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.

VIDEO: One of the Greatest Threats to Our Black Students Is the Teachers Who Don’t Believe in Them

by Chris Stewart

Slowly education activists of every stripe are warming to this reality: There is no way to improve education without putting key stakeholders—students, parents and educators—at...

VIDEO: Everybody Talks About Student Voice, But David Johns Walks the Talk

by Chris Stewart

When history assesses the Obama presidency one thing will eventually be unmistakable: He filled his administration with exceptional, but understated people. No one fits that...

Who’s Responsible for the Education of Your Child?

by Chris Stewart

“Who is responsible for the education of your child?” That’s the question I asked the Black Education Strategy Roundtable (BESR) in Seattle this past weekend....

A Black School That Does Well, Imagine That

by Chris Stewart

At the risk of setting off another festival of disbelief amongst the debunkers of schools that work for black people, here’s a little story about...

Dear Lord, Stop These Liberals From Awfulizing My Kids

by Chris Stewart

More than two decades teaching in hardscrabble Oakland public schools have taught Anthony Cody to view urban kids with pity. That’s my assessment after reading...

The Big White Lie in Education Suddenly Crashes on a Saturday

by Chris Stewart

There are schools in the U.S. where poor children of color succeed academically. That shouldn’t be controversial, but it is, especially for many educators who...

I Don’t Believe in Miracles. I Believe in Kids.

by Chris Stewart

As we come to the end of the painfully short Black History Month, I’m reminded how important it is for us to acknowledge the gains...

The Belief Gap: Stop Blaming The “P’s”

by Chris Stewart

The news is stunning and has me reeling. Not a single 7th grader at Lucy Laney Community School in Minneapolis was proficient in math last...


I believe all children can learn and achieve.
I believe we owe it to them to provide supportive learning opportunities and the chance to go to college.