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StudentsFirstNY Names Success Academy Charter Schools Co-Founder Jenny Sedlis as Executive Director

Make no mistake, the reforms that so many New Yorkers fought for - from mayoral control to the expansion of parent choice to the more rigorous standards - all now hang in the balance, said new StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

StudentsFirstNY has tapped Success Academy Charter Schools Co-Founder Jenny Sedlis as its Executive Director, the StudentsFirstNY Board announced today. Sedlis, who has earned national recognition for helping to create and oversee a network of high-performing charter schools that serve economically disadvantaged and middle-class New York City families, will spearhead efforts to maintain and augment the education reforms undertaken in New York City over the last decade.

StudentsFirstNY has tapped Success Academy Charter Schools Co-Founder Jenny Sedlis as its Executive Director, the StudentsFirstNY Board announced today. Sedlis, who has earned national recognition for helping to create and oversee a network of high-performing charter schools that serve economically disadvantaged and middle-class New York City families, will spearhead efforts to maintain and augment the education reforms undertaken in New York City over the last decade.

“New York City desperately needs someone to fight the entrenched special interests who today stand at the precipice of climbing back into positions of power,” said StudentsFirst Executive Director Michelle Rhee. “Jenny has a proven track record of producing incredible results for New York City students. But just as important, she is battle-tested and ready to lead the fight to ensure the city continues to make improvements to provide all students with the quality education they need, want and deserve.”

“Make no mistake, the reforms that so many New Yorkers fought for – from mayoral control to the expansion of parent choice to the more rigorous standards – all now hang in the balance,” said new StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. “New York City now stands at a crossroads when it comes to education, and it is imperative that the next mayor put the children’s interests first, rather than the special interests. As Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY, I will lead the charge toward that goal every day.”

“The academic success of our students, the caliber of our schools and the involvement and satisfaction of our parents, could not have come to fruition without Jenny,” said Success Academy CEO and StudentsFirst NY Board Member, Eva Moskowitz. “As her close friend and colleague for the last decade and a StudentsFirstNY Board Member, I know the organization could not be in better hands.”

During Sedlis’ tenure at Success, the network has grown from one school to become an education and advocacy powerhouse across the city and state. By the end of next year the network will feature 22 schools with more than 5,000 students.

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In 2013, Success Academies received applications from 11,000 NYC families and nearly five applicants for each open slot. Ms. Sedlis and Success Academy Charter Schools have received national recognition for their work to galvanize parents to protect and expand parent choice in education. Prior to co-founding Success Academy Charter Schools, Ms. Sedlis ran the government district office for New York City Council Member Eva Moskowitz.

“Now is the moment to double-down and guarantee that the improvements of the last decade will continue,” said Former NYC Schools Chancellor and StudentsFirstNY Board Member Joel Klein. “Jenny understands exactly what is at stake and has the tenacity to fight for the policies that work for our kids. I am confident that under her leadership, StudentsFirstNY will continue to be a catalyst for significant change within our school system.”

More than 150,000 members strong, StudentsFirstNY facilitates parents, students, teachers and concerned citizens to play an active role in the education debate at the State and local level. The organization will continue to provide a voice to the supermajority of New York City parents who support reform during the upcoming election season.

Nationally, StudentsFirst has more than one million members who have achieved more than 50 policy reforms in eight states that educate roughly 10 million students. StudentsFirst’s advocacy has led to the expansion of high-performing charter schools, the establishment of merit-pay systems to reward great teachers and the end of laws mandating seniority-based layoffs.

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