AppleTree Institute For Education Innovation & AppleTree Schools Names Crystal Hill as Chief People Officer

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AppleTree is proud to announce our new Chief People Officer, Crystal Hill!

Crystal Hill

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AppleTree Institute For Education Innovation and AppleTree Schools announces the appointment of Crystal Hill as Chief People Officer. Crystal started her new role on October 19, 2020. Ms. Hill will develop and oversee the end-to-end talent strategy for our growing team of over 350 staff. She will report to the President/CEO and work closely with the executive team and school leadership. Ms. Hill will set the vision and direction for attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining AppleTree staff and embedding a talent-focused culture within the organization. This will include the vital work of building and implementing the foundational processes and policies to support a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce.

“We welcome Crystal in joining our organization to help us further develop our ability to grow while improving the quality of our processes and outcomes.
It is critical that mission-driven organizations provide the people who work in them with the structure, support, and feedback to do their work well and to have meaningful and challenging career pathways as well as opportunities for leadership development. We are delighted to have Crystal lead this work for us,” said Jack McCarthy, President & CEO of the AppleTree Organization.

Prior to serving as the Chief People Officer, she was Vice President, Human Resources, and Chief Administrative Officer at the Urban Institute. She grew up in Harlem and served as a literacy coach in her early career. Recognizing her passion for education and wanting to impact the outcomes of students who looked like her and came from neighborhoods like hers, she has spent over 15 years as a strategic human resources business partner to educational organizations. Crystal has worked at Schoolnet, Inc., a K-12 ed-tech firm focused on Instructional Management Solutions (now a part of Pearson Education) and Achieve, Inc., a K-12 education policy think tank, aligning human capital programs and initiatives to organizational goals and objectives.

“I am beyond excited to join the AppleTree family and build on the incredible, transformational work taking place here,” said Ms. Hill. “As a former pre-school literacy coach, joining AppleTree in this role brings me full circle in supporting and empowering the staff who are driving change and innovation in early childhood education and getting us closer to closing the achievement gap.”

Ms. Hill holds a BA in psychology from the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York and an MS in industrial and labor relations from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. Crystal was also a 2013 Education Pioneers Fellow.

AppleTree was founded in 1996 to increase the supply of effective schools through innovation. AppleTree furthered their quest for innovation by winning a prestigious Investing in Innovation grant in 2010 to research, develop, pilot, roll out and evaluate Every Child Ready (ECR), a comprehensive preschool instructional model for three and four-year-olds. Currently, AppleTree schools serve 1,300 three- and four-year-old children and their families throughout Washington, DC. Learn more at and

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Natasha Parrilla
since: 11/2009
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