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EdPolicy Leaders Online: Meet Shelby Edwards from Colorado

• ExcelinEd

We are pleased to introduce Shelby Edwards, EdPolicy Leaders Online’s latest featured participant. Shelby recently completed Data Privacy? Get Schooled!, one of ExcelinEd’s three free, self-paced online courses available for policymakers.

Shelby EdwardsShelby Edwards is the Education Initiatives Manager for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, which she joined in October 2013. Her policy portfolio includes academic standards, aligned assessments, educator effectiveness and data privacy. Previously, she served as the Government Affairs Fellow with the Colorado Children’s Campaign and as an Education Research Fellow with the Donnell-Kay Foundation. Shelby earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in education policy at the University of Colorado Denver in 2013. She is a board member of the Young Education Professionals–Colorado chapter. Originally from Ohio, she moved to Colorado in 2010.

We asked Shelby:

Why are you passionate about education reform?
I believe excellent schools don’t just happen. They are carefully built by educators, community leaders, students, parents and policy makers who understand that the most important asset for our future is our children’s education today. Colorado has done a lot of work to ensure all kids get the education they need to thrive and succeed in our communities—but there is more work to be done.

I had so many opportunities for an excellent education when I was growing up, but I also had to fight for several of those opportunities. So every day, I get up and do my best to ensure that all kids in Colorado have the very best opportunity to find their path in life and be prepared for success.

Why did you enroll in EdPolicy Leaders Online?
Colorado is taking important steps to improve data privacy in our education system. I wanted to take a step back out of the politics to ensure I had a strong understanding of the policy foundation and gain more exposure to the progress being made across the country.

Sometimes you just need a guided course to accomplish that. The self-paced option was essential. I was hopeful that the course would help deepen my knowledge, but I needed it to fit into a complicated schedule as well.

What was your biggest take away from Data Privacy? Get Schooled.?
As the conversation around data privacy grows, we have a unique opportunity as advocates to balance the benefits of data with the necessary privacy protections at the policy level. Data privacy is a personal issue, but it’s also technical and involves all different stakeholders of the education system. This course helped me better understand how we find balance between the benefits of the broad perspective that data can give us while protecting the privacy of individual students.

Did the course help to address specific challenges you face in your current role? How do you think it can help others involved in education reform?
I was looking for—and found—a better understanding of the role we can all play to protect student data. This course helped me to understand the issue of data privacy, ranging from the student perspective to the use by classroom teachers, as well as the need for larger policy protections. One of the most helpful parts of the course was having the materials curated to my interests and screened for quality.

To begin your own learning experience, sign up for EdPolicy Leaders Online today.

Want to more about what real-life policymakers and education leaders think of EdPolicy Leaders Online? Check out these posts:

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