NASS names new exec to lead organization
September 16, 2019
The National Association of School Superintendents has announced that author, storyteller and education practice and policy adviser Jonathan P. Raymond has joined the organization as its new executive director. He will lead this year’s IgnitED Federal Advocacy Day, taking place this week in Washington, D.C., and drive membership growth in the coming years.
Raymond says of his vision for NASS, “I want us to be a membership-centered organization where members have a voice and want to be a part of something special. One where they are eager to come together, learn with and from each other, share ideas, and offer their great stories of hope and inspiration. NASS members are colleagues that readily mentor each other to grow this profession into an excellent one that is helping to advance the learning agenda for children in this country.” As the former president of the Stuart Foundation, he brings insights from many years of experience in education, first as the chief accountability officer of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system in North Carolina, and then as superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District. It is a key component of NASS’ mission that a leader who knows firsthand the challenges and rewards of leading a school district be chosen to lead the nation’s only superintendent’s association. “The opportunity to lead NASS is an honor given its focus on supporting historically underserved children and the superintendents that represent them,” Raymond said. “Leadership from superintendents is urgently needed. Complex issues such as balancing politics, resource constraints, poverty, race, gender, and the ways to engage and empower parents, families and communities require today’s education leaders to be able to think systemically and design locally. It is also critical that superintendents have a voice, particularly at the federal level. The work of supporting education leaders speaks to my passion for reimagining what public education can be.” In 2009, on one of his first days on the job, Raymond recalls a parent imploring him to “please take risks for kids.” He had just come on board as superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District, one of the largest school districts in the country and one of the most impoverished and ethnically diverse. During his tenure, those were words he vowed to live by.  As a passionate advocate for equity, Raymond implemented bold initiatives, from transforming some of the district’s poorest performing schools in the neediest neighborhoods to some of the highest performing, raising graduation rates, expanding early education, summer learning and dual-language programs, to introducing salad bars and healthier meals, and integrating social and emotional learning to the curriculum. He is a tireless advocate for the power of storytelling, saying,“We all have a story to tell. The challenge is, do we ever tell our story? Stories are a way for people to make connections, build relationships and spread ideas. Every day in classrooms and schools throughout this country there are incredible stories of courage, of tenacity, of grit, of wonderful examples that we can share, highlight, and learn from. I think that if we are intent on transforming and finding another way to educate and develop our children, stories have to be at the center of that.” Raymond was a fellow at the Broad Superintendents Academy and he completed the Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the George Mason Law School in Arlington, Virginia, and holds a Master of Arts degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.  He will lead NASS’ efforts in the federal policy realm and the organization’s annual federal advocacy lobby event while setting the tone for platform goals and positions, stating, “We must be an organization that helps to grow, shape, improve and advance leadership in public education,” he said.
NASS executive director Jonathan Raymond.

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