Clear eyes * Full hearts * Can't lose
This is the battle cry of Coach Taylor, on
Friday Night Lights, one of our family's favorite TV shows. As I transition from REF Executive Director to a board member role, these words are especially resonant and powerful.
As you know, the challenges facing the Ravenswood community remain, and in many ways have grown worse despite the success of Silicon Valley. Today almost half of our students are in precarious housing situations such as sharing a small home with multiple families or living in a shelter. Also, the District grapples with serious budget challenges as it faces declining enrollment due to an increasing variety of educational options and families moving to less expensive areas. While I view this backdrop with clear eyes, I am more hopeful than ever about the future and want to tell you why.
As I reflect on where we've been and where we are going, I am both thankful and optimistic. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to the generous, talented, and dedicated people I have come to know in Ravenswood - school principals, teachers, volunteers, donors, board members, administrators, and yard duty staff. Also, I believe we're at a point where we have the required ingredients for a true transformation of the educational experience of Ravenswood students.
REF's solid foundation of long-term stability, commitment to the District, and vision for the future:
Collaborative and visionary District leadership:
Dynamic new leadership for REF's next phase:
This is the point in Friday Night Lights when the team rallies together to go win the football game in dramatic fashion. Of course we all know that success in real life is never guaranteed. However, unlike a game of football, this effort we've embarked on together is about children's lives and futures.
Thank you for supporting REF. I hope you will join us with a renewed determination that together we WILL succeed in ensuring that every child in our community has the opportunity for an excellent education and the hope that brings.
Executive Director, REF
Dear REF Friends:
I am thrilled to share the news that the Ravenswood Education Foundation (REF) has selected Jenna Wachtel Pronovost as our new Executive Director.
Jenna has spent 12 years in education and is passionate about reforming education so that all students have equal opportunity to learn and thrive. After receiving a B.A. in English Literature at Stanford, Jenna attended the Stanford Teacher Education Program focusing extensively on English language development, students with identified special needs, and building equitable classrooms.
She has been a classroom teacher both in Ravenswood and Palo Alto. In both districts she was a leader in reading recovery, literacy intervention, and teacher training. She is excellent at developing programs to meet the diverse needs of students.
Currently, Jenna is a Senior Director at the New Teacher Center, where she collaborates with and supervises a team of 15 educators to provide professional development to teachers, coaches, and school leaders around quality early learning teaching practices.
Jenna brings extensive work experience in education, top notch interpersonal skills, and dedication to the Ravenswood students and community. Her experience and insight will give a fresh perspective to REF and the district during an exciting time of growth and transition. The REF Board and I are delighted to welcome Jenna as our new Executive Director. Renu is committed to ensuring a smooth transition over the summer and will remain on the board.
I'm deeply grateful for your continued support of REF. It is because of partners like you that REF continues to grow and greatly enhance the lives of students.
President, REF Board
As important members of the REF community, I wanted to let you know that I intend to step down as Executive Director of the Ravenswood Education Foundation this summer. I will remain on the REF board and stay deeply involved in the community. I look forward to having a little more time to travel and visit family, improve my Spanish, and maybe perfect an omelet.
Being the ED of REF for the past eight years has been my dream job. REF has been an all-consuming passion and I've approached the role with the utmost sense of commitment and responsibility to the children, families, teachers and staff of the District. When I began, I was uncertain that I was up to the task. I had never run an organization, fundraised, managed a board, or worked in education. My overriding objective was to build a bridge in our community and create a shared sense of responsibility for educating all of our children. I am ever so grateful for volunteers, who lead with their hearts, donors, who open new opportunities for our students, Ravenswood educators, whose commitment and skill blow me away every day, and the families and students who deserve a quality education.
My transition is made easier by how much progress REF has made over the years and how much new hope and promise there is for the future in the District. Over the next few months, I hope to connect with you and thank you for your support of our community. I hope we can count on your continued commitment to REF, as your involvement has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children, and will continue to do so. Gina Sudaria, Interim Superintendent, is infusing everyone with her optimism and urgency to make improvements in our District. I am excited for the next chapter for Ravenswood.
The REF board has formed a Transition Committee to find a new Executive Director. As the board conducts its search in the coming months, it welcomes your input in identifying candidates. For more information please email here.
I know that together we will not only continue to do good work, but we can do transformative work. Please don't hesitate to reach out at any time.
Homelessness is the brutal reality for many Ravenswood school district students in eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto.
"Maddie told her friends what was happening when her family was staying in the garage and how it made her feel. Since many of them had been homeless themselves, they took it in stride. 'They told me it was fine,' she says. 'They said nobody has it easy.' In their world, homelessness is not a crisis. It’s part of life." -Mercury News Article
RAVENSWOOD EDUCATION FOUNDATION