A Message from Our Board Chair Gifford Miller
By now you’ve received a letter from Richard Stopol announcing that he will be stepping down as the President & CEO of NYC Outward Bound Schools. On behalf of our Board and organization as a whole, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Richard for founding this incredible organization and for his extraordinary leadership and stewardship.
In 1987, when Richard was first introduced to Outward Bound, he recognized its extraordinary power to improve students’ lives and provide the foundation for what good education should look like. He came to the work with a passion for equity and has maintained that as his driving force.
Over the past 33 years, Richard has successfully led NYC Outward Bound Schools to be responsive to the changing needs and circumstances of New York City’s students and to best leverage opportunities to transform schools and change lives. Under his leadership, NYC Outward Bound Schools evolved from an organization whose focus was providing students from New York City public schools with Outward Bound experiences to one that brings NYC Outward Bound’s approach and expertise to NYC’s young people and their public schools directly into the classroom and across the city in deeply meaningful ways.
Richard has touched the lives of nearly 200,000 of New York City’s young people and helped establish one of the finest public school networks in the country. Our Network Schools which bring together our signature blend of demanding and engaging academics, character, and community, offer our best evidence of the transformational nature of our work. They serve as proof points for the proposition that an outstanding education – one that nourishes the mind, body and spirit — is accessible to all, irrespective of zip code. Our schools’ and programs’ consistently strong results are testaments to Richard’s relentless focus on equity for all students.
On a more personal note, as a member of NYC Outward Bound Schools’ Board for more than a decade and as Chair for the past six years, I have had the great fortune to work closely with Richard. Richard is tireless, always puts our students first, and helps all of us do more than we thought possible. I am continually humbled and awed by Richard’s genuine desire to understand the viewpoints of others and challenge his own preconceptions. There is no question in my mind that NYC Outward Bound Schools’ good work flows from Richard’s quiet, effective, thoughtful, inclusive, and compassionate leadership.
Richard has built an extremely strong foundation for the future of NYC Outward Bound Schools at a time when the work we do is more important than ever. It is now our great responsibility and privilege to pick up the torch he has borne so well and so long.