Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx educator / administrator who believes that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn, and earn in a better one. Moving generations of students into spheres of personal and academic successes which they had never imagined — while reclaiming and rebuilding the Bronx — Stephen’s extended student and community family have grown more than 40,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance.
Stephen helped earn his school the first ever Citywide Award of Excellence from the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health and directly attributes these results to growing vegetables in school. The National Association of Secondary School Principals cited Stephen’s work and Green Bronx Machine as one of five national exemplars of service learning.
Stephen’s Bronx classroom featured the first indoor edible classroom in NYC Department Of Education, which routinely generated enough produce to provide healthy meals to 450 students while training the youngest nationally certified workforce in America. His students have embarked on growing projects from Boston to Rockefeller Center to the Hamptons and beyond — all while earning living wages en route to graduation. They have gone on to install over 100 gardens in NYC and countless across America and around the globe.
Gerry Brooks is principal at an elementary school in Lexington Kentucky his educational experience includes six years in the classroom two years as an intervention specialist and 12 years as an administrator.
He is a passionate public speaker whose focus is on encouraging and helping teachers improve their instructional abilities. He also has a desire to help to administrators successfully lead their staff.
His following on social media has developed through humorous videos that focus on real-world educational experiences. He is currently followed on these social media sites by over 500,000 people.