Joining me this week is Stephanie Dua. Stephanie is the co-founder and president of HOMER, the only learning program proven to increase reading scores with just 15 minutes a day.
Before starting HOMER, she was the CEO of the New York City Department of Education’s fund for public schools and has worked in various non-profit roles with the Carnegie Corporation, the Robin Hood Foundation, and as a senior adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She’s also a wife and mom to three daughters. The reason I paint this arc is that so much of the conversation we have, and the impetus for starting HOMER draws on Stephanie’s experiences throughout her career, as well as through her upbringing.
Some of the topics we touch on include what makes a successful public servant, the chronic underinvestment in early education, how COVID has turned that achievement gap into a gulf, and how it’s not about finding a balance between work and life, but about integrating them.
Finally, an interesting topic for me – the 80/20 of parenting: what you don’t have to worry about and what you should really be focusing on as the guide or narrator for your children, as Stephanie so eloquently puts it.
- Stephanie’s history growing up, education, and her first job experience. (00:02:54-00:06:18)
- How Stephanie’s childhood experiences influenced her. (00:06:19-00:07:35)
- Stephanie’s approach and motivation. (00:07:38-00:09:34)
- How she sustained her focus and the challenges she faced along the way. (00:09:35-00:10:54)
- When and what sparked her interest in education? (00:10:58-00:13:32)
- What makes a successful public servant? (00:13:33-00:16:32)
- Who did she consider as stakeholders in making the decisions she had to make? (00:16:37-00:19:08)
- What was the most difficult thing to learn and do on a day in day out basis? (00:19:09-00:22:59)
- Stephanie on finding her own company and running a company. (00:23:00-00:24:05)
- Biggest lesson she learned. (00:24:06-00:26:13)
- Stephanie’s approach to her customers at HOMER. (00:26:14-00:29:29)
- How she developed her idea. (00:29:30-00:33:50)
- Phonemic awareness. (00:33:51-00:34:53)
- Things to look out for in what kids are doing and what to do to support them in their growth. (00:34:54-00:38:43)
- Stephanie’s approach to the success of her business. (00:38:43-00:41:35)
- Aspects we don’t need to worry about as parents. (00:41:49-00:43:43)
- Work-life balance. (00:43:55-00:48:08)
- Stephanie’s view on traditional learning for her own kids. (00:48:25-00:51:05)
- Thoughts on what good learning looks like. (00:51:13-00:55:57)
Selected Links from the Episode
- Carnegie Corporation
- Robin Hood Foundation
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Harvard Kennedy School
- Harvard University
- Robert Caro’s The Power Broker
- Mike Bloomberg
- Joel Klein
- Phonemic Awareness
- The Scaffold Effect by Harold Koplewicz
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