Chinese American to run NYC public schools' fund

Updated: 2014-09-01 05:07

By AMY HE in New York(China Daily USA)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Iris Chen, a Chinese American who is former school teacher, will run the private fundraising arm of New York City education department, which has put hundreds of millions of dollars into initiatives such as pre-school preparation for children from low-income families and evaluating teachers.

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced last month that Chen will serve as the executive director of the Fund for Public Schools, which solicits donations from companies and individuals for education projects.

"With her vast experience, Iris will be able to secure investments and partnerships for innovative programs that are crucial for our students," Farina said in a statement. "Perhaps most importantly, Iris's roots as an educator and her focus on communication and collaboration will allow her to work effectively with educators and families. Iris will always have an ear to the ground, and she'll use her role at the Fund for Public Schools to deliver investments and programs that empower our students."

Chen, a former elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, will lead fundraising efforts to incorporate technology into the classroom and help enhance the development of teachers and school leaders, the education department said in a statement. She also will promote and help expand the city's pre-kindergarten initiatives, as well as programs that prepare students for college and careers, according to the statement.

"I deeply believe in the power of partnerships and broad public engagement to transform students'educational opportunities and experiences, and I'm thrilled to join The Fund for Public Schools to advance this important work," Chen said in a statement. "I'm excited to work closely with the chancellor and our communities across the five boroughs to identify and support initiatives that will bring us closer to our shared vision — meeting the needs of every child in our public schools and ensuring they have every opportunity to fulfill their potential."

Chen has an undergraduate degree from Yale University, and a law degree and an MBA from Harvard University. She is a former president and CEO of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, which seeks to expand underrepresented students'access to higher education.

Chen also was with Beyond Z, a nonprofit start-up that worked with young people from low-income communities.

The fund was established in 1982, and its role in the school system increased during the tenures of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein when it raised $400 million, according to the education news organization Chalkbeat.

The fund's projects have included the five-week Summer Quest program to prepare children from low-income families in Brooklyn and the Bronx for school in the fall, a program to evaluate teachers'performance and the creation of 150 small high schools through a $100 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to Chalkbeat.