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Jenny Curtin Named Education Program Director

Jenny Curtin assumes leadership of Barr’s Education Team and strategies to advance educational equity in high schools across New England.

It is my pleasure to announce that Jenny Curtin has been appointed Director of Education at the Barr Foundation, effective this week. In this role, Jenny will provide strategic direction and leadership for Barr’s Education Program in its work to advance educational equity in high schools across New England so that all young people, regardless of race or background, achieve at high levels. One of Barr’s three core programs, Education has a 2022 grantmaking budget that will exceed $40 million.

jenny curtin brick 2022

Jenny Curtin appointed Director of Education

Jenny joined Barr in early 2016 as Senior Program Officer after over a decade at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Shortly after arriving, she helped launch a new set of education strategies and took the lead on the largest component - Catalyze New Models. She has led the development and execution of that strategy over the past six and a half years, continually refining its approach and elements as it has grown into a nearly $24 million portfolio.

Jenny now assumes leadership of the full set of three aligned strategies: Catalyze New Models promotes efforts to transform the high school experience to fit the local context and support all students to thrive; Invest in Educators seeks to support the development of skilled and diverse pipelines of teachers and leaders who bring new educational models to life; and Build Public Will aims to engage and support a wide range of people as advocates for the kinds of schools that serve all of our students well.

With a combination of deep expertise, thoughtfulness, and humility, Jenny has been a trusted partner to people working to transform high schools at the school, district, and state levels. Her knowledge and networks span the education policy landscape across our region and nationally. Over the past four months as Acting Director, Jenny readily stepped into leadership of the Education Program and team. Continuing to move that work forward, including hiring and onboarding several new staff and reflecting on the overall strategy and team structure, she also engaged with Barr’s other program directors and leadership on a range of issues for the Foundation. Most importantly, she has shown an unwavering commitment to keep students at the center and continuously learn, improve, and strengthen efforts to expand high-quality education opportunities – especially for students who have not been well served by typical approaches.

This is such a critical moment for public education. Many of our education partners have been telling us this has been the most trying time of their lives. And yet those same partners have been demonstrating what is possible when we hold high expectations and create learning environments that help all students discover and achieve their full potential. This is what inspires Jenny and all of us.

We continue to be so grateful to each and every one of our partners for the urgency, creativity, and persistence you bring. And we are thrilled to have Jenny taking on this leadership role to partner and support you in this work.

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