Adrian Haugabrook’s Mission: “To serve and be of service to others”

Dr. Adrian K. Haugabrook, former Executive Director of Public Policy, Alliances and Innovation Throughout his career, Adrian Haugabrook has worked towards systemic change on a vast scale, looking to extend educational opportunities to students all over the country. The way he envisions effecting change, however, doesn’t allow him to lose sight of the communities that constitute the bigger picture. For him, widespread reform is a function of change made on a local level.

Adrian’s time at Citizen Schools reaffirmed this philosophy. He joined the staff at Citizen Schools in 2001, signing on to help the organization build a public policy platform and to launch a national program. Having just received funding to conduct program evaluation, Citizen Schools placed Adrian “at the intersection of practice, research, and policy,” equipping him with the numbers to form new alliances across the country. He was looking for reform on a national level, but it would happen by forming alliances locally. Adrian built partnerships in Charlotte, Houston, San Jose and Tucson, as well as Framingham and Worcester. He says that over his time at Citizen Schools, he learned how to look at anything from a national perspective and localize it; with Citizen Schools, he realized that large-scale initiatives had the ability to impact people on the ground. Adrian is still very active nationally in the after-school world by serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the National AfterSchool Association where he is actively involved in federal policy and field-building endeavors.

Before coming to Citizen Schools, Adrian had already worked at three postsecondary institutions. After leaving Citizen Schools, he moved on to The Education Resources Institute, an organization that works to increase access to college. Currently the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success and Chief Diversity Officer at Wheelock College (Boston, MA), Adrian has demonstrated that postsecondary education has been a career interest of his. Indeed, he says he joined Citizen Schools to work on the pipeline to college. He believed that by high school, it was too late to reach out to students; with Citizen Schools, he would be working to provide necessary support for students early on in their educational career in the hope that they would move on to college.

Even though it was the only time in his career that he wasn’t working directly on access to college, Adrian doesn’t view his work with Citizen Schools as a fundamentally different endeavor. He says he has worked with a personal mission that has remained consistent throughout his career: “to serve and to be of service to others.” Specifically, he has committed to issues of educational access and equity. He has spent his professional life addressing the question, “how do you mitigate or eliminate the barriers that keep people from achieving learning goals, educational goals, or personal goals?”

At Wheelock, Adrian deals with that question in terms of student enrollment, retention, and diversity. He looks to provide institutional support for students who have struggled to find the resources or preparation necessary for college. Adrian calls his work at Wheelock a nexus of his social, intellectual and professional experiences. Also engaged in the national discourse of making higher education more affordable, Adrian still has a wide focus for education reform. Nonetheless, it is based on a system of change on the micro level. “I really believe education provides the necessary tools to mobilize people into a better quality of life. And that better quality of life permeates.” If social transformation is contagious, then Adrian has worked to spread it to as many communities as possible.