Happy Hour With an Agenda: Education

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D Magazine

750 North St. Paul Street

#2100

Dallas, TX 75201

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Happy Hour With an Agenda is a semi-regular, free flowing conversation about the biggest issues facing Dallas. This month, we're talking education. Join us for a panel discussion on teacher excellence in North Texas. How do we find, reward, and retain the best teachers?

Moderated by Eric Celeste, D Magazine's education editor, the panel features Miguel Solis, Dallas ISD School Board Trustee, District 8; Stacy Hodge, Dallas Director, Stand For Children; and Todd Williams, Founding Executive Editor, Commit!, and Education Policy Advisor to Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Have a drink, and be part of the discussion.


Meet the panelists:

Miguel Solis: Dallas ISD School Board Trustee, District 8

Representing DISD’s District 8, Miguel Solis became the youngest board member ever elected to the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees on November 5, 2013 through special election. Soon after, he was re-elected to serve a three-year term. On June 26, 2014, Miguel was selected by his fellow Trustees as the Board President, making him the youngest ever to serve in the position. In 2015, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as 1st Vice President.

Solis’ professional experiences include serving as a staff member on President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, an eighth grade U.S. history teacher, and a central staff member in Dallas ISD. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Dallas-based Latino Center for Leadership Development. Miguel has been appointed to the Citywide Poverty Task Force and Joint Committee on Education by Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings and was recently chosen for the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship as one of the nation’s promising young political leaders.

Stacy Hodge: Dallas Director, Stand For Children

Hodge runs the Dallas office of SFC, and education advocacy nonprofit that focuses on equity issues for children in education. She helps run the Texas Educator Network, a grassroots organization that provides public school educators a platform to use their unique and valuable perspective to inform and shape key decisions, both at the local and state levels, which affect educators and students.

Stacey began her involvement in education in 2003 when she co-founded REAL Schools Initiative, a non-profit in Fort Worth, TX that created learning gardens in low-income schools and trained teachers to use them to improve student engagement and academic achievement.

She also spent two years at East Fort Worth Montessori Academy as the Facilitator of Outdoor Education and taught 7th and 8th grade science in Fort Worth and Dallas. In December of 2012, Stacey’s principal recommended her for the inaugural cohort of Ed Policy Fellows with Teaching Trust. The focus of the program is to educate and empower teachers on current education policy so that they can advocate for solutions that will help close the achievement gap.

In March 2013, the Ed Policy Fellows took a group of 15 educators to Austin during spring break. They had developed a policy agenda and understood the issues very well and were given the opportunity to testify before the Senate Education Committee. On a subsequent trip to Austin and after further testimony, Stacey and some of her cohort were informed by the Chief of Staff for the Chairman of the Education Committee that they just “didn’t have enough members to be invited to the table” for the real discussion. Stacey made up her mind to change that. Having seen the impact a few voices can make, she’s determined that with greater numbers, not only will educators be invited to the table; they will be leading the discussion about the transformation of education in Texas.


Todd Williams: Founding Executive Editor, Commit!; Education Policy Advisor, Mayor Mike Rawlings

Highly committed to public education, Todd currently serves as both the founding Executive Director of Commit!, a non-profit serving as a backbone organization supporting improving college and career readiness levels across Dallas County, as well as the Education Policy Advisor to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. He is the board chair for Austin College, one of the region’s leading liberal arts institutions located in Sherman, Texas. With his wife Abby, Todd also chairs the regional advisory board for Teach for America in Dallas/Ft. Worth and helped establish the Williams Preparatory School, a K-12 free tuition public charter school operated by Uplift Education that educates over 1,100 primarily low-income children in northwest Dallas. Todd is the former Chair of the Dallas ISD’s Citizen Budget Review Commission and the former Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for Uplift Education, a college-prep focused public charter school management organization with almost 8,000 students. He is also a founding board member and former chairman of the Real Estate Finance and Investment Center at the University of Texas and a former chairman of the Real Estate Council of Dallas, the city’s largest real estate organization.

Prior to dedicating his efforts full time on public education in Dallas, Todd served as both a partner and as global co-head of Goldman Sachs’ real estate private equity investment area, retiring in 2009 following a 20 year career with the firm in their New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices. Total assets under management purchased by GS-managed real estate funds exceeded $100 billion in cost. A Dallas ISD graduate from Bryan Adams High School, Todd earned an M.B.A. with distinction from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989 and graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1982.

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D Magazine

750 North St. Paul Street

#2100

Dallas, TX 75201

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