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For the past five years, Subira Gordon has led ConnCAN through a period of truly historic wins that have shifted the education system in the Nutmeg State to one that is far more equitable and centered on students and their families. Subira is a passionate advocate and a wonderful human being. She’s been a consistent, forceful voice demanding that every child be surrounded with opportunity. And she’s been a wonderful colleague and thought partner to me, to her peers at 50CAN, and to the education sector at large.
So it is bittersweet to announce that Subira will take on a new challenge as the CEO of an advocacy organization in Nashville, stepping down from her role as executive director of ConnCAN. With this transition, she joins former ConnCAN Executive Directors Alex Johnston and Jen Alexander, who both left their mark on Connecticut, before offering their significant expertise to the education policy and advocacy world at large. 50CAN prides itself on an enduring connection with its leaders, and we are delighted that Subira will continue to engage as a partner and advisor to the ConnCAN board and staff.
I am also excited to announce that ConnCAN’s Policy and Research Director Hamish MacPhail will be taking on the role of interim executive director through the transition period, bringing a wealth of advocacy and policy experience to the role. Hamish, who has worked alongside Subira for the past five years, is a former kindergarten teacher and holds a master’s in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
Here’s how Subira expressed her confidence in this transition to me recently: “Hamish has taken the lead in all of the policy spaces throughout the state, and the trust he’s engendered with partners makes him the perfect person to lead ConnCAN through this transition. He’s ready for this. And I trust him completely to carry our work forward.”
As an anchor goal, ConnCAN has always aspired to make big changes to the way Connecticut funds its schools. Subira got this done by growing the tent of people who shared that vision. She built large coalitions of people who are in the work for the right reasons, and secured a historic investment in kids as a result. She also completely changed the conversation around the need for a diverse teaching workforce in Connecticut. Subira has a natural ability to build relationships across ideological and partisan lines, and it has resulted in a bipartisan commitment to making real progress.
These sorts of policy victories are fundamental to an education system that supports all students. And while they lay crucial groundwork, a sustained effort to promote change and help the state’s education system meet the needs and aspirations of every child is still required. For all of her significant accomplishments, putting ConnCAN on a course for just this sustained effort is perhaps Subira’s greatest success.
In the coming year, ConnCAN plans to continue the work Subira started, ensuring that the new school funding formula is implemented appropriately, and Connecticut continues to modernize and diversify its educator workforce. Additionally, the team will build upon this year’s win on an ELL Bill of Rights, a signature piece of legislation supported by Governor Lamont.
Subira, for her part, will be taking all her experience working in the public policy space and building coalitions to her new role as the CEO of the Nashville Charter Collaborative. I speak for everyone at 50CAN and ConnCAN in saying that we couldn’t be more thankful for her leadership, inspired by her successes, and excited for continued partnership with her in her new role.
Last but not least, we are excited to share that Dr. Rebecca Good will be stepping into the role of ConnCAN board chair, succeeding Derrick Diggs who ably guided the ConnCAN board over the past seven years. A former teacher, dean and principal at Achievement First, Rebecca subsequently founded the Connecticut campus for the Relay Graduate School of Education and now serves as Relay’s national vice provost for teacher preparation. Additionally, she sits on the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Increasing Educator Diversity Council. Rebecca is both brilliant and accomplished, and we’re tremendously thankful for her willingness to lead the next chapter at ConnCAN.
One of the great privileges of our work is watching colleagues grow and take on new challenges their leadership will play an important role in solving. I hope you’ll join us in wishing the best of luck to Subira, and thank Hamish and Rebecca for stepping up and leading us into this new chapter.
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