An equitable and excellent
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Innovator Spotlight: Dr. Paris Gasque

Paris Gasque, Ph.D., is CEO at Heru Foundation, Incorporated. She is a 2022 Design Fellow.

What is the project that brought you to CityBridge?

Heru Foundation is committed to strengthening schools’ multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) by providing professional development to school personnel that will enable students who have traditionally been underserved to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Why is that project important to you?

Schools are struggling to meet the needs of all students, especially students with disabilities. These students are the most vulnerable and are often marginalized and disenfranchised. The Heru Team aims to prepare ALL students—regardless of their race, disability, family income, or circumstance—for success outside of the classroom. By providing responsive and authentic professional development, our team can equip school personnel with skills and resources to increase overall student achievement.

What prompted you to apply to CityBridge’s fellowship? What were you hoping to gain from participating?

The CityBridge philosophy to create equitable and transformative educational design opportunities that aim to improve life outcomes for all students and families aligns with Heru Foundation’s vision: Success for all, by Any Means Necessary.

What was the most impactful aspect of Fellowship? What was your biggest takeaway?

Coaching sessions, brainstorming with other Fellows, and networking were the most impactful aspects of CityBridge’s Design Fellowship. The CityBridge approach enabled us to streamline our “big idea” into manageable components that led to an evidence-based design without losing the essence of our desired intention. 

What are your next steps for you and/or your project?

In our re-imagined future, students with disabilities have experiences in schools that foster a sense of community, compassion, and creativity, with leaders and teachers prepared to provide these experiences. Through our multitude of offerings, Heru Foundation will continue providing relevant professional development locally and nationally to ensure all students are successful by any means necessary.

What piece of professional advice would you give CityBridge alumni and education entrepreneurs? 

Trust the process, maintain an open heart and an open mind, and always remember your “why.”

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