Ross Romano is CEO of September Strategies LLC, a consulting firm providing education organizations with overall strategic advisement and storytelling support. He also recently partnered with the American Consortium for Equity in Education to lead the launch of the inaugural Excellence in Equity Awards as program chair. With the awards program now open for nominations, we caught up with Ross to hear what’s in store.
Launching a new awards program ― especially one with this many categories, and so many ways to highlight nominees ― is a significant undertaking. What motivated you to take on the challenge?
It is a big project, but it’s a labor of love. In working with so many educators, association leaders, curriculum developers, startup founders and others over the past decade, it’s abundantly clear how much effort, passion, and expertise are applied toward the goal of educational equity every day.
It’s also obvious that these past three school years have been unlike any before them. They’ve presented extraordinary challenges that the education community continues to address with admirable resilience. So this is the perfect time to honor and celebrate all that great work.
Who can get involved with the program?
In short: everyone whose work makes a difference in schools.
We have 10 distinct categories for educators, designed to specifically recognize school and district leaders, technology professionals, general and special education teachers, mental health professionals, librarians, support staff and more. There are also 17 categories for companies and nonprofits, covering a diverse array of contributions to equity ― accessibility, support for ELLs, online and blended learning, career readiness, personalized learning, STEM and SEL, just to name a very small sampling.
Further, we have opportunities for companies and organizations to sponsor individual categories or the overall program. This is an additional area in which we’re seeing our partners make an impact.
How will the honorees be celebrated?
This is the big question! I share the view that ensuring equity and access for all learners must be a non-negotiable priority in our schools ― and I felt it important that we dive deeper than an umbrella definition of “equity” and really highlight all these varied, specific areas in which leaders are making an impact. Celebrating those change-makers is what we’re excited about.
With that in mind, it’s our honor to recognize all the change-makers whose work is advancing the system toward that goal. Nominees will receive digital badges to showcase their recognition, they’ll be “shouted out” on social media, and they’ll also have a variety of other opportunities – as will our winners – to share their stories via articles, interviews and more.
We want to use this program as a platform to tell the critical stories about equity in education, and what it takes to pursue it.