Impact Event 2020

Watch: The 2020 Impact Virtual Event Video

Accelerate Institute was joined by two extraordinary school leaders for the 10th Annual Impact virtual event on Wednesday.

Accelerate Founder Pat Ryan, Jr. first sat down with Katie Kirley, executive director and principal of Steel City Academy in Gary, Indiana. Since opening the school’s doors in 2016, Kirley has led Steel City to serving over 500 students and being Gary’s first “A” letter grade high school in 21 years today.

Kirely, a School Accelerator alumnus, said the program “provided the strategic planning approach for our organization rather than strictly the theoretical [approach], and I knew I now had the application and the skills” necessary to lead Steel City effectively.

Watch the full 2020 Impact virtual event on Vimeo

Mr. Ryan was also joined by Kash Wilson, principal of Noble - Hansberry College Prep in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Wilson, who worked with Accelerate back in the Inner City Teaching Corps days, is also a School Accelerator alumnus.

When it came time for her to pivot from being an in-classroom instructor into a leadership role at a school in an underserved community, Wilson said she knew it would be essential to look to a professional development program like the School Accelerator for support.

“What I recognized was that I needed some skills and some support around, ‘How do I motivate [my] team to be able to go [in the right] direction even when the odds are seemingly against them?’” she said.

Wednesday evening featured one more special appearance when Alain Locke Charter School Dean of Students and Operations Vonyell Foster dropped by to interview alumnus Martin Hunter.

Hunter, a Wells Fargo financial analyst who graduate from Alain Locke in 2008, provided his unique perspective on how educators like Kirley and Wilson helped shape his life path as a young student.

Watch the full interviews with Wilson, Kirley and Hunter in the 2020 Impact virtual event video below:

Impact 2020 Virtual Event Video

Impact 202 Virtual Event Video

Thank you to our sponsors!

Shirley and Pat Ryan


Beth and Larry Gies

Satter Foundation/Muneer Satter and Kristen Hertel

Joseph and Jeanne Scoby


John and Rita Canning Family Foundation

Illinois Tool Works Foundation

Annie and Gregory K. Jones Family

Mike and Lindy Keiser



Janet and Craig Duchossois

Carol and Larry Levy

Penske Corporation

Pat and Lydia Ryan

Valor Equity Partners/Antonio Gracias


Kirkland & Ellis/Jon Ballis

Kittie and Bill Devers

Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation

Ken Griffin

Andrew/Joan McKenna Foundation

Anne and Chris Reyes

Segal Family Foundation


Brent Gledhill

John Rowe

Nick and Christi Wood


Huisenga Capital Management/David Bradley

Adam and Denise Hoeflich

Tom and Alissa King

Quintin Kevin and Teri Ford

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