Meet Crystal Rountree
— In this series, we highlight the work of our partners in our Opportunity Movement and share their vision for Charlotte’s future.
Early Care & Education
Meet our Opportunity Champion, Crystal Rountree, Executive Director of Teach for America Charlotte-Piedmont Triad
Leading on Opportunity: What is your vision for economic mobility in Charlotte-Mecklenburg?
Crystal Rountree: Our vision is that one day, all children in our community will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. We believe that education is foundational to economic mobility, and we are working to build and connect a diverse community of change-makers and coalition-builders who are proximate to economic inequity to work together to deliver results that open doors for kids.
Leading on Opportunity: What does opportunity mean to you?
Crystal Rountree: Opportunity means that all students can fully realize their limitless potential. It means that regardless of their income, background, or race, they can live choice-filled lives. It means that they have access to an excellent education no matter their zip code.
Leading on Opportunity: How does Leading on Opportunity’s North Star Goal inspire and connect to your work?
Crystal Rountree: In order for every child in our community to have an equal chance to achieve social and economic success, there needs to be profound systemic change. We believe that creating pathways of opportunity for students will take many interventions from many directions over a prolonged period of time. With that, our approach draws on three lessons from enduring systems-change efforts throughout history:
· Change requires sustained leadership inside and outside the school system challenging conventional wisdom and the status quo by demonstrating what’s possible.
· Change requires a broad and diverse coalition of people united around common purpose and shared values, working together to translate insights from proof points of possibility into policy and practice.
· Change must be shaped by those most directly impacted by the injustice, and led by those with personal proximity to the problem and its complexity.
We believe that teaching is the most profound act of leadership, and our vision is to develop leaders to drive long-term systems change across all sectors in Charlotte-Mecklenburg so that all children in our community can have access to an excellent education.
Moving Charlotte from 50 out of 50 in economic mobility is a collaborative, community effort. With that in mind, we set a goal to build an Opportunity Movement that celebrates everyone's contributions. On March 26, 2019, we honored 50 Inaugural Opportunity Champions who have gone above and beyond to support implementation and align to one or more of our 21 community-inspired strategies within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report. Often without any public recognition, this group of distinguished leaders set the bar high for others in our community to invest in building a stronger equitable community for all children, youth and families.