C!E persistently pursues more equitable public education systems by supporting shared learning and inclusive decision-making between policymakers, practitioners, and the learners, families and communities they serve.
Who We Are
We are a team of individuals committed to creating a world where each child receives what they need to develop the competency and agency that supports successful pursuit of a future without limitation. We share the belief that today’s public education system falls short of that promise, not just because of flaws in its technical design, but also because it originates from an outdated worldview that only some of us deserve success. We believe each and every person deserves to thrive, and we support the full-scale transformation of education systems in line with this belief.
We are also a collection of individuals whose perspectives are shaped through prior work at multiple levels within the system - from classrooms to schools, district and state education agencies, and from community organizing and out-of-school-time supports to thought leadership on the national stage. These perspectives inform our firm belief that each level has an essential role to play in creating systems of education that help everyone thrive. See What We Do for more on how these perspectives shape the work we take on.
As people and as an organization, we believe in leading with a learning orientation. Our work is driven by curiosity, always leaning into the edge of our understanding and open to new insights that emerge as the work unfolds. We learn best when we take care to build trusting relationships with others in our work, when we collaborate as equals, advancing the work together, and when we confront our blind spots head-on.
Our Origin Story
The Center for Innovation in Education (C!E) was founded in 2013 by Gene Wilhoit and Linda Pittenger, both seasoned state education leaders who formerly helmed the Kentucky Department of Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Not your typical bureaucrats, Wilhoit and Pittenger advanced a vision for education systems - and for their new organization - animated by the belief that every person matters. They viewed it the responsibility of organizations and institutions to ensure every person - youth and adults alike - feels valued and has what they need to thrive.
They created C!E to pursue this vision by supporting innovative, equity-seeking leaders and practitioners across the country. They helped articulate a New Paradigm for education systems - one that is “reciprocal and comprehensive” and is able to “nurture the intrinsic motivation needed to develop responsibility on the part of each actor at each level of the system.” And they convened communities of like-minded education leaders and practitioners carrying the work forward. See What We Do for more on how this foundational work has evolved today.
The Change We Seek
Why is it that a child’s zip code continues to determine their possible futures, even decades after a flurry of reforms promised to raise educational achievement and close racial and socioeconomic gaps in performance? Why is it that racial demographics continue to predict school quality on state report cards?
We also believe education leaders must move beyond paternalistic “command and control” approaches to reform and instead change the system hand in hand with diverse stakeholders across system levels, especially those most negatively impacted by the status quo. Our systems must be able to sense and respond to the unique needs of diverse students, families, and members the broader community. This, we believe, requires new habits of working together.
Partner, Systems Transformation