Hayley hails from the mystical land of Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from Colgate University, with a geographic emphasis on Russia, Eurasia and the Caucasus. As part of her studies, Hayley spent time in both Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan studying resource management and development in the two post-Soviet societies. Before graduation, she interned for a youth advocacy NGO in Geneva, Switzerland, and a nonprofit historical society in Utica, New York, working to make it a more refugee-friendly space. Hayley is thrilled to enter the education reform sector as a member of the 50CAN team!
Hayley’s personality is made up of the last three television shows that she’s watched and the interesting people she surrounds herself with. She gravitates toward concerts and tacos and loves to unwind with a 1,000+ piece jigsaw puzzle.
I aspire to be like my dad. Here’s why:
My father will always be my greatest role model and best friend. His selflessness in the face of family adversity and humility within a society that takes itself far too seriously are traits I work to emulate every day of my life. In a world that desperately needs honest, kind and competent people, my father has taught me to stick to my principles, lend a helping hand to those in need—and not waste my time rooting for the Jets. I am incredibly grateful that, out of all the fathers in the world, I ended up with him.
Why I love my job:
Joining the 50CAN team puts me at the vanguard of issues concerning the historical foundations of education, cultural and sociological influences upon academic achievement and educational policy decisions that impact a student’s ability to access great schools and opportunities. The open and transparent nature of 50CAN’s operations provides me with the opportunity to learn from my brilliant colleagues and see the impact of their creative advocacy campaigns.
My connection to public schools:
I am a product of Stamford public schools where some equipment, textbooks and curricula hadn’t been updated since the turn of the century. I’ve witnessed the infamous achievement gap of Connecticut. Yet I was taught and mentored by educators who challenged me, molded me and advocated for student needs regardless of budget shortages or institutional support. Most importantly, I met and befriended people from different backgrounds and learned about the intersections of identities. That experience inspired me to become a better advocate for myself, for others and for the betterment of my community.
What I’m bad at:
Singing and dancing. Best believe you’ll still find me belting out Rihanna songs on the dance floor, though.
This image represents why I work at 50CAN:
One of my favorite musicians, Andrew McMahon, has a tattoo of an asterisk:
“The lines represent life and the things around you, but like an asterisk everything intersects with each other at some point … connecting everyone with everything around us.”
Education is a unifier. We can argue for social change most productively—and challenge institutions of authority most effectively—when we engage with many intersecting and opposing views. Only by having those conversations, and doing this work, can we come together to achieve a more just, equitable society.