Judges

Judging of applications and the selection of a winner, or winners of THE BIG IDEA CHALLENGE: AN EDUCATION INNOVATION CONTEST™, will be made by an esteemed assortment of judges. Phases one and two of the BIG IDEA CHALLENGE will be judged by enrollees in the Inspiring Children Foundation as well as an esteemed group of Nevada leaders that are passionate about education.

If your idea impresses through phases one and two, you’ll be invited to present in-person as part of the final phase of the BIG IDEA CHALLENGE. Judges for the final phase include:

Andre Agassi headshot | The Big Idea Challenge

Andre Agassi

After turning pro at the age of 16, tennis prodigy Andre Agassi rose to international fame, earning 60 men’s singles titles, including eight Grand Slam singles championships, over a 20-year career. A former World No. 1 player, Agassi is the only male player ever to win all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal. He was also a member of three winning Davis Cup teams (1990, 1992 and 1995). On July 9, 2011, Andre was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame for the Class of 2011.

While his tennis career took him all over the world, Agassi always stayed connected to his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1994, at the age of 24, he created the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. Early activities included building a shelter in Las Vegas for abused and neglected children, creating the Andre Agassi Boys and Girls Club, and developing Team Agassi, a tennis program that nurtures professional players and puts college within reach.

For over 25 years, the Foundation has honed its mission to focus on transforming public education. In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition free K -12 public charter school, in historical West Las Vegas with approximately 1,200 students. Recognized as a model charter school, Agassi Prep graduated its first senior class in June 2009 with a 100 percent college acceptance rate.

After successfully graduating 9 senior classes, Agassi Prep made the decision to turn over operations to Democracy Prep, a high achieving charter management organization with 17 high performing charter schools in the nation. Agassi Prep is now referred to as Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus.

Since the inception of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, $185 million dollars has been raised to benefit the mission of the Foundation, including $118 million from the Grand Slam for Children fundraising event. The Grand Slam for Children served as the Foundation’s primary fundraising vehicle and brought together international stars to raise awareness and money.

After retiring in 2006, Andre Agassi increased his focus on his foundation and on promoting education reform. He is also building a lifestyle business through endorsement relationships, joint venture investments and real estate development. In November 2009, he released his autobiography Open, which reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and continues to hit record sales internationally.

In June 2011, as part of an effort to expand his impact on education, Andre partnered with Turner Impact Capital on an innovative new real estate fund – the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund – to promote the success and growth of best-in-class charter schools in urban communities across the United States. As of 2022, the fund has opened 120 schools, serving over 100,000 students in some of the most economically challenged neighborhoods in America.

Most recently, Andre launched Square Panda, an award-winning educational technology learning system utilizing phonics with multi-sensory play. Designed for kids two and older, the playset blends physical and digital learning as it keeps kids entertained through age-appropriate learning games grounded in research-based curriculum. Early readers play their way to reading fluency as they engage with physical smart letters that connect them to a library of learning games. Square Panda’s mission is to give children the tools to become fluent, confident readers, and empower them to love reading.

He is married to tennis superstar, philanthropist and businesswoman Stefanie Graf. The family resides in
Las Vegas.

Jewel priamry head shot | The Big Idea Challenge

JEWEL : Singer-songwriter & Mental Health Advocate

Jewel is a singer-songwriter, actress, and 2x New York Times best-selling author. As a lived experience mental health expert, she is passionate about democratizing wellness.

Through her career, Jewel has earned 26 Music Award nominations, including Grammys, American Music Awards, MTV Awards, VH1 Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Country Music Awards, winning 8 times.

Jewel discovered a variety of mental health tools as a child living in adverse circumstances, helping her to go from homelessness to happiness. She has built her career by sharing her wisdom through music, poetry, books, and a wellness curriculum that inspires physical, emotional and mental health. Over thirty years, Jewel worked with top psychologists, experts and practitioners to create her “Whole Human System,” which has 10 Pillars of Healing and Growth, 30 tools and over 100 activations to inspire physical, emotional and mental health. Jewel’s Whole Human System has been used to create curriculums and products for non-profits, school districts, corporations and consumers.

