Jon Schnur is Executive Chairman of America Achieves. Jon helped to found America Achieves and helps to shape the organization’s overall strategy and work. Jon co-founded New Leaders for New Schools – a national non-profit organization ensuring high academic achievement for every student by attracting and preparing outstanding leaders and supporting the performance of the urban public schools they lead at scale – and served as its CEO from 2000 until 2011. He also advises philanthropists seeking to improve education, including Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Jon served as a senior advisor to President Obama’s presidential transition team and to U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan. He has also served as President Clinton’s White House Associate Director for Educational Policy, Senior Policy Advisor on Education to Vice President Gore, and special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Dick Riley. Jon is currently serving on the Visiting Committee to the Harvard Graduate School of Education and on the Aspen Institute’s jury for their Prize for Community College Excellence. He is a board member of New Leaders as well as Be the Change and its Opportunity Nation initiative to increase economic mobility in America. Jon is also an active member of the Parent-Teacher Association at the Edgemont School in Montclair, New Jersey. Jon and his wife Elisa have three young children.
Q & A
What draws you to the work of America Achieves?
I believe so deeply in the potential of our children and young people from every background to succeed and create a bright future for themselves and their families along with our communities and nation. We need to make sure they get a great education and support so that they can deploy their incredible potential.
What do we most need to focus on to improve the lives of America’s youth?
Pockets of success provide clear evidence that our children and youth succeed when we adults provide them the right expectations, support, relationships, and teaching. Now we adults must make that kind of success possible at large scale across entire communities and states.