Hawthorne retires from Reaching Heights

Krista Hawthorne

After 18 years at Reaching Heights, and the last 10 as its executive director, Krista Hawthorne has embarked on her well-deserved retirement.

“Krista has led Reaching Heights with a clear and intuitive understanding of our role in our community and alongside our public schools," remarked Board President Josie Moore. “She brought a steady hand, kind heart, and thoughtful perspective to every service performed, relationship nurtured, and connection forged.”

“Krista is a champion for our schools, students and families,” said CH-UH school district Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby. “She has been a supportive force that has worked to provide our students with outstanding experiences, to build bridges among partners and to keep pushing the district to be its best. She has given her time and heart to the work and we are a better district because of her commitment. I celebrate her for her leadership on Reaching Heights and wish her the very best in her next adventures!”

Because of her steady leadership, Reaching Heights has successfully weathered significant trials, including the effect that state testing had on classrooms and the impact of COVID on the entire community.

Moore noted, “Krista shepherded us through an exceptional moment of history, guided us to face challenges, understood what each moment asked of us, and moved us forward with a renewed commitment to our values of equity and service.”

“Krista had to remodel the organization and she gave new meaning to community ownership for our schools,” said former Reaching Heights Executive Director Susie Kaeser. “She had the connection to the schools, the determination and the confidence to do it!”

Commenting on her time with Reaching Heights, Hawthorne said, “The staff of RH has a great vantage point to observe, learn from, and work with everyone involved in the education of Heights students and the leaders of our city governments, faith organizations, and local nonprofits. I loved the process of determining the ways RH could contribute to enriching students, supporting teachers, and connecting the community to our public schools.

“Of critical importance to me for the future of Reaching Heights is the ongoing effort to dismantle systemic racism which is a barrier to education that each of us allows to continue if we are not continuously working to eliminate it. Reaching Heights exists to ensure all Heights students have access to the best education we can offer them. Raising awareness and changing behavior to end systemic racism is essential to fulfilling the purpose of Reaching Heights.”

The Board of Reaching Heights bids a fond farewell to Hawthorne, who has led the organization with calm and thoughtful insight, a dedication to the Heights public schools, and a fierce passion to bring every student a high-quality education. 

Mazie Adams

Mazie Adams is a lifelong resident of Cleveland Heights, a supporter of the Heights schools, and a member of the Board of Directors of Reaching Heights

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:18 AM, 05.29.2024