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Sam Franklin

Carnegie Mellon University
Executive Resident of the Heinz School

Sam Franklin is Executive Resident at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a professor, innovator and entrepreneur whose conclusions from a decade of leadership in public education will push your thinking about the future of school reform.


Sam has a track record of taking big ideas from start to finish. He designed and opened the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, a public high school that is breaking the link between poverty and student success. He helped envision and launch Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers program, which has provided thousands of Pittsburgh youth the experience of a premier summer camp for free.


Most recently, he spent five and a half years leading an $80 million effort to improve teacher effectiveness in every Pittsburgh public school. During this time he helped lead hundreds of teachers, school leaders, experts, and staff in the development of a teacher growth and evaluation system now in place in over 50 schools. Under his leadership the District moved from a system that had little information about teachers’ most basic demographics to one that is using data to intervene when teachers are struggling, provide feedback to help teachers improve, promote, leverage, and retain top performers, and recognize teachers’ contributions to student progress.


During his tenure at Pittsburgh Public Schools Sam served on the leadership team of two Superintendents. His experience has helped shape a unique perspective on what will and will not work in our effort to improve public education, and his leadership and commitment to social justice has been recognized by colleagues and peers, and with several awards including Carnegie Mellon University’s Recent Alumni Award in 2012 and Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2014.


Prior to coming to Pittsburgh Sam taught middle school math and science at Elmhurst Middle School in Oakland, CA. He has a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management degree from Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.  He is also a certified Level 1-5 forklift driver and dabbles in poetry and rapping with songs like “Cheeses in Love Again”, “Let the Belly Go Jelly” and “$200 a Daub”.


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