Educational summit features educational celebrities

■ BY SUE ERWIN     Educate Summit web

At an educational summit held on Tuesday, April 5 at the Boca Grande Community Center, some of the nation’s top educators gathered with islanders to talk about new trends and successful techniques in educating our primary and secondary school-age children. The invitation-only event, orchestrated by Cavendish Global, packed the house and went on all day long.

“Boca Grande is intently focused on education. Advocates are tremendously supportive of The Island School, and education in general is important on the island. There is always a lecture to attend and something new to learn,” said Michael Moffat, chairman of the board of directors for Cavendish Global. Moffat is a former chair of the Island School Board and a founding member of the Island School Foundation.

“Launching our education initiative in Boca Grande is not a strategic choice, but a personal choice,” Moffat said.

Tom McKenzie, senior vice president for Cavendish Global, organized the event to solicit donations to support this worthy cause. It included a full schedule, beginning with breakfast and ending with a dinner with keynote speakers. During the day the group took breaks and networked in between.

Keynote speakers were some of the most prestigious leaders in the field of education. They included:

• James Bendict, managing partner of Cavendish Global and founding advisory board member of Maverick Collective, a groundbreaking philanthropic initiative aiming to improve the health and rights of girls and women worldwide;

• Pearl Johnson Biedron, founder of The Willow School;

• Alberto Carvalho superintendent of Miami-Dade schools;

• Kevin Chavous, a noted author, attorney and national education reform leader;

• David Coleman, president and CEO of The College Board, who was named by Time Magazine in 2013 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world;

• Peter Davis, strategic advisor to the Boston Consulting Group, where he works with education and private equity teams on a global basis;

• David Dik, executive director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, the nation’s largest arts-in-education network;

• Jeffrey Ervine, founder and president of Bridg-it LLC, which provides school communities with the first sustainable solution to bullying, cyberbully and harassment issues;

• Will Ethridge, a principal of Ethridge Advisors, where he provides advisory services to education companies, educational institutions, policy- makers and private equity companies;

• Emily Grad, founder and CEO of Edhesive, an online AP computer science course for high school students;

• Alan Hilburg, president and CEO of Hilburg Associates and award-winning author of two New York Times bestsellers on leadership;

• Eric Jones, founder and CEO of EdGems and designer of Channel One News – a daily program serving millions of students;

• Kathy LeMay, CEO of Raising Change and internationally recognized public speaker, philanthropic advisor and published author centering on lifting up the voices of women and girls around the world;

• Vineet Madan, founder and CEO of Junction Education, a company focused on scaling affordable, engaging and effective courseware for colleges and universities;

• Gary June, founding partner of The Hatch Group and media/education professional with a focus on trade publishing and content technology;

• Molly Melching, founder and CEO of Tostan, dedicating most of her life to the empowerment of communities at a grassroots level in Senegal, West Africa;

• Daniel Myer, CEO of Academica Virtual Education, one of the fastest growing digital learning organizations in the world;

• Eva Moskowitz, founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, whose mission is to tackle the monumental crisis in public education in New York City;

• Neesha Rahim, co-founder of Level Up Village, applying global collaboration to real-life problems preparing young people to live successful lives;

• Peter Samuelson, co-founder of Starlight Children’s Foundation, an international charity dedicated to granting wishes for seriously ill children;

• Shoshana Vernick, managing director at of the Education Opportunity Fund, promoting the globalization of education to enable successful outcomes;

• Fernando Zulueta, president of Academica Corporation, one of the nation’s largest and most successful charter school service and support organizations.

Another guest speaker was Armando Christian-Perez, globally known as Grammy-winning music performer Pitbull. He currently serves as the brand ambassador for Sports Leadership And Management Academy (SLAM!) and is part of the Academica charter school network with locations in Little Havana, Miami and Las Vegas. He is actively involved in many programs that focus on positive influences for children, some of whom are growing up in circumstances that are not so ideal as here in Boca Grande.

Cavendish Global and The Island School Foundation co-hosted the inaugural Boca Grande Education Summit. Organizers hope that this will become an annual event every spring.

“The Island School Foundation was a great host,” McKenzie said. “This location creates an environment for networking in a comfortable atmosphere.”

Tyton Partners hosted the reception and dinner at The Gasparilla Inn Beach Club. Moffat said Tyton Partners presented a “generous gift” to the Island School Foundation after the event.

This program was actually part of a series of educational summits designed to advance and foster a deep exchange of ideas, and provide an exclusive social environment focused on bringing together those seeking to promote positive and meaningful outcomes for some of the world’s most challenging problems.

As a result of this event, McKenzie said Carvalho and Perez invited the organization to host an upcoming educational summit in Miami.

McKenzie and Moffat started Cavendish Global in 2013 with just three employees. They now have a team of 24 as their future functions continue to grow.

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