FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2022
Contact for Education Pioneers:
VP, External Relations
Fifteen New Leaders Selected to Support Education Sector’s COVID-19 Recovery
National nonprofit provides senior-level capacity for districts and schools serving nearly six million students
Boston, MA – Education Pioneers (EP), a national nonprofit that builds the leadership and management capacity of the K-12 public education sector, announced today a new cohort of fifteen COVID Recovery Fellows who will support the education sector’s long-term recovery from COVID-19. Fellows will provide chief of staff-type support to senior education administrative leaders at school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies prioritizing learning recovery and K-12 rebuilding, and serving nearly 6 million students nationwide.
The program builds on the EP COVID Response Fellowship, a program launched in 2020 to respond to acute needs as school systems sought to re-open classrooms safely. EP provided 24 chief of staff-level leaders to 23 school systems that reached more than 7 million students.
As the 2022-2023 school year begins, school systems have shifted from immediate crisis response to long-term recovery. Though additional financial resources are now present to accelerate student learning, deploying them most effectively requires rapid learning and thoughtful decision making -- especially as school systems seek to evolve and center equity.
“Even amidst tremendous fatigue, the K-12 sector cannot lose sight of the need for transformation in education in the wake of COVID-19,” said Melissa Wu, CEO of Education Pioneers. “Navigating the complexities and challenges of this moment will require strategic general management talent, something that cannot be taken for granted, especially now. Education Pioneers is proud of our nearly 20-year track record of rising to meet these critical moments and providing high leverage but often overlooked leadership capacity that K-12 needs.”
EP’s partner school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies identified critical COVID recovery initiatives, from overseeing federal funding to implementing student learning initiatives. COVID Recovery Fellows will work on 12-month assignments alongside senior leaders -- bringing more experience than Fellows in EP’s signature programs, with most Fellows having over 10 years of experience and significant leadership within the education sector. Most importantly, Fellows all bring an orientation towards equity and inclusion, and an ability to strategically organize priorities to ensure leadership teams are able to tackle the most urgent and essential issues with their limited time.
“I chose to become an Education Pioneers COVID Recovery Fellow because I saw firsthand the impact the pandemic had on communities of color in New York City,” said Aria Montcrieff, Fellow placed at DC Prep Charter School. “This Fellowship has given me the opportunity to be a genuine part of systemic educational recovery, ensuring equity and inclusion for all students.”
“As an EP Alumna, I was excited about the chance to bring on a COVID Recovery Fellow to accelerate our efforts at TEA to support innovative and capacity building work in Texas districts,” said Megha Kansra, Associate Commissioner of District Planning & Supports at Texas Education Agency. “With her prior background in district leadership roles and strategic viewpoint, [our Fellow] Amanda Baca has been a fantastic addition to our team and has been great at managing through change. Within just a couple of months, Amanda has become an integral member of our team and a key collaborator and lead on some of TEA’s top strategic priorities. I am excited about the long-term impact of the work she will complete this year.”
The 15 senior leaders selected for the COVID Recovery Fellowship are:
- Amanda Baca, placed at Texas Education Agency
- Tayla Bloom, placed at DC Department of Employment Services
- Joi Chester, placed at Bard Early College High School
- Tal Havivi, placed at KIPP DC
- Christopher Hill, placed at Gt3 Partners
- Lauren Hurlbutt, placed at Aspire Public Schools
- Scotty Jean-Baptiste, placed at Boston Public Schools
- Bridget Johnson, placed at Forte Prep
- Grace Kwon, placed at San Jose Unified School District
- James Mitaritonna, placed at DC Public Schools
- Aria Montcrieff, placed at DC Prep
- Washington Navarrete, placed at ICEF Public Schools
- Hannah Prussin, placed at Coney Island Prep
- Kristen Sueing, placed at DC Public Schools
- Crystal Washington, placed at Ascend
In addition to their work placements, COVID Recovery Fellows will participate in a national cohort, receiving coaching, community support, and a base for problem-solving and knowledge-sharing opportunities among a group of peers doing similar work. They also join a nationwide network of more than 4,500 Education Pioneers Fellows and Alumni nationwide.
Partners interested in hosting Fellows during EP’s next Fellowship program -- the 2022-2023 Impact Fellowship, with placements beginning this fall -- can learn more at www.educationpioneers.org/partner.
About Education Pioneers
Education Pioneers is a nonprofit focused on ensuring the K-12 education sector has the leadership and general management capacity it needs. The organization creates pathways into education leadership for promising leaders and general managers from diverse backgrounds, and builds their long-term capacity to solve education’s evolving set of challenges. Since 2003, Education Pioneers has recruited and developed over 4,500 leaders, with 50% self-identifying as leaders of color.
Of Education Pioneers’ Alumni in the workforce, more than 70% serve in education and lead or contribute to work that impacts public school students in major cities across the nation, most of whom are students of color and growing up in underserved areas. Learn more: www.educationpioneers.org/our-impact.