A personal update: sharing news about my transition

In the coming months, I’m going to be transitioning out of my role as GO’s CEO.

After 20 years of working to support public education in Oakland — of which the last eleven years have been with GO — I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished to expand and focus our communities on results and opportunity for students and families.

GO has supported or led every revenue measure in Oakland for over a decade — resulting in hundreds of millions of more dollars for relevant career pathways for students, raises for teachers, and safe and modern facilities. GO’s family leadership model in West Contra Costa and Fresno helps families furthest from power and privilege magnify their power as advocates for their own children, and gain skills and relationships to work together to influence and shape the system — the same public education system that has been both racist and ineffective for decades. We’ve also supported educators to get closer to decision-making tables to shape policies and practices that impact them and the students they serve. To date, more than 330 family leaders and educators have participated in our fellowships.

Fundamentally, we’ve made a bet on our communities by increasing transparency and engagement about district decision-making, performance, and student outcomes. GO’s Board Watch has covered most school board meetings for a decade — giving families, educators, and other allies better information about the challenges and opportunities for our young people and public schools. And we’ve worked to provide families and educators more avenues to engage and shape policies, budgets, Superintendent searches, and school board elections. The continued divisiveness this year in Oakland and Fresno demonstrates how much farther we have to go to create a constructive climate for education policy making, and in electing a board that’s able to work decisively with community support to do what’s right for kids.

And moreover, by the most important measure, outcomes for students, there remains considerable work ahead. We need to do and be better for our young people. The newest SBAC scores (Fresno, Oakland, West Contra Costa) reminded us all that we are, in fact, decades away from closing achievement gaps. This is unacceptable, and GO is determined to continue contributing, learning, and partnering to change this reality for students and families.

I’m starting this transition because I feel called to a broader fight for equity, opportunity, social justice, and civil rights, especially as our country prepares for a huge election cycle. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life, and supporting GO through start-up to systemic impact to sharing and partnering in new communities has been among the great privileges of my life. Eleven years in, I’m ready to hand off the day-to-day work of leading GO to have space to figure out my next step.

Today, GO is in a strong place with a talented team and distributed leadership, strong funder commitments, engaged boards, community relationships, a recent strategic refresh, and demand for our programming in other cities throughout California. Over the rest of this school year, I’ll be working with our boards and staff to identify and transition GO’s next CEO.

I thank all of you for the guidance, support, and partnership you’ve offered to me and GO over the years. I am excited about this next chapter together, and I look forward to introducing you to GO’s next leader.

With gratitude and hope, 

Jonathan Klein

Co-Founder and CEO

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