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The K-12 education nonprofit City Forward Collective Thursday announced veteran Milwaukee school leader Brittany Kinser will be the organization’s next president and executive director.
“Expanding educational opportunity is absolutely critical to Milwaukee’s future,” said Leslie Dixon, City Forward Collective board co-chair and recently retired executive at Baird. “City Forward Collective has quickly become an important piece of the city’s K-12 education ecosystem. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, and Brittany Kinser is the right leader to build on what we started.”
Most recently, Kinser was executive director of the Milwaukee region for the nationally recognized charter school network Rocketship Public Schools. For the past two years she also served as president of the Milwaukee Charter School Advocates. Her record includes success in launching new schools, organizing parents, fundraising, relationship building and political advocacy.
“Brittany has an impressive record of impact,” said Rashida Evans, a City Forward Collective board member and part of the search committee, as well as a partner at the national education nonprofit TNTP. “She brings the energy, experience, skills and commitment needed to maximize City Forward Collective’s strong momentum.”
Kinser’s selection was the result of a months-long nationwide search led by best-in-class recruiters at Promise54, which culminated in a unanimous vote by City Forward Collective’s search committee.
“City Forward Collective is at an exciting moment,” Kinser said. “Together, we will continue developing this organization to make the impact Milwaukee – and its kids – deserve.”
City Forward Collective works to ensure all Milwaukee K-12 students have equitable access to resources and high-quality schools by supporting programs to develop school leader and teacher talent pipelines; identifying necessary education policy reforms and advocating for them; and by awarding grants to increase the number of student seats available in high-performing schools.
Kinser will succeed Dr. Patricia Hoben, who launched City Forward Collective in 2019 out of the merger of education nonprofits PAVE and Schools That Can Milwaukee. Hoben built a team and steered the organization as it established and began to implement its core strategies – all while providing critical support to city schools as they navigated immense challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. She announced her pending retirement earlier this year.
“It has been an honor to launch and lead City Forward Collective,” Hoben said. “I’m profoundly grateful to our amazing staff team and all the educators, parents, community leaders and other stakeholders who have come together to create and execute the organization’s vision and strategic goals over the past three years.”
Under Hoben’s leadership, City Forward Collective recorded significant achievements, including:
- Raising more than $6.8 million for the direct programmatic support of schools, including new initiatives to recruit and train school leaders and teachers of color.
- Awarding $1.6 million in grants to help schools navigate COVID-19 and to recruit and retain teachers of color.
- Launching an education policy strategy that in its first year achieved legislative passage of a bill to improve Wisconsin’s School Report Card.
- Launching a parent engagement strategy that in its first 18 months has provided leadership training in community organizing to 83 parents of Milwaukee students. Graduates are now engaging in building a reform agenda and a range of advocacy activities, such as joining parents from Rocketship Public Schools to host a pair of mayoral candidate forums this spring that drew more than 200 attendees.
Kinser has already begun collaborating with City Forward Collective’s board and staff to help ensure a smooth transition. She formally assumes leadership of the organization on Monday, Sept. 19. To assist with the transition, Hoben will remain with City Forward Collective through the end of the year.
“We thank Patricia for taking on the leadership of City Forward Collective to get the organization firmly established,” said Austin Ramirez, board co-chair and CEO of Husco. “After building a great team and notching some key wins, we are grateful she has agreed to spend the rest of 2022 ensuring a seamless transition in leadership. We wish her the very best in her coming retirement.”
About Brittany Kinser
Kinser has spent her professional life as a teacher and education leader. After teaching in both Chicago and Japan, Kinser was recruited to help launch the IIT Math and Science Academy in Chicago, where she served as the founding Science and Special Education Instructional Leader. Starting in 2012, Kinser joined Rocketship Public Schools as an Assistant Principal in California before moving to Milwaukee to serve as Founding Principal at the network’s first school outside of California, Rocketship Southside Community Prep. The school’s strong results earned Rocketship the opportunity to open Rocketship Transformation Prep on the city’s north side. Most recently, Kinser has served as Executive Director of Rocketship’s Milwaukee region, which now serves 700 students across both school sites. For the past two years, Kinser has also served as President of the Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, supporting the city’s public charter schools in engaging parents and advocating for effective public policy.
Kinser holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Eastern Illinois University, a master’s degree in Designing Science Curriculum from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teachers College.
About City Forward Collective
City Forward Collective launched in June 2019 with a mission to secure Milwaukee’s future by ending educational inequity and ensuring every child has the opportunity to attend a high-quality school. To advance this mission, the organization will build capacity for 5,000 more high-quality school seats in Milwaukee K-12 schools by 2025 with three key strategies:
- High-Quality Schools: Expand existing high-quality schools, incubate new schools and improve promising schools
- Effective and Representative Talent: Increase the quantity, diversity and effectiveness of teachers and school leaders
- A Healthy and Improving Education Ecosystem: Foster conditions for a sustainable, high-quality three- sector system of schools that ensures continued investment in school improvement