New Voice Strategies (NVS), the nonprofit parent of the VIVA (Vision, Ideas, Voices, Action) Idea Exchange™, is welcoming three new staff. Former Chicago Public Schools teacher Xian Barrett joined the NVS senior management team on July 15 as National Program Director. Beginning this fall, Tina Nolan, formerly of National Louis University, will work with Barrett as full-time Teacher Engagement Director. Veteran strategy and organization expert Bart Kocha signed on earlier this summer as Opportunity Strategist.
Barrett, whose layoff made headlines a few weeks ago, is responsible for creating and implementing all NVS programs, including managing Idea Exchanges and teacher engagement activities. “CPS’s loss is definitely our gain,” said Elizabeth Evans, founding CEO of New Voice Strategies. “The passion and energy Xian dedicated to his students will now serve teachers around the country who want and deserve to be heard.”
A VIVA Idea Exchange™ taps the power of the Internet to build networks for social change. In a short time, a large group of individuals are empowered to collaborate, imagine a better future, and create an action plan to make that vision reality. As a final step, New Voice Strategies connects those frontline experts directly with decision-makers interested in and empowered to make change. Since 2010, New Voice Strategies has hosted 13 Idea Exchanges, 12 of which have focused on education policy issues.
“I believe strongly that the only way to improve our education system and the world is to hear and act upon the voices of educators, parents and students,” said Barrett. “Through NVS and VIVA, I have the opportunity to amplify those voices.”
Nolan, who earned an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision and Ed.D in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, has been working with NVS part-time for the last several months. She has moderated two Idea Exchanges and, in her new role, will work to develop the leadership skills of participating teachers.
“The Idea Exchanges have taught us that teachers are eager to participate in conversations that build consensus and create solutions,” explained Evans. “For the individual teachers who have participated in the VIVA process, presenting the final report to a key policyholder does not quell the fire that now burns bright within. Teachers want to continue to make their voices heard and develop the skills they need to speak out on education issues so that their students benefit. Tina will help us make that happen.”
Said Nolan, “My greatest passion is forming professional learning communities of educational leaders from all learning settings, making connections between and among current leaders, and crossing boundaries where progressive educational leaders are most needed.”
Kocha brings more than 25 years of strategy and organization expertise to New Voice Strategies. The former A.T. Kearney executive is focused on strategic growth and building organizational capacity.
“I am very proud of how much we’ve grown in such in a short time,” said Evans. “Bart will help to devise the road map for new strategic initiatives and the business plan to support them, as well as goals, benchmarks, and impact metrics to ensure we are getting the job done right.”
New Voice Strategies plumbs the collective wisdom of committed people with front-line experience in fields that are crucial to our country’s future, turning their expertise into recommendations for building a better, fairer and more productive America. Said Evans, “Our expanded leadership team of experienced strategists, with their wide network in government, politics, academia, media, and advocacy, will make us an even more effective operation.”