About Achieve Hartford!

We are an independent nonprofit organization founded by business and community leaders with the belief that strong schools lead to a strong city. As Mayors, Boards of Education and Superintendents change over time, we are the consistent voice pushing for high-quality education in our city since 2008.

Who We Are

Our Mission

Through independent research, evaluation, and engaging the community, Achieve Hartford! creates urgency and shared responsibility for closing the educational achievement gap in Hartford.

Our Vision

In our envisioned future, the entire Hartford community values high-quality public education and maintains high expectations of both the schools and the children in Hartford. Students graduate prepared for college and career, thereby building a viable talent pipeline for local businesses and secure futures for Hartford residents.

Our Values

High Expectations:

We believe every participant in the educational system, including students, parents, teachers,community leaders, district leaders, and the Board of Education, has the capacity to perform at high levels and fulfill their highest potential.

Fact-Based Decision-Making:

We value the use of unbiased data and analysis as the platform for decision-making.


We believe that sustainable progress comes from the incorporation of all voices from across our community in the reform efforts.

Collective Action:

Only through shared responsibility and the alignment of efforts and resources will significant progress be made toward ensuring Hartford students succeed.

What we Do

We address three community needs.

Developing great schools require not only that the school system operate with excellence, but also our entire community. It takes a village to educate a child, and it is our job to help stakeholders play their unique set of roles for school improvement now, and long into the future.

Greater Accountability

Community Engagement

Problem solving

Credible information is needed to understand the challenges facing our schools. Monitoring progress helps ensure accountability for what matters most: student achievement.

To overcome the immense challenges facing urban education, stakeholder groups need to align resources towards very specific solutions. Communications and outreach must be delivered meaningfully and must move stakeholders to action.

Knowing there is a problem isn’t enough; it is critical that solutions be based on research that is specifically relevant to Hartford.

Our Approach

achieve hartford advocates for school children

We evaluate progress.

We track the performance of Hartford schools against the rest of the state and report on the impact of key reform strategies in Hartford, such as school governance councils, student-based budgeting, and school climate.

We hold the system accountable.

We publish data and information on student achievement, principal attrition, school spending, communications, college readiness, and other key indicators of a strong school system.

We create urgency.

Without bias or politicization, we create messaging, communications and events that encourage more stakeholders to get involved, including canvassing, rallies, Board of Education testimony, and letters to local newspapers.

We engage the community.

Through community conversations, workshops, social media, TV programming,neighborhood newspaper columns, our website, attending key events, our weekly e-publication, 1-on-1 meetings with stakeholders, and presentations in the community,we engage a diverse group of stakeholders.

We convene.

We lead and catalyze coalitions focused on solutions that significantly change practice and directly impact students.

We research solutions.

We commission independent research that explores critical questions within Hartford’s reform, such as how the school choice process works for families and why students aren’t
completing college on time.


Provide stakeholders with data on current and relevant education reform progress and school performance improvements.


Develop citywide awareness and make recommendations around vital issues in the advancement of student achievement.


Collect research and data to provide each stakeholder group with individualized, cutting edge, solution-oriented, information on relevant education reform topics.

Our team


Paul Diego Holzer

Executive Director

Derrick Alan Everett

Chief Engagement Officer

Christine Homa

Development Director

Chris Marcelli

Program Manager

Luis Olmo-Rivera

Operations Associate

Nyesha McCauley

Communications & Community Engagement Manager

Board Members

George Phillip ‘Phil’ Waldeck


Prudential Financial Services

Devi Mohanty


The Hartford

James Bedard


United HealthCare

Diane D. Bengston

Vice Chair


Michelle M. Morey

Vice Chair

Business Strategy Consultant

Thom Cranley

Ernst & Young


Julie Daly Meehan

MetroHartford Alliance

Lawrence Davis

Webster Bank

Ted Fleming


Richard Pummell


Stefanie Chambers


Trinity College

Glenn Gollenberg

S/L/A/M Collaborative

Jacquelyn Santiago

Compass Youth Collaborative

Alan Hadad

University of Hartford

George Thomson


Sandra Chafouleas

Professor, UCONN