Jonas Chartock came to ILR because he was interested in social justice and understanding how labor movements were matched up with broader social movements.
Through Chartock’s career in education and current work overseeing the professional learning of tens of thousands of teachers at both a policy and a district level, he continues to apply the skills he learned at ILR.
After graduating, Chartock joined Teach for America, where his personal goals aligned with the organization’s goals. He taught elementary school in Compton, CA and served as the union representative at his school. He witnessed how a sustainable and effective teacher workforce can close opportunity gaps in schools.
Chartock then trained to be an administrator and ran the Teach for America program in Houston where he learned about fundraising, policy and non-profit administration. He continued to build on what he learned at ILR about management and organizational design. From there, he moved to Austin to earn his doctorate and started a think tank on school choice policy at the state level which then launched the Texas Charter School Association.
Chartock went on to run the State University of New York Charter School Institute, which is the largest university-based authorizer of charter schools in the country. Throughout his career, he saw the massive impact that teacher quality has on the schools. “In my experience, schools which succeed have opportunities for professional learning, management and leadership development for teachers.”
To address what Chartock identifies as a “massive gap in teacher development” he moved to New Orleans to start a national program encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education, educator-focused non-profits, schools districts and large philanthropic foundations. Leading Educators partners with school districts to ensure that teachers have the skills and racial equity lens necessary to support their colleagues in their professional learning. In so doing, Leading Educators works to dramatically increase student learning in school districts serving predominantly low-income students of color. Chartock took Learning Educators from a pilot program to a nationwide 501(c)3 and for the past seven years, he has applied his organization design expertise to develop the organization and its programming.
Learning Educators partnered with Washington, D.C. public schools for five years to grow a first-of-its-kind comprehensive professional development program for teachers embedded in the district, so that it could operate effectively independent of Chartock’s organization.
At ILR, Chartock developed leadership skills. He learned how to collaborate and work in small groups to wrestle with challenging topics. Chartock says, “At ILR, I began to understand the connection between social justice, labor, race, racism and people development, all of which are important issues in my work today.” Chartock also learned how to set a vision for the organization and how to effectively manage change.
When he reflects on his time at ILR, he describes labor history as intellectually stimulating and he gained an understanding of the multitude of perspectives within an organization.
Chartock lives in New Orleans with his wife, 14-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. He still enjoys playing Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger’s music on his guitar, as he did during his Cornell and subsequent teaching days.