Introducing our newest team members!
We are thrilled to announce the addition of two team members, Director of Program Implementation and Strategy Danny Rojas and Director of Policy Alexis Lian.
Dr. Danny Rojas joins the Rennie Center with extensive leadership experience across the education ecosystem. He has served as a classroom teacher, district administrator, higher education leader, and founding member at multiple education non-profit organizations. While serving as a district administrator in the Houston Independent School District (HISD), he played a pivotal role in increasing the number of high-performing students from underserved backgrounds admitted into selective colleges and universities nationwide. As Founding Director at OneGoal Massachusetts, he developed the persistence strategy and designed large-scale, strategic partnerships with postsecondary institutions across Massachusetts to increase postsecondary access and success. He holds a B.A. from Northeastern University as well as a master’s degree from the University of Houston in Higher Education Administration & Supervision. Rojas is a recent graduate of Harvard University's Doctor of Education Leadership Program where he focused on leading education equity work that bridges the gap between PreK-12 and higher education to expand postsecondary outcomes for all students. In his new role, he will oversee the Rennie Center’s practice and network initiatives portfolio and design the organization’s program strategy.
“My identity and the obstacles I overcame in navigating the American education system, as a first-generation college student raised by immigrants from the Dominican Republic, are central to my fight for educational equity,” said Rojas. “In my role as Director of Program Implementation & Strategy, I am excited to oversee our practice portfolio and develop a strategy that further aligns with our research and policy agenda. I am looking forward to drawing from my personal and professional experiences in the classroom, at the district level, and in the non-profit space to help maximize the Rennie Center’s impact on driving educational equity in Massachusetts and beyond.”
Alexis Lian joined the Rennie Center with a background in education policy at the state, district, and local levels. Prior to joining Rennie, Lian served in several capacities within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education, spent time supporting the Boston Public Schools central office, and began her career in education as an English teacher in Baltimore City at an alternative high school serving 18-21-year-olds. She received a B.A in policy studies and political science from Syracuse University, an M.S.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University in Secondary Education, and an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her role as Director of Policy, she will leverage findings and lessons learned from the Rennie Center’s research and on-the-ground initiatives to develop and oversee a policy agenda aimed at driving systemic improvements in the Massachusetts public education system.
“With the Rennie Center’s longstanding history as the foremost voice in Massachusetts for public education reform, I am thrilled to serve as the Director of Policy to ensure our research and best practices move from paper to policy. I look forward to connecting with policymakers across the Commonwealth for constructive conversations to make lasting impact for our students and communities who have been most historically marginalized,” said Lian.
Executive Director Dr. Chad d’Entremont welcomed the two new members of his team, saying, “The Rennie Center has been a prominent voice in leading education reform for nearly two decades and we’re delighted to have Alexis on board to lead us into a new era of education policy. While we were once a ‘think tank,’ over the years we’ve morphed into an ‘action tank,’ putting our research into practice by supporting districts directly. We are so pleased to have Danny to help us expand our efforts to support schools in putting research-backed programs into action.”