EDTalks features compelling short talks and Q&A on a wide range of issues impacting young people and public education. Learn about our upcoming season!

Get tickets for upcoming EDTalks

What is EDTalks?

Based on the TEDTalks model, EDTalks is a series of lively happy hour educational events that raises awareness and strengthens community engagement and support for public education and our young people. Each event features compelling presentations by educators, youth advocates, artists, policymakers, journalists and others on a wide range of cutting-edge topics and includes audience Q & A for conversation and deeper dives into the evening's topics.

EDTalks also provides a platform for creative leaders to showcase innovative ideas, share successes, gain new insights and garner community feedback. Whether experienced live or virtual, our goal is that EDTalks audiences emerge more informed, curious, energized and ready to find new ways to support our young people. EDTalks was launched in 2012 and is now in its 12th season, with a local, national and international audience via social media streaming and archive videos.

Two EDTalks speakers sitting on the stage speaking into the microphone

Our 2023-24 season theme!

Big Challenges, Realistic Solutions

Four programs from September to May will probe some of the most urgent and large-scale challenges currently confronting public education and our young people while exploring thoughtful, realistic solutions to these problems.

We will hear from a variety of education leaders, teachers, policymakers, young people and other community members who will identify where we should be focusing our attention today and offer creative and challenging proposals to consider as we move toward solutions.

EDTalks speakers during a panel discussion

How to become an EDTalks speaker


Review the EDTalks 101 introductory document

We ask that all speaker applicants first review the EDTalks 101 introductory document, which provides more detailed information on the application process and how we support you in the development of your EDTalk.


EDTalks 101 for Potential Speakers


Determine if your content fits the theme

Our 2023-24 EDTalks season theme is: Big Challenges, Realistic Solutions. Four programs from September to May will probe some of the most urgent and large-scale challenges currently confronting public education and our young people, and also explore thoughtful, realistic solutions.


Submit your application!

Applicants are encouraged to use our online application form to submit their EDTalks proposals. If you would prefer a paper copy, reach out to us at events@achievetwincities.org.


The application is now CLOSED for the 2023-24 season and speakers have been selected! Visit our events page for information on upcoming EDTalks.

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

Achieve logo
Graves Foundation logo

Our EDTalks Partner

We are so grateful to our EDTalks co-presenter, Graves Ventures, a project of The Graves Foundation. Their generous financial and program support, now in its second season, is absolutely essential. We are thrilled to be in partnership with such an amazing organization.


become an edtalks partner

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 such as 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. 


Reach out to events@achievetwincities.org with any inquiries. We are here to help!

Catch a glimpse of some of our past EDTalks events

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:

2023-24 Season

Change their Minds, Change Their Lives on the Court and in the Classroom | Presenter: Coach Larry McKenzie, Coach and Educator, ABOVE The Rim Youth Sports Foundation | February 26, 2024 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

What High School Debate Can Teach Us about the Power of Abolitionist Education | Presenter: Sandy Bolton Barrientos, Community Coach, South High School Debate Team | February 26, 2024 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

Shifting the Narrative About the Teaching Profession | Presenter: Dr. Rose Wan-Mui Chu, Educator, Consultant and Project Lead, Elevate Teaching | November 12, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis.

What’s Keeping Teachers of Color Out of Minnesota Classrooms and How We Can Fix It | Presenters: Joshua Crosson, Executive Director, EdAllies, Haben Ghebregergish, Lead Math Facilitator, High School for Recording Arts and Jocelyn McQuirter, Engagement Manager in local government | November 13, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis.

Big Challenges, Realistic Solutions: Confronting a Potential Financial Crisis for Minneapolis Public Schools | Presenters: Rochelle Cox, Interim Superintendent for MPS and Ibrahima Diop, MPS Senior Officer of Finance and Operations | October 6, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis.

2022-2023 Season

The Power of Informed Parents | Presenters: Natty B. Hels, Youth Programs Director, Centro Tyrone Guzman and Rosie Lais, Director of Community Resources, Great MN Schools | May 8, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

Teachers and Parents: An Unstoppable Team | Presenter: Paula Cole, Executive Director, Educators for Excellence-Minnesota | May 8, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

Youth Artistic Expression and Social Change | Presenter: Frank Sentwali, Educator and Teaching Artist | April 19, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

Addressing Ableism in Education | Presenter: Maren Christensen Hofer, Executive Director, Multicultural Autism Action Network | April 19, 2023 | In-person at Icehouse Minneapolis

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.

Adult and student in classroom working at table with computer

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