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Growth and Opportunity: Education Team Updates

Exciting additions and transitions within Barr’s Education Program Team.

School transformation takes vision and persistence. Vision and persistence take leadership. For us at Barr, that means having an Education team with a deep understanding of the work of schools and systems, the commitment to center students in all of our work, and the ability to build strong and trusting relationships with our partners. Just as bold leadership is a critical factor for school change, highly knowledgeable and skilled program leadership is essential to effective school partnerships for Barr.

I am pleased to announce two new colleagues joining Barr’s Education team, who bring extensive school and system experience, as well as exciting new opportunities for our current Education team leaders.

Expanding Team Expertise

Our Education strategy includes three strategic levers: Catalyze New Models, which focuses on transforming the high school experience to put success within reach of all students across New England; Invest in Educators, which seeks to increase teacher and leader capacity to support and sustain that kind of transformation; and Build Public Will, which seeks to engage and support advocates for transformational change. We are excited to bring on board two Senior Program Officers to advance and accelerate our work on two of those strategies.

Dr. John Travis will be joining us as the new Senior Program Officer for the Invest in Educators portfolio. Most recently, John has been a school principal in Boston Public Schools, leading his community through a number of school improvement initiatives and, for the past two years, the challenges presented by the pandemic. He will also bring his experience as a high school and middle school math teacher and former Director of Human Capital for Boston Public Schools to lead grantmaking strategies in support of teacher and school leader development. John’s first day will be September 1.

[GP] JTravis New Hire Card

Dr. Patrick Tutwiler will join the Catalyze New Models strategy team in a new Senior Program Officer position focused on elevating system-level impact. Over the course of a more than twenty-year career in education, Pat has applied his student-centered philosophy while leading classrooms, as a high school history teacher, schools, and school systems in Massachusetts. Pat is currently the Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools, the fifth largest school district in the state. He will officially join the Barr team on August 29.

[GP] PTutwiler New Hire Card

Education Team Leadership Transitions

Seven years ago, Leah Hamilton joined Barr as Director of Education, immediately embarking on an in-depth review of Barr’s education strategy, engaging in extensive conversations with grantees and other stakeholders, and gathering a comprehensive fact-base to inform our current strategy launched in 2016. Since that time, the Education Team has invested boldly in pioneering efforts across the region, built extensive partnerships, crafted focused evaluation and outcome measurement efforts, and continuously tested and evolved its thinking and approaches – always centered on students. Leah has now accepted an offer to take on an exciting new leadership role as Vice President of Philanthropy for Barr’s affiliated family office, Pilot House Associates. She will work alongside Barr’s co-founders, Barbara and Amos Hostetter, as they continue to advance their philanthropy. Leah has adeptly led the Program through a major period of growth and development, and we will miss her leadership and thoughtfulness – but are so glad to know she’ll remain in the building as a family office colleague. Leah will be available to support Barr’s work as needed through this transition period.

In turn, I’m very happy to report that Jenny Curtin will assume leadership of the Education Program as Acting Director, effective July 1st. Jenny joined Barr in 2016 from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Since that time, she has led the development and growth of Barr’s Catalyze New Models strategy. Jenny is a trusted partner to education leaders across New England. She has provided invaluable, steadfast, and strategic partnership to Barr colleagues and our grantees and I am looking forward to working with her as she continues to move the Education Program forward into new opportunities.

We are proud to support more than 150 partners across New England in the work of creating more equitable experiences and outcomes for high school students. We at Barr are grateful for their partnership and I’m personally grateful for the expertise, talents, and commitment of Barr’s Education team. We remain focused on supporting our partners and continuing the forward momentum of our collective work to design high-quality schools that all students deserve.

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