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Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada steps down

Cyril Josh Barker | 2/13/2014, 12:14 p.m.

Longtime Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada announced he is stepping down. Current COO Anne Williams-Isom will assume the position starting July 1.

Canada has served as CEO for nearly 20 years and gave no further comment about his future endeavors. In a statement, he said he was proud of the success Harlem Children’s Zone has had during his time as the nonprofit’s leader.

“Even after we had proven that the comprehensive approach of the Harlem Children’s Zone could help large numbers of kids from low-income families to succeed at scale,” said Canada, “I knew that the biggest challenge was finding someone who could take this work to the next level.”

Serving as COO since 2009, Williams-Isom is a Queens native, previously having served in the city’s Administration for Children’s Services for 13 years. She holds a law degree from Columbia University and a degree from Fordham University in education.

Canada added, “After an exhaustive national search over many years, Anne was the one person I found that had what’s needed for this job: tough-minded leadership, dedication to our mission and the capacity to love thousands of kids.”

Williams-Isom said she’s honored to assume the position and take on the responsibility of taking care of children she already loves. During her time as COO, she has used data to guide Harlem Children’s Zone’s “HCZ State,” a forum designed to bring together staff to focus on the organization’s toughest cases in order to come up with case-specific interventions.

Said Williams-Isom, “Geoffrey Canada has been a leader and mentor without equal, and I am strengthened by the confidence that he and the board have put in me to continue to lead the Harlem Children’s Zone on a path of sustainable success. We are not done.”