A Conversation with Karen Garza & Mike Duncan





Episode Description

In the 20th and final episode of the EdSpark Podcast with Dr. Karen Garza, a new leader of Battelle for Kids (BFK) is introduced. Dr. Garza has announced her retirement after nearly seven years at the helm of the national not-for-profit that has served millions of students throughout the nation since 2001. In this rich conversation, Dr. Garza introduces new BFK President and CEO Mike Duncan, Ed.D. From discussing his background to what his hopes, dreams, and aspirations are for the future of the organization, the two dynamic leaders look to the future of continuing to meet the moment in education and to transform systems nationwide. 

Episode Highlights:

1:08: Learn more about Mike's background and experiences

5:15: What sparked Mike's work in his school district with the Portrait of a Graduate?

14:00: The influence of Battelle for Kids and the EdLeader21 Network on Mike's work.

19:07: What excites Mike about the opportunity to lead BFK into the future?

23:02: The Movement 

29:12: Hopes, dreams, and aspirations 

34:00: Mike recognizes Karen

Mike Duncan has a proven track record of leadership in the education sector. He was one of the longest serving superintendents in the state of Georgia, having led Pike County Schools for 18 years. Before arriving in Pike, he was a high school principal, high school and middle school assistant principal, and a middle school teacher. He earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Georgia in 2004. He has been a member of EdLeader21, the national network of Battelle for Kids, for more than a decade and previously served as the network’s advisory vice chair. He joined Battelle for Kids in August of this year and as of October 1st serves as the organization’s President and CEO.  

Karen Garza joined Battelle for Kids in 2017 as President and CEO, only the second leader since the organization formed in 2001. She led the transformation of Battelle for Kids, including the emphasis on realizing the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student, the increasing adoption of Portraits of a Graduate by school systems across the country, and the additions of the EdLeader21 Network and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) into the Battelle for Kids family. 

She began her career as a kindergarten teacher before embarking on an administrative and advocacy path that included government relations director, curriculum director, deputy superintendent, chief academic officer, and superintendent at Lubbock Independent School District in Texas and Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. 

On behalf of all of us at Battelle for Kids, we thank her for her years of service not only to our organization but to thousands of students and educators across the nation. We wish her the best in her retirement and are looking forward to her continued involvement with BFK on various projects.  

The EdSpark Podcast with Dr. Karen Garza is a production of Battelle for Kids.