Greater Waco Community
Education Alliance

4901 Bosque Blvd. Suite 290
Waco, Texas 76710
Phone: 254-741-0081

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Developing an understanding that the entire community
shares responsibility for educating every citizen.

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Education Summits


The Education Alliance actually grew out of the Annual Education Summit. The first Summit was in 2008, and it was a time for stakeholder groups to present plans to the community and gain feedback. The Alliance was formalized after the first Summit, and now is committed to implementing these annual events that bring the broader community together to engage in contributing to the goals of the Alliance.

Each year, the Summits serve as a community forum for local organizations, educators and leaders to present critical information and updates in breakout sessions. The Summits also bring in national experts in education and workforce development to inspire and inform the Waco community.

  •      2013 Summit

    The 2013 Greater Waco Community Education Summit theme was "Embracing Our Challenge," and Keynote speaker George Erickcek, Senior Regional Analyst, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, presented "Greater Waco through the Lens of Community Metrics," offering an initial analysis of data gathered from research conducted in Greater Waco.

    Other main session speakers included Ako Kambon, President, Visionary Leaders Institute, who encouraged the audience to consider their role in community-wide change in his speech entitled, "Grasping Our Challenge." Glenn Robinson, CEO, Baylor Scott & White – Hillcrest presented "Investing in Community Resources: Bringing It All Together," offering an overview of the concept of collective impact.

    The Summit included 18 Breakout Sessions on community work related to Stable Families, Early Beginnings, Prepared-Engaged Parents, Champions for Children, Employer-Educator Partners, and Coaching for Success.

    Over 500 people attended and contributed to the Summit's success. Nearly 100 area students were involved as Student Ambassadors, Student Performers and Centerpiece Contributors from schools across the Greater Waco area.

    Click on the menu at the right to download a full PDF of the 2013 Summit Program.

  •      2012 Summit

    The 2012 Education Summit theme was “Gaining Momentum,” and keynote speaker Rick Noriega, President and CEO of AVANCE, Inc., motivated the audience to advocate for the youngest citizens in our community and prioritize a quality early education.

    Other main session speakers included, Former Lieutenant Governor of the State of Texas, Bill Ratliff, speaking about, “The Tragedy of Current State Education Funding.” Governor Ratliff encouraged the crowd to be a part of the debate on school funding as it unfolds during the 83rd Legislative Session and to speak with a common voice to legislators to solve the crisis of education funding without pushing forward the problem to another generation. Ashley Allison, Executive Director, Waco Foundation, presented, “Metrics That Are Moving,” and reported that the Greater Waco Community has expressed its collective will to make changes in education as evidenced by financial investment, and the educational status of our community’s workforce is improving. Finally, Lauren Dryer, Director of business Development, SpaceX, and Brandon Garrett, Technical Recruiter, SpaceX, showed the audience that “The Future Is Now” and encouraged the advancement of STEM education in our community to meet employers’ needs for a highly trained workforce.

    The Summit included 17 Breakout Sessions on community work in Tracks on Early Childhood, K-12, College & Career, Quality of Life, and School Funding. Student performers were present for entertainment by Vanguard Preparatory School students, Midway High School Camerata String Orchestra, La Vega high School Junior ROTC, Saint Paul’s Episcopal Day School Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, China Spring ISD, Hillcrest PDS Mosaic Choir, Connally High School Junior ROTC, EOAC, Waco Charter School, MCC Music Students, China spring Jazz Band, Waco High School Show Choir, McGregor Bulldog Pride Drumline, MCC Dance Company.

    More than 500 people attended and contributed to the Summit’s success. Over 100 area students were involved as Student Ambassadors and Student Performers.

    Click on the menu at the right to download a full PDF of the 2012 Summit Program

  •      2011 Summit

    The 2011 Education Summit theme was “Designing Our Future” and Keynote Speaker Eileen Walker, CEO of the Association of University Research Parks opened the Summit. Walker shared experiences about communities that build on their unique advantages and praised the work of the BRIC (Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative).

    Other main session speakers included Dr. Paul Illich, Vice President of Research, Planning & Technology at McLennan Community College; Dr. Roland Goertz, Executive Director of the Family Health Center; Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore, One Book, One Waco 2011 selection; Kate Rogers, Vice President of Communication and Engagement at H-E-B.

    Eleven of the area ISD Superintendents presented their draft of the Shared Vision Statement that promises to add significant energy and clarity, not only to the superintendents’ work but to the community's support of and engagement in "sending children to school ready to learn."

    The Summit also included 28 Breakout Sessions on community work in Tracks on Business, Higher Education, Health, Early Childhood, K-12 Education, Community Resources, Poverty and Stakeholder Work. Student music groups from Rapoport Academy, WISD, St. Paul’s, La Vega ISD and Midway ISD added an important dimension to the General Sessions.

