Citizen Schools announced today that Co-Founder and CEO Eric Schwarz plans to step down from his executive role by the end of 2014 and that the organization is starting a search for a new CEO. The organization has formed an eight-member search committee that includes Board chair Andrew Balson, Chair-elect Larry Summers, President Emily McCann, and former board chair Sherif Nada, who will chair the committee; the board has hired Isaacson Miller to support the search and expects to appoint a new CEO by the start of the 2014-15 school year.
Schwarz said the timing is good for a transition with a strong new chairman, Larry Summers, in place, an outstanding leadership team, deep corporate partnerships, a clear strategic plan, and a soon to be released external evaluation report showing strong results for the Citizen Schools Expanded Learning Time model.
Schwarz said he plans to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in the higher education area and will stay engaged with Citizen Schools as an adviser and “doing anything the new CEO and the board want me to do.” He is currently a member of the board and executive committee and will serve as an adviser to the search committee. Schwarz said he has no deadline for departing and will stay until a new CEO is selected and on-boarded. The goal is to identify the new CEO by mid-summer and have them start by Labor Day, with Schwarz leaving on October 1.
President Emily McCann said that she and the organization’s six-member Executive Team and 18-member Leadership Team have been meeting with Schwarz about the upcoming transition and are prepared to continue improving and growing the organization. “Eric is an extra-ordinary visionary but he has also worked hard with the board and the senior team to put in place a clear strategic plan, a stronger than ever board and leadership team, great funding partners, and an increasingly powerful track record,” said McCann. “We have a solid foundation to build upon and an opportunity in the coming decade to establish a national Expanded Learning Time model that fundamentally changes and improves educational opportunity.”
Andrew Balson, who has been chair of the board since 2006, and who will remain on the board after Summers becomes chair next month, said “Eric has been a wonderful leader for Citizen Schools over the past nineteen years. He has grown the organization from a concept to a nationally recognized leader in education reform that improves the educational attainment of thousands of students every year. As great leaders do, Eric has worked with the board and senior team at Citizen Schools to put in place a clear strategy, a strong team, and a clear and thoughtful transition plan. While we will miss Eric’s daily leadership, he leaves a strong organization that has achieved great results with students and is expanding rapidly.”
Chair-elect Larry Summers said: “It is the mark of a great organization that when a strong leader moves on another one takes his or her place. I have gotten to know Eric Schwarz over the last year and have enormous admiration for all he has accomplished since founding Citizen Schools nineteen years ago. I look forward to being part of the process of identifying a new leader who can build on the very strong foundation that now exists and take Citizen Schools to a new and higher level in the struggle for equality of opportunity.”
Schwarz is also the Executive Chairman of US2020, a STEM mentoring initiative that is being incubated by Citizen Schools and will become an independent organization in July. Schwarz said he expects to stay engaged on the US2020 board but to wrap up any executive role in late 2014 or early 2015.
Isaacson Miller will support the search for the new CEO and will post the position on its website, by end of day Jan. 15. The final position description will be posted Jan. 27.
Inquiries about the position can be made to John Muckle, who is coordinating the search, at firstname.lastname@example.org.