We are thrilled to announce that on June 6, 2018, our National Board of Directors unanimously voted in Ayele Shakur to serve as BUILD’s new CEO. Ayele founded BUILD’s Boston Region and has served as the Regional Executive Director for the past seven years. She has almost three decades worth of experience as an innovator in urban education and is a recognized leader in the movement to advance public education in Boston.
BUILD’s Founder, Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, decided to step down as CEO after 20 amazing years at the helm. She announced her decision last year and the board began the search for BUILD’s next leader, who, as it turns out, was already among us.
Suzanne will remain with BUILD in an external role as a “Founder in Residence” and Board Member, to help with the transition. She reflects on the first time she met Ayele almost a decade ago:
I met Ayele Shakur as I was interviewing for our inaugural Executive Director in Boston. Ayele had an intimate understanding of our students, real world experience in the classroom, was a respected leader in her community and as a non-profit founder in her own right had a deep connection with what I wanted to do with BUILD.
I remember sitting at the first Boston Gala in 2011 and watching Ayele inspire our students and guests. The National Board had flown to Boston to support her and I leaned over to the Board Chair and said “Someday I want this woman to lead BUILD!”
Ayele is a veteran classroom teacher who taught for eleven years in the Los Angeles area and Boston. She served as Chair of the Education Committee for the Boston NAACP for three years 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 listed in the GK100 Most Influential Black Bostonians roster and was recently inducted into the Barr Fellows Program, an elite cohort of outstanding nonprofit leaders in Boston.
Prior to coming to BUILD, Ayele served as the President and CEO of the Boston Learning Center for 15 years. Ayele co-authored the book Boost School Performance – A Parent’s Guide to Better Grades Fast and is a contributor to the Huffington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Boston University and a Master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
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