In July 2015, Innovate Public Schools led the first-ever National Parent Leader Institute. For three days, more than 70 incredible parents from across the Bay Area, Nashville and Washington D.C. came together to learn how to build powerful, parent-led organizations in their communities that can effectively advocate for great public schools.

From the principles of community organizing to holding a successful meeting with an elected official to understanding the key elements of high-performing schools, parents learned the skills they’ll need to build organizations that can make an impact for children.

“When parents are leading the change for their children, great things happen,” said Matt Hammer, CEO and Founder of Innovate Public Schools. “I am excited to see what these extraordinary parents will do as they grow their campaigns back home.”

“Being in the south and everything that has been happening in our world, I get discouraged and I feel like: “Why are we alone in this? Nobody cares about us and our children.” To be here and there are people of all colors, nationalities and races saying “We DO care,” that has brought so much joy to this whole experience. I’ve learned that because I’m a passionate parent, I have the power to make change.”

Elizabeth Lyons Drake
Rocketship Public Schools
Nashville, TN


“I want to take this message to more parents that they have the potential to be leaders. Many don’t have the confidence in themselves. Often people think: as a mom, my only role is to be a mom. No! We have a power within us. Even when my child graduates from school, I still want to be part of this. I want to be part of the change.”

Laura Zuñiga
ACE Charter Schools
San Jose, CA