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Former KIPP AMP co-principal to lead TFA in New York

Teach for America’s New York office has a new executive director.

Jeff Li, who will take over management of the city’s branch of the program for new teachers, has spent the last year working on the group’s fundraising, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined TFA’s New York management after a tumultuous year as co-principal of the Brooklyn charter school KIPP AMP. That year, 15 of the school’s 20 teachers voted to unionize, prompting a monthslong battle between the school’s teachers and KIPP managers. This year, the teachers reversed their decision and asked to leave the union in April.

Before becoming co-principal, he was a founding math teacher at the school and won the U.S. Department of Education’s American Star of Teaching award in 2008 for the achievement gains his students made. Li started out as a third grade teacher and TFA member in 2003 at P.S. 69 in the South Bronx after leaving a consulting career.

Li will start in his new role on June 16, said a TFA spokeswoman. An email that was sent to TFA teachers from Li and the outgoing executive director, Jemima Bernard, is below the jump.

Hello [Redacted],

I am excited to share with you that I have accepted a promotion at Teach For America and will join our national team as a Vice President of Regional Operations in mid-June. In my new role, I will be responsible for managing a portfolio of executive directors — including New York’s — as they work to achieve ambitious goals to help maximize Teach For America’s impact at closing the achievement gap in their local communities. Given the particularly challenging landscape we have all weathered together over the last couple of years, leaving the day-to-day oversight of our New York region is bittersweet for me but I am thrilled to bring what I’ve come to learn as the executive director of our largest site, along with my previous four years of experience as a senior leader at the New York City Department of Education to help propel our national efforts. At the same time, I am thrilled to announce that Jeff Li from our regional team will be assuming the executive director role.

Jeff started his Teach For America career as a 2003 corps member, teaching third grade in the South Bronx and then served as a founding math teacher of a high-performing KIPP charter middle school in Brooklyn. During his five years of teaching, Jeff was incredibly successful at driving his students towards achieving outstanding academic gains and in 2008 was awarded the sole American Star of Teaching award for New York State by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to teaching, Jeff also served as Co-Principal during the school’s fourth year. Prior to his career in education, Jeff worked for several years as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, providing strategy consultancy services to Fortune 500 companies. Jeff received his B.A. in Economics and International Relations with Distinction at Stanford University, and his M.S. in Childhood Education at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. I am personally excited to see Jeff lead our region through this next important chapter in our history.

All my best,
Jemina

Hello [Redacted],

I cannot tell you how thrilled and humbled I am to lead Teach For America’s efforts in our nation’s largest public school system.
In the twenty years of our presence here in New York, we have accomplished an incredible amount–but we have so much more to do. As someone who taught for five years, I am absolutely energized to work alongside each of you to ensure that one day, all children in our city — and our nation — will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.

I know many of you, but not all. In the coming weeks (and always), please feel free to reach out to me directly, or to members of my team, if you have questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas or just want to say hello. I look forward to meeting or reconnecting with each and every one of you!

All my best,
Jeff

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