Read a message from the Deans of Relay's Leadership Programs.
As we continue to reckon with unprecedented times in our country, we want to take a moment to acknowledge that the challenges faced by educators and school leaders are greater than they have ever been. The virus has forced us to redesign our schools, and has surfaced and exacerbated equity gaps that have been present in our for far too long. Events of the last six months, from the murder of George Floyd to the recent affront to democracy by white rioters who attacked the Capitol, have deepened our commitment at Relay to look at ourselves, our curriculum, our ways of teaching, and our systems to ensure that they are not only culturally responsive but also explicitly anti-racist.
Like much of the education space, Relay is at a critical moment. As the systemic racism and white supremacy that underpins much of our country is being laid bare, we have been turning inwards to examine how we, as an organization, have benefited from and continue to perpetuate these systems. Relay is striving to be an anti-racist organization. We want to emphasize that we are striving- by no means are we there yet. In acknowledging that, we want to name part of what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will do to move our work forward in the pursuit of being anti-racist:
- As a team, we prioritize diversity in race, gender, and professional experience when building our team. In addition, we partner with external experts and internal leaders to build our knowledge and skills related to culturally responsive teaching and leadership as well as anti-racism.
- We are currently examining our session videos, resources, and artifacts with an eye toward anti-racism and cultural responsiveness, with the goal of making changes in order to ensure our content mirrors our commitment.
- Our culture work has been expanded to include content that is focused on building truly inclusive cultures, where all students can thrive. Implicit in this is a focus on the mindsets, values and beliefs that leaders and teachers will need to build inclusive culture practices, understanding behavior through an equity lens, and culture practices that support authentic engagement.
- We have shifted our work from data driven instruction to data informed instruction. With this shift in language comes a shift in approach, data work will focus on tools for learning rather than evaluative measures of learning.
- We intentionally redesigned our scope and sequence so that leaders can opt into content tracks that best meet their school’s individual needs.
We are determined to ensure that Relay continues to live its mission to provide the best possible support, development, and coaching to our leaders, their teachers, and ultimately their PK-12 students. Kids all over the country are right now asking their parents and caregivers important and difficult questions about our current landscape. Understandably, kids are asking their teachers and leaders the same questions. Since our founding, we have prepared 10,000+ teachers and leaders to answer, support, and inspire their students tomorrow and every day. Thank you for being there for those 10,000+ tomorrow, as you are every day.
Jesse Rector and Kari Feinberg
National Deans, Relay Leadership Programs
Jesse RectorVice Provost, Regional Leaderships Programs
As Vice Provost of Regional Leadership Programs at Relay, Jesse Rector leads all aspects of training for current and aspiring school leaders. In this role, he teaches courses on instructional leadership and serves as an advisor to the participants in our leadership programs.
Previously, Rector spent sixteen years in Newark, New Jersey, as a high-performing teacher in both the Newark Public Schools and at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. During his last six years in Newark, Rector led North Star’s Clinton Hill Middle School.
Rector earned an M.A. in organizational leadership from Columbia University and a B.A. from Rutgers University.
Kari FeinbergProvost, Professional Education
In her role as Provost, Professional Education, Kari Feinberg will lead Relay and the Professional Education team to significant institutional goals, delivering outstanding institutional performance and expanding access and institutional recognition.
Ms. Feinberg currently serves as the National Dean of Regional Leadership Programs at Relay. In this role, she leads Relay Leadership's current work and strategic planning efforts to provide network-embedded professional learning, coaching, and support for CAOs, principal managers, and school leaders in the areas of observation and feedback, school culture, and data driven instruction. Before joining Relay in the summer of 2017, she spent ten years with YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, Texas, most recently as the Head of Schools from 2013 to 2017. She has also worked as a school leader and teacher in Baton Rouge, La. and Durham, N.C.
Kari holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Political Science and graduate degrees in School Leadership and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. She continues to be Houston-based.