Andrew Thode grew up in Southern California and enjoyed playing sports and hanging around the beach. He attended Marquette University and fostered his passion for politics and government while earning his bachelor’s in political science.
He started his professional career by working to elect US Senators from around the country, including Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). He then moved to Chicago and managed winning campaigns that elected members of the City Council of Chicago, Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate.
In 2017, Andrew began his journey in education advocacy when he joined STAND for Children and successfully campaigned for the Illinois’s landmark education funding reform law. He found a passion promoting high-quality educational opportunities for children and subsequently joined the government affairs team at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. He is excited to work with 50CAN to enact positive change on a large scale for the futures of all children across the country.
Who wouldn’t want to be a champion? I aspire to bring those qualities to my life. Michael Jordan taught me that you must have an incredible work ethic every day, a fighting spirit that drives you to never give up and you must create a culture centered on excellence.
Why I love my job:
I love my job because I get to work on a common goal with a wide range of individuals with many different backgrounds. I also like winning.
My connection to public schools:
I strongly believe that America has the ability to create better opportunities and economic empowerment for its people. I think it is vital that we invest in our education system to create lasting change in people’s lives. I also think that this country has done a historically bad job providing a quality education for the most vulnerable segments of our population and we can do better. I was lucky and my parents had a choice about my schooling. That experience has taught me the value of school choice and I want to ensure everyone has educational options that work for them. I have seen so many communities be forced to accept sub-par educational opportunities and I want to change that. The work we are all doing is having an immediate positive impact on kids’ lives right now.
What I’m bad at:
Nothing, I rock, and that’s why I work at 50CAN.
The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:
This is a picture of wild sea otters in California. They were hunted almost to extinction, but now there are thriving populations again. Otter communities didn’t reappear over night, but people focused their energy to make meaningful policy changes and they ended up making the world a better place. I think we can make the world a better place by focusing on improving education policy in this country.