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The Roots of AGC

Sarah Elizabeth’s life mission is to reframe the purpose of education.  Since earning a Masters of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge in England, she has traveled to over 90 different countries across 6 continents, extensively immersing herself in educational philosophies and world languages, as well as creating international alliances that have informed the design and culture of the Academy for Global Citizenship.

Our Founder

When she was 23 years old, she rode her bicycle to the Chicago Board of Education with a request: to reimagine what is possible in public education today. Three years later, in 2008, the Academy for Global Citizenship opened in a former dental tool factory on the city’s underserved Southwest side where Sarah Elizabeth serves as its Founder and Executive Chairman.

In addition to studying the application of successful educational frameworks in various cultural contexts across the globe, her earlier initiatives included the development and implementation of globally cooperative literacy programs for orphan children in northern Tanzania.  Sarah Elizabeth has further completed studies in Nonprofit Management at Harvard Business School.

During her five-year term as Vice President of Education on the governing board of the United Nations Association, Sarah Elizabeth fostered broader implementation of The Growing Connection, an organic gardening initiative established to cross-culturally connect children and educators across continents through technology. She is an active Founding Member of Conservation International’s Generation Conservation, a Founding Advisory Board Member of Adrian Grenier’s Lonely Whale Foundation and has served on the Chicago Chapter of the United States Green Building Council Green Schools Advocacy Committee and Chicago Public Schools’ Environmental Action Plan Taskforce. Sarah Elizabeth's additional leadership and civic contributions have also included executive board memberships with Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sarah Elizabeth was selected as a United States Delegate to Terra Madre in 2010, where she met with representatives from over 60 nations to discuss the sustainability of our local and global food systems.  In 2011, she was named one of Monocle’s Top 20 International Pioneers in Education, and visited the White House to receive a national award from the Obama administration.  In 2012 and 2013, Sarah Elizabeth was appointed as one of 100 Delegates from 20 countries across the globe who assembled for the G8 Young Global Leaders Summit, preparing recommendations for a communiqué for President Obama and the U.S. Department of State.  In 2013, Sarah Elizabeth was recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s “top five game changers in education”, was the recipient of the GOOD 100 list of “people pushing the world forward through doing”, was named a Bluhm Helfand Social Innovation Fellow and was selected by the Council on Global Affairs as an Emerging Leader Fellow.  In 2014, Sarah Elizabeth was recognized as one of the top 100 US entrepreneurs and was honored at the United Nations.

Sarah Elizabeth recently completed a yearlong Entrepreneur in Residence Fellowship with Emerson Collective where she contributed to AGC’s co-authorship of a book titled “Reimagine Education: Designing a School to Change the world”, and is continuing this work to build the necessary technical platform to disseminate data-validated innovations that when implemented broadly will impact global student achievement.

“The Academy for Global Citizenship is a learning laboratory that was founded to foster broader systemic change. Our larger vision is focused on extracting and scaling modules of innovation to change the way districts across our nation envision teaching and learning in the 21st century.”

– SARAH ELIZABETH IPPEL