Caroline Damon

Board Member

The work I do: I am the VP of Academics for Chamberlin Education Foundation (CEF) where I oversee our grantmaking portfolio, partnering with West Contra Costa public schools to advance educational equity and academic excellence for all students, with a particular focus on Black, Latinx, and other historically under resourced students. Through my work at CEF, I collaborate closely with principals, teachers, and district leaders to improve academic outcomes by adopting high quality, standards-aligned instructional materials, strengthening instructional leadership systems, and engaging in the difficult work of shifting hearts and minds to build a school culture that respects the identity and intellect of all students.

 I joined the Foundation in 2015 and hold nearly two decades of experience in education policy and practice, as a former classroom teacher, instructional coach, and nonprofit leader. My worldview is firmly grounded in my experience as a high school ELA teacher in the Bronx, where I worked alongside extraordinarily creative and resilient students, families, and teachers to achieve record academic gains with our students. I later served as Director of External Engagement at Citizen Schools, a national education nonprofit that provides experiential learning opportunities to close opportunity gaps. I have also served as a faculty member at Mount Tamalpais College, teaching college-level writing courses to students who are currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. I am currently working toward an EdD from New York University, where I am studying how local philanthropic organizations can authentically partner with school districts to strengthen local accountability systems and achieve structural, long-lasting change. 

My connection to the work of Student Achievement Partners: I first became enamored with SAP on a 2018 trip to the Standards Institute in which I learned about the exemplary resource hub found within Achieve The Core. Since then, I have seen how resources like the Focus Documents/Major Works of The Grade, Coherence Map, and Instructional Practice Guides are foundational for schools looking to transform teaching and learning by embracing the instructional core. In 2021, the Chamberlin Education Foundation partnered with SAP to develop a Racially Inclusive ELA Fellowship for West Contra Costa teachers who were interested in adapting the EL Education curriculum to bring in a broader set of diverse texts and incorporate culturally responsive teaching strategies. I accepted the invitation to become a member of the SAP Board because I admire SAP's commitment to racial equity, academic excellence, content-rich and inclusive curriculum, and rigorous, culturally responsive instruction. SAP has been a leader in the field and I am honored to contribute to the mission.

 The perspective I bring to this board: Although I am no longer in the classroom, I am an educator at heart and will always view my work through an educator's lens. Since leaving the classroom, I have worked in fundraising and now in philanthropy for nearly the past decade, and I have built a knowledge base around nonprofit finances and sustainability. I am therefore eager to support SAP to strengthen its reach and its sustainability. Finally, as CEF has a place-based focus and is deeply embedded in partnership with one school district, I have gained perspective on the particular challenges, needs, and opportunities within historically challenged urban school districts.