This letter was written by Richard Stopol in September 2020 and shared with the community at large.
Dear members of the NYC Outward Bound Schools community,
I am writing to let you know that I have informed our Board of Directors that I will be stepping down as the President & CEO of NYC Outward Bound Schools, and that it is time to start looking for my successor. I have also expressed to them my desire and intention to continue serving in my role for as long as it takes to conduct a successful search and a thorough, thoughtful transition.
As you can imagine, this is an agonizing decision for me. As our organization’s founding President/CEO, I have been in this role for 33 years and it is a source of immense pride for me that we have grown in such a substantial way during that period and been so successful in our work of transforming schools and changing lives. But some health issues that I’ve experienced recently have made it clear that now is the time for me to begin the process of transitioning to a new generation of leadership.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to have worked alongside so many extraordinary people — my staff colleagues, Board members, principals, teachers, funding partners, and others — all of whom have been fellow travelers in our effort to bring our special brand of education to New York City’s young people and their public schools. With that brand of education — which joins together learning that is demanding and engaging with an emphasis on community and character — we have, over the past three decades, helped to bring out the best in nearly 200,000 students from neighborhoods across the city, focusing especially on those who have historically lacked access to a high quality education.
And it has been the joy of a lifetime to know that our work has had, and continues to have, such a profound impact on so many schools and so many students. What we fundamentally teach at NYC Outward Bound Schools is that every individual, regardless of background or circumstance, can achieve far more than they thought possible when given the right mix of challenge and support. Along with that, we teach that achievement is about more than individual accomplishments in the classroom and/or workplace; it is about living lives in which we strive to be the best human beings we can be, lives in which compassion for others and contributions to one’s family and community are at the center. It has been a true joy to see those lessons take root in so many of the schools we have worked with and to see so many of our students drawing upon them in their own lives.
As we enter into this moment of transition at NYC Outward Bound Schools, it feels appropriate not only to celebrate all that we have accomplished, but more critically, to acknowledge that amid the twin challenges of a pandemic and a racial reckoning, both of which call upon us to dig deep to discover and actualize our best selves, our work has never been more important or needed. I am personally excited by the prospect of new leadership that can take that work to even more students and schools and to even higher levels of effectiveness and impact. And I am committed to doing whatever I can to make the transition as seamless as possible and position us for the future success that I know is ahead of us.
With a full heart and an abiding love for this organization and all that it stands for, now and going forward,
As NYC Outward Bound Schools enters its next chapter of evolution, we are poised to hone our approach and deepen our impact. Learn more about our ongoing CEO search, which is being managed by Axis Talent Partners. Interested candidates should submit their application by clicking the button below.
It has been the joy of a lifetime to know that our work has had, and continues to have, such a profound impact on so many schools and so many students.