Introducing Kendall Massett, Delaware Charter Schools Network Executive Director
When I began my fellowship with the Leadership Delaware program in 2010, I was looking for a way that I could make a difference in the state. Two years later in my new role as Executive Director for the Delaware Charter Schools Network, I think I’ve found the perfect place to do just that. It’s an exciting time for education in Delaware and I’m proud to be a part of it. But it is also a time of great challenge, and I am eager to get started.
My main priority out of the gate is simple: to be there for my schools. I want to help them plan and problem solve and I want to give them resources when they need them. Whether it is providing resources for advice on financial and legal issues or ordering textbooks and uniforms, I want to be there when they call on me. I want to talk to and get to know my schools and everyone in them—the students, the parents, the school leaders. I need to do this, because my most important role is being the voice for my schools, advocating for them when I’m working with state education officials, members of the General Assembly, and the general public.
The trajectory of my career has not taken a straight line toward education, by any means. The majority of it has been spent in the hospitality industry—yes, the hospitality industry. Yet this experience gave me skills that I rely on today: time management, how to work with people, and how to create the best experience possible for my “guest.” The schools in our network, the children who attend them, the teachers who make it all possible, and the parents who place their trust in us—all of them are my guests now.
Over the last six years I have been involved with the Brady Kohn Foundation, a grassroots organization working to educate the public on the potential of stem cells from umbilical cord blood to save lives and fund non-embryonic stem cell research. Through this experience, I learned what it meant to work for something that represents life itself, quite literally. I feel the same way about our schools. After all, what else is worth fighting for more than our children?
When I accepted this position in January, I set a goal for myself to visit all of the network’s 22 schools. I’m in the midst of trying to fulfill that goal right now. The scheduling is tough but I need to get into every school, quickly, so I can meet every member of this family who has chosen me as their leader. When I meet the children, it reminds me why I’m standing there and of the enormous responsibility I have to them, and it makes me want to do better. I hope you will join me.