From a young age, Becca Bracy Knight has been focused on serving others. Even in high school, while participating in Model United Nations, Future Problem Solvers, math club and the school’s band and track team, she spent her study-hall time tutoring students with disabilities.
When Becca graduated from college, she knew she wanted to do something with her career that could help change the world. With the boundless energy and enthusiasm of a 21-year-old, she thought she could help fix the myriad problems facing society, including but not limited to racism, sexism, environmental issues, economic inequality and homophobia. She soon realized that the institution of public education in the United States was plagued with the same ills and often perpetuated inequities, so she dedicated herself to improving public education to make it a more effective lever for changing the world.
Working first as an AmeriCorps member in San Francisco, Becca helped individual schools develop and implement strategies to improve services and student outcomes. She went on to serve in the San Francisco Unified School District, working on a successful grant proposal for school-bases services for students and families. From there she worked with The Salvation Army as a family services director, developing workshops for families of students in an afterschool program.
Becca joined The Broad Foundation and developed their K-12 education grant programs. Among her biggest accomplishments: helping establish The Broad Prize for Urban Education and The Broad Superintendents Academy. The Broad Center was created to manage the superintendents program, now simply known as The Broad Academy.
Sixteen years after joining The Broad Foundation, Becca leads The Broad Center team in its mission to make public education live up to the ideals our country places on it as the great equalizer. The enthusiasm she had as a freshly minted college graduate remains, and she credits each new cohort of Residents and Fellows for renewing her energy and pushing our nation ever closer to that common goal.
What activities were you involved in when you were in school?
Future Gardeners Association, Girl Scouts, school newspaper, yearbook, student council, math team, future problem solvers, model United Nations, French club, Russian club, band, student government, student service organization, volunteer in special education classroom, indoor track, track and field, playing piano for the high school musicals, probably more. I was a joiner!
Is there anything you wish more people knew about you?
I wish people knew how grateful I am to have spent more than 15 years at The Broad Center!
And as much as I enjoy hearing praise about our work and the work our network members are doing, I also wish people knew that I am always open to hearing what they don’t like about our work or our approach. I am an open-minded person, and I know we don’t have all the answers. We cannot accomplish our mission without the many, many other people and organizations doing what they do.
Articles by Becca
Confirming school-shooting fatalities should not have to be part of a superintendent’s job, The Broad Center Blog, February 15, 2018
“Our unwillingness as a nation to enact and enforce sensible gun regulations, improve background checks and provide accessible, comprehensive mental health services is a sure promise that we will continue to see more and more children and adults killed by gunfire, and more and more K-12 superintendents will face days like those at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County Public Schools.” Read more.
Let’s change the tenor of the education debate and #JustHaveCoffee, The Broad Center Blog, September 1, 2014
“The next time you find yourself at a professional gathering or conference, don’t spend the day chatting with the usual suspects during breaks and meals. Instead, just have coffee with someone you don’t normally interact and agree with.” Read more.
How Long Do Big-City Superintendents Actually Last?, The Broad Center Blog, May 15, 2018
The Broad Center's executive director, Becca Bracy Knight, talks about the "Hire Expectations" report about the average superintendent's tenure. Read more.
Busting the Myth of the 3-Year Superintendent: New Broad Center Report Finds Schools Chiefs Stay on the Job for Average of 6 Years, The Broad Center Blog, May 8, 2018
Becca Bracy Knight , executive director of The Broad Center, talks about a new report released. Read more.