Earlier this summer, we shared the news that Derrell Bradford was stepping into the role of 50CAN president with a focus on matching this historic era in American education with bold ideas and energetic advocacy campaigns.
Today, we’re completing this investment in the leadership needed to guide 50CAN into its next decade of work by welcoming Michele Mason as 50CAN’s Chief Operating Officer.
This is something of a homecoming for Michele, who previously served as Deputy Director for JerseyCAN and in the inaugural cohort of 50CAN’s National Voices Fellowship. She is an advocate with deep commitment and an unwavering belief in the power and potential of children.
Born and raised in Willingboro, New Jersey–the same hometown of Olympian Carl Lewis, as she’ll proudly inform you–Michele is quite the athlete in her own right, having played Division I varsity soccer at the College of William and Mary. She subsequently attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she earned a master’s degree in education policy and management.
Michele began her career in education as a college counselor at KIPP, where she saw firsthand how students could thrive when they had committed educators who believed in them and saw their full potential. She went on to serve as the Director of College Access & Success at North Star Academy charter school and Managing Director of Alumni Affairs for Teach For America’s Newark region. In 2014, she joined 50CAN to serve as the founding leader of advocacy campaigns in Camden, New Jersey, where she brought an unwavering focus on expanding educational opportunities for all students.
For the past five years, Michele served as the Executive Director of the Newark Charter School Fund, where she raised historic investments to support the growth of the city’s charter schools, while using her powerful voice and advocacy expertise to make the case for student-centered change.
Michele, at her core, is a connector, having built exemplary coalitions and partnerships in every role she’s had throughout her impressive career while always putting the needs of students first. At a time when we all must join hands to deliver real change for kids, we are thrilled to take on this new era of education advocacy together.