ABOUT CAMI ANDERSON


Cami Anderson is a change agent committed to upending inequitable systems by propelling transformational leadership.

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Cami is a six-time chief executive with 30 years of experience leading government, nonprofit and for-profit start-ups and turnarounds.

She is the founder and CEO of ThirdWay Solutions, an organization dedicated to helping c-suite leaders achieve ambitious goals through executive coaching, vision and strategy development, values-based adaptive change and nuts-and-bolts implementation capacity. She and her team have supported over 30 notable leaders from rural Louisiana and California to our nation's biggest cities like New York City and Houston – and points in between.

Cami spent a decade as superintendent of schools leading high-profile turnaround efforts.

New York City's Alternative Programs, Correctional Education, and Adult CTE

Her first superintendent role was in New York City’s District 79 – a unique, citywide portfolio of programs in correctional education, alternative high schools, career and technical education and adult education that put Cami at the center of interagency collaborations for the city’s students who had been most failed by the system.

In that role, Cami was responsible for educational programming, interagency and community partnerships and public policy in collaboration with Chancellor Joel Klein, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other key leaders.

In New York, Cami’s team served more than 30,000 young people and 60,000 adult learners, and they improved outcomes for students facing big obstacles and long odds – students who were parents; who were incarcerated on Riker’s Island or on probation; who were returning to school after having dropped out; who were over-age and under-credited; and who were in need of significant mental health and other supports.

While serving as superintendent in New York City District 79, Cami co-founded ROADS, a network of advocates and charter high schools dedicated to court-involved youth. Cami saw a need for intrapreneurs and outside challengers – bold leaders working within government to advocate for the most marginalized, as well as advocates and agitators pushing the government to do more for those with the least access to power.

Newark Public Schools

Because of her successful track record bringing together diverse stakeholders to support those students furthest from graduation, Cami became a candidate to lead Newark Public Schools. During this critical time for the district, Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie joined forces to address the chronic underperformance of the system. After an extensive process involving dozens of stakeholders, she won the job.

Cami served as Superintendent of Newark Public Schools from 2011 to 2014. By 2015, the Center on Reinventing Public Education named Newark as the number-one district in the country for high-poverty, high-performance elementary schools that “beat the odds.”

By 2019, Newark Public Schools were also seeing a number of other key gains:

  • More than one-third of Black students in Newark attended schools that exceeded the state average, compared with 10 percent in 2011;
  • A study conducted by Harvard University showed across-the-board increases in reading, and, initially slow, but then impressive gains in math;
  • The number of good schools and schools “on the move” grew every year due to a bold, district-run turnaround approach, charter conversion schools, and some outright closures and consolidations;
  • Newark was among the top four cities in the country for student outcomes of Black students living in poverty;
  • The citywide graduation rate rose 14 points, closing the gap with the state average by 7 percentage points – with almost two times the percentage of graduating students having passed the state exit exam;
  • About 87 percent of Newark graduates returned for a second college term, far exceeding national averages given the high poverty rates; and
  • For the first time in decades, student enrollment was increasing in Newark, as was the population of the city.

Cami accomplished all of this while leading into the fray, never shying away from difficult choices, and by centering what is best for students.

In addition to improving student achievement, Cami and her team won national acclaim for negotiating several groundbreaking union contracts that honored due process while creating new, innovative salary and accountability practices.

She and her team created a citywide plan that included a one-of-a-kind universal enrollment system to ensure all families could access schools of their choice; identified and broke patterns of racial inequity; and she completely overhauled services for students with disabilities and students connected to the juvenile justice system, making sure that all students had access to excellent school options.

Read more from Cami, writing for the Hoover Institute, about her victories and lessons learned while leading Newark Public Schools.

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Cami is widely recognized and respected as a changemaker.

Cami has been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, and she has received the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Excellence and the Points of Light Award. She has also received a lifetime achievement award from the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change for her work in racial justice.

She’s a member of the Aspen Global Leaders Initiative and has served as a scholar-in-residence at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

Cami is a widely-published author and contributor, whose writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Huffington Post, among other publications. She is a contributor for Forbes, where her column In The Room spotlights trailblazing female leaders.

Cami’s experience and approach are true to her roots.

Prior to her high-profile superintendent positions in New York City and Newark, Cami was executive director of Teach For America New York, chief program officer of New Leaders for New Schools, issues director for Cory Booker, a middle school teacher, and a youth theatre director.

Cami is a volunteer soccer coach, a collegiate Title IX activist, an amateur triathlete, and a TEDx speaker. She grew up in a multiracial and otherwise diverse, adoptive family of 14 with parents dedicated to racial justice and other social justice.

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A lifelong athlete, she’s committed to hard work and building focused and high-performing teams. Her decades of theatre experience taught her to speak truth, take feedback, and laugh often. She, her partner, and her teenage son live in her hometown of Los Angeles.