Reimagining Funding & Support as a Team of One


How do you make an impact without a team, without a budget for staff, and without buy-in?

Michael (Mike) Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Innovation Zone, and Searcy Morgan, Founder and CEO of Matterlab, discuss going from a team of one with little-to-no local support to becoming a national exemplar for innovative school models in rural education. The leaders will talk about Mike’s unpredictable journey in the first four years of building the Zone and how his technical assistance providers served as his dedicated executives in the absence of an in-house team.

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  1. Innovative leaders will leave with applicable strategic guidance for revamping their funding models to secure discretionary funds.
  2. Foundations, funders, and policy makers will gain a clear understanding of how their support toward innovative resources drives rural transformation.
  3. All audience members will understand that strategic communication is as a core leadership competency and lever in achieving greater impact.



Michael Gonzalez, Executive Director, Rural Schools Innovation Zone

Meta Information:

  • Tags: partnerships, school design
  • Event: EDU
  • Format: Conversation
  • Track: Startups & Investment
  • Session Focus Area K-12 Education
  • Level: Deep Understanding

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