Rachael Gazdick is the chief executive officer of New York Edge, the metropolitan region’s largest provider of afterschool programs. With more than twenty years’ experience in education advocacy, Rachael has dedicated her career to building equity in education.
Prior to joining New York Edge in May 2019, Rachael served as president and chief executive officer of Colorado’s “I Have A Dream” Foundation (CIHAD), a nonprofit organization focused on empowering children from low-income communities to succeed in school, college, and career. Over the course of her more than six years at the helm of CIHAD, Rachael grew the organization’s single-class model to a school-wide program, significantly expanding the nonprofit’s reach across the city.
Before her time at CIHAD, Rachael served as the executive director of Say Yes to Education Syracuse, a nonprofit community-wide partnership focused on supporting public school children attain, afford, and complete a college or other postsecondary education. In her four years at the organization, she expanded the program to 31 schools and 22,000 students. While in Syracuse, Rachael also served numerous roles at Syracuse University. From 1999 to 2012, she was an assistant professor for the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Social Work. From 2001 to 2008, Rachael was associate director and then director of Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and Integrative Learning, where she ran an array of community-focused programs and social justice initiatives.
From 1999 to 2001, Rachael served as the executive director of Near East Side Community Development Organization of Syracuse (NESCO), focusing on job placement, training, mentoring and youth programs. She began her career with Teach for America, serving as a special needs teacher in South West Louisiana for two years.
Rachael has a master’s degree in education policy from Harvard University, a master’s degree in social work from Boston College, where she focused on needs assessments, grant writing, nonprofit management, and community mobilization, and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Syracuse University.