Keynote Speakers

We are proud to announce the following Keynote Speakers for the 10th Anniversary of the Carnegie Summit on Improvement in Education.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District

Jorge A. Aguilar became the twenty-eighth Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District on July 1, 2017. He leads the thirteenth largest school district in California with 40,711* students, more than 4,700 employees and a budget of more than $640 million. Aguilar was selected Superintendent by the Board of Education because of his proven track record using data to improve student outcomes. (*2020-2021 Certified CalPADs Enrollment data) Superintendent Aguilar has more than twenty years of K-12 and higher education experience with a strong focus and background on issues of equity and student achievement. The results of his commitment and dedication to equity have already resulted in improved outcomes in Sacramento City Unified. Prior to serving as Superintendent, Mr. Aguilar was the Associate Superintendent for Equity and Access at Fresno Unified School District. In his career, Superintendent Aguilar has also served as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Educational and Community Partnerships and Special Assistant to the Chancellor at the University of California, Merced; as a Spanish teacher at South Gate High School; and a legislative fellow in the State Capitol.

Shirley Collado

President & CEO, College Track

Shirley M. Collado, Ph.D., began her tenure as President and CEO of College Track, a comprehensive college completion program, in January 2022. Prior to this role, she served as the ninth president of Ithaca College, and was named president emerita at the conclusion of her tenure. She is the first Dominican-American to serve as president of a four-year institution of higher education in the United States. Dr. Collado is nationally regarded for designing and implementing innovative approaches in higher education that expand student access and success. She has served as executive vice chancellor and chief operating officer at Rutgers University-Newark; dean of the college and vice president for student affairs at Middlebury; and as executive vice president of The Posse Foundation, where she scaled its operations nationally. Dr. Collado is a founding member of Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, and a member of the boards of ACT, Excelencia in Education, and Vanderbilt University. This summer, Dr. Collado collaborated with President Knowles and Senior Fellow Fred Swaniker to establish the Silicon Valley Program, an entrepreneurship intensive for postsecondary students from across Africa and California.

Denise Forte

President & CEO, Education Trust

Denise Forte (pronounced “fort”) is the President and CEO at The Education Trust. As one of the country’s leading voices on education equity, Denise is a fierce advocate for employing evidence-based strategies to create high achieving learning environments that turn barriers and gaps into bridges and pipelines for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. Denise joined Ed Trust in 2019 as senior vice president for Partnerships and Engagement, guiding the organization’s expansion by developing robust working relationships with legislators, education advocates, traditional and emerging civil rights groups, parents, students, and the business community. Her lifetime of public service includes 20 years in senior congressional staff roles on Capitol Hill, and a stint in the executive branch, serving in the Obama administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the Department of Education. 

Prior to Ed Trust, Denise was a senior fellow and director of public affairs for The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank. She also has served as the Vice President for Policy Leadership at Leadership for Educational Equity, a nonprofit organization supporting current and former teachers in public leadership. Denise has a B.S. in Computer Science from Duke University, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from the George Washington University. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.

Tim Knowles

President & CEO, Carnegie Foundation

Timothy Knowles is the 10th president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served as founder and managing partner of the Academy Group, an enterprise designed to reduce economic disparities and prepare extraordinary young people from under-resourced communities for wealth-building, purposeful careers.

Previously, Knowles founded and served as director and chairman of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute.  Subsequently, he established and led the University of Chicago Urban Labs, which work globally to design, test, and scale policies and programs that are effective, humane, and cost-efficient. While at the University of Chicago Knowles also served as the John Dewey Clinical Professor of Education.

Prior to his work in Chicago, Knowles was the deputy superintendent of the Boston Public Schools and co-directed the Boston Annenberg Challenge, a nationally regarded initiative to improve literacy. He also directed a full-service K–8 school in New York City, was founding director of Teach for America in New York, and a teacher of African history in Botswana.

Knowles has started multiple social sector and commercial organizations, holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago and writes and speaks widely on entrepreneurship, education, and the pursuit of justice.

Anthony Romero

Executive Director & CEO, ACLU

Anthony D. Romero has been the Executive Director/CEO of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation’s premier defender of civil liberties, since 2001. He is the ACLU’s sixth executive director and the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity.  Romero took the helm of the organization just seven days before the September 11th attacks, and has presided over the most prodigious growth in the ACLU’s history, dramatically increasing its membership, national and affiliate staff, and budget. Earlier in his career, Anthony served as Director of Human Rights and International Cooperation at the Ford Foundation; and as a staff member of the Rockefeller Foundation. He has served on numerous nonprofit and foundation boards; and is a member of the New York State Bar. Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and The Princeton School of Public Policy and International Affairs. In 2005, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in America; and in 2020, he was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented annually to a graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service.


April 23–25, 2023


Hilton San Diego Bayfront

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