Press Release

Senior Leader of Nation's Largest School System to Direct K-12 Education Reform Focus Area for Walton Family Foundation

Foundation selects NYC Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 17, 2013 - A senior leader for the nation's largest system of public schools has been selected to lead the philanthropic efforts of one of the largest donors to initiatives that support improving K-12 education in the United States.

The Walton Family Foundation has named Marc Sternberg, senior deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, which serves more than 1.1 million students, to lead its largest investment area. As director of the K-12 Education Reform Focus Area, Sternberg will work with the Walton family, foundation staff and other partners to continue a vision for reform set by the foundation's founders, Sam and Helen Walton.

"For the last two decades, our family foundation has pioneered efforts across this country to ensure that all children -- regardless of family income or zip code -- have access to a high-quality education," said Carrie Walton Penner, member of the foundation's board of directors and member of the search committee that selected Sternberg. "Our work is guided by my grandfather's belief that education is the path to achieving the American dream and is inspired by the vision of my late uncle John Walton. In our many years of working with a strong collection of heroic and hard-working partners from across the country, we've learned what is possible when we put the interest of children first. As we enter the next frontier of our work, we are more optimistic and more committed than ever to deepening our involvement in this work, and to accelerating the pace of change in American education. Our family intends to deepen our involvement in this, the civil rights issue of our generation, and we are fortunate to have an individual of Marc's talent and experience lead us in this work."

Since 2010, Sternberg has served in New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, beginning as deputy chancellor for portfolio planning. He now leads the division responsible for executing the city's nationally recognized portfolio strategy and for unprecedented student achievement gains over the past decade.

"Marc is a trailblazer with a track record of leading visionary and bold education reform -- in his classroom, in his school and in his leadership of our nation's largest school district," said Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and now CEO of Amplify, a subsidiary of News Corporation. "The chance to work with the Walton Family Foundation to improve educational choices for all kids will allow him to marry his demonstrated commitment to creating new opportunities with the foundation's groundbreaking work in this area."

Sternberg's experience in education reform began with Teach For America, serving as a corps member at a South Bronx middle school following his graduation from Princeton University. After earning both an MBA and a master's in education from Harvard University, he returned to the Bronx to open and serve as principal of the Bronx Lab School, one of the city's top-performing open enrollment schools. In 2009, he was selected as one of 15 White House Fellows to serve a one-year post in the Obama administration. Working in the office of U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, he supported the development of the Race to the Top and School Improvement grant initiatives, two key elements of President Obama's education reform strategy.

"Since 1995 it has been my privilege, and singular professional focus, to serve New York City's students -- to do everything in my power to help thousands of children achieve and succeed," said Sternberg. "I am honored to be joining the Walton Family Foundation and a team that is deeply committed to giving families access to high-quality publicly funded school choices, whether charter, private or traditional -- the schools that our nation's students and families deserve. I would like to thank the entire Walton family for their confidence and trust, and to express my deep gratitude to Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Walcott and Chancellor Klein for their mentorship and inspiration."

Sternberg will begin his role as director of the foundation's K-12 Education Reform Focus Area on October 28. He will be responsible for working with the Walton family, foundation staff and other partners to set an investment strategy for a philanthropic portfolio that includes annual grant making of more than $150 million annually.

About the Walton Family Foundation
Driven by the urgent need to improve K-12 education in the United States, the Walton Family Foundation has invested more than $1 billion to date in initiatives that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education. Empowering parents to choose quality schools, regardless of type -- traditional public, private or public charter school -- will help spur the bold transformation of our national K-12 system of public education. Our nation's children will only reach their potential in today's global economy by having access to a high-quality, publicly funded education. Visit the foundation at: www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org.