Allison Akhnoukh | Design Manager
As a design manager, Allison encourages educators and leaders to think big crazy ideas about the Future of Learning while at the same time helping them structure plans for how those ideas can be brought into reality. As 2Rev’s former chief of staff, she also continues to help the organization grow and innovate its own operational systems.
Before joining 2Rev, Allison was the founding CEO of Caliber Schools, a Bay Area-based next generation charter management organization. Previously, she worked for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Foundation, where she supported the growth and sustainability of KIPP regions across the country. Prior to this work, Allison served as Director of School Portfolio Management for Oakland Unified School District and Director of Development for Epiphany Middle School in Dorchester, MA. Allison received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she performed initial research for the book Disrupting Class by Clay Christensen and Michael Horn. She is also a graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
How have your beliefs about systemic change evolved over time?
I used to believe that the “system” could best be changed through rapidly scaling efforts that demonstrated early evidence of success. My perspective has evolved, however, to one that humbly watches for continually new innovations and to figure out how to efficiently support the people who create them. The ideas will come and go, but what can never be replicated is the passion, energy, and excitement of those who created those innovations — not least of all being the students themselves. It is this engagement that will take our system of education into the future.
Why do you care so much about planning?
“Plans” can be viewed as old fashion. Yes. They are static documents. The minute you create them they are outdated and wrong. The process of planning — of rigorously ensuring you are building a school to match the needs of your target demographic, of building a financial model to ensure you can afford the prototypes you want to test, of making sure you are building a team with the right competencies that you need — these elements of a planning process will never go out of style if you want your endeavor to last beyond the design phase. That's why I love planning.