Robert Hughes to Join the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as K-12 Director

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the appointment of Robert L. Hughes as director of the Foundation’s K-12 strategy, effective June 1, 2016.

Since 2000, Bob has served as president of New Visions, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of education children receive in New York City’s public schools.

During his tenure, Bob led the successful New Century High Schools initiative, which brought together teams of educators in partnership with the United Federation of Teachers, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the Department of Education, and over 220 community partners to design, incubate and launch nearly 100 small high schools in high-needs neighborhoods of the city. An independent evaluation by policy research firm MDRC has demonstrated the effectiveness of New York City’s small high schools, which have been shown to raise graduation rates by more than nine percentage points compared to comparison schools.

New Visions launched an innovative teacher preparation program with Hunter School of Education called the Urban Teacher Residency. A clinically-rich preparation program for new teachers that combines a year-long residency in a host school, expert mentorship and graduate level coursework at Hunter, this program has graduated more than 250 certified residents since its inception. Results of an independent evaluation demonstrate that graduates of the program not only have stronger retention rates than other early-career teachers, but also have a positive impact on students’ Regents exam test scores and course passage rates.

In 2011, under Bob’s leadership, New Visions launched the first of seven charter high schools, providing a project-based curriculum for students and offering an extended learning day and a focus on writing and college-ready skills. New Visions first two charter schools, Humanities and Advanced Math and Science, graduated their inaugural classes in 2015, and combined had a four-year graduation rate of over 80 percent.

“Working closely with New York City’s principals, teachers and most of all, students, New Visions has made a real difference in New York City schools.  This would not have been possible without the tireless energy, boundless enthusiasm, and dedication of New Visions staff,” said Bob Hughes. “For sixteen years, I have looked to my colleagues in schools and at New Visions with admiration, as they apply their talents and expertise to improving our public schools so that students can break the cycle of poverty and create meaningful lives for themselves in the city and in the world.  New Visions’ best work is still ahead of it. I will always be a champion of this amazing organization.”

Dick Beattie, New Visions’ founder and board chairman, has announced the creation of a board-led executive search committee.

“We could not be more proud of Bob Hughes and what New Visions has accomplished under his incredible leadership,” said Dick Beattie. “Combining his deep understanding of urban education, his creativity and his drive, Bob has acted with courage and insight to design innovative programs that improve outcomes for students. On behalf of everyone at New Visions, we offer him our deep gratitude for his commitment to New Visions and to the students of New York City public schools, and wish him the very best with his new challenge.”

In a statement, Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, said: "I echo the sentiments of Carnegie Corporation trustee Dick Beattie in praising Bob Hughes, who has been a tremendous leader of New Visions. He is innovative, enterprising and an astute administrator and observer of the field of K-12 education. Carnegie Corporation was, along with the Annenberg Foundation, one of the original funders of New Visions, and we are very proud of Bob and the organization he has helped build. We congratulate him and wish him the very best of luck for his continued success."

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