August 31, 2020 Blog, Event Recap

RECAP | Innovation Through Crisis Event

How should a school support a special needs student who has aged out of the system and is no longer eligible for resources? What does it take for a school to make technology access and virtual learning truly equitable? When faced with personal tragedy, how can leaders stay present and engaged for students who might be experiencing the same thing? 

All of these questions and more were answered during Aug. 27’s Innovation Through Crisis event, co-hosted by The Fund, The CAFÉ and A Better Chicago. Three principals—Fatima Cooke of Sumner Math & Science Academy, Kiltae Fernando Kim of Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy and Joshua Long of Southside Occupational Academy—shared their stories about leadership when faced with difficult decisions. 

The night started off with an introduction from Domonique Battle from A Better Chicago and Monica Martens from The Fund, and the discussion was moderated by journalist Adeshina Emmanuel

You can find out three principals’ stories here, along with quotes from some of the most powerful moments: 



Watch Fatima Cooke’s story here: 

“As a leader, I must be always willing to push people past their comfort levels. I must be willing to lead innovation and change in an education system that is not always primed for innovation.” 


Watch Fernando Kim’s story here: 

“Fear does not have to be paralyzing. Fear is merely an opportunity for preparation. Fear is an invitation for leaders to meet their people exactly where they are.”


Watch Joshua Long’s story here: 

“Leading a school, it’s not easy. There are always going to be things that are out of my control; whether it’s the state, district mandates, the community, or even a novel virus. I always have to be prepared to take a stand, to develop solutions, to think outside the box, and to keep my students the central focus as we move forward.”


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