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Thank you to the 200+ business, education, and community colleagues who joined us for this year’s West Virginia Education Summit focused on “Pathways to the Future—Strategies to Grow Your Own.”  The interactive programming explored the latest research, innovative practices, and emerging policy to support a "Grow Your Own" approach to the mountain state's talent pipeline.

About the 2022 Summit and Our Expert Speakers

More than 200 business, community and education leaders participated Tuesday in The Education Alliance’s West Virginia Education Summit.

This year’s Summit focused on strategies to help West Virginia students ‘Grow Your Own Career Pathways.

The event, hosted by The Education Alliance and held at the Embassy Suites in Charleston, featured a mix of national and state experts who shared innovative strategies that will jumpstart student career pathways.

“The Summit theme is based on two ideas,” said Dr. Amelia Courts, president and CEO of The Education Alliance. “First is the idea that West Virginia can grow our own talent through career pathways that lead students to high-skill, high-wage careers... Second is how the business community can champion efforts to Grow Our Own teacher pipeline and how educators can help build robust industry career pathways.”

News Coverage

Michael Graney

Michael Graney - Executive Director of the West Virginia Dept. of Economic Development

Mr. Graney has spent much of his professional career in executive or co-founder positions with companies related to the petroleum industry. In those roles, he was responsible for managing different facets of business, including acquisition, retail operations and environmental compliance. He was appointed to his position as Executive Director of WV Economic Development in 2018.

Sara Stankus

Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus - Deputy Superintendent of West Virginia Schools

Dr. Sara Lewis-Stankus has served the state of West Virginia with over 32 years of experience in education. She proudly served as Superintendent of Upshur County Schools for five years, and prior to that, served as a teacher, special education teacher, counselor, and principal.

Abby Reale

Abby Reale - Director of Advocacy at Mountain Health Network

Abby's impressive history in leadership, public policy, and healthcare has led her to be the Director of Advocacy for Mountain Health Network. In this position, she works directly with the CEO and senior leadership, and leads MHN’s policies and objectives for government and local community relations, as well as monitors federal, state and local legislation that could impact hospital operations.

David Rosier

David Rosier - President of Toyota Manufacturing WV

With more than 19 years of experience at Toyota, David has held several leadership positions including administration, quality, production control, logistics, manufacturing, accounting and finance, and HR. David's combined experience in manufacturing and leadership gives him a valuable perspective for our industry panel.

Aaron Walker

Aaron Walker - President of Appalachian Power

As President of Appalachian Power, Aaron oversees the activities of more than 2,300 employees and is responsible for Appalachian Power's electric distribution systems, which serves 1 million customers. Aaron's 17 year history with Appalachian Power proves his experienced perspective in both manufacturing and leadership.

David Donaldson

David Donaldson - Managing Partner at the National Center for Grow Your Own, Harvard University

David Donaldson is the Managing Partner of the National Center for Grow Your Own, a non-profit which supports states, school districts and educator preparation providers to launch or expand Grow Your Own programs and registered apprenticeships in teaching.

David was the lead author on the approved application by the U.S. Department of Labor to federally recognize the “K-12 teacher” occupation as eligible for registered apprenticeship. His work has been recognized by The White House, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.

Previously, David served as the Chief of Human Capital at the Tennessee Department of Education. In that role, he launched several statewide programs including: Grow Your Own, Aspiring Assistant Principal Network and a free additional endorsement program in special education and English as a second language for over 5,000 educators.

David has been a teacher in Baltimore, principal in Detroit and administrator in New York City.

Dr. Carla Warren - Director of Educator Development and Support Services at WVDE

Dr. Warren's background includes 20 years in the classroom and more than a decade supporting teachers and professional learning initiatives. In her role, she works closely with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to address the need for high quality educators in the classroom. This includes the Grow Your Own WV Pathway to Teaching.

A native West Virginian, Dr. Warren is a passionate supporter of teachers at every stop along their professional continuum and the work they do every day in the trenches to advance the lives of their students in West Virginia.

Russell Dyer

Dr. Russell Dyer - Director of Cleveland City Schools, Tennessee

Dr. Russell Dyer started as the Director of Cleveland City Schools on July 1, 2016. Before coming to Cleveland, Tennessee, Dr. Dyer was Chief of Staff for Collierville Schools in Collierville, Tennessee for two years – a school system
similar to Cleveland with eight schools and 8,000 students. He was instrumental in the formation of Collierville Schools which began in 2014, after splitting from Shelby County Schools.

Prior to opening the Collierville School system, Dr. Dyer was a high school principal, middle school principal, human resource specialist, assistant principal, and teacher in Shelby County Schools. He was awarded the Tennessee PTA Outstanding Principal of Year in 2011 and Rotary Club Teacher of the Year in 1999. In 2019, Dr. Dyer was named the Southeast
Tennessee Superintendent of the Year by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS). Dr. Dyer was also named to the 2020 National Schools Public Relations Association, NSPRA, Superintendents to Watch list.

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