Can Mid-Career Shifts to the Education Sector Spur Solutions?

Scott Morgan, the CEO and founder of Education Pioneers, explains in The Huffington Post that the education system could benefit greatly from harnessing the talents of those seeking a mid-career change from the private sector – and Education Pioneers has worked to serve as a mid-point for those who want to redirect the skills and experience they’ve acquired into public education.

A shining example of how an Education Pioneers alumna used previous work experience to make a difference for students is the creation of Revolution Foods. One of the founders, Kristin Groos Richmond, started out her post-investment banking career as a co-founder of Kenya Community Center for Learning. It was in East Africa where her life-long desire to commit to education first became a reality.

In Africa, Kristin witnessed disturbing food shortages; the kids simply didn’t have enough to eat. Back in the United States, she realized our nation was facing food quality issues. What kids were being fed in American schools — especially students living in low-income communities — was cheap, nutritionally-void food that simply wasn’t providing them with the sustenance to have a successful school day.

A stint in Kenya led Richmond and her partner Kirsten Tobey to start Revolution Foods, which aims to improve the quality of the meals served to school children in America. More than 8 years and 50 million healthy meals later, Revolution Foods now caters lunches and breakfasts to more than one million school children across the country. Richmond remains the group’s CEO and Revolution Foods serves regions in California, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Texas.

At Education Pioneers, we invest in leaders like Kristin, an alumna, because they embody our organization’s founding belief that talented leaders and managers can scale successful solutions for the education sector to impact millions of children nationwide.

Now, a decade into our work, Education Pioneers has amassed a significant amount of data on our more than 1,600 alumni. These leaders work in our nation’s largest urban school districts, charter management organizations, education nonprofits, ed-tech companies and state and federal departments of education. Today, we released a report on our findings from a data survey of our alumni: The Invisible Lever: A Profile of Leadership and Management Talent in Education.

The findings of the report include a severe shortage of experienced managerial talent needed to address large problems facing American schools today. In addition, the educational sector offers an unprecedented set of opportunities for qualified minority candidates and those with solid private sector experience. Among the desirable attributes for holding a managerial position in the education sector are business know-how, ability to think analytically and to be able to make policy decisions based on student performance data.