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Speakers announced for Anchorage Mayor Sullivan’s Education

Education initiative brings community leaders, experts together to identify ways to improve student performance in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE- Mayor Sullivan announced today the speakers scheduled to participate next month as part of his Education Summit. The Summit involves two days of presentations and group discussions among approximately 100 civic and community leaders who will explore innovations, challenge ideas, and evaluate education reforms from jurisdictions around the world.

Speakers at the Summit include:

1. Samuel Abrams, a visiting scholar from Teachers College at Columbia University. He is viewed as an expert on the Finnish educational system.

2. Stuart Butler, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Policy Innovation, a new division of The Heritage Foundation. He enjoys a reputation for developing transformative ideas that attract bipartisan support.

3. Peter C. Gorman, Ed.D., the former superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

4. Kati Haycock, president of Washington, D.C.'s The Education Trust, is of the nation's leading advocates for education. Her organization's goal is to close the gap between opportunity and achievement, especially for low-income and students of color.

5. Dr. Patrick J. Wolf, is professor and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice in the Dept. of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas.

6. Dr. Mike Feinberg is co-founder of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Foundation and the Superintendent of KIPP Houston, which includes 20 public charter schools.

7. Dr. Joe Willhoft is the executive director for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. For the past six years, he has served as assistant superintendent for assessment and student information at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State.

Summit participants include key education policy members and stakeholders from business, labor, education, parents, and the community (see list of attendees).

Mayor Sullivan launched the education initiative this summer to identify how to improve student performance for all students in Anchorage public schools.

"My decision to examine this issue is based on three key questions," said Mayor Dan Sullivan. "Are we the best school district in the country? If not, do we want to be? I'm hoping all agree the answer is yes, so how do we get there? These questions will be explored in-depth at the Summit, and I'm eager to hear the discussion."

The summit's goal is to raise the achievement bar so that graduates from Anchorage public schools are internationally competitive.

The reform initiative will proceed in three steps:

1. A two-day summit Nov. 15-16 involving the aforementioned 100 civic and community leaders and experts in reform efforts from which several potential reform scenarios will be developed;

2. A series of community conversations held in February with the public examining the options developed at the summit as well as offering their own ideas;   

3. A capstone summit next June in which leaders from the initial summit and some of the citizens from the community conversations review citizens' comments and use them to develop final recommendations to K-12 education reforms.

Currently, three panel discussions are planned for the November summit:

1. Creating a World-Class Education System: major systemic reform, international benchmarking, big-picture view of curriculum

2. A Great Teacher in Every Classroom: teacher preparation and evaluation

3. What Kids Need to Learn and How: curriculum, technology and school choice/alternatives.

Citizens will have the opportunity to observe the Education Summit, and a live television broadcast is planned. Additionally, the Summit will stream live at www.muni.org.

The Mayor's Educational Summit has raised private funds to underwrite the costs of the two summits and citizen conversations. They include: ExxonMobil (Platinum Sponsor); Alaska Communications; Alaska Airlines; Alaska USA Federal Credit Union; Alaska Regional Hospital; AT&T, Carlile Transportation Systems; ConocoPhillips; BP Alaska; First National Bank; GCI; Gillam Foundation; Lynden; Providence Alaska Medical Center; Northrim Bank; Providence Hospital; Center for Alaska Education Policy Research; ISER; Shell; and Wells Fargo.

"ExxonMobil is committed to working with Mayor Sullivan and our local educators to help improve student performance standards here in Anchorage," said Dale Pittman, Alaska Production Manager for ExxonMobil. "We hope this initiative can help find solutions that get more students on a successful career path."
 

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