Executive Director Transition

Dear Alliance Community, 

 

In the summer of 2017, I arrived at the Alliance ready to work. I was hired by the Board of Directors to build upon the great work begun by our founding and long-time Executive Director, Manasa Tangalin, and continued by her successors, Keishia Gu and Herson Mojica. ​​Once I arrived at the Alliance, I had no idea of the incredible journey I would have. The role of Executive Director reinvigorated my commitment toward working to create equity and access in education across racial, cultural, and socioeconomic divides. At the time, I shared with former Alliance Board Chair and Crossroads Head of School, Bob Riddle, that I was, “most excited about the opportunity to develop relationships with the families, staff, member schools, benefactors, and the broader Los Angeles community.” My primary goal during the first couple of months was to build relationships, listen, and learn. I did not want to act before I fully understood the way things worked at the Alliance, the challenges we faced, and the opportunities that existed in the communities that we served.

 

Since joining the Alliance, I have met hundreds of parents interested in independent schools; the common thread among them being a strong desire to partner with the Alliance in an effort to demystify the process of navigating and matriculating through independent schools. As an organization, we understand the unique challenges faced by people of color in a predominantly white school community. The needs of our students and families are of primary concern; we truly care about their experiences and are dedicated to partner with families throughout their process before, during, and after matriculation.

 

As such, it is with many mixed emotions that I have shared with the Board of Directors that the 2021-22 school year will be my last as the Executive Director of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs. I will leave the Alliance on the best of terms with a strong Board of Directors, experienced staff, dedicated parents, and incredible alumni, as well as amazing partnerships with member schools, donors, volunteers, and nonprofit organizations. Each group of stakeholders has been an invaluable thought partner as my team and I fearlessly championed for educational equity throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished together in service to educational access for students and families of color.

 

As a partner and thought leader to independent schools, the Alliance has a responsibility to support our students and families by challenging our schools to become more inclusive and just communities. Independent schools have had to face the tough reality that to our families, admittance has not always equated to acceptance. Amid the grave health concerns exacerbated by the pandemic, and the racial reckoning ignited by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, we were reminded that the impact of racism on communities of color is wide-reaching, systemic, and complex and required a commitment greater than educational access to an independent school. In order to untangle the thread of racism, inequity, and exclusion, there must be a commitment to myriad strategies to reform these spaces. Student recruitment alone is not the answer.  

 

As our state continues to reel from the impacts of COVID-19, our collective work for educational access, equity, and justice is more important than ever. I am excited about the future of the Alliance and the role that the organization will play in what will be one of the most important school years in California’s history.

 

I give my deepest gratitude to everyone for their unwavering support of the Alliance and my leadership throughout the last several years: staff, member schools, board members, nonprofit partners, donors, and, of course, our students, families, and alumni. Together, we have built an incredible, strong, and stable organization that is well-positioned to move into the future with confidence. Without you, the organization would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am so honored to have been the leader of this incredible organization and will watch with great excitement and anticipation as it continues to fulfill its mission. I hold dear to my heart the relationships I have built during my time as Executive Director, and I appreciate you all. 

 

In partnership and with gratitude, 

 

Rob Evans

Dear Alliance Community,

 

On behalf of the Board of the Alliance, I wish to share the Board’s appreciation for Rob’s leadership and stewardship, and I write to emphasize our steadfast commitments to the bright future of the organization, to our Alliance students and families, and to our member schools and extended community. At this moment in history, the mission of access to an independent school education and to continued support during and after admission has never been more urgent nor more vitally important to our community and our world.

 

During Rob’s tenure, the Alliance has emerged from its founding era to envision its next chapter of contribution and impact. True to his character as a servant-leader, Rob led our community to create a new strategic plan and updated mission statement, launch our first school climate survey, rebuild philanthropic support, overcome the budget deficits and related challenges of COVID-19, and deepen the Alliance’s expertise in educational access in independent schools. In addition, Rob has overseen the admission of four cohorts including connecting over 500 students to exceptional educational opportunities. As a trustee and incoming board chair, I have valued Rob’s commitment through this time of transition and through the multiple challenges of the global pandemic. Rob leaves the Alliance in a position of strength, well poised for the future.

 

The last eighteen months have shown the resilience of the Alliance and of our independent schools, as we have hosted two successful virtual graduations to celebrate our seniors and launched a task force on membership to strengthen our relationship with member schools. As we look forward, the Board will convene a search committee, led by two experienced Board members, Alma Medina and Jeff Clifford, to launch a national search for a new Executive Director who will begin on July 1, 2022. The Board promises to keep the Alliance community informed at each step of the search and to provide opportunities for your input and engagement, as together we collaborate to select our next leader and chart the Alliance’s future. We also promise to deliver continued excellence for Cohort 38 and for our member schools.

 

As we look forward to a new school year, on behalf of the Board, I wish you courage on the journey ahead, and I thank you for your engagement and support of the Alliance. As a first-gen college student, I didn’t know such educational opportunities were possible, and I ask you to join me in supporting the Alliance with strength and resolve. As a career independent school teacher and leader, I am grateful for the Alliance and its work and for its impact on our students and our schools. 

 

Onward,

 

Mark McKee

Chair, Board of Directors

Head, Viewpoint School