What we do,
Why we do it,
Who we are, and
Where we've been

About bravEd,

bravEd Is the brainchild of John Tanner, the founder of the benefits-based accountability effort in education. bravEd was founded in 2009 with a mission, a message, and a set of methodologies. Since then the message has sharpened and clarified and the methodologies have been greatly simplified and strengthened, but the mission remains the same.

That mission is simple. Our aim is to fix what is arguably one of the biggest albatrosses ever placed around anyone's neck: our compliance-based test-driven accountabilities in schools. Accountability is supposed to be one of the most powerful forces in organizations for empowering those in them to do what's right, for shaping those organizations for the future, and for promoting a culture of excellence. That is not what we currently have in education. Not even close.

What makes accountability in its current form such an albatross is that it affects everything it touches negatively, something public education can hardly afford. Every single concern about public education, whether real or imagined, is made worse by a system that cannot account for what truly matters in schools, and could be made better by one that could.

We have proof. Where educators have adopted benefits-based approaches to their accountings and communications they've made progress on eroding the negativity and replacing it with trust. If you can imagine public education as one of the most trusted institutions in America, you'll see the future we imagine every day. But we'll only get there if we fix accountability.

And we must. It is not hyperbole to suggest that a movement is afoot to end public education as we know it. There are those who have intentionally placed public education on a trajectory towards irrelevance and obsolescence, and recently have taken steps to speed up the process. The harm that would come from that would be irreparable to the fabric of our country, but for some reason that doesn’t bother some people.

But upon reflection, some of that negative trajectory is self-inflicted. It is the case that as a community of educators we never created an accountability based on the professional expertise of what it takes to educate a child, combined with how accountability is supposed to work. That has made education vulnerable to the whims of policymakers, well-intentioned or otherwise, who lack the knowledge of either.

Regardless of whether this trajectory is based upon fact or fiction, the perception of its existence is destined to drive some set of significant actions sooner rather than later. What those actions will be can't be known, but one thing is all but certain: if we sit by and just let it happen, once again those who know best how to educate a child will be unlikely to have a seat at that table.

The bottom line is that if educators don't create a form of accountability that is good for students, schools, parents, and communities, history suggests that no one will. But if we can create it, and if we can show that it works, then whatever is going to come next could be a transformation in a positive direction. At bravEd, we’ve spent 15 years researching and building towards the point where educators can take the lead on this critical piece of our profession.

Wherever you are in thinking about accountability bravEd has a place for you. If this is the first time you imagined something different was possible, then join our bravEd Center and get involved in the dialogue. If you're ready to hear about the foundational pieces of an actual system, come participate in our Induction Series. If you're a school or district leader ready to do the work of building a better system that can work even without a policy change, join one of our two-year Cohorts and we'll take you through that journey. If you've completed a Cohort, we want you back in the Center as art of a Community of Practice with the added resources necessary to nurture and sustain your efforts, and drive towards a better set of policies. 

The most important thing you can do is take whatever step is next for you.

Welcome to bravEd

Our Team

John Tanner

John Tanner is bravEd's founder. He is the author of The Pitfalls of Reform and The Accountability Mindset, both of which help serve as the foundation for this work. His public speaking and writing efforts help drive the Benefits-Based Accountability movement. 

Dr. Joey Hailpern

Joey is our Associate tasked with content development and a variety of client relationship functions. A former principal and current school board member, he has a clear sense of how the bravEd work applies to a variety of roles.

Dr. Joseph Scherer
Chief Ambassador

Joe is our Senior Ambassador who leads our Membership recruitment efforts. He has managed a gubernatorial campaign, worked with elected officials, taught at every level from middle school through graduate school, been appointed to positions at AASA, the PTA, the Office of Education, and the Department of Health. That richness is what makes him the perfect lead to champion this work.

Jesse Leib
Chief Recruiter

Jesse is bravEd's chief recruiter with a vast set of experiences in educational markets. His expertise is in promoting thought leadership and bringing challenging concepts to a wide array of audiences.

Our Ambassadors

bravEd relies on a group of dedicated professionals who help champion our mission. These are individuals with a variety of responsibilities who believe that a better way of accounting for what we do in schools is a worthwhile goal. At bravEd, we are extremely grateful for their advocacy on our behalf. This group continues to grow as our reach expands. Let us know if you'd like to join the effort.

Tracy Fisher, Coppell, TX

Tracy is a remarkable advocate for public education. She has long supported transformative efforts in her community as a parent as a school board member, including a term as president. She has long promoted benefits-based accountability and curiosity-driven learning, collaborating with stakeholders statewide to improve policies for all children. Recognized as the inaugural "Texas School Board Advocate of the Year" in 2021, Tracy remains committed to supporting public education across the state and beyond.

Dr. Rich Fry, Director of District Engagement & Success at New Story Schools, President of NCTLS, Newvillle, PA

Dr. Fry is a retired superintendent and like most retired superintendents, he has a hard time staying retired. He keeps his fingers in multiple roles and organizations including bravEd. He recently co-founded the National Center for Transformational Leadership Strategies, where he serves as an Associate Partner as well as its President.

Dr. Greg Goins
Director of the Educational Leadership Program, Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY

Dr. Greg Goins is a veteran school administrator, teacher, author, speaker, and podcaster with more than 25 years of experience leading transformative change within education. Dr. Goins pent 15 years as a school district superintendent in Illinois. He is also an Educational Consultant (G2 Ed Solutions) and the host of the nationally acclaimed Reimagine Schools Podcast.

Dr. Jim Lloyd
Superintendent, Olmsted Falls City Schools, Olmsted Falls, OH

Dr. Lloyd just completed his 10th year as the superintendent for the Olmsted Falls City School District. He believes that by engaging all stakeholders through the collaborative process public education can elevate the lives, dreams and aspirations of the community. He's living proof of what a Benefits-Based approach to accountability can do for a school.

Randy Nelson,
President, Driftless Leadership,
La Crosse, WI

Randy Nelson is a retired educator of 38 years. He served students as a high school speech, theater, and English teacher. He served colleagues as a director of curriculum and instruction, and most recently in La Crosse, WI school district as its superintendent of schools. Through his company, Driftless Leadership, Randy keynotes and provides recruiting, mentoring and coaching services for leaders and organizations.

Highlights of where we've been the last few years