Recy Benjamin Dunn to Join Ascend Public Charter Schools as Chief Executive Officer

By Ascend February 25, 2021

The Ascend Learning Board of Directors and the Ascend Charter Schools Board of Trustees have named Recy Benjamin Dunn Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ascend Public Charter Schools. Recy will begin as CEO on May 3, 2021.

Recy Benjamin Dunn brings a sustained track record of leading high-performing public schools at scale. Recy currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for the Division of the First Deputy Chancellor at the New York City Department of Education, where he works to ensure an aligned vision, strategy and plan for supporting public schools City-wide. He also previously served as Executive Director of the Charter Schools Office and Early Childhood Education under NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and as the Chief Operations and Growth Officer for YES Prep Public Schools, a high-performing charter school network in Houston, Texas. Recy received both a Master’s Degree in Education and a MBA from Stanford University, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

“The Ascend Boards cannot think of an individual more qualified to lead Ascend into its next chapter than Recy Benjamin Dunn,” said Ascend Learning Board Co-Chair Julia Bator. “Recy possesses the vision and experience to take Ascend to even greater heights in these challenging and extraordinary times.”  

Ascend Public Charter Schools is a network of K-12 public schools operating exclusively in Brooklyn with campuses in Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, East Flatbush, East Brooklyn and Lefferts Gardens. Ascend’s rigorous and well-rounded curriculum and student-centered approach to learning allows students from underserved communities to develop the knowledge, character and determination needed to succeed in college or any path they choose. 

“I am humbled and honored to take on the role of Chief Executive Officer at Ascend. I admire Ascend’s commitment to creating a joyful learning environment for students and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.” said Recy Benjamin Dunn. “I cannot wait to join the Ascend team.”

The Ascend Boards selected Recy through a rigorous, national search process led by Promise54. The Ascend Boards received valuable input from the CEO Search Committee, drawn from Ascend’s diverse school community. The committee’s members included: Alex Berzofsky: Ascend Learning Board Member; Amanda Craft: Ascend Charter Schools Board Member; Isabel Geathers: Ascend Learning Board Member; Emeka Ibekweh: Managing Director of Technology; Janai Jeter: Ascend Parent; Crystal Lane: Principal, Brooklyn Ascend Middle School; Brandon Sorlie: Chief Schools Officer; Anjya Thomas: Chief Curriculum & Instruction Officer; and Oral Walcott: Ascend Charter Schools Board Member and Ascend Parent.

“As a longtime  Brooklyn resident, I wanted to make sure we found a CEO with a commitment to equity and building bridges to the community,” said Ascend Charter Schools Board and Search Committee member, Oral Walcott. “Recy is the leader that Ascend needs as it prepares to reopen for in-person learning and strengthen its presence in Brooklyn.” 

Ascend opened its first school, Brooklyn Ascend Lower School, in 2008 to 210 students, and today educates 5,800 students in grades K-12 across 15 schools in Brooklyn. Ascend has a sustained track record of academic success. In the 2019-20 school year, 96 percent of Ascend’s high school senior class graduated on time, and 100 percent of Ascend high school graduates were accepted to college.

“I had a chance to meet with Recy during the search process and hear directly from him about his educational philosophy, passion for equity, and love for this work,” said Crystal Lane, Principal of Brooklyn Ascend Middle School and Search Committee Member. “I am confident that he will be a tremendous addition to our Ascend family because he brings his perspective as a parent and lived experience as a Black man in this country. I look forward to welcoming him into our school classrooms when we return to in-person learning this spring.”

Read the Ascend Learning and Ascend Charter School Boards announcement here.