What Forbes "30 Under 30" Means to Me

Last week, two Whetstone leaders were named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education list for 2016. As Whetstone’s CEO, I received the honor for creating partnerships with national teacher effectiveness leaders like Uncommon Schools and YES Prep in 2015; Whetstone’s co-founder, Eric Lavin, was honored for his current work connecting education entrepreneurs with Aspen Institute resources at Aspen Ventures. I won’t deny it, being named to a Forbes list is a pretty great way to start a Monday.

More importantly, though, we believe this honor is validation of the importance of the teacher development work our partners are pushing us to do. Whetstone was founded five years ago by school leaders who needed an easier way to store teacher evaluation data. We’ve evolved into one of the leading dynamic teacher effectiveness platforms because our partner schools continually push us to iterate our platform to help make teacher coaching and development an integral part of the school day.

2016_30under30_logo_horizontalOur 150 partners are the school leaders on the cutting edge of teacher development. They are setting the trend toward high-frequency, high-leverage teacher coaching, and they’re so far ahead that, at the moment, there isn’t even an agreed-upon name for this type of platform. Teacher Effectiveness Platform (TEP)? Teacher Coaching Platform (TCP)? Teacher Development Platform (TDP)? Whichever acronym comes to the fore, it will soon be as ubiquitous as SIS, LMS, or CRM because of what these school leaders are proving is possible with respect to using regular coaching to improve school outcomes.

At Whetstone, we believe everybody needs a coach. I have a coach. Eric has a coach. My coach has a coach. I would not be on this list without my past coaches and mentors pushing me to get a little bit better every day, and Whetstone would not be where it is today without our schools pushing us to do the same. We are honored, humbled, and grateful for this recognition, and excited that we get to keep doing this work every day.