StriveTogether recognizes cradle-to-career leaders at annual convening

Dr. Thomas Lasley, Dr. Silvy Un Lafayette and Baltimore’s Promise honored at the event

CINCINNATI, Sept. 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- At a convening of more than 600 leaders from across the country, StriveTogether honors a cradle-to-career champion, a school district leader and an organization for leading equitable outcomes in their communities.

StriveTogether recognizes Dr. Thomas Lasley II of Learn to Earn Dayton with the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award and Dr. Silvy Un Lafayette of St. Louis Park Public Schools with the inaugural Cheryl Broadnax Award for Innovation and Results. Baltimore’s Promise receives the Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award.

Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award

As an educational trailblazer, Dr. Thomas J. Lasley II fights to reduce achievement gaps in Ohio and nationally. After serving as dean of education at the University of Dayton, he founded Learn to Earn Dayton to increase the number of adults in Montgomery County, Ohio, with a college degree/credential to 60%.

Dr. Lasley is a recognized authority in the educational field. He has helped shape policy and legislation surrounding the science of reading, attainment outcomes, FAFSA completion, student debt mitigation and more. His commitment to data means his work gets results, impacting the lives of thousands of students and families in tangible ways. His vision and collaborative leadership helped Learn to Earn Dayton develop data-driven best practices in achieving cradle-to-career outcomes, earning StriveTogether’s Systems Transformation designation.

Named in memory of a tireless advocate for youth from Eastside Pathways in Bellevue, Washington, the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award is presented each year to a network member who embodies the passion, commitment and persistence Henningsgaard modeled. 

Cheryl Broadnax Award for Innovation and Results

Dr. Silvy Un Lafayette is a fierce champion of students, especially those in the margins. As director of assessment, research and evaluation at St. Louis Park Public Schools in Minnesota, she drives change, challenging traditional assessment. Dr. Un Lafayette leads teams of teachers to develop holistic, cross-discipline methods of recognizing progress and learning. 

Her strong vision led to the creation and funding of teams of Youth Data Analyst interns who help analyze district data and develop policy recommendations. The district has adopted students’ recommendations each year, which have expanded access to the Gifted and Talented program, spurred the hiring of more teachers of color, expanded culturally relevant and anti-racist practices and more. Her work centers things that bring learners joy, furthers the district’s racial equity transformation and includes youth at the heart of systems change.

To honor the memory and impact of StriveTogether team member Cheryl Broadnax, this award is presented to a school district leader pursuing better, more equitable outcomes in the K-12 system. Like Cheryl, the winner embodies courage, innovation and curiosity. 

Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award

StriveTogether presents the Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award to Baltimore’s Promise. The Cradle to Career Network member takes risks, grounds strategies and accountability in data, and lifts up community voice and leadership. 

Baltimore’s Promise uses fresh approaches to awarding grants, developing data resources, and building partnerships to better support kids and families. Through initiatives like B’more Invested and Youth Grantmakers, community members guide how resources are allocated. The organization’s focus on data ensures that strategies are based in evidence. Their innovative work reimagines how we create opportunities for and with young people.

This award is named after Nancy Zimpher, the founding board chair of StriveTogether, who is known for challenging the status quo, taking risks to improve the lives of children and families, and advocating for the inclusion of diverse perspectives.


About StriveTogether

StriveTogether is a national network of nearly 70 communities across 29 states and Washington, D.C. working to build a future where a child’s potential is not dictated by race, ethnicity, zip code or circumstance. The organization provides coaching, resources and rigorous approaches to create opportunities and eliminate inequities in education, housing and more. Together, the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network reaches 14 million youth — including 8 million children of color and one in five children experiencing poverty. For more information about StriveTogether, visit 


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