First Person: Alumni

First Person: Alumni

Our alumni are aligned around a common vision: working to create the kinds of environments that enable good teachers to do great work and students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. From the value of dynamic, diverse perspectives to lasting connections made with their peers across the country, read our alumni's reflections on their experiences.

The Broad Academy

The Broad Residency in Urban Education


The Broad Academy

My experience at The Broad Academy was life-changing. The program challenged me from an intellectual and a philosophical standpoint, and I benefited a tremendous amount from the perspectives of my peers and from my mentor and coach. I still speak with members of my cohort, who share my strong conviction to give back.

 - Robert Avossa, superintendent, The School District of Palm Beach County, Fla., The Broad Academy Class of 2011


The Academy has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my entire professional career. What makes it different is that it is full of a lot of ‘we’s. This work can’t be about just ‘I’ or ‘me.’ It’s about working with others, reaching out to others and how, together, we can transform communities and the lives of underprivileged youth.

- Patrick Dobard, superintendent, Recovery School District, La., The Broad Academy Class of 2014


The Broad Academy is a place where you will stretch and grow in ways that you never thought you could. It could be as a leader of some of the most important school districts in the country – but in every case, it will be working with what really matters in this country, which is our youth and the next generation of Americans.

- John Deasy, former superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District, The Broad Academy Class of 2006


First and foremost, [The Broad Academy is] intellectually challenging. You learn about management, strategy and leadership from people who have done that work not just in education but outside education, and having that mix is absolutely invaluable. My experience at The Broad Academy has given me a full sense – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually –  of what it means to sit in the superintendent’s chair.

- John White, superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education, The Broad Academy Class of 2010


It was great learning, a great cohort of colleagues, great speakers, great practical application. Having been a superintendent, it still felt like there was so much more to learn. I felt challenged… but I also feel that I have been inspired to do even better work.             

– Mike Miles, former superintendent, Dallas Independent School District, The Broad Academy Class of 2011


The Broad Residency in Urban Education

The two biggest benefits have been the professional learning that you are given over a two-year period and the national network of like-minded people that you have access to during and after the Residency. When you reflect and combine those two elements, you realize that you're part of a movement of people that want to change the trajectories of urban youth all over the country.

- Victor De La Paz, chief financial officer, New Haven Public Schools, The Broad Residency 2008-2010


Being a Resident allowed me to work with some of the most innovative, invigorating and exciting individuals in the country. I entered a caring family of change agents who are committed to providing the best possible outcomes for students. And this family only grows with each class that joins the program. In the Residency, I learned a great deal about the reform landscape but, more important, I learned a great deal about myself - how I want to grow as a professional and how I can have the greatest impact on as many students as possible.

 - Mark Kleger-Heine, executive director - Los Angeles, Citizens of the World Charter School, The Broad Residency 2008-2010


Sharing and learning from a network of like-minded people facing the same challenges has been invaluable.

 -  Robert Tagorda, director of equity, access & college and career-readiness, Long Beach Unified School District, Calif., The Broad Residency 2006-2008


Residents have a community of peers who are committed to supporting one another as they tackle similar challenges. It's a tremendously helpful network.

- Hannah Dietsch, assistant superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education, The Broad Residency 2008-2010


When I was working in consulting, I had no passion for doing things like helping a company optimize its call centers. It wasn’t the same ‘value-add’ as when I was a classroom teacher in Harlem. The Broad Residency was exactly the place for me to get what I was looking for, which was world-class training, an amazing network and the opportunity to serve young people in a really powerful way.

– Jeremy Chiappetta, executive director, Rhode Island Mayoral Academies Blackstone Valley, The Broad Residency 2004-2006


The Broad Residency is an unprecedented opportunity to change fields and go into public education with a lot of support and professional resources. I’ve utilized these resources, from executive coaching and learning and sharing best practices with my network across the country.

– Panya Lei Yarber, director - small learning communities, Atlanta Public Schools, The Broad Residency 2006-2008


After a lot of soul searching, I realized that I wanted to pursue my family business of education (my parents were both teachers) and bring the skills I had to bear. The Broad Residency helped me do that.                                                     

 – Neil Campbell, policy director for personalized and blended learning, Foundation for Excellence in Education, The Broad Residency 2009-11


The Broad Residency offered me the opportunity to get back into education, work with an amazing group of dedicated professionals that bring such passion, commitment and intellect. It makes us all want to work harder, work smarter, deliver more results. At the end of the day, we all have the goal of improving public education for kids across the country, especially in urban settings.

- Chris Pencikowski, head of school, Lee Montessori Public Charter School, Washington, D.C., The Broad Residency 2010-2012