As PEJ embarks on its new partnership with the 50CAN network, I want to recognize the outstanding work of Ralia Polechronis, who has served as PEJ’s fearless leader and executive director over the past two years.

Ralia’s passion and her keen legal expertise have laid the foundation for PEJ to further its mission, pursuing education advocacy through litigation and empowering families and communities to improve public education through the courts. Under Ralia’s leadership, PEJ has launched new landmark education lawsuits in Minnesota and New Jersey, built coalitions across the country for families seeking justice, and most recently, partnered with 50CAN to strengthen the chapter in the education reform movement utilizing legal strategies for educational equity.

I first met Ralia two years ago during my interview at PEJ, and I have had the great fortune of working alongside her and learning from her ever since. Her intelligence, strategic mind and commitment to families is truly inspiring.

Today, Ralia passes the torch to me as the new executive director of PEJ. I am looking forward to continuing our work with the parent plaintiffs in PEJ’s teacher quality cases, and to launching new initiatives with the 50CAN network that will expand the scope of legal strategies improving public education for kids all across the country.

As one of PEJ’s first new initiatives, we will be forming a Legal Advisory Board to expand the network of attorneys participating in our education law reform work. This board will provide attorneys with opportunities to participate in our work on a pro bono basis, and for PEJ to learn and grow from the Board’s oversight and legal expertise. I’m thrilled to share that Ralia will be joining the Legal Advisory Board to continue her trailblazing work with us.

I speak for myself and the millions of parents and families Ralia has worked to support when I say that PEJ will miss Ralia dearly and wish her great success in all that she does. I look forward to writing the next chapter in education law reform with all of you.

Alissa is the executive director of Partnership for Educational Justice, an affiliate of 50CAN. She lives in New York City.


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