2017 Keynote Speaker

Kim Smith
Founder and CEO | Pahara Institute

Kim Smith is the founder and chief executive officer of the Pahara Institute. She is widely recognized as an innovative and entrepreneurial leader in education, and was featured in Newsweek’s report on the “Women of the 21st Century” as “the kind of woman who will shape America’s new century.” Immediately prior to the Pahara Institute, Kim was co-founder of Bellwether Education Partners, a nonprofit organization working to improve educational outcomes for low-income students. Earlier in her career she served as a founding team member at Teach For America, created and led an AmeriCorps program for community-based leaders in education, managed a business start-up and completed a brief stint in early online learning at Silicon Graphics. After completing her MBA at Stanford University, she co-founded and led NewSchools Venture Fund, a philanthropy focused on transforming public education through social entrepreneurship, where she helped to catalyze a new, bipartisan, cross-sector community of entrepreneurial change agents for public education. Kim has helped to incubate numerous education and social change organizations and has served on a range of boards, including those of Bellwether, NewSchools, and Rocketship Education, and she has authored or co-authored a number of publications about innovation and social entrepreneurial change in education. She is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.


Derrell Bradford
Executive Vice President | 50CAN

Derrell Bradford

Derrell is the executive vice president of 50CAN and the executive director of NYCAN. In his national role, Derrell recruits and trains local leaders across the 50CAN network for roles as CAN executive directors, fellows and YouCAN advocates. Derrell continues his work as the executive director of NYCAN and on network-wide innovations like the Corps Knowledge project. Derrell previously served as the executive director at Better Education for Kids. At B4K Derrell worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. B4K’s advocacy also led to electoral victories for reform-minded candidates across the state. Prior to B4K, Derrell spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) as director of communications and then executive director. While there he also served on the state’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force. Derrell frequently contributes to education debates in print, digital, radio and TV media. He serves on several boards dedicated to putting the needs of students and families first, including Success Academy Charter Schools, EdBuild, The Partnership for Educational Justice, NACSA and The Parent Coalition for Excellent Education. He is a former board member of We Can Do Better New Jersey and St. Anthony High School in Jersey City. A native of Baltimore, Derrell attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English.