When we launched WeGrow, we didn’t want to start just another school. We wanted to create a way to nurture children’s minds, hearts, and spirits, and to deliver a model that will allow kids to explore and expand the passion, creativity, and curiosity they all naturally possess. As a mother of five myself, I can think of no worthier challenge. And no challenge this meaningful could ever be tackled by any one person.
With that, we’re delighted to announce that Adam Braun has joined us as WeGrow’s chief operating officer, and will help us deliver on our mission of unleashing every human’s superpowers by reimagining education not only for children, but for learners in all stations of life.
Adam is no stranger to world-changing missions: In 2008, he started Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for children in developing countries. He did it in the same way most entrepreneurs do, by bootstrapping and leveraging a modest investment, a mere $25, into a highly respected organization that now helps more than 80,000 students in 450 schools around the world. In 2016, Adam co-founded MissionU, a year-long program that provides students with the skills and real-life experience necessary to build a fulfilling life and career. The technology that Adam and his team built at MissionU will now help to fuel our systems at WeGrow.
But more than Adam’s experience, it’s his spirit that makes him the perfect fit for his new position. Having spent his entire adult life, both as a father and as a creator, he shares our fiery commitment to making learning the transformational and holistic experience it must absolutely be.
Adam will help us open up our first school this fall. More than 40 students are already enrolled in the program, representing families from all over New York City, speaking 10 languages and hailing from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, with 60 percent receiving financial aid.
To help further grow our movement, we’re thrilled to welcome, in addition to Adam, a few other key hires. Michele Vespi, former head of people at Success Academy, will be our head of people, and Bonnie Levine and Josh Shanklin are joining as our lead educators and mentors, bringing with them their experience at Bank Street and Montessori, respectively.
All of us here share the belief that WeGrow is more of a life practice than a traditional school—a movement inspiring all humans to be students of life, for life. We are very grateful for Adam and the team that is assembling around us, and can’t wait for the school year to begin.