In academia, the trajectory from idea to implementation is often
a lengthy process. But big ideas are the medium for invention.
Launched in February 2010, EdForward: The Center for
Innovation in Education is the School of Education’s
bold gamble that it can leverage the know-how, the very engine of
the University, to revolutionize the way schools, businesses and
communities deliver results for all learners. In the process, we
hope to build a new revenue stream for the School that enables
investment in cutting-edge research, programs and collaborations.
“The School is an incubator of ideas. Its people are eager to
take risks to create something new.” – Dr. Louis Vismara,
retired cardiologist, a founder of the UC Davis MIND Institute,
and a member of the School’s Board of Advisors
Since its founding, EdForward has introduced several pilot
projects —from hosting science-based summer enrichment camps to
leading district administrators through a managerial process
called Lean Six Sigma. We are now deeply engaged in developing
several projects that will put our innovation into practice. Our
focus is on continuing to build strong partnerships with business
and community leaders and find meaningful ways for all education
stakeholders to submit ideas for further innovation.
Cynthia Sommer, Director of EdForward, makes sure the pipeline
stays packed with ideas for SOE to spur innovation in education.
She has cultivated a diverse background in corporate and
nonprofit management, healthcare marketing, online
education, and is particularly adept in the areas of marketing,
product management, research, and communications. She has been a
business instructor at local universities and community colleges,
and received an Outstanding Service Award from UC Davis
Extension. Cynthia has a BA from Stanford University, and an MBA
Traci Schmidt, Director of Special Projects, has expertise in
developing technology-based education solutions, with a
particular focus on students with special needs and their
families. Known for building collaborative relationships,
especially among public and private entities, Traci currently is
leading product development in partnership with the MIND
Institute for a web-based resource for families with autism.
Andee Press-Dawson, Director of Community Programs and Events,
focuses on Youth Enrichment Programs. She is passionate about
delivering quality education programs to the region, and brings
unparalleled experience from her years administering the
California Afterschool Network and managing youth-oriented
endeavors such as launching a children’s museum and providing
quality-based child care centers. Andee holds a master’s degree
in Social Work from San Diego State University and a BA in
Sociology and Government from the University of Arizona.