In The News

A Personal Letter From Jess Rooney

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Dear People’s Prep Families, Alumni, Partners, and Community Members, 

Today I’m writing with a personal and professional update.  After a decade as People’s Prep’s director, the highest honor of my life, I’ll be transitioning out of the role.  My wife, children, and I will be moving to New England to be closer to family.  As the founder of People’s Prep, it’s hard to imagine what the daily cadence of life will be like without the Wolfpack.  Gratefully, I can put off knowing for another year as I stay on as a leadership coach to support the incoming executive director and leaders stepping into new roles as a result of this change.  

I truly believe that People’s Prep has the best students, families, alumni, friends, and partners in Newark.  I also believe we have the hardest working, most creative, tenacious, loving, and focused teachers, leaders, and staff. Because of you,  we’ve had two full charter renewals from the state department of education, graduated two classes of alumni from the colleges of their choice, created partnerships with dozens of companies and organizations throughout Newark, hosted city-wide student leadership programs and conferences, built an award-winning sports program, invested deeply in our students with disabilities, and successfully navigated the increasingly complex politics that threaten small schools like ours.  

Being fully renewed last winter and celebrating our 10-year anniversary this year do not inoculate us from the pressures associated with being an independent charter high school.  However, the very real challenges we face will not delay or postpone the work we have ahead of us.  Our board, leaders, teachers, and staff have a laser-like focus on increasing high school and college graduation rates, and securing our long-term strategic position within Newark.  I look forward to being there to support them in their efforts and ask that our families, alumni, friends, and partners do the same.  As we emerge from this pandemic, we’ll need each other more than ever.  

I wish I could have shared this news in a more intimate setting as so many of you have shaped my role as a school leader and impacted my life in meaningful ways.  Please do not hesitate to call or email me if you would like to talk more about this transition and the road ahead.  I welcome your reactions and feedback.

Please be safe and stay in touch, 

Jess Rooney