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Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz

Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz 
Specialty areas: 
Poverty Awareness, Learning Centers


Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz“For communities to solve some of the toughest issues, we must create space at the table for people who are experiencing those issues. I want to empower educators to understand that parents in poverty aren’t anti-education they are just pro-survival. I want to help solve poverty by engaging educators, community members, and families into deeper conversations that result in truly lifting students out of poverty.

I understand the needs of our poorest kids and parents after transitioning from the culture of trailer parks myself only a few years ago. I will always engage directly with school districts to assist in finding resolutions to student poverty.”

Rebecca’s Story

At age 37, Rebecca was living with her three little boys in a trailer house that should have been condemned. Everyday was beyond a struggle. Rebecca’s life taught her two things. Hard work. Survival.

She grew up poor, dropped out of high school on her sixteenth birthday and was doing a fantastic job of repeating the cycle of generational poverty. Then by accident she bumped up against a non-profit that helped people get out of pOVERty. They wrapped support around Rebecca, fed her powerful doses of hope and taught her a better way. Later, Rebecca ended up running that non-profit and building it into the largest and most successful Circles site in the country.

Educators became interested in Rebecca’s work. ESSDACK found her and she’s been working with districts and communities ever since. She’s convinced that the Trauma-Informed movement, together with community collaboration and restorative justice principles, puts us all in a winnable game. We can resolve pOVERty and make sure that it’s no longer our students or their families destination. She is passionate about helping all people find the tools necessary to turn kids from at-risk to at-promise.



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