Join us for Listening Session II: How Can Schools Mitigate Their Climate Impact? Public schools are one of the largest energy consumers in the public sector, use nearly 480,000 diesel school buses, and serve over 7 billion meals annually. Transitioning to more sustainable operations provides both environmental benefits and learning opportunities for students. This listening session will focus on how education systems can reduce their environmental impact. Panelists will share their experiences advancing and implementing sustainable strategies in their schools.

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Otis Hackney, a life-long Philadelphian, former math teacher and principal, is proud to serve as the Chief Education Officer for the City of Philadelphia. In this role, Otis launched two major education initiatives for Mayor Jim Kenney including a city-funded quality pre-K program, and the creation of Community Schools in partnership with the School District of Philadelphia. Otis also led the administration’s effort to return the School District to local control through a mayoral-appointed Board of Education. During Mayor Kenney’s second term, Otis is spearheading the Octavius Catto Scholarship, a new initiative to strengthen the partnership between the City and Community College of Philadelphia which makes postsecondary education free for first time, full time students. In addition, Otis has co-led Philadelphia’s push for internet access, PHLconnectED. for all students in need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Otis follows the guiding principle that all students deserve high expectations with high support as well as great schools close to where they live.

Dr. William R. Hite serves as Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia, the largest public school system in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Since joining the School District in June 2012, Dr. Hite has worked to create a system of great schools in every neighborhood. Under his leadership, the District has opened new innovative high schools, expanded successful school models, launched in-district turnarounds and redesigned schools in partnership with communities. His overall focus remains on strengthening all elementary and secondary school offerings. His overall focus remains on strengthening elementary and secondary school offerings to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college or career.

Mahider Tadesse is an 18-year-old first generation Ethiopian-American from Utah. She was introduced to the environmental world in her 10th grade Environmental Science class. Since then, she’s spent time outside the classroom exploring how to make the world more sustainable on a school, district, state, and national level. After starting her school’s environmental club, she joined a student-run campaign seeking to commit Salt Lake City School District to 100% Clean Energy. Since that resolution passed in June, she has been active in the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club and narrowed her focus on environmental equity, specifically climate education for low-income/communities of color most impacted by climate change. She plans to study sustainable development in college, and hopes to reach her home country and elsewhere abroad through environmentally-conscious innovation.

Andie Madsen recently graduated from West High School in Salt Lake City and has been an environmental activist since 2016. She worked on passing the first resolution recognizing climate change in Utah and has been an organizer with Utah Youth Environmental Solutions for over two years. Andie represented Utah at the Wilderness Week Conference in Washington, D.C. to lobby for the America’s Red Rock Wilderness and worked on passing the 100% Clean Energy Resolution for SLC School District. Most recently, Andie worked on Ben McAdams’ reelection campaign and began school at Columbia University.

Gilbert Rosas is the Energy Education Specialist at Stockton Unified School District (SUSD), where he has worked for 8 1/2 years. SUSD's Energy Conservation Program has saved $15.1MM in the first 7 years of the program. His passion is about empowering the student Energy Patrol to educate staff and their community about: conservation, solar energy, and the uses of batter storage. Stockton is leveraging Grant and rebate monies to reduce their Carbon footprint and add Electric Buses to their Transportation Fleet. Building #StocktonStrong.