For two decades, Jewel’s system and Inspiring Children Foundation (ICF) have been helping to revolutionize education with a cutting-edge model that completely transforms the lives of at-risk youth. By empowering children struggling with financial hardship, anxiety, depression and mental health challenges, the program provides youth with the ultimate environment to survive, then thrive at the highest levels. The Foundation’s best-in-class student-led mental health programming is informed by mindfulness, meditation, entrepreneurship, mentoring, project driven learning, athletics (tennis) and a special peer-led Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), trauma treatment, and group counseling.

Jewel founded Jewel Inc. – a holding company for all her passions and work in music, TV, film and entrepreneurial endeavors. Jewel has co-created human development, education and mental health programs in hopes of helping more people to become whole humans by partnering with existing delivery systems. The curriculum has been repurposed to scale Jewel’s Whole Human System into music and wellness festivals, online summits, K-6 curriculums for schools, consulting and programming for corporations, and free mindfulness and mental health websites to help high-performing students, executives, parents, athletes and artists. To this end, Jewel is partnering with some of the world’s most innovative companies like Kroger, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, Zappos, CarSaver, WeWork and Saks Fifth Avenue to help deliver happiness into people’s everyday lives, both at work and at home.

Jewel’s Whole Human System and philosophy is designed to help people gain tone and strength in all areas of their lives and most importantly as friends, associates and contributors to society. She has authentically become one the most notable spokespersons and advocates for the modern-day wellness, mental health and mindfulness movement. Jewel has used her platform to advocate for mental health and to encourage organizations to “invest in human capital” at some of the most prestigious conferences in the world, including SALT Hedge Fund conference, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, Wisdom 2.0 and The Wellness Experience.  

Jewel’s new album and book are coming out next year. Both are inspired by her own mental health journey and passion for human development.

MikeRowe Judges Image 1 | The Big Idea Challenge

Mike Rowe

From the Baltimore Opera to QVC shopping channel, executive producer, host, and best-selling author Mike Rowe has had hundreds of jobs and relished his role as a chronic freelancer. He’s best known as the “dirtiest man on TV,” a title he earned on the iconic TV series Dirty Jobs. Today, you can join Mike for a romp through history on the discovery+ series Six Degrees as he uncovers the surprising connections between two disparate things and shows how everything in our crazy world is connected. 

You can also listen to him on The Way I Heard It, where he tells short stories you don’t know about people you do know and shares intimate conversations with fascinating folks from his own life and career; read his New York Times best-selling book The Way I Heard It, a mix of biography and auto-biography based on his popular podcast; or watch him on the show Somebody’s Gotta Do It on TBN or Pure Flix. In what can only be described as an envelope mix-up, Mike won an Emmy for his work on Facebook’s groundbreaking series Returning the Favor. As the country’s leading advocate for skilled labor and the CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that debunks myths and misperceptions about the trades and helps close the skills gap, his foundation has granted millions of dollars in work ethic scholarships. 

In his spare time, Mike keeps a lively conversation with more than 8 million friends on social media, where he talks about everything from the musings of his persnickety terrier named Freddy to the merits and pitfalls of blind patriotism.

Let’s keep this simple, shall we?

To enter THE BIG IDEA CHALLENGE: An Education Innovation Contest™, it boils down to this: We want to know all about you, your idea, what inspired it and how you can take it to the next level.

Application

The first step is your chance to pitch us your big idea. This entails completing the official application form, answering a handful of key, preliminary questions, preparing a quick video and submitting it by the contest’s deadline.

Timeline

Speaking of the deadline, here is one important date to keep in mind for the BIG IDEA CHALLENGE:

2024 Timeline TBD!

Legal

The official rules and regulations of the BIG IDEA CHALLENGE are very simple and straight forward.