Now celebrating our 10th anniversary, EDTalks features compelling short talks and Q&A on a wide range of issues impacting young people and public education.

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EDTalks audience image

What is EDTalks?

Launched in 2012 and based on the TEDTalks model, EDTalks raises public awareness of critical topics and strengthens community engagement and advocacy with and on behalf of our young people. It also provides a platform for creative leaders to showcase innovative ideas, share successes in their work, gain insight and feedback from colleagues, connect with community audiences and identify growth opportunities.

Each EDTalks event features two presentations and concludes with Q & A, ensuring that our speakers and audiences have opportunities for conversation and deeper dives into the evening’s topics. Traditionally hosted in front of a live audience, EDTalks went virtual for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to be back in person beginning fall 2022.

Whether live or virtual, our goal is that our audience emerges more informed, curious, energized and ready to find new ways to support our young people. Though based in the Twin Cities, EDTalks has a national and international audience via our virtual programs and archive videos.  

Our 10th anniversary season theme: What's Next?

The challenges of the past three years have disrupted our communities and systems, and laid bare the many issues impacting our young people and public education. In this unprecedented time, it begs the question: What’s next? Where does education go from here?

During our 10th anniversary season, you will hear from educators eager to share their insights and answers to that very question. 

Visit our events page for more information!

Attend an EDTalks

Our EDTalks Partners

We're excited to announce our new EDTalks co-presenter for 2022-23, Graves Ventures, a project of The Graves Foundation. Their generous financial and program support is absolutely essential and we are thrilled to welcome them into the EDTalks family.

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Our commitment to equity

EDTalks is committed to selecting speakers who are passionate about their subject matter and represent the communities we serve.

Our selection process is guided by these equity values: embracing differences – race, culture, religion, ability, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and class – eliminating racism and other forms of bias, and creating inclusive spaces where all persons feel valued, heard and respected. 

We are also working hard to ensure that our upcoming programs are more accessible to diverse audiences. 

Looking back on our 2021-22 season...

Our last season highlighted "emerging voices" from the education, equity and youth development spaces. We were thrilled to partner with amazing leaders in our community and are deeply grateful for their generous sharing of time and talent. Here are our speakers, with links to their EDTalks presentations: 

Emcee, Adia Morris, sits on stage with two speakers during the Q&A segment
Screenshot of a virtual event with speakers Dr. Courtney Bell and Derek Francis
Close up of a speaker on stage at Icehouse
Side by side picture of speakers from Youth Leadership Institute presenting on stage
Screenshot of virtual event with speakers Zara Zanussi and Laichia Vang
Speaker Salma Hussein pictured on stage at Icehouse
Screenshot of virtual event with Dr. Lanise Block and Jamil Stamschror-Lott

Explore our EDTalks video library:

2022-2023 Season

10th Anniversary Celebration Retrospective | Panelists: Dr. Keith Brooks, Former Student Services Director, Anoka-Hennepin School District; Jason Bucklin, LGTBQ Education Specialist at the Minnesota Dept of Education; Dave Eisenmann, Director of Technology, Minnehaha Academy; Salma Hussein, Principal, Gideon Pond Elementary; and Erin Walsh, Co-Founder, Spark and Stitch Institute. | March 8, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

Supporting Our Educators in a Post-COVID World | Presenter: Dr. Tim Brown, Principal, American Indian Magnet School | December 5, 2022 | In-person at Sisyphus Brewing

Teacher-Powered Schools: Sharing Power with Educators, Students and Families | Presenter: Amy Junge, Director, Teacher-Powered Schools at Education Evolving | December 5, 2022 | In-person at Sisyphus Brewing

Strategies for Rediscovering Our Common Humanity | Presenter: Dr. Jackie Vertigan, Critical Incident Team Lead, Minneapolis Public Schools | October 27, 2022 | In-person at Sisyphus Brewing

Joy as Catalyst: Utilizing Healing Centered Practices for Adaptive Change | Presenters: The Collaborative Affect (Faiza Bharmal, Jason Bucklin, Nikkia Hines, Matthew Myrold and Jewell Reichenberger) | October 27, 2022 | In-person at Sisyphus Brewing

2021-2022 Season

Uncovering Indigenous Models of Leadership | Presenter: Dr. Jon Peterson, Founder and President, TE2 Consulting, LLC | June 22, 2022 | In-person at Urban Growler in St Paul

How Young People Can Co Lead the Education Transformation We Need | Presenter: Walter Cortina, President and Co-Founder, Bridgemakers | April 26, 2022 | Virtual

Kids Changing Education Systems vs. Education Systems Changing Kids | Presenters: Kyra, Jamya and Octivious, Young Leaders, St. Paul Youth Services’ YouthPowerMN Leadership Institute | April 26, 2022 | Virtual

Zero Debt College: A New Reality for Fosters | Presenter: Hannah Planalp, Program Manager, Foster Advocates | March 28, 2022 | Virtual

Creating Anti Racist Third Spaces In and Out of the Classroom | Presenter: Jeannine Erickson, Writer's Room Manager, 826 MSP | March 28, 2022 | Virtual

