We Know What An Equitable Future Can Look Like

With a new year upon us, we are energized by what is possible. Let 2022 fuel your passion and resolve for a stronger, more equitable, and more just society.
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Jean Desravines
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Dear New Leaders Community,

As I think about 2021 coming to a close, I am reminded of how this year unfolded and our collective perseverance. There have been unimaginable challenges including the ongoing pandemic, the Capitol insurrection, and a host of other setbacks. There have also been glimmers of hope this past year such as the confirmation of Dr. Miguel Cardona—a former teacher, principal, and district leader—as the Secretary of Education and the election of the first African American and Asian American female vice president.

“ It always seems impossible until it is done.” - Nelson Mandela

Through these ordeals, we push forward, as we must, in our pursuit of equitable schools and an equitable public education system. As Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” We know what an equitable future can look like, and we must remain steadfast in our commitment to getting there.

The legacy of our organization is tied to this commitment. 2021 marks the 20 year anniversary of New Leaders. In 20 years, we have trained more than 6,000 equity-focused leaders—sixty percent of whom identify as leaders of color. Our leaders drive quantifiably better learning, teaching, and equity outcomes for schools and students. And beyond the school buildings, many of our leaders further scale their reach and equity work by going on to lead school systems, national and local nonprofits, and even serving in elected office.

Our first cohort of Aspiring Principals, 2001
Our first cohort of Aspiring Principals, 2001

We are proud of our accomplishments and humbled by the work that remains to be done, particularly at this moment in time. Beyond the direct impact of our leaders, we must broaden the educational equity dialogue on what we’ve learned to catalyze greater impact across the country.

Together, with our partners and education leaders at every level, we are fueling a national conversation centered on reimagining how our K-12 education systems can finally benefit all students and the centrality of leadership as a clear solution:

Investing in the development of effective school leaders who create learning environments in which students and adults thrive

Diversifying our leadership pipelines and developing equity-focused leaders who disrupt systemic inequities in order to ensure schools are free from limitation and bias

Celebrating the talents and gifts—and sheer joy—of students in schools like Hickory Ridge Elementary, led by a New Leaders alum

I am grateful to our New Leaders community—education leaders, alumni, partners, supporters, and staff—who live out our mission every day. You inspire us.

With a new year upon us, we are energized by what is possible. Together, we will push forward until we’ve broken down every obstacle to student success and ensured educational excellence and equity in every school, for every student. Together, we will show that what has long been deemed "impossible” is indeed possible.

Thank you for your continued passion and resolve on behalf of our nation’s children. Wishing you the very best of health and happiness this holiday season.


Jean Desravines, CEO, New Leaders

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