SK 2Day Institute-2908On Thursday, August 13, 2015, Epic School Partnerships (ESP) officially launched the ESP Network. In partnership with the Salem-Keizer Public Schools, ESP facilitated a two-day institute with seven high school leadership teams.


“Loved the collaborative teamwork and the presenters pushing us to think about the ‘big picture’ and vision.” – Salem-Keizer Institute Participant

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During the sessions, the leadership teams worked together to clarify their vision for their schools and to determine how to best implement their plans while at the same time juggling competing priorities for their time and resources. Their work together will continue throughout the year as they share both their progress and challenges with each other as well as over 50 other high school leadership teams participating in the Network this year.

“I love the approach of asking hard questions. The method of weeding out the fluff to get at our true focus was powerful.” – Salem-Keizer Institute Participant

Leading the Network

Matt Coleman launched ESP with a vision to support high school leadership teams by developing local networks of schools that support each other in strategic direction, thinking, and action. In his 21 years as a public educator (as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent), Matt experienced firsthand that while leaders long for strategic approaches, they must instead react to the crisis of the moment, month, or year.

Carmen Gelman has recently joined Epic School Partnerships to facilitate and provide support to our partners. She brings extensive experience in school leadership, most recently as the principal of Deer Park Academy in Beaverton, Oregon, and as assistant principal and principal at Springfield High School in Springfield, Oregon.

As the leaders of ESP, both Matt and Carmen bring with them practical examples of how schools can successfully support students to learn, develop, and pursue their passions during high school and beyond.


In early 2014, EPIC’s founder Dr. David Conley and the board of directors began identifying ways EPIC could support educators in operationalizing the Four Keys to College and Career Readiness after Dr. Conley transitioned from the organization. To lead EPIC into work that directly supports educators, the board enlisted Dr. Matt Coleman as the new executive director and the concept of Epic School Partnerships was born.


Epic School Partnerships is a community of educators designed to support strategic thinking and action, the dissemination and scaling-up of best practices, and innovation at the classroom and program level.