Saying Goodbye to a Giant

A former journalist who covered civil rights and school finance cases in the federal and state courts, Kent Ashworth was an incredible find for Achieve Hartford! back in 2010. In honoring his departure from Achieve Hartford!, we start by recognizing that we could not have become what we have without the incredible contributions of Kent Ashworth.

“Back then, we were really just getting our feet under ourselves and operating as a start-up nonprofit, so bringing on someone with Kent’s experience to shape and write our flagship communications tool Education Matters! was a big deal,” said Executive Director Paul Diego Holzer.  Iterating both the content parameters and the design for Ed Matters! each year, Kent helped the organization find its voice while creating a valuable window into education in Hartford for so many readers.

Now, as Achieve Hartford! takes its focus in a new direction focused more directly on student outcomes, Ed Matters! is restructuring and so is the small staff.  “After seven years as our Lead Writer, we owe Kent a huge debt of gratitude, and both the staff and the board of directors acknowledge his contribution to the small organization he helped shape all these years,” Holzer added.

Kent brought a lifetime of wisdom into interviews and his writings on leadership, equity in education, and speaking out about injustice. Whether coming from his time covering as a journalist the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress to working on the ground on criminal justice and recidivism issues down in New Orleans, his context has been rich.  Also, having served previously as Director of Dissemination for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), as well as Public Information Officer in Trenton, New Jersey for eight years, Kent brought his experience in – and his passion for – America’s cities, always focusing on the intersection between urban problem-solving and the interests of children.

“I can’t tell you how many times Kent diagnosed the problems in Hartford so accurately, based on what he had seen elsewhere,” Nyesha McCauley noted.  “We’ve taken so much from Kent these past seven years and I know we are all going to try hard to hold on to that unique disposition he had to always get perspectives from those on the ground who know the work, and to always try and keep people honest.”

In honoring Kent’s contribution to Achieve Hartford! and to the City as a whole, we invite you to read a few of his Education Matters! stories from over the years, as well as a few of his publications, listed in chronological order:

Adamowski final Hartford days interview

Keeping the HBOE honest on attendance

Principal attrition in Hartford

Edfocus publication on principal attrition

2016 Annual Letter to Stakeholders

Recommendations on Sheff

Interview with departing Superintendent Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez

From all of the staff at Achieve Hartford!, and the board of directors, we say thank you, Kent Ashworth, for your non-stop dedication to the children, families, educators and advocates of Hartford.

 

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