Chris Stewart

Blogger

CEO, brightbeam

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of brightbeam. He was named CEO in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. In the past, Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, the executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), and an elected member of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education where he was radicalized by witnessing the many systemic inequities that hold our children back.

In 2007 Chris was elected to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education. In that role, he helped establish the Office of New Schools, an area of the Minneapolis Public Schools to implement school reform strategies. At the same time he created the Equity and Achievement Committee, authored a board-level “Covenant with the African American Community,” and advocated safe, orderly, and rigorous schools that prepare students for the real world.

In 2011, Chris organized community members for two campaigns in Minnesota: Action For Equity, a grassroots effort to spur innovation in family and education policy at the state level, and the Contract for Student Achievement, a coalition of community organizations working to achieve greater flexibility for underperforming schools through changes to Minneapolis’ teachers’ contract. Since 2009 Chris has been president and principal with Yielding Assets, LLC, a grassroots consultancy helping government, nonprofit, and foundation clients create self-sustaining, social good projects.

Chris serves as chair of the board of SFER’s Action Network and also serves on the board of Ed Navigators.

Chris blogs and tweets under the name Citizen Stewart. He is based in the Minneapolis area.

In August 2017, Chris came together with more than 40 other African-American parents, students and teachers to talk about the Black experience in America’s public schools. These conversations were released as a video series in Getting Real About Education: A Conversation With Black Parents, Teachers and Students.

RECENT POSTS

Posted July 20, 2020

What If Your Entire School System Was the Racist Monument That Should Come Down?

The angry protestors are coming for public statues of historic Americans as diverse as Confederate traitors like Robert E. Lee and slave-owning…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted July 13, 2020

White Progressives Have a Lot of Work to Do, and I’m Not Here to Help

When I ran for school board it was the former Minneapolis mayor who was the first elected official to endorse…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Mar. 18, 2020

Communities Need Bold and Decisive Leaders Right Now

Tough times reveal all you need to know about the soul of good people. This is coming into focus for…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Mar. 13, 2020

Just Because I’m a Full-Time Education Activist Doesn’t Mean I Know What to Do Now

When news reports of the coronavirus became too alarming to ignore a few of my brothers and sisters in Christ…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Mar. 13, 2020

A Letter From Brightbeam in Response to Coronavirus

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists, Our brightbeam team cares about your safety and ours.  Like you, we are closely watching…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Feb. 25, 2020

Presidential Candidates Do Not Think All Families Are Created Equal

I’m starting to notice a trend among the presidential candidates. I don’t think they’re vying to be a president who…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Feb. 11, 2020

Real Reformers Keep Pushing for Better Outcomes Even When There Are No Easy Answers

A few nights ago the CEO for Baltimore Public Schools joined my colleagues on the 8 Black Hands podcast to…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Jan. 28, 2020

We Shined a Light on What Many Refuse to See: World-Class Cities With Third-World Educational Results

You mad, bro? That seems like the most appropriate question to ask after my team released “The Secret Shame of…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Jan. 19, 2020

Dr. King Would Have Shined a Light on the Shame of ‘Progressive’ Cities. So Should We.

On the day that the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was taken in 1968, he had become increasingly…

By Chris Stewart

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Posted Jan. 7, 2020

This Is Where I Convince You to Become a Mentor for a Young Person in Your Community

Toward the end of last year, my colleagues were writing wrap-ups to the decade and providing strong analysis of what…

By Chris Stewart

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Featured Posts

Posted Aug. 7, 2020

James Baldwin’s ‘Talk to Teachers’ Is Just as Relevant Today

As I sit here, processing my thoughts on the severity of events that are currently grappling our nation, I reflect on the historical circumstances that…

By Jorge Santos

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Posted Aug. 10, 2020
African Girl reading text book

If You Want Justice, Teach Kids How to Read

In 1990, I was a brand-new teacher in an unusual environment: a Chicago alternative high school where teens and young adults could earn their diplomas…

By Maureen Kelleher

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Posted Aug. 6, 2020

White Teachers, Our Whiteness Is Getting in Our Way

Since the murder of George Floyd, teacher leaders across America have sought to prove the necessity of antiracism in public education. And rightly so: from…

By Tate Aldrich

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