Some Choose Wisely

Chad Wick’s contribution to Cincinnati, Ohio, and American education were celebrated on Wednesday at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
In 2001, after bringing me to rural Minnesota schools, Joe Nathan took me to Cincinnati to learn about Steve Adamowski’s efforts to tailor school support based on academic results.  Joe introduced me to a banker that had recently helped form the KnowledgeWorks Foundation.
As a new foundation executive, Chad was a data-driven sponge.  But it was also obvious that he was a civic leader passionate about making Cincinnati a great place to live, learn, work, and play.  Over the next five years, I had the chance to build a real learning partnership with Chad and his team.  We agonized over how to fix failing schools, we brainstormed engagement strategies, and we tried to make sense of the future out kids will inherit.  We did some of that on his back porch with a cigar and an adult beverage.
When I heard about the dinner honoring my friend, I thought about something I wrote in 2006 as I was leaving philanthropy.  It describes my friend Chad Wick pretty well.
Chad is stubborn, he just won’t accept the injustice that he sees in Ohio.  Chad lives in the future, he’s just waiting for the rest of us to catch up with him.  Chad lives as if “All means All.”  Even though it was a bit embarrassing for Chad, I’m glad that KnowledgeWorks allowed a few of us to honor Chad’s good work.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment


Many thanks to both of you.

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