Back To School

Looking to make improvements to the public school system, Laura Pinnock started a grassroots organization to take her homegrown ideas from the dining room table to the school system.

Laura Pinnock

City / State

What was your big dream?
As a mother with four children in public schools, I had the desire to see education become much better. That eventually led me, along with a group of terrific parents, to organize the group Utah Small Districts Coalition (for which I am currently the Chair). We are a grass-roots committee committed to improving education by returning local control of schools back to parents and communities they serve. I believe that every child should have access to the best education possible. My dream is to see Utah schools become exceptional.

How did you accomplish it?
After thinking for years that something needed to be done, we finally gathered four mothers around a kitchen table and made plans to change education at it’s source — at the school district level. Once we began in earnest, and I could see the uphill road that lay ahead, I decided never to stop no matter how difficult it became. Each day I would make one more phone call and follow one more lead that kept moving this forward. Determination, sincerity and hard work are the keys to making dreams come true.

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
I saw what education could be. I saw what was being done nationally. I saw what private schools and charter schools were delivering with the same amount of money public schools were spending. I saw that real reform was needed at the very top because despite how wonderful the parents, teachers and principals were, they never had the power or money to effect real change.

What motivated you to keep going?
My conscience. I was driven from the beginning by an inner voice that said something needed to be done and that it was my responsibility to help do it. And as time went on, it helped tremendously that we gathered amazing parents, Utah State Legislators, city mayors and city council members to the cause. Together we’ve passed two new laws (enabling cities to form new school districts) and are now using these laws to form districts. We believe that once we have smaller, locally responsive school districts, we will have the ability to make real differences in schools, classrooms and children’s lives.

What’s your next Big Dream?
To implement the educational reform ideas that are making a difference in the education of children. I want to see Utah’s children have the best opportunity possible for a bright future.

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
The boss of everything.

What about when you were 15?
An Interior Designer.

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?

What book is on your night stand?
“Down the Rabbit Hole” by Peter Abrahams

What’s your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey’s Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes)
Neglecting everyone and everything by reading from dawn to dusk.

What song moves you?
“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban

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