Who We Are

We are a group of private sector leaders coming from local companies, nonprofits, higher education, and philanthropy working to ensure educational success for Hartford students from high school through post-secondary degree-completion.

Our Mission

To close the opportunity and achievement gap in Hartford and build a viable talent pipeline for our region and state.

Our Vision

We envision Hartford as the state’s leading talent hub, with our city’s young people well placed in careers and the cycle of poverty ended.  We envision a city where leaders from all sectors share ownership of education outcomes and all students attain a post-secondary degree and enter the workforce ready.

What We Do

We organize, coach and inspire individuals to solve pressing problems in education and, in the process, change how leaders work together.

Paul Holzer

Executive Director

Paul has led the organization since 2011, bringing a combination of education, nonprofit management, and entrepreneurial experience to bear on the daily oversight of Achieve Hartford’s endeavors.

Prior to graduating from the Yale School of Management with his MBA in 2009, Paul was Director of Higher Education at the Latin American Youth Center, Washington DC’s leading youth development organization, where he directed four college preparatory programs targeting “first-generation” students.

Paul was a founding board member of the YouthBuild Public Charter School, Washington DC’s only bilingual vocational school, where he served as an administrator and teacher. Paul also administered over $480,000 in post-secondary education scholarships through Washington DC’s New Futures Scholarship in a six-year period, and ran social enterprise ventures for Breaking Ground, New York City’s premier supportive housing provider.

He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in English focused on African American and Native American Literature as well as his Secondary Teaching Certification from Dartmouth College in 2000.

Nyesha McCauley

Storyteller and Communications Leader

One of the many unique capabilities that Nyesha brings to Achieve Hartford! is a fine-grained familiarity with the cultural, political, and neighborhood issues that concern Hartford residents.

She has examined the fabric of the city throughout her 11 years as Senior Program Coordinator at Hartford Public Access Television, in the process teaching Hartford residents, neighborhood organizations and community groups to use the power of media as a vehicle for change. Moreover, she has interviewed former governors, mayors and community leaders extensively, as part of her research into community concerns. At the same time, she also has forged relationships in dozens of citywide event settings, from parades to forums, Hartford Board of Education meetings to city elections, and City Council meetings to budget hearings.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bay Path University.

Chris Marcelli

Program Manager and Evaluation Lead

Chris has worked in Institutional Effectiveness, where he built and implemented a new system for the assessment of co-curricular programs, conducted financial projections and peer institution analyses, and administered a $10,000 mini-grant fund.

Prior to that, he worked in Performance Management at the Department of Children and Families, where he gained experience with the Results Based Accountability framework and collaborated with the staff of the CT General Assembly’s Committee on Children on the RBA Report Card project.

Chris has a B.A. in Sociology and Economics from Central CT State University and a MPA from the University of CT

Tim Goodwin

Coalition Organizer Lead

Tim has worked in education for over 20 years, including 18 years as a teacher and administrator, and 8 years as an Executive Director leading education non-profit organizations in the Hartford area.

Under his leadership Hartford Youth Scholars and Community Farm of Simsbury were founded and developed into strong and sustainable non-profit organizations. Currently they have provided educational access to thousands of Hartford children, improving the lives of countless families.

Most recently, Timothy was the Executive Director of Hartford City Mission, a non-profit organization serving North Hartford families. As the Principal at the Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School (CAA Weaver) from September 2013 through June 2015, Timothy oversaw several school wide improvement initiatives, including an enrollment increase of 19%, MAP participation rate increase of 102%, the average student RIT score in reading up 300%, the average student RIT score in math up 250%, behavioral referrals down 70%, attendance up 8%, and chronic absenteeism down 16%.

Timothy has his M.Ed. from Springfield College and his 6th Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. His consistent work on behalf of Hartford children has established him as a leader in understanding the city’s persistent achievement gap and developing improvement initiatives to address it.

Theresa Sullivan Barger

Communications Specialist

Theresa is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Hartford Courant, Family Circle, and several national business, health and higher education magazines.

In her early years as a Courant staff writer, she covered crime in Hartford and got to know the city’s neighborhoods. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She has provided writing services as a consultant to Achieve Hartford! since its beginning.

She has a B.A. in English literature from Marist College and extensive professional development training.

Who Backs Us

Board Chair

  • Phil Waldeck
  • President and CEO
  • Prudential Retirement

Board VP

  • Diane Bengston
  • Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Travelers Insurance

Board VP

  • Michelle Morey
  • Business Strategist and Consultant
  • Occulus Partners LLC

Board Treasurer

  • Jim Bedard
  • CFO
  • UnitedHealthcare Northeast Region

Board Secretary

  • Ted Fleming
  • Head of Aetna University
  • Aetna

 

  • Alan Hadad
  • Associate Dean and Dean of Magnet Schools
  • University of Hartford
  • Sandy Chafouleas
  • Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
  • Department of Educational Psychology
  • UConn Neag School of Education
  • Co-Director
  • UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH)
  • Stefanie Chambers
  • Professor of Political Science
  • Department Chair
  • Trinity College
  • Richard Pummell
  • Entrepreneurial Senior Operations & Human Resources Executive / Consultant
  • Glenn Gollenberg
  • Principal
  • The S/L/A/M Collaborative
  • Thom Cranley
  • Principal
  • Ernst & Young
  • Julie Daly-Meehan
  • Vice President of Investor Engagement and Retention
  • MetroHartford Alliance
  • Lawrence Davis
  • Sr. Vice President
  • Commercial Banking
  • Webster Bank
We Value
  • Action

  • Results

  • Systemic Change

  • Bold leaders who force hard conversations

  • putting kids first when reconciling different interests

  • Leaders who collaborate to the point of interdependence

  • Using data to understand what really works and drive decisions

  • “Test and Learn” approaches

  • Leveraging best practices from anywhere

  • Community voice

Contact Us
  • Achieve Hartford!
    221 Main Street, #3
    Hartford, CT 06410

  • (860) 244-3333

  • [email protected]

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