Prudential Foundation VP Named Board Chair of Newark Trust for Education
Prudential Foundation Vice President Shané Harris has been appointed chair of the board of the Newark Trust for Education, the city’s independent local education fund dedicated to developing, coordinating and focusing ideas, resources and expertise to improve education for all children in Newark.
Harris replaces Dr. Clement A. Price, a Rutgers–Newark Distinguished Professor of History who served as the Trust’s founding Board Chair. Price will continue as a member of the Board of Directors and chair of its nominating committee.
“Shané Harris is the right leader at the right time to move the Trust to its next level of impact and effectiveness,” said Ross Danis, president and CEO of the Newark Trust for Education.
“I have come to know Shane Harris not only in her capacity as a Board member and now Board chair, but as a highly dedicated and extremely knowledgeable non-profit executive,” Danis said. “I am looking forward to working closely with her as she takes the reigns of the organization that she helped build. “
Danis said Harris was instrumental in launching the Newark Trust for Education as a local education fund—one of 80 LEF’s operating in 36 states, serving over 12 million students that are part of the Public Education Network (PEN).
Harris played a crucial role in organizing and supporting a two-year process that involved more than 100 Newark community stakeholders. She was named to the board in November 2010 and elected vice chair in June 2011.
“We have a terrific Board that collectively represents over 250 years of experience working in Newark on behalf of children and their education,” Harris said. “I am honored to serve as Chair of such a distinguished Board, and to pursue such a worthwhile endeavor.”
At the Prudential Foundation, Harris is responsible for the management of Foundation staff and program strategy, while overseeing the distribution of $25 million in annual Foundation grants. Harris oversees education policy for Prudential’s Community Resources Department and advises senior management on the support of education issues.
Danis and Harris recently participated in the Public Education Network’s 18-month leadership training institute for leaders of new Local Education Funds. Additionally, Harris recently completed the PEN Leadership Institute held in Raleigh, North Carolina during the first week of May.
This institute focused on building board capacity to pursue a bold educational mission, as well as exchanging lessons learned, and best practices with partner Local Education Funds across the United States.
“I have seen first hand how the Public Education Network’s Local Education Fund’s can make a significant improvement in education outcomes in challenging environments throughout cities all over America,” Harris said. “I am looking forward to assisting in expanding the capacity and impact of the Trust, while working side by side with community leaders, policymakers, and educators to ensure that all Newark’s children have the education they deserve.”
Since its launch in January 2011, the Trust has designed and launched four major initiatives, and raised over $2 million from 12 foundations to support the alignment and coordination of resources in support of public education reform efforts in Newark.
In addition, the Trust continues to inform and engage the public around critical education issues. Most recently the Trust’s Committee of Advocates hosted a candidates forum for the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board election that attracted more than 300 citizens. The event was streamed live on the internet and broadcast in rotation on local cable access channels in the weeks leading up to the election.
Danis said the Trust was fortunate to have Price as its founding board chair.
“Dr. Price is in a class by himself. Who could ask for a better founding board chair? There is no question in my mind that we would not be here without him,” Danis said. “The good news is that he remains on the Board.”
Price said his goal as serving as the founding chair was to see the organization through its initial launch and step aside when it was stabilized and on track to succeed.
“Because Newark has been my home and the center of my academic life for over a quarter of a century, and because I care deeply about our youth, serving as the founding Board chair of the Newark Trust ranks among the most meaningful and important civic responsibilities of my public life here in Newark,” Price said.
“I look forward to supporting Shané, our new Board Chair, and to continuing to work with the board to ensure that our children have access to the education they all deserve,” Price said. “If past is, indeed, prelude to the future, the Trust will continue to have a positive impact on the landscape of education reform in Newark and beyond.”