Picture of Jill Garling.

Facing History & Ourselves Announces New Chair of the Board of Directors

Facing History & Ourselves announces that Jill Garling will succeed Julie Abrams Leff as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Boston -- November 15, 2021 -- Facing History & Ourselves announced today that Jill Garling will succeed Julie Abrams Leff as Chair of the Board of Directors. Leff was instrumental in leading the organization through several significant moments, including navigating a year of unprecedented growth catalyzed by remote schooling during the pandemic, which saw teachers and students increasingly turning to Facing History for resources to understand this historic time.  

During Leff’s tenure as chair, the Facing History teacher network more than doubled, from 150,000 to over 400,000 educators. This growth was supported through the generous financial support from Facing History’s donors and supporters which provided resources for the organization to further expand its footprint throughout the country. 

“Serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors has been incredibly rewarding,” said Julie Leff. “I’m so proud of the work that has been accomplished during my tenure. Our work at Facing History & Ourselves is urgent and essential; and I look forward to continuing serving under Jill’s leadership during this next phase of Facing History’s growth.” 

Incoming Chair Jill Garling has served on the Facing History Board of Directors for many years. Garling concurrently served on the Chicago Advisory Board for two decades, including two terms as the Chair of the Chicago Advisory Board.  

Garling is an active participant in the civic life of Chicago, particularly  through commitments to education, human rights and arts initiatives at the local and national level. For more than a dozen years, Garling has been engaged with the Chicago Public Education Fund, where she is a Director and Treasurer. She is also a Director of The Joffrey Ballet where she serves as co-chair of the board committee of the Joffrey Academy of Dance.  

“There are very few people who know and understand Facing History with the same breadth and depth as Jill Garling. Jill is a visionary leader with the strategic thinking capabilities to lead the board” said Roger Brooks, President and CEO of Facing History. “I am grateful to Julie for her years of service to the Board. Her time and effort in expanding Facing History and its vision will have a long-lasting impact on the organization and the countless number of students we reach. I look forward to working with Jill and continuing our work to combat bigotry and hate.”

“I’m thrilled to assume the position of Chair and continue the work that Julie has led for the past 8 years,” said Jill Garling. “Facing History & Ourselves is at a pivotal moment right now. National conversations about civic engagement, social-emotional learning and teaching history place Facing History at the forefront of the most consequential issues of our time. I am enthusiastic about tackling them with our Board and the entirety of the Facing History community.”

The Board led an open and inclusive process to identify the next chair with the skills, experience, and expertise to lead. The most recently elected board, the most culturally diverse in Facing History’s 45 year history, demonstrates the organization's commitment to reflecting the communities it serves. 

Under Garling’s leadership, the Board of Directors will support efforts to extend Facing History’s reach and refine its approach to teachers, schools, and school districts. Facing History’s Chicago based office has been at the forefront of this effort, partnering with Chicago Public Schools (CPS)  to embed three of its historical case studies into CPS’ new district-wide digital curriculum. Garling will draw upon the learnings from this partnership as Facing History continues to respond to new challenges teachers and students are facing post-pandemic. 

About Facing History & Ourselves

Facing History's mission is to use lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Facing History believes the bigotry and hate that we witness today are the legacy of brutal injustices of the past. In partnership with educators around the globe, Facing History is creating the next generation of leaders who will build a world based on knowledge and compassion, the foundation for more democratic, equitable, and just societies. Facing History and Ourselves  has seven offices in the US (Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Memphis, New England, New York, and San Francisco), entities in Canada and the UK, and additional partnerships around the world.