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Linked Learning Alliance Announces 2017 Linked Learning Champion Award Winners

January 3, 2017 | Linked Learning Alliance

January 03, 2017
Hilary McLean, Executive Vice President | E: | T: 916.248.4848

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Linked Learning Alliance today announced the 2017 Linked Learning Champion Award winners.

The Champion Awards recognize individuals or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, leadership, and success in implementing and expanding quality Linked Learning opportunities for students in California. The winners will be honored at the Linked Learning Convention 2017 “Breakfast of Champions” on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. at the Oakland Marriott City Center in Oakland, CA. The Linked Learning Convention theme for 2017 is Accelerating Quality and Building Scale.

“The growth of the Linked Learning movement in California and across the nation is due in large part to the hard work of innovative and thoughtful leaders we named as the Linked Learning Champions for 2017,” said Darrell Steinberg, Chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Board of Directors. “Each of them has led efforts to build systems that help to transform lives and increase opportunities for Linked Learning students. Thanks to Joan Bissell, Governor Bob Wise, David Rattray, and The Wonderful Company more students can realize their full potential by being prepared for college, career and life.”

The 2017 Linked Learning Champions are:

Joan Bissell, Dir. of Teacher Education and Public School Programs, CSU Chancellor’s Office– Educator Champion
Dr. Joan S. Bissell is Director for Teacher Education and Public School Programs in the California State University (CSU). She assists the campuses in the CSU Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative and in such other system-wide priorities as the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. She has helped to provide critical leadership to the development and expansion of teacher pathways, assisted in the identification of critical policy changes to address the need for qualified Linked Learning teachers, and is a champion for Linked Learning as an evidence-based approach to preparing students for college, career and life. Bissell serves as a Chancellor’s Office liaison with the CSU Collaborative for the Advancement of Linked Learning, a statewide consortium of CSU campuses led by CSU Long Beach that has achieved major advances in the preparation of new teachers, counselors and administrators as leaders in Linked Learning in regions throughout California. She has been among those within CSU instrumental in establishing Linked Learning as a priority, forging significant connections with partners, identifying key opportunities and encouraging a widening research agenda supportive of the Linked Learning field.

Former Governor Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education- Policymaker Champion
Former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (the Alliance), a national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. Led by Gov. Wise since 2005, the Alliance is a respected advocate for the development and implementation of federal and national policies that support effective high school reform and increased student achievement and attainment. Linked Learning is one of the key education policy issues that Governor Wise and the Alliance staff promote. He and his team have played a major role in building awareness at the federal level about Linked Learning and, working with partners in California, to use experiential site visits and other strategies to introduce federal policymakers in Congress, the White House, and in the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor to the effectiveness of Linked Learning.

The Wonderful Company – Employer Champion
The Wonderful Company created their signature high school program, Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep (Ag Prep). This innovative career pathways program aligns high schools, colleges and industry to create real-world learning experiences that prepare students for the high-tech jobs of the future. Ag Prep is a rigorous four-year program that offers high school students courses taught by college professors, allowing participants to complete their high school academic requirements and earn an associate degree by high school graduation. Students also participate in intensive work-based learning experiences each year. Graduates from Ag Prep can choose between accepting well-paying skilled career positions within The Wonderful Company, or entering a four-year college as a junior. With close attention to implementing pathways with high fidelity to the four core components of Linked Learning, Wonderful Company’s Ag Prep initiative demonstrates how Linked Learning can be implemented with high quality in smaller rural high schools and districts.

David Rattray, Executive Vice President, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce – the Anne B. Stanton Impact Champion
David Rattray oversees the Center for Education Excellence and Talent Development at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and is president and executive director of UNITE-LA, an organization dedicated to building partnerships that make it possible for youth in Los Angeles to have equal access to education and high level job training resulting in a thriving local economy. David Rattray has served as chair of the Linked Learning Alliance Board of Directors and was instrumental in the founding of the Linked Learning movement more than a decade ago. He leads the policy advocacy efforts in California to incentivize the expansion of Linked Learning opportunities for students.

The Linked Learning Convention 2017 is open to the media. The Linked Learning Convention 2017 will be held at the Oakland Marriott City Center in Oakland, CA. The Linked Learning Convention 2017 “Breakfast of Champions” will begin at 8:00 a.m and conclude at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. You can find more information about the Linked Learning Convention at:


About Linked Learning Alliance
The Linked Learning Alliance is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Established in May 2008, the Linked Learning Alliance aims to build a collective voice and coordinate efforts to expand access to Linked Learning in California-an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with real-world learning opportunities in fields of engineering, health care, performing arts, law, and more. |