With hands in numerous projects across New York and nationwide, Geoffrey Canada redefines what it means to be an education activist. His work as the president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone has been recognized globally for the help and services it has given children and families, despite tough circumstances. Named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by the U.S. News and World Report, Geoffrey Canada is the perfect choice for the BbWorld 2014 closing keynote speaker.
Here are a few interesting, and admirable, facts about him:
- A true Horatio Alger story, Geoffrey grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, and sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite this, he was able to successfully earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s in education from the Harvard School of Education.
- The Harlem Children’s Zone Project, which has been called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time” is truly focused on the transformation of our traditional systems to better equip young people to meet their life goals. By combining educational, social and medical services, the Project embraces the concept of “taking a village to raise a child” and uses its services to create a “safety net” around the neighborhood to help ensure children don’t slip through.
- HCZ started its focus on one single block in Harlem. It now spans more than 100 square blocks and serves 10,000 children. HCZ provides pre-kindergarten care, after-school programs, health care, college planning and classes for parents-to-be.
- In his TED Talk from May 2013 he asked the question: “Why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago?” He eloquently points out that millions of students were failing then, and are now. He passionately stresses that we need to change our model…..because it isn’t working.
- Geoffrey often challenges educators and industry leaders to look to data to make improvements, put learner-needs first, and make systemic shifts in order to help more children excel.
- A third degree black belt, Geoffrey founded the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School and still teachers classes to the community youth along with anti-violence and conflict-resolution techniques.
- National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol has called Geoffrey, “one of the few authentic heroes of New York and one of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation.”
On July 17, we are excited to welcome Geoffrey to the stage to share his stories and thoughts with our audience. See you in Vegas!