Wise Words: Crossroads Academy Co-Founder Dean Johnson Explores Education in the Innovation Economy

By January 18, 2016Events
Education in the Innovation Economy with Dean Johnson

Opening a new school model in downtown Kansas City is as entrepreneurial as it gets.

Entrepreneurs exist in every vertical. The innovators, dreamers and doers, along with Main Street small business help to create the engine of entrepreneurship that Ewing Kauffman preserves with his Foundation and legacy right here in Kansas City. This formula of thinking – resilience, innovation and leadership – creates a path for improvement, expansion and production that can be evidenced anywhere. But we often fail to include some of the most innovative leaders and up-starts as entrepreneurs when what they start is not a traditional tech company or for-profit business. What if the startup was a disruptive new school model? And this new startup found a niche market serving downtown Kansas City – and with its out-of-the-gate success, is now expanding with a second school, with a third already on the horizon. If Crossroads Academy were a tech startup seeking a round of investment funding to support their keystone customer growth and market demand – investors would be lined up to do so. And Kansas City would be touting this startup darling as a byproduct of their healthy and thriving startup culture and entrepreneurial ecosystem. And they wouldn’t we wrong. They’re just not doing it, because they don’t recognize the innovation taking shape here inside education. And the value this kind of transformation and offering affords our community, industry, economy, and future workforce and civic leaders.  

Dean Johnson Co-Founder of Crossroads AcademyWe are itching to think big on education during Think Big Thursdays with our next installment of Wise Words. We are geeked up to welcome Dean Johnson, Executive Director of Crossroads Academy, to explore and discuss the transformers of public education, how to disrupt to create better results for our kids, and to build the future leaders of the innovation economy.  

Crossroads Academy is a shining example of what education can be in KC, and it earned its spot at #1 among all Missouri charter schools. The unique school uses municipal and community assets to create real-world classrooms, and has nearly doubled in size since opening in downtown Kansas City in 2012 – growing from 190 students to 349 students in grades K-8. As parents learn of the school’s outstanding teachers and innovative academic programs, the school has experienced increasingly long enrollment wait-lists. Crossroads recently announced their plans to open a new school, also located in downtown Kansas City, starting with 186 students in grades K-3, growing to 422 students in grades K-8.

Come explore education in the innovation economy with us Thursday, January 21st at 8:30am at Collisions & Coffee – Wise Words.  

Save your seat! Click here to RSVP.


Join us every 3rd Thursday for Collisions & Coffee with Wise Words – the 2016 lineup is stellar.  Here’s a peek at what’s next:

  • Feb 18 – Crosby Kemper, Exec. Director, Kansas City Public Library
  • Mar 24 – Ward Nixon, Exec. Director Chase Commercial, Member KC Rising Steering Cmte.
  • Apr 21 – Chris Costello, Co-founder & CEO, Blooom
  • May 19 – Butch Rigby, Owner, Screenland Theaters

Come early and come often because the Think Big Thursdays experience is always unique and the crowd is always friendly. Coffee is pouring, and COWORKING IS FREE when you join us on Think Big Thursdays.