I Joined Summit Public Schools!

Erica Swallow at Summit Public Schools Tamalpais

I am incredibly excited to announce that I joined Summit Public Schools this month as Director of Content Marketing for Summit Learning, a program that’s enabling schools across the nation to offer a personalized learning environment for their students.

If you’ve been following my journey the past few years, you’ve probably noticed my increasing focus on helping reimagine the American education system. Back in 2012, when I was leading my own creative agency full-time, I started following the research and writings of academics including Tony Wagner and Hal Gregersen, both of whom study innovation and whether it can be learned and taught. (Spoiler alert: Yes, people are capable of learning the traits of entrepreneurs and innovators, and we can teach kids to be problem-solvers!)

I didn’t know until years later, but 2012 was the start to my transition into education. The following year, I enrolled at the MIT Sloan School of Management; while there, I became increasingly passionate about making a career change so that I could help give others the opportunities education had afforded me as a first-generation college student. I conducted an independent study about career development programs in high school, and upon graduation in 2015, I joined an education non-profit in Little Rock, Arkansas as an Education Pioneers Fellow to help them explore and implement a strategy for scaling. Moving back to my home state of Arkansas two years ago, I made a full transition to education, and I haven’t looked back.

This month marks the next step in my journey to understand how we can disrupt the status quo in education and give the children of America the education they deserve, an education that will set them up for success and the lives they want.

In joining Summit Public Schools, my mission is to tell the story of how Summit Learning is changing education for students across the nation. I’m particularly excited about the momentum and growth Summit Learning is achieving. If we’re going to change education, we need to be ready to reach every kid in America. That means we need scalable solutions. Through technology, professional development, mentorship, ongoing support, and innovative curriculum, Summit Learning is making real impact possible.

Since 2015, 132 schools in 27 states and the District of Columbia have participated in Summit Learning. The 20,000 students in Summit Learning reflect the diversity of the American educational landscape; 70% of Summit’s partners are district public schools; 25% are charter schools, and 5% are independent schools. This coming school year, many more schools will join the program, giving students the opportunity to set and follow their own goals and agendas.

What would it look like if every kid in America had access to self-directed, competency-based learning? Well, that’s what I’m on a mission to find out. Visiting Summit Learning schools and talking with students, teachers, parents, and administrators, my team will uncover the incredible opportunities this new learning environment is affording students and their communities.

At Summit, I have the incredible honor of working alongside a brilliant team. As part of the External Engagement team, I will spend my days collaborating with Chief External Officer Mira Browne, Senior Director of Marketing Manisha Shah, and Director of Media and Communications Catherine Madden, as well as many others on our growing team and across the organization.

I look forward to sharing our work and progress through this next chapter in my life and career.

For those interested in learning more about Summit Learning and how it could help transform education in your region, feel free to reach out, and I’ll point you in the right direction! And for those of you who live in the Bay Area, Dan and I will be out there soon, and we look forward to catching up!

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