Carnegie Corporation Announces New Leadership For Urban High School Reform Initiative

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation, announced today the appointment of Constancia Warren, an expert in school reform who has been a key player on the Corporation’s urban school program, Schools for a New Society, as senior program officer and director of the Urban School Reform Initiative in the Education Division. Warren succeeds Michele Cahill, who leaves the Corporation to join Schools Chancellor Joel Klein as Senior Counselor for Education Policy in New York City.

“Connie Warren assures continuity, commitment and confidence in the Corporation’s strategies to achieve excellence in the nation’s urban schools, particularly in our efforts to redesign the high school,” says Gregorian. “And we are so pleased that we are able to tap into Connie’s experience with the Schools for a New Society initiative during her years as the leader of our technical assistance team as well as benefit from her experience and achievements in building public-private partnerships in education.” 

Warren's involvement in high school reform dates back to the early 1980s, when she was part of the planning team that created the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, a small science-oriented public high school in New York City. More recently, during her seven years at the Academy for Educational Development (AED), where she was Senior Program Officer, Warren headed teams providing evaluation, technical assistance and other support to a series of school initiatives across the country. Recently she directed a learning network of the local school-community collaboratives in seven cities that received implementation grants under the Corporation’s Schools for a New Society high school reform initiative. As part of the initiative, each city is undertaking community and district-wide reforms of its secondary education system to guarantee all students an excellent preparation for college or secure employment. Under Warren's leadership, AED's technical support team also provided a combination of on-site and long-distance support to the local planning collaboratives in each of these cities.

“The loss of Michele Cahill is a gain for the city of New York schools, which are of particular interest to us and our reform work,” says Gregorian. “Because Michele and Connie worked together on these initiatives, the transition in leadership will be seamless. We also expect Michele to work closely with us on theNew Century High Schools Consortium for New York City, a $30 million collaboration of the Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Society Institute.”

Cahill, a leader in innovative education, designed and implemented the Corporation’s ambitious national program to redesign America’s inner city high schools, which won recognition and attention from educators, urban leaders and scholars in her brief three years at the Corporation. Under her leadership, other foundations, youth development organizations and higher education have been mobilized to create a movement for national reform of the large American urban high school.

During Warren’s career at the Academy for Educational Development, she directed AED's two-phase evaluation of the New York City Beacons initiative, a complex strategy for building school-community-family partnerships by creating community centers in public schools. Cahill played an important role in developing the Beacons program during that time. Previously, Warren also directed a three-year evaluation of New Jersey School-Based Youth Services Program, an initiative integrating a range of support services for adolescents and their families in centers in or near 29 high schools throughout the state.

Prior to joining AED in 1989, Warren was director of adolescent pregnancy and health programs at the Center for Public Advocacy Research, where she worked to expand school-based health services for adolescents in New York State. She also organized a coalition of New York City non-governmental organizations, service providers, and public officials to improve policies and practices in the education of pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers, co-chairing the New York City Chancellor’s Working Group on the Education of Pregnant and Parenting Adolescents. She also worked in the Office of Policy Analysis and Planning of the New York City Board of Education, focusing on high school redesign and school system-university collaboration.

Warren serves on the Steering Committee of the National Alliance on the American High School. She also was an evaluation consultant to the Mott Foundation and served on its Evaluation Task Force for the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Initiative. Her teaching experience includes ninth grade English in an independent high school and in the government department of John Jay College, part of the City University of New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bryn Mawr College and a doctorate in political science from Columbia University.

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote "the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in the world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $1.7 billion on September 30, 2001. The Corporation awards grants totaling approximately $75 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.