It is an honor to be connecting with you for the first time as GO’s interim CEO. As you learned last week, we celebrated Jonathan’s last day on staff after an incredible 12-year run where he served as GO’s founding Executive Director in Oakland, and later as our organization’s first CEO.
As I step into this new role, I have been thinking a lot about the shoulders that I stand upon and the sacrifices made by so many people known and unknown to me that allow me the privilege of engaging in this work. Growing up in California’s Central Valley, I learned early on that education held the power to change the trajectory of a young person’s life. As first a student, then a teacher, and now a family member I have seen what is possible when inequitable systems are intentionally interrupted to empower students, their families, and champions — and I’ve seen and experienced what happens when this is not the case. I’m in this work to support the movement of our system to the possible and to ensure that as many people as possible acquire the skills and resources to hold our leaders accountable.
I am humbled and grateful to journey with our teams into what is already a year we will never forget. After consulting with our board members and staff, I am excited to dive into three priorities as our interim CEO: building and maintaining our strength as an organization, re-launching our CEO search virtually, and — most importantly — taking care of our people. It is my hope that focusing my work on these areas will ensure our continued impact in service of California’s students and families.
With the 2020-21 school year already underway in most parts of California, and a historic election season on the horizon, our teams will be working tirelessly to ensure families have the tools and resources they need to navigate distance learning, while GO Public Schools Advocates supports student-centered candidates seeking office in local races. In this moment, it is clearer now more than ever how important our work is, and that organizing, empowering, mobilizing, and supporting those furthest from decision-making is critical to the health and success of our communities and our nation.
I look forward to engaging you as we work together to help write this next chapter in history.
My very best,
Darcel Sanders, Interim CEO