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Audience in Lecture






Chief Executive Officer


Cadence Learning


Steven F. Wilson is cofounder and CEO of the National Summer School Inititiave, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening K-12 instruction. Cadence’s core program, the National Summer School Initiative, taps award-winning teachers to reach tens of thousands of students across the country in a novel “one-to-many” model. Wilson is also a senior fellow at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. Wilson was chief executive officer of Ascend Learning, a nonprofit organization that offers a tuition-free liberal arts education in a warm and supportive setting to 5,500 students in 15 charter schools in Brooklyn, New York. Funded entirely at district spending levels, Ascend has reversed the achievement gap; its black and Latino students outperform their white peers statewide on Common Core assessments. Previously, Wilson was a senior fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He was the founder and CEO of Advantage Schools, an urban school management company; an executive vice president of Edison Schools; and board president of Building Excellent Schools, a national training program for aspiring charter school founders. Earlier, when he was special assistant for strategic planning for Massachusetts Governor William Weld, Wilson helped shape the state’s landmark 1993 Education Reform Act that made Massachusetts schools the highest performing in the country. Prior to joining the administration, he was co-executive director of the Pioneer Institute, where he drove the development and passage of the Massachusetts charter school law. He is the author of two books, Learning on the Job: When Business Takes on Public Schools, which was awarded in 2006 the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an Outstanding Book on Education and Society, and Reinventing the Schools: A Radical Plan for Boston, which offered the blueprint for the Massachusetts charter school law. He is a Pahara-Aspen fellow and a graduate of Harvard University.

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