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Leaders, stakeholders reflect on Ed Session 2.0

Leaders, stakeholders reflect on Ed Session 2.0

State education leaders and stakeholders convened Dec. 3 at the Linen Building in Boise to reflect on Ed Sessions 2.0. The yearlong, monthly event hosted national thought leaders on education reform.

The event, in its second year, sponsored by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, brought the likes of entrepreneur and designer Mark Ecko, Colorado Sen. Mark Johnston and Co-Founder of the KIPP Foundation, Mike Feinburg.

Those invited to the lunch wrap-up session — about 30 “frequent fliers” of past presentations — expressed positive reviews of the speakers.

“It’s great to hear about other success stories and about other folks who have raised the bar,” Beth Oppenheimer, executive director of The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, said at the luncheon.

Designer and philanthropist Marc Ecko was one of the most popular speaker's during the 2013 ED Sessions 2.0 series
Designer and philanthropist Marc Ecko was a popular speaker during the 2013 ED Sessions 2.0 series.

Many liked the format and length of the presentations, but George Harad, former president and CEO of Boise Cascade Corporation, said he’d like to see more time given to Q and A sessions. Most said they wouldn’t necessarily like to see the size of the group expand. Typically the audience hits more than 100 people.

An overarching theme was that many wanted a tangible relic or an action item to take away from the event.

Will Northrop, president of What-if-Concepts, said it is easy to feel passionate about the speaker and experience that day, but as everyday life continues, he was unsure if the speech alone could “move the needle” positively.

“How do we walk away with a little more of a playbook or an action piece?” he said. “(How do we) go out and do, or connect back?”

Many others realized a thread of the opportunity to expand on rural education and use Idaho’s landscape as a positive model for similar states.

Patricia Northrop, a mother of two boys in Gem State public schools, married to Will Northrop, said the possibility of creating a rural model is often mentioned, but it has yet to materialize.

“If we could just put our finger on it and get it moving,” she said.
Roger Quarles, chief deputy for the Idaho State Department of Education, said small conversations and sidebars among attendees added value and the possibility for networking.

The Ed Sessions events begin again Jan. 7, 2014 with speaker Michael Horn. The session begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Linen Building, 402 W. Grove St., Boise. Tickets are $18 per person and all proceeds benefit local nonprofits.


Michael B. Horn is the co-founder and executive director of the education practice of Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank devoted to applying the theories of disruptive innovation to solve problems in the social sector.

In this capacity, Horn leads a team that educates policymakers and the public on how to encourage innovation in education based on its ongoing research, which explores how to transform America’s education system from its current factory-based model into a student-centric one in which every student can realize their human potential.
Horn is also an accomplished author and writer.