Gateway's 15th Annual Matters of the Mind Luncheon featuring James Ryan

sharon olken and james ryan

On Tuesday, October 10th, nearly 350 guests and supporters of Gateway Public Schools gathered for the 15th Annual Matters of the Mind Luncheon with honored guest, James Ryan, current dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and president-elect of the University of Virginia.

Ryan inspired guests with his passion for and commitment to expanding educational opportunities to close the student achievement gap. During a moderated conversation with Gateway’s Executive Director, Sharon Olken, he spoke about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. He also spoke about his latest book, Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions and how to lead with grace. 

The theme of this year’s Luncheon video was Empowering Change and Gateway’s Executive Director, Sharon Olken, remind guests that education is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to changing the life trajectories of young people. “Now more than ever, we need each and every one of our young people growing up believing that they matter, growing up with the skills and confidence to contribute, growing up with a commitment to make a difference and to bridge divides.”

Luncheon guests also heard from a few of Gateway’s students who shared their personal and inspiring stories about how Gateway helped them form a sense of belonging, provided them with life-changing opportunities, and enabled them to feel powerful and to take ownership of their learning.

Now in its 15th year, the luncheon is Gateway's biggest fundraiser of the year. The monies raised directly impact Gateway's capacity to deliver an exceptional public school education. 

Gateway Public Schools provides its diverse student population with a high quality learning environment, rigorous curriculum, personalized college counseling, a state of the art learning center, and small class sizes. Since Gateway's founding 19 years ago, more than 96% of Gateway's students have gone on to college, double the statewide rate.

At Gateway, we believe that all students can learn at high levels and that students learn best when they are surrounded by people who are different from them. Our mission is to send well-prepared students to college, and everything we do successfully supports this mission.

For more information on how to donate to Gateway Public Schools or how to fulfill your luncheon pledge, contact Gateway’s Development Office at [email protected] or (415) 749-3600 x 4453