September 21, 2015
Updates On Our National Education Strategy
By Erin Kahn
Executive Director, Raikes Foundation

As the new school year gets underway I want to share a few updates about our national education strategy, which is focused on improving student outcomes through the development of learning mindsets and skills.

Staff Updates

I’m excited to announce that Zoe Stemm-Calderon has joined our team as the director of our education strategy. Zoe brings to the position a blend of knowledge and experience in the education sector. Prior to joining the Raikes Foundation, Zoe served as a resident at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation while completing her doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She wrote her dissertation on philanthropic strategy for incubating and scaling personalized learning.

Previously, Zoe was assistant superintendent of professional support and development at Houston Independent School District. Prior to her work in Houston ISD, Zoe was a senior leader at Teach for America, where she spent her 10-year tenure focused on advancing the organization's approach to teacher, coach and manager development. She has also worked as a consultant on a number of innovative projects translating research into practice. Zoe began her career as an elementary school teacher in Houston.

Zoe will be partnering with Lindsay Hill, who joined the Raikes Foundation as a program officer for the education strategy in March 2015. Previously, Lindsay was executive director for Teach for America-Washington from 2011 to 2015 and served as the director of training and support for the "I Have a Dream" Foundation from 2008 to 2011. Lindsay began her career as a fourth-grade teacher in Brooklyn, NY.

Craig Wacker recently stepped down as program officer at the Raikes Foundation to launch a new consultancy working on issues in the education sector. Craig played an important role shaping our education strategy and we are grateful for his leadership over the past few years. We plan to hire a new program officer later this year to fill the vacancy created by Craig’s departure, so we will be back in touch with you soon to solicit your ideas for great candidates.

Grantee Announcements

In addition to expanding our staff, we’ve also been busy expanding our grant portfolio and launching new projects. Here are a few of the most recent:

  • School Retool: School Retool’s goal is to help middle and high school principals redesign their school culture and create a richer learning environment using small, scrappy experiments called “hacks.” With support from the Raikes Foundation, up to 20 principals in the Puget Sound area will have the opportunity to participate in this unique professional development program.
  • Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS): EOS partners with schools and districts across the country to identify students that could succeed in advanced placement and international baccalaureate programs if given the opportunity. A new grant from the Raikes Foundation will help place more under-represented students on the path to college readiness and introduce learning mindset interventions to help these students succeed in more rigorous courses.  
  • Expeditionary Learning: A new grant from the Raikes Foundation to Expeditionary Learning supports the integration of learning mindsets into their English language arts curriculum for grades 3-5 and creation of new K-2 curriculum with a learning mindsets focus.
  • Khan Academy: Our new grant to Khan Academy supports the national launch of LearnStorm, an initiative that employs learning mindset messages and interventions to encourage student cooperation, effort, and growth in math.
  • Mindset Scholars Network (MSN): We’ve supported the planning and launch of MSN, which brings together top researchers from a range of disciplines to advance a common research agenda on learning mindsets, conduct new research, and address questions facing the learning mindsets field.
  • Projects on Education Research that Scales (PERTS): Check out the release of the new Mindset Kit for Educators featuring videos, lesson plans, and interactive tools that provide an introduction to learning mindsets and their application in classrooms.

With such remarkable staff and grantees supporting this work, there exciting times on the horizon for our education strategy. We'll continue to provide updates here on the blog, but don't forget to also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest Raikes Foundation news.