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Audience in Lecture








City Fund


Chris has spent the last 31 years working in public education as a teacher, charter school founder, and superintendent. He currently serves as a partner at The City Fund, a national non-profit organization that supports local leaders in cities working to grow the number of great public school options. Chris began his career as a middle school English teacher in the Houston Independent School District (ISD) in 1993, as a corps member in Teach For America, and in 1994, he was named the District’s Outstanding Young Educator. After teaching for 6 years, Chris founded YES Prep Public Schools in 1998, and served as CEO for 13 years. YES Prep is a Houston-based charter management organization (CMO) that exists to increase the number of students from underserved communities who graduate from college. It is often recognized as one of the highest-performing CMOs in the nation and won the inaugural Broad Foundation Prize for the Best CMO in the country in 2011. Chris left YES Prep in 2011, to serve as the founding superintendent of the Achievement School District (ASD) in Tennessee. The ASD is a statewide school district designed to transform Tennessee’s Priority Schools (those in bottom 5%). Under Chris’ leadership, the ASD restarted 33 new schools in four years, serving just under 10,000 students. ASD schools grew faster than the Tennessee state average in Math and Science every year of operation at a time when Tennessee was the fastest improving state in the country. Chris lives in Nashville with his wife Natasha and their two children, Tatiana (21) and Ramiz (19).

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