Michele Cahill Rejoins Carnegie Coporation of New York as Vice President


Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York, has announced that Michele Cahill will rejoin the foundation as Vice President, National Program Coordination and Director of Urban Education, with responsibility for Corporation strategies emphasizing domestic, particularly urban education, priorities. Cahill will join the Corporation in mid-January.

"I'm proud that Michele, who is the architect of the Corporation's urban school reform program, has agreed to return to the foundation after a magnificent term of service to the City of New York," said Gregorian. "Michele's leadership and her deep understanding of urban school issues have been evident during her tenure as Senior Counselor to the Chancellor for Education Policy in the Bloomberg administration and she has served New York City well. In every way, the citizens of this great city can say their schools have improved under the Mayor, and Michele's intelligence, commitment and team skills have directly contributed to that success."

Cahill has served as a pivotal player in the revamped New York City Department of Education since Chancellor Joel Klein joined the Bloomberg administration and recruited Cahill from Carnegie Corporation. In addition to her leadership position in education policy, Cahill also served as Senior Executive for the Division of Youth Development and as a member of the Senior Leadership Team for Children First, the full-scale reorganization and reform of the New York City public schools. 

Cahill spent three years with Carnegie Corporation as Senior Program Officer in the Education Division. She was one of the first individuals hired by Gregorian to help shape the education priorities and strategies for his tenure as president of the nearly 100-year-old foundation, which has been a national leader in education issues and policy. 

"When I asked Michele to join the Corporation, I wanted someone with great depth of knowledge about how urban schools worked, someone who could analyze the issues facing America at the turn of the century, and someone who could work toward finding solutions," said Gregorian. "Michele was clearly the person to fit that tall order."

At the Corporation, Cahill focused on the high school as a lever of change. She was responsible for the vision and the establishment of Schools for a New Society, the Corporation's seven-city urban school reform experiment. She also created the New York City school reform effort known as New Century High Schools, a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Open Society Institute. While at the Corporation, Cahill also saw the need to spotlight district-level education change and established the Task Force on Urban District Reform. In his 1999 strategic plan, entitled New Directions, Gregorian also addressed these issues, writing: "Though there are excellent schools in America's cities, there are no urban school districts in which all the schools are of high quality. The present form of centralized administration of urban schools, developed in the progressive period of the early twentieth century, attempted to bring standardization and rationality to what had been a highly politicized collection of schools. Over the past decade there has been a drive to reduce district offices, which have become ineffective bureaucracies stifling creative initiative and to decentralize reform efforts to individual schools. While this removes some of the barriers for schools that can change themselves, it leaves the majority of schools without the services or supports needed to improve." Though some progress has been made in the past seven years, Cahill will continue to shape a reform agenda that focuses on district reform, and the challenge of globalization and income inequality on education and American democracy. 

"Michele Cahill's return to the Corporation is extremely exciting for us and for educators, policymakers and practitioners who share our values and belief that America's urban schools must change in order to meet the challenge of the 21st century's knowledge-based economy," said Helene Kaplan, Chair of Carnegie Corporation's Board of Trustees. "Michele's vision of reform, combined with her on-the-ground experience in reforming America's largest school system, makes her invaluable to the critical work of philanthropy in advancing the field of education. We are proud to have her rejoining in the Corporation's executive ranks."

Cahill joined the Corporation in 1999 from the Fund for the City of New York where she was Vice President and Director of the Youth Development Institute. Earlier, she served as Vice President and Director, School and Community Services, at the Academy for Educational Development; as Consultant on Urban Poverty to the Ford Foundation; as Director of the Communities Project at the Women's Education Institute; and as Director of the Urban Studies Program and Assistant Professor at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, New Jersey. 

Cahill has been published widely on economic, women's, urban affairs and education reform issues. She pursued doctoral studies in social policy and planning at Columbia University, has a Masters of Arts in Urban Affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.A. in Urban Affairs from Saint Peter's College, New Jersey. Cahill was honored with the United States Department of Education Mina Shaughnessy Scholar award in 1980.

Cahill is married and the mother of two daughters.

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 this world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $2.2 billion on September 30, 2005. The Corporation awards grants totaling approximately $80 million a year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.