Democrats For Education Reform President Shavar Jeffries Joins KIPP Foundation Board Of Directors
New York, NY – May 22, 2019 — The KIPP Foundation is proud to announce Shavar Jeffries, the President of Democrats for Education Reform, has joined the Board of Directors. Jeffries helped build Newark’s KIPP TEAM Academy in 2002 and establish the charter movement in New Jersey.
“Shavar Jeffries has been a leader and advocate of social justice and equity in education all his life. He also comes to us as a KIPP parent. We will learn so much having him on our board,” said Richard Barth, KIPP Foundation CEO.
Since 2015, Shavar has led Democrats for Education Reform, a national political reform organization that cultivates and supports leaders in the Democratic party who champion America’s public school students.
“I believe every child should have the opportunity to have a quality education, and KIPP has been instrumental in making that a reality for tens of thousands of students,” said Shavar Jeffries, new KIPP Foundation Board Member. “I look forward to working with KIPP to further their critical mission of preparing students for success in college and in life.”
Born and raised in Newark, Jeffries lost his mother to violence and was raised by his grandmother, a public school teacher who instilled in him a love of education early on. While attending Newark Public Schools, he received a scholarship to attend Seton Hall Preparatory High School in West Orange and went on to be the first in his family to earn his Bachelor’s Degree, from Duke University. He later received his law degree from Columbia Law School.
As a law professor at Seton Hall Law School, he fought to implement a new funding formula for public charter schools that would allow urban charter schools access to the same supplemental money given to nearby public schools.
In 2014, Jeffries ran for mayor of Newark and made education reform a center piece of his campaign. Despite being a first-time municipal candidate, Jeffries’s reform platform gained broad support and he proved to be a formidable contender, obtaining over 46 percent of the vote—more votes than any other first-time municipal candidate in modern history.
He was the founding Board President of TEAM Academy Charter School, which is now KIPP TEAM Academy, Board President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark, and a board member of Seton Hall Preparatory School. In 2010, he was elected to the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board and was then unanimously selected by his colleagues to serve as Board President.
Shavar has received numerous honors for his client advocacy, including “40 Under 40” recognition by the National Bar Association as one of the nation’s top lawyers, the Garden State Bar’s Young Lawyer Award, the NAACP’s Freedom Fund Award, the Brendan Byrne Distinguished Public Servant Award, and recognition by New Jersey Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star.”
KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of 224 public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. Started in 1994 as a middle school program, KIPP has since expanded to enroll 96,000 students in all grades from PreK through high school. Nationwide, KIPP students complete their bachelor’s degree at a rate of 35 percent, comparable to the national average for all students and approximately three times higher than the average for students from low-income families.