7:30 a.m. Registration and full continental breakfast | 8 – 9 a.m. Program
Labor shortages. Rising poverty. Cultural divides. These are all outcomes related to the achievement gap. How do we address and overcome these social and economic issues as a community?
Join us to hear from a panel of experts on how they are helping Minnesota close the achievement gap, and learn what role you can play in improving educational opportunities in your area.
Alvin Abraham, Founding Dean and Executive Director, Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas
Alvin Abraham currently serves as the founding dean and executive director of the Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas which welcomed its inaugural class of students in August 2017. He also serves on The Collective’s National Advisory Board at Teach For America, the board of directors at Children’s Minnesota, Teach For America Twin Cities, AchieveMpls, and Great MN Schools.
A veteran education leader, Alvin began his career as a 2002 Teach For America corps member in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining the team at the University of St. Thomas, Alvin was the executive director of KIPP Minnesota Public Schools. He worked with KIPP since 2012, leading the organization through extensive growth and expansion. Before moving to Minnesota, Alvin led one of Houston ISD’s schools in the Apollo 20 program, a bold initiative to transform public education in Houston, in partnership with Harvard University’s Education Innovation Laboratory. Alvin earned a BS from Texas A&M University, a M.Ed. from the University of Houston, and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of St. Thomas. Alvin resides in the Twin Cities with his husband Nick, dog Jack, and recently adopted daughter, Willa, who turned one this past June.
Lori Carrell, Chancellor at University of Minnesota Rochester
A passionate, creative educator, Dr. Lori J. Carrell focuses on transformative communication, learning innovation and well-being in higher education communities. She currently serves as chancellor of the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), a new campus that has attained equity in student outcomes with a diverse student body and an evidence-driven practice.
Chancellor Carrell previously served as UMR’s Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Development from August 2014 until July 2017, and then as Interim Chancellor until her selection as chancellor in February 2018. Prior to UMR, Dr. Carrell devoted twenty-three years to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh as faculty and in key leadership roles, where together with colleagues she implemented a nationally-acclaimed curricular reform. Studying human communication, psychology and education, Carrell received her PhD from the University of Denver, her MS from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her BA from Anderson University, in Indiana. She began her career as a teacher in her Hoosier home-town, then sought to learn through adventure as a counselor and teacher in a remote Yup’ik Eskimo village in Alaska. Such adventure-seeking has taken her to the Middle East, as a contributor to the launch of a new university in Oman; to a remote tribe in Ecuador, to study intercultural learning; to the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin, to investigate change in the communication between preachers and thousands of their listeners; and finally, to this innovative campus of the University of Minnesota, devoted to equity through innovation.
Christina Saunders, Executive Director of ACES
Christina Saunders is the Executive Director of ACES, an innovative Minneapolis-based nonprofit that serves youth from underserved communities through after school programs. In this capacity, Christina sets ACES’ strategic direction and leads all functions of the organization. Christina has previously held a number of roles leading change in schools and within education policy. She most recently directed the special education program at KIPP North Star Academy. Prior to her time at KIPP, Christina was an elementary school teacher in the Bronx of New York City. In addition to serving as a teacher, she was part of the team that authored New York’s state-wide literacy curriculum for 3rd and 4th grade special education students, and was a founding member of the School for Environmental Citizenship, also in the South Bronx. Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy and law from Trinity College (Connecticut), and two master’s degrees from Mercy College (New York), one in special education and another in urban education. When not working, Christina enjoys spending time at her family’s cabin in northern Wisconsin, running, and traveling.
Arthur J. Rolnick, Senior Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Arthur J. Rolnick is a Senior Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He previously served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as a senior vice president and director of research and as an associate economist with the Federal Open Market Committee—the monetary policymaking body for the Federal Reserve System. Rolnick is working to advance multidisciplinary research on child development and social policy. His essays on public policy issues have gained national attention; his research interests include banking and financial economics, monetary policy and history, the economics of federalism, and the economics of education. His work in early childhood development has advanced the Minnesota Model for Early Childhood Education and garnered numerous awards, including those from the National Council on Family Relations Distinguished Service to Families Award and the Minnesotan of the Year by Minnesota Monthly magazine, both in 2005; the George Lucas Educational Foundation in 2007; the Nancy Latimer Award from the Start Early Funders Coalition in 2010; and the WEM Foundation Outstanding Educator Award for Excellence in Education in 2018.
A native of Michigan, Rolnick has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in economics from Wayne State University, Detroit; and a doctorate in economics from the University of Minnesota.
The Common Good Breakfast Series contributes event proceeds to the nonprofit organization featured at each session. The nonprofit for this event is ACES. ACES is an out-of-school-time program that focuses on using sports as a hook to get kids excited about math and social-emotional learning. They provide intentional, project-based curriculum for low-income students in grades 4-8 in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.