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AccreditationChangemakers in Education

A special AI in education announcement

By October 31, 2023No Comments

Recently at NESA’s Fall Leadership Conference, I presented on “AI and the Future of Accreditation” to school leaders, trustees, and members of the US State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools.

Members of the audience expressed worries that:

  • Schools will lose their “human interface.”
  • Student critical thinking will decline, because they will accept AI output with too little skepticism.
  • AI is inherently biased, which creates a cascade of follow-on problems.

The audience also held out hope that:

  • AI will be a great equalizer by providing universal access to the world’s most powerful information tool.
  • AI can offer low-cost, high quality learning experiences to students in remote regions.

Overcoming these fears and fulfilling these hopes is not a theoretical challenge: AI’s speed is already exponential, while the speed of school evolution has historically been glacial.

Fortunately, Middle States is committed to helping you not just to survive but to thrive at the dawn of this AI age.

Register for our interactive webinar on November 9 with Amanda.


Previously we shared “Why AI and What Is Middle States Doing About It?” Today I’m happy to announce that Middle States has assembled an advisory team of subject matter experts in AI and education. This team gathered for the first time two weeks ago and will continue to meet regularly.

Middle States’s advisory team on AI in education includes:

Amber Berry, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Middle States. Amber leads MSA’s most important innovation projects. Most recently she was the Head of the Middle School at St. Luke’s School (CT).

Amanda Bickerstaff, Founder & CEO, AI for Education. Amanda is a former teacher and long-time education technology leader. Under her leadership, AI for Education provides free, high quality resources to enable schools to use AI for powerful learning experiences.

Justin Cerenzia, Executive Director, Buckley Center for Teaching & Learning, Episcopal Academy (PA). Justin is the author of “The Academic DJ,” a blog on generative AI in learning, and he provides regular professional learning experiences to teachers on genAI. Episcopal is an MSA member school.

Michelle Haag, Associate Vice President, Middle States. Michelle is a former school leader who spent most of her career in the Middle East and Europe, and now helps schools [around the world] to earn and retain accreditation.

Peggy Pelonis, President, ACS Athens (Athens, Greece). Under Peggy’s leadership, ACS Athens has been working on AI in learning since 2018. As a trained psychologist, she brings additional expertise on the impact of AI on student wellbeing and agency. ACS Athens is a Middle States member, and Peggy is an MSA Commissioner.

Tom Vander Ark, CEO, Getting Smart. Tom has been involved in educational technology for thirty years, beginning with his time as the President of the Gates Foundation’s Education practice. Under his leadership, Getting Smart has focused on AI in learning for many years.

Alisha Wilson, Special Assistant to the President, Middle States. Alisha is an MA candidate in Media & Culture at Drexel University, where she has focused some of her scholarship on AI in education, especially regarding questions of equity, belonging, and mental health.

Stay tuned for updates from the advisory team’s work. In the meantime, you too can help lead at this pivotal moment:

Register for our interactive webinar on November 9 with Amanda.


You can also sign up to chat about bringing“AI 101,” a highly hands-on professional learning experience to your school. 

The “Middle States Association” used to refer to a narrow place on the eastern seaboard of the United States. In this accelerating age of AI, our name now reflects our intention to guide you through the “middle states” of change at your school.



Christian Talbot

Middle States Association
Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools

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