Reframing Music Education: The Key to Closing Minnesota's Opportunity Gap | Presenter: Sara Zara Zanussi, Founder and Former Executive Director of ComMUSICation | February 23, 2022 | Virtual

Exploring the Loss of Language and Identity in Education | Presenter: Laichia Vang, High School Student and Activist, Roseville Area High School | February 23, 2022 | Virtual

PSEO As a Bridge from High School to College | Presenter: Maria Wright, Director of Dual Enrollment, St Cloud State University | January 19, 2022 | Virtual

How PSEO is a Game Changer for High School Students | Presenters: Asiya Browne and Zeke Jackson, University of Minnesota Students and People for PSEO Leaders | January 19, 2022 | Virtual

How Parent Fundraising Perpetuates Racial Disparities in Minneapolis Public Schools | Presenter: Sara Spafford Freeman, Consultant, SFF Strategies and community organizer | December 8, 2021 | Virtual

The Wide-Reaching Impacts of Philanthropy in Education | Presenter: Amal Karim, Impact Officer, The Constellation Fund | December 8, 2021 | Virtual

2020-2021 Season

How to Lead So Adults Will Listen (and Other Lessons from Young People) | Presenter: Mikisha Nation, Executive Director, Teach For America Twin Cities | June 14, 2021 | Virtual

Youth Perspectives on Reimagining Equitable Youth Work | Presenters: Xe Chang, Senam Akyea, Jolie Vu and Paw Gee, Youth Leadership Initiative | June 14, 2021 | Virtual

The Power of Education in Disrupting Generational Poverty | Presenter: Chastity Lord, President & CEO, Jeremiah Program | May 4, 2021 | Virtual

Education and Technology Access - Jim Crow in the New World Order | Presenter: Ini Augustine, Founder, Project Nandi | May 4, 2021 | Virtual

Cultural Responsiveness In and Out of the Classroom | Presenter: Dr. Courtney Bell-Duncan, Educator and Founder of Courtney S. Bell Consulting LLC | February 8, 2021 | Virtual

Let’s Talk About Race in School | Presenter: Derek Francis, Manager of Counseling Services, Minneapolis Public Schools | February 8, 2021 | Virtual

Where is Mental Health in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Work? | Presenter: Jamil Stamschror-Lott, Mental Health Practitioner and Co-founder, Creative Kuponya | January 14, 2021 | Virtual

Developing an Equity Leadership Identity | Presenter: Dr. Lanise Block, Educator, Founder and CEO, Sankore Consulting | January 14, 2021 | Virtual

From "Adequate" to "Quality": A Constitutional Amendment for Minnesota Students | Presenters: Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Justice Alan Page, Co-founder of the Page Education Foundation | October 21, 2020 | Virtual

Learn to Read, Learn to Lead | Presenter: Dr. Artika Tyner, Director and Co-Founder of the Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice at the University of St Thomas School of Law | October 5, 2020 | Virtual

Changing Outcomes for Black Males | Presenter: Michael Walker, Director of the Office of Black Student Achievement, Minneapolis Public Schools | October 5, 2020 | Virtual

2019-2020 Season

Girls Inc.: Creating Pro-Girl Environments | Presenters: Louise and Sophie, Youth Leaders, and Elena Gustafson, After-School Coordinator, Girls Inc. YWCA Minneapolis | March 2, 2020 | Live in-person

The Stars and The Blackness Between Them - Writing About Queer Young Black Love | Presenter: Junauda Petrus-Nasah, Author and Activist | March 2, 2020 | Live in-person

Igniting Civic Engagement Through Service Learning | Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Leadership Council | February 24, 2020 | Live in-person

How to Raise Tech Healthy Kids | Presenter: Dave Eisenmann, Director of Instructional Technology and Media Services for Minnetonka Public Schools | January 13, 2020 | Live in-person

It's Complicated: Students, Social Media and Mental Health | Presenter: Erin Walsh, Co-Founder, Spark & Stitch Institute| January 13, 2020 | Live in-person

Washburn Blackbox Theatre - Creating Change In and Out of the Classroom | Presenters: Crystal Spring, Washburn High School Theatre Teacher Washburn High School Blackbox Theatre students | November 18, 2019 | Live in-person

The Voices Framework - How Student Stories Can Transform Schools | Presenters: Josh Fraser, Principal at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM Ambar Hanson, Community Relationship Officer for the Mortenson Family Foundation Expanding Opportunities for Children and Families program area | November 18, 2019 | Live in-person


You can find earlier EDTalks seasons on our YouTube channel.

How to apply to speak at EDTalks

The speaker application for our 2022-23 season is now closed. If you are interested in applying for future seasons, we invite you to:

  • Review our "Speaker 101" document below, which provides details on EDTalks and what it means to be a speaker.
  • Submit an online application when it opens again (summer 2023)

If you have questions, please contact Heidi Draskoci-Fricke. In the meantime, we invite you to keep an eye on our events calendar and attend an upcoming EDTalks or other Achieve Twin Cities event.

Speaker 101 Doc

EDTalks is co-presented by Achieve Twin Cities and Graves Ventures, a project of The Graves Foundation

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