In July, Achievement First will undergo an exciting leadership transition, with Dacia Toll serving as our sole CEO, supported by a president and superintendent. We’re thrilled to introduce Stephanie Keenoy as our new superintendent, who will lead all AF schools!
Steph has served at Achievement First for more than a decade and currently leads all of our 16 elementary schools. Steph has displayed consistent excellence throughout her career. She started as a special education teacher in Atlanta 16 years ago and earned the Michael’s Award for Excellence in Education. She went on to found AF Endeavor Elementary, one of our top-performing schools—and the source of many future AF principals. Steph then became one of AF’s highest-performing regional superintendents, with three out of the four schools she directly coached achieving our top ratings of Strong or Exemplary, including our first National Blue Ribbon School. As Elementary Academy Lead, Steph has built and leveraged a very strong, diverse team, and ensured that our elementary schools are leading the way on some of the key work we need to do as a network—making a significant shift to create a culture of belief and belonging, prioritizing and embedding social-emotional learning into the school day, and working to further elevate student thinking.
Steph lives our values every day—she has always been a leader who knows and cares deeply about instructional leadership, rigor, and academics, and she is equally focused on making sure all of our scholars feel loved and cared for as whole people. In her role as superintendent, she will lead our program teams and manage all of our 37 schools across three states.
A Word from Steph
I am excited and honored to serve as AF’s next superintendent. Let me start by sharing a little about myself: I’m a wife, a mother, and a lifelong teacher. My wonderful husband, Chris, and I have two beautiful daughters—Siena and Stella. I have known since first grade that I wanted to be a teacher, and I’ve never looked back. I am, and will always be, a teacher and a coach!
Ten years ago, I joined Achievement First as a principal-in-residence at AF Brownsville Elementary. I accepted the role because AF network and school leaders pushed me more in that interview than I had been pushed in my previous seven years of teaching. That continual push—to help me become my very best—is one of the reasons I’ve stayed at AF throughout the years. And that’s just one of the elements that makes Achievement First truly special. I’m grateful to work at an organization that celebrates successes but also isn’t afraid to say what must be improved. I feel fortunate that people have been honest with me about my areas of growth as a leader, and I feel proud of the way that I have listened and grown throughout the years. I know that spirit defines so many of us at Achievement First, and as superintendent, I look forward to helping our leaders grow in service of all of our amazing students.
As I begin this role, the number one thing that I am excited to do is to equip all of our schools for a strong, successful launch in 2020-21. There is so much ambiguity and anxiety about when and how our nation will open up in-person schools again—and I want to make sure AF has an incredibly strong plan to keep kids and staff safe while accelerating student learning. I am looking forward to learning from the countries that have done this before us, and to partnering with our families and other school districts and charter organizations to create the best possible plan for next school year.
There’s one more thing I should share about myself—it’s REALLY important to me that we celebrate the outstanding work our students, teachers, and leaders are doing. If you have a picture, or a video, or a story that you think captures how amazing and special our AF community is, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can all share it far and wide.
Here’s one great example of such a moment: During remote learning, Steph has been recording daily read-alouds for kids! Here’s just one example. We can’t wait to begin our next chapter of leadership here at AF!