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StudentsFirst, a bipartisan grassroots education reform movement, announced key new hires as the organization transitions into its next phase of development. The new hires include individuals with a breadth of knowledge and experience in politics and nonprofit management. They will all work of out the StudentsFirst headquarters located in Sacramento, California.
“I am thrilled to welcome these talented and passionate people to the effort of transforming public education," said StudentsFirst CEO and founder, Michelle Rhee. "As we enter the New Year, I am confident that these new members of the StudentsFirst team will build upon our past successes and fight for common sense education policies across our nation."
As president, Kahlil Byrd is tasked with guiding the overall mission of StudentsFirst. He works with Rhee, the senior team, and the Board, to shape the organization’s long-term strategy, operations, budget, and key effort to pass state legislation geared towards ensuring a quality public school education for children across America. A veteran operating and communications professional with an extensive career in US domestic politics, Kahlil is the former CEO of Americans Elect. He led the national start-up, which had the twofold mission of re-imagining, through technology, the U.S. presidential primary system and placing a bi-partisan presidential ticket on all 50 state ballots. More than 8,000 people worked on the project, raising over $40 million, while millions of people signed on to the website, signed state ballots and served as volunteers. Prior to Americans Elect, Kahlil served as communications director for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
Kahlil earned his B.A. in political science from Morehouse College and his master's degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
"StudentsFirst is entering a new phase of aggressive building in 2013," said the new president. "The next two years are focused on sharpening our efforts to change the policy landscape state by state. This will happen by adding the people and resources that will make StudentsFirst the most effective new player transforming education reform."
Additional hires include Kellen Arno, vice president of membership; Lawrence Green, national director of outreach; and Jessica Ng, regional press secretary.