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One-line bio

I am an educator and entrepreneur.

Find me in…

New York City

Find me on…

LinkedIn | Twitter | The Huffington Post

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Day Job
Co-Founder, Nexus Works

One-liner, describing your work
I support early stage education companies entering the NYC market by consulting on their product, organization design, and business development strategy.

What you like to do for fun?
This weekend, I went rock climbing, read a book about dragons, and went on a scavenger hunt. Basically, the more adventurous the activity, the better. I also have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Reddit.

How did you discover Education Entrepreneurs?
Nihal ElRayess organized an Idea Competition for Teach For America corps members and alumni. The winners were sponsored to attend a Startup Weekend Education in the Bay Area. Because of her, my startup idea partner, Jamie Lonie, and I were able to pitch and lead a team at that Startup Weekend Education. I think that experience for completely changing my life and giving me an opportunity to meet my first mentors in the education innovation space.

What’s been your involvement in Education Entrepreneurs to date?
I’m a three-time Organizer of Startup Weekend NYCEDU. Join us if you can on March 27th for the fourth annual event!

What’s the most challenging thing about being an Organizer?
I feel the pressure to ensure that each event is as well-organized as it possibly can be.

What’s the most rewarding thing about being an Organizer?
I know that I’m changing lives every time I organize an event. It’s a fantastic feeling.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to those trying to build community?
Find good people, establish common purpose, and do excellent work. Community is but the sum of the micro interactions that come from these three things.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to people trying to create edtech products?
Solve for a real pain point. It’s the big problems that need solutions. So find a problem worth solving and the team capable of solving it, and you’ll be 90% of the way there.

What’s the legacy you’d like to leave in the education space?
I’d like to look back and see a thriving education community that believes in “give before you get,” children first, and collaborative problem solving. 

What’s your favorite edtech company or innovative school, and why?
I started my teaching career at KIPP Academy Middle School in Houston, Texas. It is a school filled with people who are simply exemplary human beings, and their love for the children in their care permeates every interaction. The belief I have in the power of education to change the world comes directly from my experience in the halls and classrooms of KIPP Academy.

Finish the sentence: In my dream world, education would ____
…be accessible to every child so that he or she can make the most of his or her inborn potential.

What are the resources or events that you think anyone interested in innovating in education and/or building community should check out?
Check out the Nexus Works Professional Development Board to see our recommend readings and videos. Principles from these books form the core of what we do!

Anything else you’d like to share?
If you’re someone who’s looking to move into education technology, take the leap! There are all sorts of ways to get involved, from within the classroom to outside. While this post — Help! I’m a Teacher…How Do I Get Into Education Technology? — was written for teachers, it can be just as applicable to you. Take a look, and, good luck!


More about Education Entrepreneurs

Education Entrepreneurs is the largest initiative in the world focused on helping people use entrepreneurship to improve education. Its suite of offerings include Startup Weekend Education, Startup Digest Education, Workshops, online resources, and a global network of Community Leaders. Spanning six continents, Education Entrepreneurs has created an unprecedented opportunity for anyone, anywhere to shape the future of education.

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Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Mandela Schumacher-Hodge
(@MandelaSH) A former public school teacher, education policy researcher, and PhD candidate, Mandela Schumacher-Hodge co-founded Tioki, the “The LinkedIn for Educators,” in 2011. Funded by Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, and Imagine K12