Remembering Ned Kirsch - Digital Promise

Remembering Ned Kirsch

Ned Kirsch

April 12, 2019 | By

We are devastated to share the news that our dear friend Ned Kirsch, superintendent of Franklin West Supervisory Union, has passed away suddenly. Since 2015, Ned has contributed to the League of Innovative Schools in powerful and tremendous ways—by asking tough questions, by doing hard work, and by creating joy in places that needed it. He was a remarkable collaborator, partner, and friend. We will miss him terribly.

Ned Kirsch in classroom

Ned was a prolific supporter of Digital Promise, an original contributor to the superintendent advisory group that helped start Digital Promise Global, and a foundational member of the rural learning cohort and Challenge Collaborative Steering Committee. He consistently championed ways to make the world accessible to the students in his rural Vermont community by defining the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as part of their district’s North Star. He went to the White House many times to support innovative teaching and learning practices, including working on building a national agenda around maker education.

He led Twitter chats. He contributed to our Competency-based Education Toolkit. And, he could always be counted on as a great karaoke partner at our League events.

Ned Kirsch

Ned was a husband and dad of two whose passing came as a shock to his family and community.

Ned Kirsch's Twitter Post

Please leave your favorite memories of Ned in the comments, and we will round up your comments for a larger tribute at a future date.

Ned Kirsch

We will greatly miss Ned’s leadership in the League of Innovative Schools.

Get to know a leader - featuring Ned Kirsch questions and answers.

With appreciation,

The League Team

“We want our learning for students to be authentic. We don’t just want it to be edutourism. We actually want to make a difference in the world. We base a lot of our work…on environmental issues. And how our students and students in other parts of the world are dealing with the exact same issues—air quality, water pollution, air pollution—and how we’re all the same but different, and how we can learn from each other.” -Ned Kirsch


  • Lucy Gray says:

    So sorry to hear about this. Steve Hargadon and I first met Ned when he came to one of our Global Education Day events at ISTE. He shared information about his district’s global experiences and the next year, we invited him to be a keynote for our virtual conference. He also was a panelist at our Global Leadership Summit at ASCD in 2018. Ned was always down to earth, enthusiastic, and willing to share and learn from others. Steve and I send our condolences to his family and colleagues.

    Here are some links that might be helpful:

  • Michele Dawson says:

    Our Digital Promise and League of Innovative Schools family is devastated by the loss of this charismatic and inspirational leader, father and friend. Darin Brawley and I met Ned at the Baltimore convening of DPLIS and became fast friends. We were standing on a corner at night with another colleague and he introduced himself as a member of DPLIS then in Ned fashion proceeded to asked if he could join us (strangers) in our Uber and for dinner. We had such a delightful dinner and Ned was really the first person to give Compton such a personal welcome to the League. We continued our friendship over the next couple of years always joking about doing a rural-urban superintendent swap reality show as well as learning about his passion for skiing and making homemade maple syrup- which he has promised for 2 years to bring us some! In Seattle this past convening, we had many laughs about the SNL skit about his beloved Vermont and had a fantastic fun bus ride full of stories of family and adventures as we went to and from school visits. We know the world has lost a visionary leader and a great man. Ned told us he had made us a special batch of maple syrup last when we were together last month but that he left it at the office. As Darin and I said our good byes in Seattle, Ned asked for our address and promised to send this illustrious maple syrup. He truly will be missed by all not only for his contributions to innovations but his sense of humor and compassion.

  • Mary Wegner says:

    Brilliant, personable, student-centered, engaged, fun-loving, grounded, articulate, open-minded, passionate advocate, and visionary are a few descriptors that come to mind when I think about Ned Kirsch. I am grateful that I got to know Ned through the League, as he has served and will continue to serve as role model and inspiration.

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