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Teach For America Leaders and Alumni Take the Stage at SXSW EDU 2022

The year’s biggest education conference included Teach For America’s first-ever panel featuring alumni education leaders from across the country, a presentation by CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard, and much more.

Teach For America staff and alumni at SXSW EDU

March 25, 2022

At this year’s SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival, Teach For America leaders shared insights about diversifying the computer science field, gender equity, and the value of community partnerships.

In partnership with Cognizant, Teach For America presented its first-ever SXSW EDU panel, Educating a Diverse, Inclusive Digital Workforce, featuring Teach For America alumni Dr. Warren Morgan, Reuben Ogbonna, and Mel Niere. Morgan is the Chief Academic Officer for Indianapolis Public Schools. Ogbonna is the co-founder and executive director of the Marcy Lab School, an innovative alternative to college. Niere has taught computer science in the South Bronx for the past five years, and this year, Niere is a Cognizant AP CSP fellow. Pulitzer Prize-winning USA Today reporter Charisse Jones moderated the panel, which focused on what educators and schools can do to empower students from historically excluded and underrepresented backgrounds to pursue STEM and computer science careers.

Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva-Beard was once again a featured speaker as part of SXSW EDU’s first-ever International Women’s Day celebration. Villanueva shared the story of the women who helped her find the path she is on today and how critical access to an excellent education is for the next generation to achieve their goals.

Teach For America’s Reinvention Lab also participated in three conference events. The panel, Reinvention: Enduring Solutions from Communities, featured Senior Vice President of The Reinvention Lab at Teach For America Michelle Culver, Teach For America alumna and Head of Learning at Transcend Jenee Henry Wood, School Design Services partner and Teach For America alumnus Archie Moss, and Teach For America alumna and Head of Charlotte Lab School Meg Scott. Panelists offered advice and anecdotes from practitioners and leaders within the education system who launched ways to do school differently amidst the many pressures the past years brought.

In a podcast session, Time Capsule Dance Party, Sunanna Chand and Malliron Hodge, Vice President and Senior Managing Director of The Reinvention Lab at Teach For America, respectively, were joined by Drexel University Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences Kareem Edouard and creative director Anneliese Martinez. The session served as the launching of a year-long podcast series.

Teach For America Senior Managing Director of Network Strategy at The Reinvention Lab Michael Yates led the storytelling project Building the Future of Learning with a Sneaker! Yates shared how The Reinvention Lab partnered with 99 Products, a sneaker company, to help organizations tell the story of the future of learning by using sneakers as a canvas and shared how others can replicate the process.

SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival is a reflection of the world’s most critical social issues, as seen through the lens of education. Teach For America panels were chosen for this year’s conference through a competitive process that included community voting and review by SXSW staff and Advisory Boards.