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Inclusive Innovation: How School Districts Can Unlock the Power of R&D to Create Transformative Solutions

Tuesday, January 9, 2024 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Inclusive Innovation: How School Districts Can Unlock the Power of R&D to Create Transformative Solutions

Presented by Dr. Michelle Miller, Superintendent, South Fayette Township School District (PA); Dr. Michael Nagler, Superintendent, Mineola Union Free School District (NY); Dr. Julie Mitchell, Superintendent, Rowland Unified School District (CA); Dr. Baron Davis, Senior Advisor, Digital Promise; and Kimberly Smith, Chief Inclusive Innovation Officer, Digital Promise

Sponsored by Digital Promise Center for Inclusive Innovation

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With the Inclusive Innovation model, school districts can be hubs of teaching and learning innovation by engaging in research and development (R&D) in collaboration with communities. Emerging district-created solutions include strengths-based data systems, credentialed cybersecurity career pathways, student-led mental health PD, innovative diverse workforce retention models, and more!

Digital Promise is a global education non-profit organization working to expand opportunities for every learner. They work with educators, researchers, technology leaders, and communities to design and scale innovations.

View this edLeader Panel to learn how the Inclusive Innovation model can support school-district-centered R&D to spur policy, program, and technology innovations. Hear how League of Innovative Schools districts across the country, supported by the Center for Inclusive Innovation, are researching and designing innovative programs with teachers, students, and families at the table.

Hear about the solutions school districts have created and see the methodologies in action. Learn how school districts can employ models and tools that drive education innovation. Viewers receive an exclusive invitation to participate in R&D workshops offered by the Digital Promise Center for Inclusive Innovation.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-12 teachers, school and district leaders, librarians, and education technology leaders.

Michelle Miller

About the Presenters

Dr. Michelle Miller has served over 25 years in public education with a concentrated focus on providing student-centered equitable learning environments and opportunities for ALL learners. She is the proud Superintendent of Schools for the South Fayette Township School District in the Pittsburgh region. Her district is a proud member of Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools and a recent recipient of AASA’s Lighthouse designation for their leadership in being “future-forward.” Dr. Miller, a lifelong educator, attended Chatham College, Duquesne University, and the University of Pittsburgh to prepare her for a career in education. With an unwavering passion for learning, teaching, and leading, Dr. Miller has been an adjunct at local universities and serves as an executive board member of University of Pittsburgh’s Tri-State Study Council and the Forum for Western PA Superintendents.

Michael Nagler

Dr. Michael Nagler began his career as a social studies teacher in New York City. While teaching, he earned his doctorate from Columbia University and joined Mineola in 1999. He believes strongly in the district’s mission to inspire students to become lifelong learners who exhibit strength of character and contribute positively to a global society. He is a big proponent of technology to engage students in rigorous content. Mineola is a member of the League of Innovative Schools where Dr. Nagler is Advisory Board Chair.

Mineola was one of the first schools in New York to implement a comprehensive computer science curriculum starting in kindergarten and digital student portfolios. Dr. Nagler was the 2020 New York State Superintendent of the Year and was a Finalist for the 2020 National Superintendent of the Year. He recently published a book entitled The Design Thinking, Entrepreneurial, Visionary Planning Leader: A Practical Guide to Thriving in Ambiguity.

Julie Mitchell

Dr. Julie Mitchell is the Superintendent of the Rowland Unified School District in Los Angeles County, California. With 35 years of experience in public education, Dr. Mitchell is committed to providing all students with an exceptional educational experience that will assist them with becoming thriving members of an ever-changing global society. Her leadership has brought vision and commitment to “Innovative Learning for All” that supports the needs of students, families, and staff. In 2021, she co-led the Students for Equitable Education (SEE) Summit to provide students across the nation the platform to speak about social justice issues. RUSD is a member of the national League of Innovative Schools, demonstrating equity for all. Dr. Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University, a master’s degree in education from the University of La Verne, and received her doctorate in administration/management from Pepperdine University.

Baron Davis

A trailblazing educator and leader, Dr. Baron Davis made history as the first Black Superintendent of Richland School District Two in Columbia, S.C., marking a significant milestone in the district’s 100-year history. In his current role as Senior Advisor at Digital Promise, he is at the forefront of shaping the future of learning, where he brings together research, practice, and technology to foster equitable education systems. Additionally, Dr. Davis enriches future educational leaders through his role as Superintendent in Residence at the University of South Carolina. His educational journey is marked by numerous accolades including 100 Black Men of Greater Columbia Educational Leader of the Year, the Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the American Association of School Administrators, and being named a Leader to Learn From by Education Week, K-12 Dive Leader to Watch, and Richland Two as the 2021 School District of the Year.

Kimberly Smith

Kimberly A. Smith is Co-leader and Chief Inclusive Innovation Officer at Digital Promise’s Center for Inclusive Innovation and former Executive Director of the League of Innovative Schools. She works in collaboration with a national network of forward-thinking school district leaders in equity-centered R&D to design and implement inclusive innovation teaching and learning opportunities to advance equity and excellence for every learner.

Previously, Kimberly held senior leadership positions at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, PBS, Discovery Education, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Kimberly is an Aspen-Pahara Institute fellow and co-founder of the National Charter Collaborative—a non-profit to support single-site charter leaders of color in creating quality schools. She serves on the boards of CatalystEd, Learner-Centered Collaborative, and Beacon House in Washington, DC. She received her M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Inclusive Innovation to Transform Education community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Digital Promise’s Center for Inclusive Innovation reimagines education research and development (R&D) by resourcing the creative ingenuity of communities working in partnership with school districts to create equitable powerful learning opportunities for students furthest from opportunity. The foundation for Inclusive Innovation is anchored in a set of core tenets that embody an equity-centered approach to research and development. The tenets define how we deliberately support teams in co-constructing an inclusive R&D culture that enables equitable leadership and contribution.


Digital Promise Center for Inclusive Innovation

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