Joe was sworn in as the Ward 6 representative to the State Board of Education on January 2, 2015. He is a parent and community leader committed to improving public schools for all students.
I have lived with my wife, Amy, and our children, Malia and William, at 14th and C Streets, NE. For nearly 15 years, I have worked with our Ward 6 school leaders, educators, parents and students to understand challenges we face, celebrate successes and problem-solve at the school level. My years of service mean I know the issues facing our public school systems like few others. And, as a parent, I have faced the same decisions as other parents as we choose the best education for our children.
Outside of my work on the Board, I am active in our community volunteering at my kids’ schools and as a coach with Capitol Hill Little League. I have served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting our neighborhood’s students, including Jenkins Hill Child Development Center, the Hill Preschool, and Serve Your City. I regularly volunteer at Eliot-Hine Middle School and Eastern High School leading the schools’ Rocketry Clubs. I also serve as a mentor, leading professional development workshops, to help Eastern students prepare for -- and succeed in -- internship opportunities. My children both attend Eliot-Hine Middle School where I am active on the PTO and School Improvement Team (SIT). I also serve on the Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) at Eastern High School and have previously served on PTAs, SITs, and LSATs for other schools in the community.
Joe was elected in 2014 and was sworn in as the Ward 6 representative to the State Board of Education on January 2, 2015. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in education and criminal justice policy and community organizing experience to the position.
My involvement in our Ward 6 schools began when I attended a 2004 meeting where DCPS leaders proposed the closure of Maury Elementary, my neighborhood elementary school. I worked with other community leaders to mobilize support to keep the school open and, ultimately, my wife and I made the choice to enroll Malia and William at Maury. Since that time, I have worked hand-in-hand with parents from across Ward 6 to help solve the challenges that our individual schools have faced. I have testified before the Council to help ensure that we have experienced, high-quality teachers in every classroom; to ensure each student has access to library books, computers and other resources they need; and to move school modernization and stabilization projects forward with the community’s voice at the table. I have long been an outspoken advocate for efforts to close the District’s achievement gaps and am committed to ensuring that every student has multiple options to receive the rich, well-rounded education that they deserve.
My professional experience adds to my ability to broker agreements and promote solutions at the State Board table as well as in making connections for school communities trying to solve problems. I began my career in the District nearly two decades ago as a legislative aid in the Illinois Governor’s Washington, DC office where I supported the state’s goals on education and criminal justice issues. After several years of working on national policy related to criminal justice, including efforts to end the death penalty, I returned to education policy supporting state campaigns across the nation to expand childcare and early education. During this time, I helped “win” millions of dollars to expand early learning opportunities across the nation and was deeply engaged in helping to establish the District’s Pre-K for All program.
I currently serve as the Executive Director of Companies for Causes, a non-profit organization working to engage socially-minded CEOs of closely held small and mid-sized companies to make a collective impact on our community. In this role, I have helped engage for-profit businesses in our city’s schools, both DCPS and public charter schools, and supported the establishment of new organizations designed to combat challenges facing our communities.
Prior to my election to the State Board, I also served on the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) Title I Committee of Practitioners and helped to establish Serve Your City, which supports after school programming for students across our city.
I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I earned a Masters degree in political science from Illinois and an MBA from the University of Maryland at College Park.