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I am honored to be joining this action-focused group of educators, learners, and partners as the inaugural Director of NExT. I bring a long-standing commitment to whole-person development for all learners, and a strong belief in the central role of experiential learning (ExL) in achieving this goal. I am particularly invested in ExL as an approach to the deeper learning, student agency, and broader competencies that my work developing the NGLC MyWays Student Success Framework, and my decades in K-12 next gen learning, have convinced me are vital to preparing our learners for a world of change. ExL is so powerful that if only applied to communities of privilege, it will simply widen the opportunity gap. So I will be drawing on years of collaboration with community schools to ensure that NExT is inclusive of high-need learners, and works with community and workforce organizations to address real-world challenges supportive of learners’ cultural and community needs.