Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

In three short years, RI-CAN has proven that even a little state like Rhode Island can accomplish big things for kids.

It has built a movement of Rhode Islanders 10,000 strong, brought a nationally renowned charter school to Providence, and sparked a new, statewide conversation about what’s possible for Rhode Island schools.

We’ve spent the last few months searching for a leader ready to build on those accomplishments and take RI-CAN to the next frontier in the fight to ensure great schools for all.

Today, I have the happy task of introducing you to that leader. Meet Christine Lopes, RI-CAN’s new executive director.

We first met Christine through our work with the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, RI-CAN’s trusted partner in the effort to attract, support and scale up high-performing charter schools in the Ocean State. As RIMA’s chief strategy officer, she fought alongside the RI-CAN team to bring Achievement First to Rhode Island, helping to raise awareness, organize parents and ultimately give Providence families the great school option they deserve.

Her work at RIMA is impressive, but her track record fighting for kids reaches even further back. As the field director for the Early Education for All campaign, she led the field effort to bring universal, high-quality pre-K to the Bay State.

She is a passionate and talented advocate—just the kind of leader RI-CAN needs to give every student in Rhode Island access to a great public school. Already she and Ashley Daigneault, RI-CAN’s deputy director, are hard at work preparing for the upcoming legislative session.

I am thrilled to welcome Christine into the CAN family and look forward to watching her continue the important work RI-CAN began three years ago. Under her leadership, RI-CAN will make sure every child in the state has the chance to attend a great school. Because great schools change everything.

–Vallay Varro, Senior Vice President of States



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