I am thrilled to be named executive director of Thrive Ed! As I embark on this role, I believe it’s important to share more about myself and my connection to Thrive Ed. I decided to elicit questions from CLS students, a Thrive Ed intern, and a Thrive Ed supporter!

Who or what inspired you to become an educator? – Ava, Thrive Ed intern

I never had a Black educator during my K12 experience therefore I didn’t know the impact of being a Black teacher until I became one. It was during an internship experience through Americorps, where I discovered that I had a knack for connecting with young children. It was through this experience that I became innately aware of my impact on children of color who often never had the opportunity to have a Black teacher. As I became more aware of my “superpower”, I also was intentional about telling young children what I was never told in school: “You can be an educator, too.”

How do we work with partners outside of Hopkins School District? How do you bring in community opportunities for CLS students?  –Caleb, CLS student 

We select community partners based on if they align with our values, connect with our youth and most importantly, understand our vision.  We value these community partnerships because they are critical to our design and development of the Collaborative Lab School. Just like our students, our community partners know the urgency required to create change in our schools. This is why we’ve created this pathway – so students can have more agency in changing their communities. 

How do you feel about being a part of CLS? – Adnan, CLS student 

I feel immensely grateful to interact and engage with the CLS community. I value making connections with students and building lessons with the engagement guides as we create a strong foundation for the Collaborative Lab School. Being a part of CLS means I get to witness brilliance as students use the 5 elements of design to create transformation. CLS is a perfect example of Thrive Ed’s mission which is to position students to be agents of change within their communities. 

What does it mean to you to be a part of Thrive Ed? How do you feel being an ED? – Zion, CLS student

Thrive Ed has always been a refuge for me. I started working with this organization back in 2020, when everything was incredibly confusing and times were “unprecedented”. I was also in the midst of grappling with the murder of George Floyd and feeling frustrated with the continuous lack of humanity in the world. Being a part of the student internship program during the summer of 2020 saved me from losing myself.  I found purpose and joy in connecting (virtually) with student interns and strategizing ways to dismantle white supremacy within education. I’ve always felt a deep connection to the mission, values and work of this organization because we center students, humanity and justice. Thrive Ed has been a constant for me through the past two years and I know that I am where I need to be.  

What has been your favorite part of Thrive Ed? What new opportunities have been introduced to you with this new position? – Stella, CLS student

My favorite part of Thrive Ed has always been the student component. Whether that’s experiencing student interns designing workshops, hearing brilliant CLS students share their learning, co-facilitating workshops with student interns or including student voices during donor meetings – it’s always the student voice that draws me to this organization. I have been able to engage with people from various sectors who are all invested in the work of Thrive Ed because they believe that with youth power comes change. 

Working as an Executive Director is a demanding role! How do you refuel when you need to? Holly, Thrive Ed supporter

ED life has been demanding to say the least but refueling with a few of my favorite things has helped immensely. Here’s a short but comprehensive list: Friday prayers, cuddling with my nephew, taking time to be with myself, listening to music, disconnecting from social media, and last but definitely not least, napping.