Supporting Innovation in Education

Posted: August 31, 2011 by Adrienne Cahill in Uncategorized

I just wrapped up my ten week Education Pioneers Fellowship last Friday, and I cannot believe how quickly the summer has come and gone! I had a great experience working with both Education Pioneers and my placement organization, Teach For America, and I am thrilled to read about the tremendous summer experiences that my fellow SIIFers had at their respective summer internships.

 When I initially accepted my offer from Education Pioneers, I did so with excitement and slight hesitation, as I was not immediately given a work assignment and was unsure of where I would be placed. My placement at Teach For America’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative (SEI) ended up being a great fit for me. SEI is part of TFA’s Alumni Affairs department and serves to provide resources and programming for TFA corps members and alumni who are interested in starting social enterprises, both for-profit and non-profit, related to education reform. TFA’s selection and training processes really favor independent and innovative thinkers, so it was no surprise to me that even before the creation of SEI that there were tons of entrepreneurial TFA alums – check out this Fast Company profile on just a few of them.

My specific role within SEI was to evaluate a series of workshop-based pilot programs, run in DC and San Francisco, designed to give participants the tools needed to launch their own social enterprises. After several weeks of familiarizing myself with the program and debriefing with various program participants and coordinators, I redesigned and reorganized the program workshops and resources and created an Innovation Program Toolkit that SEI could share with other TFA regional offices interested in running their own similar innovation and entrepreneurship program.

I had a fantastic summer developing innovation programming for TFA and it was a pleasure to work with their dedicated and motivated staff. I have no doubt that TFA’s work will continue to make great strides towards closing the achievement gap and it was an honor to have had a role in their work.

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