Top New York City Business and Education Leaders Gather to Celebrate and Support PENCIL, Pubilc Schools

PENCIL to Honor Local Leaders JetBlue Airways, Christopher Hayward, and Howard Chatzinoff for their Commitment to Public Education at Annual Gala

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Dancers from PENCIL Partner School Gramercy Arts High School open the evening’s festivities at Imagine What We Can Do: An Evening to Benefit PENCIL, at the American Museum of Natural History.

Dancers from PENCIL Partner School Gramercy Arts High School open the evening’s festivities at Imagine What We Can Do: An Evening to Benefit PENCIL, at the American Museum of Natural History.

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 23, 2013

PENCIL, the New York City-based nonprofit that improves school and student performance by creating innovative programs that target the intersection of school needs and business expertise, celebrated three New York City business leaders for their commitment to local schools at Imagine What We Can Do: An Evening to Benefit PENCIL, yesterday during PENCIL’s annual Gala, held at the American Museum of Natural History.

New York City’s business community raised $1.6 million to support the organization’s efforts to improve public schools.

FOX 5’s Rosanna Scotto, Co-Anchor of “Good Day New York,” served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies, and welcomed local business leaders and philanthropists to recognize these dedicated honorees for committing their time and talent to helping New York City’s schools and students:

JetBlue Airways, New York’s hometown airline, and PENCIL Partner to five Queens schools, received the PENCIL Corporate Partner Award.

•Christopher Hayward, Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Highbridge Capital Management, and PENCIL Partner to the High School for Math, Science & Engineering at City College, received the PENCIL Leadership Award. Chris also serves as the Treasurer of PENCIL’s Board of Directors.

•Howard Chatzinoff, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, and PENCIL Partner to MS 224, received the PENCIL Public Schools Champion Award. Howard also serves as the Vice-Chair of PENCIL’s Board of Directors.

The Gala was chaired by New York City public school alumnus and PENCIL Board of Directors Member Frank J. Bisignano, Chief Executive Officer, First Data Corporation; with co-chairs Icema Gibbs, Director - Corporate Social Responsibility, JetBlue Airways; Kenneth H. Heitner, Co-Head—Global Tax Practice, Weil, Gotshal & Magnes LLP; and Amy Yates, Chief Administrative Officer, Highbridge Capital Management.

The cocktail hour and dinner program featured students from PENCIL Partner schools whose lives have been touched by PENCIL Partnerships. Throughout the evening, guests were treated to songs, dances, and other performances that symbolized and celebrated the three honorees’ achievements.

“Our three honorees are caring, involved PENCIL leaders,” said PENCIL President Michael Haberman. “Each has worked at both the school level to help teachers, students, principals and families by committing their world-class insight, resources, and talented employees to take on the challenges that impede student performance. Time after time, they’ve also stepped forward to support us at the organizational level, ensuring that PENCIL has the resources necessary to help this City’s 1.1 million public school students.”

PENCIL refined its program model using external research and its 17 years of experience. The NYC-based nonprofit brings together school and business leaders to create year-long programs for underserved schools that increase both school and student performance. Targeting the key focus areas that represent the intersection of school needs and business expertise (developing stronger school leaders; boosting college and career readiness; enhancing student engagement; fostering greater family engagement; and improving school infrastructure) PENCIL’s nearly 400 Partnership Programs touch the lives of over 220,000 students and have delivered critical impact throughout New York City:

•93% of PENCIL Principals say their Partnership helped to improve their school

•Nearly 80% of PENCIL Principals feel more confident as leaders—and their teachers are more likely to rate them as effective managers.

•Teachers in PENCIL Schools report greater attendance at parent-teacher conferences than at other schools.

•PENCIL’s College and Career Readiness Focus Area includes the PENCIL Fellows Program, which has provided nearly 600 New York City high school juniors and seniors with comprehensive career development training and paid summer internships over the last five years

•Principals say that students involved in PENCIL activities apply to college more often than their peers

About the honorees:

PENCIL Corporate Partner Award—JetBlue Airways:

JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline™. The airline is committed to the cities it serves through support and alignment with not-for-profit organizations that focus on children, education, communities and the environment. Through a variety of programs and activities, JetBlue crewmembers are encouraged to help make an impact and inspire greatness in others while enriching the lives of individuals and communities across the airline's network. Based in Long Island City, JetBlue is leading by example and supports five PENCIL Partnerships in the borough of Queens. Partnerships include Aviation High School, The Howard Beach School (PS146Q) and Channel View School for Research. Leaders from JetBlue have created individual programs to meet the school’s local needs. JetBlue’s executives develop leadership qualities in principals and administrators, ultimately transforming school culture. By working to increase students’ college and career readiness, providing schools with new technology and hiring interns and graduates, JetBlue has helped New York City’s students soar.

“PENCIL provides a unique opportunity for public and private sectors to work together to strengthen the educational system,” said JetBlue Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Barger, who also serves as the Chairman of PENCIL’s Board of Directors. “Encouraging STEM-based education is a top priority for JetBlue. It’s an investment in our future. PENCIL allows us to make a significant difference right in New York, our hometown through five PENCIL partnerships in our home borough of Queens.”

PENCIL Leadership Award—Christopher Hayward:

Christopher Hayward’s newest PENCIL Partner School—the High School for Math, Science & Engineering at City College—produces talented graduates that attend world-class colleges and universities. However, the school sometimes lacks the modern technology that students need to excel—in college or beyond. Chris will work to address these challenges in his PENCIL Partnership by bringing in experts who assess the school’s technology and determine what new equipment students will need to master 21st century skills. He also will assist in fundraising for the school. In his first PENCIL Partnership, Chris helped boost childhood literacy at the East Village Community School by regularly reading to K through 2nd grade students and also helping the principal and staff work through budget and operating challenges. As a Board and Executive Committee member, Chris’ financial expertise helped PENCIL navigate the recent financial downturn and position the organization for future growth. Chris also serves as the Treasurer to PENCIL’s Board of Directors.

“I’ve been involved with PENCIL since 2004 and it’s been an absolutely remarkable journey,” said Christopher Hayward. “Education is the cornerstone for a strong democracy and essential for preserving our way of life. The future of New York City depends on ensuring that our children have the opportunities they need to pursue their dreams—and that begins with world-class education. I am proud to assist in that as a PENCIL Partner, and to ensure that the PENCIL organization flourishes.”

PENCIL Public School Champion Award—Howard Chatzinoff:

Howard Chatzinoff has been a committed and valuable champion of PENCIL for more than 15
years. Working with MS 224 in the Bronx, Howard and Weil colleagues have been engaged in a number of initiatives, including mentoring students and helping school leadership prepare for the future. An experienced lawyer in mergers and acquisitions whose clients have included CBS, General Electric, NBCUniversal, Elizabeth Arden, Apple, Cardinal Health, Molson, Merrill Lynch and Citi, Howard has forged connections between dozens of industry leaders and PENCIL; their work has gone on to affect thousands of New York City public school children. Howard also serves as the Vice-Chair of PENCIL’s Board of Directors.

“I’m able to work with leaders in a variety of industries, and I am a steadfast and vocal advocate of PENCIL,” said Howard Chatzinoff. “As someone who’s been personally invested in this movement since the mid-90s, it’s been gratifying to have been able to connect schools, students, businesses, and employees, and to watch this organization grow as its impact deepens.”

For more information about PENCIL, visit its website at http://www.PENCIL.org or call 646-638-0565.