Ayele Shakur

BUILD Boston’s Regional Executive Director, Ayele Shakur, is selected as a 2017 Barr Fellow

Ayele Shakur, BUILD Boston's Regional Executive DirectorBUILD Boston’s Regional Executive Director, Ayele Shakur, has been selected to join the Barr Fellows Class of 2017 in recognition of her outstanding leadership while serving Boston communities.

The Barr Fellow program, established by the Barr Foundation in 2005, is dedicated to cultivating a diverse network of exceptional community leaders in Boston. As a 2017 Barr Fellow, Shakur joins an elite group of twelve exemplary leaders who will partake in a two-year skill-building program, which includes a three-month sabbatical and facilitated retreats. Fellow’s organizations also receive a $100,000 grant to be invested in their respective community projects.

“It’s such an incredible honor to be counted among such distinguished peers in the nonprofit sector,” commented Shakur. “I’m grateful to the Barr Foundation and I’m humbled and excited to begin this adventure together with such amazing leaders.”

Shakur, a Boston native, has been an innovator in urban education for three decades. Prior to working with BUILD, she served as the President and CEO of the Boston Learning Center and worked as a public school teacher in Los Angeles and Boston. In 2014, she was appointed as Chair of the Education Committee for the Boston NAACP and, in 2015, she was appointed by the Boston School Committee to co-chair the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force for the Boston Public Schools.

“Ayele is an inspirational leader who models the qualities BUILD instills in our students: innovation, collaboration and perseverance,” said Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, founder and CEO of BUILD. “Since launching BUILD Boston six years ago, she has grown it into a model site, developing many successful innovations other BUILD regions have adopted. Ayele has built a tremendous community around her work and our mission. BUILD and the greater Boston community are so lucky to have her!”

Under Shakur’s leadership, BUILD Boston has grown rapidly in six years and now serves more than 400 students in six Boston high schools. BUILD’s mission is to serve students from low-income neighborhoods attending school with graduation rates below 60 percent. By harnessing the power of entrepreneurship in a four-year program, BUILD prepares students for life-long success. Students completing the BUILD program have a graduation rate of 97 percent and a college acceptance rate of 95 percent.

Shakur is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2012 Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us Award and the 2007 Nan Bennett Kay Great Friend to Kids Award. She has also made her mark as a motivational speaker, as a blogger for Huffington Post, and as the co-author of the book “Boost School Performance – A Parent’s Guide to Better Grades Fast.” Shakur holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Boston University and a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Join the Barr Foundation in honoring Ayele’s amazing leadership by making a gift to BUILD today!


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1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right


- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
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•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

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Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

Fill out this form to receive a free sample of our curriculum and to receive occasional email updates on how to bring BUILD to your community.