    More than 450 people attended and contributed to the Summit's success.

    Click on the menu at the rightto download a full PDF report of the 2011 Summit.

  • 2010 Summit

    The third annual Education Summit attracted the attention of the co-founders of the national organization, Birth2Work and both Rick Stephens and Elane V. Scott addresses the Summit in general and breakout sessions.

    Other “main tent” presentations included Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Dr. Paul Illich, Vice President of Research, Planning & Technology at MCC and Waco resident and former Ambassador to Sweden, Lyndon Olson.

    Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director of the Cooper Foundation led a panel in a discussion on how to strengthen the region’s pockets of excellence through partnerships. Her fireside chat guests, Jim Haller, Executive Vice President of Marketing at the First National Bank of Central Texas; Megan Henderson, Director of Regional Services at the Heart of Texas Council of Governments; and Walker Moore, Community Organizer with Waco Community Development, interacted with one another to discuss strategies to maximize local resources. Glenn Robinson, President and CEO of Hillcrest Healthcare System moderated the first of three panels considering issues of what must be done locally to influence change in education and the lives of our citizens.

    The Summit featured 17 exceptionally well-attended breakout sessions delivered by a multitude of community stakeholders, students, and leaders. With topics covering all eight of the Education Alliance’s Assumptions, the sessions drew very positive reviews from attendees.

    Following the conclusion of the Summit, the Education Alliance hosted an in-service for a number of regional school districts. The in-service provided a format to disseminate information more broadly concerning the Education Alliance’s mission and to gather data from educators on their perspective of future initiatives for the Education Alliance. The in-service featured Ako Kambon, President of Visionary Leaders Institute, Columbus, Ohio, who compared students of past years with those of today. He mixed humor with exceptional wisdom concerning how we as a community can “reach” our students with greater love, understanding and impact.

    Click on the menu at the right to download a full PDF report of the 2010 Summit.

  • 2009 Summit

    The second annual Greater Waco Community Education Summit built upon the first summit and the work of the stakeholder groups in what felt like a seamless transition. The first summit in November2008 solidified the organization of the stakeholder groups and launched them through a flurry of work as 2009 began. The second summit in November 2009 showcased their work and provided a platform from which to move forward new initiatives that focus the community on the Education Alliance’s eight assumptions and on assisting our education providers.

    With a mixture of out-of-town and local expertise, the summit program featured several speakers and presentations concerning the focus of the first of the Education Alliance’s eight assumptions—early childhood education and healthcare. While future summits and the work of the Education Alliance will focus on the education continuum of ages 0–22, systemic change in the Greater Waco Community requires that attention be given immediately to the very earliest years of our children’s lives. Thus, the presentations by the summit’s lead speakers had titles such as “The Potential Return on Investment for Early Childhood,” “The Role of Healthcare in Education Success,” “A View into Parental and Child Interaction: Block Play,” and “Waco’s Early Childhood Challenges and Opportunities.”

    The summit also celebrated four of the region’s outstanding “Pockets of Excellence.” Rounding out the main tent presentations of the summit was an interview of Ambassador Lyndon Olson by Joe Riley of KWBU and a two-part presentation on “Education as a Means for Ending Poverty: Waco’s Challenge and a Practical Approach for Effective Education of Poor Children.” The presentations closed the main summit, and the issues of poverty were the main event for a multi-school district in-service held following the summit. Dr. Donna Beegle, a fourth-generation person of poverty, related her journey from sleeping in cars to earning a Ph.D. She provided powerful first-hand insights into how we can address poverty in the Greater Waco area. As in 2008, students from area schools provided for music, color guard and other official duties, rounding out the summit experience.

    Click on the menu at the right to download a full PDF report of the 2009 Summit.

  • 2008 Summit

    From the original spark of ideas and the synergistic enthusiasm of countless community members, to the participation of nearly 700 individuals, the First Annual Greater Waco Community Education Summit was a huge success in 2008.

    Each of the eleven stakeholder groups convened by the Alliance prior to the Summit packaged its initial activity plans to address some or all of the stated summit assumptions, and engaged those who came to the summit to review the plans and provide feedback. In the two-day gathering, main speakers helped to set the tone for the summit and challenged the community.

    The summit allowed each of the eleven stakeholder groups to shape its initial ideas and set direction. The overriding recommendation of each group dealt with the need for community awareness of the assumptions and the underlying statistics supporting each. Groups considered that awareness of issues alone could change a lot of behaviors and create additional energy to change and improve how the community supports and assists the education of its youth. Most groups delineated the need for databases and other resource collections to assist with information exchange and good decision making. Further, most of the groups saw the need for work to be done across the stakeholder areas, noting that community engagement requires a tremendous amount of partnering with others.

    Click on the menu at the right to download a full PDF report of the 2008 Summit.