Yuet Chu, Network Leader
- What is your current role and professional history?
I proudly lead a network of 28 schools across the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn that span pre-k to twelfth grade. Prior to joining the Empowerment then Children First Network (CFN) initiative, I was the middle school director at School of the Future (SOF) – a secondary school that serves a diverse population of sixth through twelfth grader students where graduation is not determined by standardized tests but rather by demonstrated mastery of essential ideas in every subject. SOF was my home for 10 years as a math and science teacher.
- What do you do to continuously develop yourself professionally?
Collaborating with like-minded folks is the most effective professional development. I seek out my network leader colleagues to engage in school visits together – instructional rounds, quality review simulations, sharing best practices … and to brainstorm together through consultancies and other structured conversations. Of course, the most compelling lessons arise when I am in schools – working alongside principals and their staff.
- Why do you believe your role as a Network Leader is a critical lever to student achievement?
The heart of our work is facilitating school improvement through support of school leaders and their staff. Everything we do centers on how we can minimize distractions and demands on principal time, to maximize their time with teachers and students. I am extremely proud of the work my team has done over the past five years in elevating levels of achievement for all subgroups – from English Language Learners (ELL) to Integrated Collaborative Teaching (ICT) students, to highly proficient math students.
- Tell us about one or two personal or professional experiences that have shaped you as a leader.
9/11 occurred a few days after I became the assistant principal at School of the Future. I will forever be in awe of the leadership of our intrepid principal – Kathy Pelles – and the collective desire to protect our kids … a coming together born of trust and true community. I am indebted to Kathy Pelles and other mentors who have appeared at opportune moments to push me forward on my journey.
- What is unique about leading in New York City?
New York City is a place like no other. The scope of our diversity is unmatched. The Department of Education serves over a million students. The Department itself affords a multitude of opportunities for dedicated folks to grow into leaders. We manage transportation and food on a daily basis that serves more people than small nations. In our 1700+ schools, very different leaders make significant changes for a variety of kids. In my network alone, we have schools on Madison Avenue, in the Frank Gehry building, near Yankee Stadium and our newest in Brownsville. Our school leaders are all amazing in very distinct ways as reflections of their school community.