”

Mathew Burt, Principal, Broome Senior High School, Kimberely, Cable Beach, WA, Australia:

“Celebrating and engaging Indigenous students in positive education experiences.”

Jeewan Chanicka, Superintendent of Schools, Superintendent Equity, Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression, Toronto District School Board, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

“The significance of understanding our personal identity as a way to improve practice and close achievement and well-being gaps in education. Who we are matters: it influences what and how we teach and which students are successful in our classrooms and schools.”

Carol Cleveland, Principal, iGrad Academy, Kent School District, Bremerton, WA, USA:

“The idea of allowing students to own their educational journey. This involves allowing students who demonstrate mastery of standards to progress through grade levels at their own pace, to select teachers whose personality and instructional style best matches their learning style and personality… to allow students to intern on jobs and move into pre-apprenticeship programs… to get a better post-secondary understanding of what career journey they want and can afford to pursue.”

Brenda Erickson, Montessori teacher and Founder & CEO of Counterpane, Counterpane Montessori School, Fayetteville, GA, USA:

“Trust the minds inside those little (and big) people!”

Greg Farrell, Principal on Special Assignment, Principal Leadership Development, York Region DSB, York, Ontario, Canada:

“He who wants for nothing has the world as their oyster…”

Jesse Jackson, Superintendent, Lake Wales Charter Schools, Lake Wales, FL, USA:

“I would share the ‘power of potential.’ The power of potential is a strategy that I have explored working with seemingly difficult or wayward teenagers. This idea requires you to relinquish preconceived notions and understandings and work with what could be ‘potential.’”

Russell Lazovick, Superintendent, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, New Jersey, USA:

“Connection. Of ideas, of systems, and most importantly of people, [connection] is the most often overlooked and yet the most critical piece in determining the success of our schools.”

Shawn Loescher, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Discovery Schools, San Diego, CA, USA:

“How design thinking supports reimagining the educational experience for students, teachers, staff, schools and our communities.”

Sarah Mansfield, Assistant Head of School, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA, USA:

“To cultivate a generation of 21st century learners and leaders, a culture of collaboration is essential.”

Shemeka Millner-Williams, Assistant Superintendent, Lancaster ISD, Duncanville, TX, USA:

“As the world continues to grow, change and diversify, so must the methods we utilize, the spaces we build, the resources and tools we use… We must endeavor to create critical thinkers, self-starters and problem-solvers with the ability to empathize with others in a way that forces them to work toward the common good of all humanity.”

Chris Muller, Former Superintendent, current University Lecturer and Consultant, Senior Lecturer at Education University of Hong Kong, Cape Town, South Africa:

“International schools represent a world-wide, grass roots endeavor to educate, under one roof, children of many lands and cultures by means of a curriculum that is challenging, internationally recognized, and that taps into the resources of a diverse community. [...] Such a vision requires an education that is academically rigorous while promoting values in the principles of compassion for others, virtuous behavior and the pursuit of justice and peace.”

Becky Navarre, Assistant Superintendent of STEM, Fort Worth Independent School District, Fort Worth, TX, USA:

“Build relationships first, value the individual and support others to succeed.”

Gonzalo Salazar, Superintendent, Los Fresnos CISD, Los Fresnos, Texas, USA:

“Our students come to us with funds of knowledge and a set of core values that are passed on through parents and grandparents through the “pedagogies of the home” (Dolores Delgado Bernal). [...] Storytelling can serve as a vehicle that helps students arrive at a better understanding of the self.  A better understanding of the self will empower students with the self-assurance that reveals their full potential.”

Peter Ulrich, Assistant Superintendent, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Savannah, GA, USA:

“I’d really like to revisit my TEDx Talk from 2016, Simple Solution of Love, about showing love for the teachers in your life.  I’d like to refine the message about the importance of recognition of our teachers in hopes of gaining a larger audience to elevate educators.”

Jill Vinson, Superintendent, Cardiff School District, San Diego, CA, USA:

“Education is a team sport.”

We look forward to seeing these ideas develop and shine through TED Masterclass, and we will share their final talks with you later this year!

Tags: Creativity, Education, Language, Learning, Science, Teachers, Teaching, Teaching & Education, TED-Ed Innovation Projects, The Arts