Helping Kids Like Himself 'Combines Passion And Purpose,' Says Big Thought's New CEO | KERA News

Helping Kids Like Himself 'Combines Passion And Purpose,' Says Big Thought's New CEO

Jan 12, 2018

One of the most influential education nonprofits in North Texas has a new leader. Byron Sanders, who's 34 and grew up in southern Dallas, got the CEO job this week at Big Thought, a nonprofit focused on merging education and the arts to create a creative path for kids.

Interview Highlights

On early life in southern Dallas: "Growing up, there were some things at home that weren't always ideal. I grew up in a home where I witnessed abuse. My outlet was in out-of-school-time activities, was in being able to go to theater and live that life, to be in track and field and Odyssey of the Mind — all these different experiences that my mother chose to give me."

How he got to the prestigious Greenhill private school: "I met a mentor in middle school who told me about this place called Greenhill. So I went up and I visited and I'm taking a tour. There's this nice kid who's leading me down this sidewalk. Then a peacock walks by. I'm like, 'What kind of magical land [is this] where they have peacocks meandering about?'"

How getting kicked out of SMU after a fraternity hazing disaster changed his life: "You don't always do the right thing. You don't always make the right choices or the right decisions in life. People fall. People make mistakes. But for me, because there was someone to listen to my story, and hear the full depth and the nuance ... they didn't write me off.... That's absolutely where our kids are. They have a lot more left to give. We just have to give them that opportunity."