HARTFORD — — Achieve Hartford! has named Paul Diego Holzer as its executive director, the second leader in the school reform advocacy group's young history.
Holzer, 33, has served in an interim role since October, after Jim Starr stepped down to take a job in the St. Louis area.
Starr had led the nonprofit since its founding in mid-2009, and his departure tested Holzer "right out of the gate," said Eric Daniels, chairman of Achieve Hartford's board of trustees. Along with the interim appointment, Holzer continued his job as the group's director of education programs.
"Despite double the demands on his time, he's performed quite well," Daniels said. "We're still dealing with a relatively new superintendent, so it's been an important time for Achieve Hartford! to work with [Christina Kishimoto] and get a feel for her vision."
The group is supported by business leaders and works with the city schools to educate parents on school choice and other reform initiatives. But the organization also analyzes data and offers independent analysis of the school system's progress.
Starr remains on the board of trustees and has helped Holzer with the transition, Daniels said. The board voted unanimously to keep Holzer in the top job.
Holzer, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Yale School of Management, is a former teacher and director of higher education for the Latin American Youth Center, a Washington nonprofit group. He has worked for Achieve Hartford! since Sept. 2009.
Holzer said Friday that his mother, a native of Ecuador, never went to college "but still made sure I received the best education possible."
"My life's work has been about ensuring that same level of opportunity to all the students I've taught, advised and advocated for," Holzer said.
Interviews will begin shortly to fill Holzer's education director position, Daniels said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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