I know that there are so many incredible folks like you around the country working to improve educational outcomes for kidsâ€¦and how cool is it that we can connect via the REEP blog?!Â My name is Zach, and I look forward to trying to figure this out together.
I currently serve as the principal of HOPE Christian High School in Milwaukee, WI.Â I am new to the gig, and Milwaukee, and REEP blog for that matter, but not new to education reform!
Right out of college, I joined Teach For America (TFA) and moved to Camden, NJ to teach high school social studies.Â I wanted to have the same type of impact on my students that a couple of key educators had on me, but I became frustrated by my inability to effect change outside of my classroom walls.Â So like any idealistic young professional who wants some time to think and learn, I took off to graduate school! I studied education policy at Harvard with some awesome folksâ€¦you know, so I could sit and think about it for a while.Â I did meet my wonderful wife there, so I guess it wasnâ€™t all philosophical.
After much thought and deliberation in Boston, I joined TFA as a staff member, which was a cool way to continue to develop as a leader.Â After stints in Minneapolis and Houston, I felt that I had gotten too far away from the classroom and jumped back in at YES Prep-Southwest.Â I worked with an incredible team there, which eventually led me to REEP.
Despite being in love with YES Prep, Houston just wasnâ€™t home.Â I got a call from Milwaukee telling me that they had a high school that was about to closeâ€¦and they were committed to turning it around.Â Â Being a native Wisconsinite, I knew my home state had the largest achievement gap in the country.Â This was an opportunity to serve in my own backyard.Â
My first semester as a school leader in a turnaround environment is a bit of a blur, but I did learn a ton and I want to be able to share some insights and lessons learned.Â I have gained far more than I ever provided in my experiences in Camden, Boston, Minneapolis, Houston and now in Milwaukee.Â I hope that trend continues through REEP blog.
Letâ€™s dive in!