As we approach the end of the academic year, the team at Facing History & Ourselves is witnessing and reflecting on transitions. As we continue to honor our late founder Margot Stern Strom and prepare to welcome our next President & CEO, Desmond K. Blackburn, PhD we also want to recognize the transformative eight-year tenure of our retiring President & CEO, Roger Brooks.
During Roger’s time at Facing History, he stewarded the organization through unprecedented times and exponential growth. Leading the implementation of an ambitious strategic plan, Roger has strengthened the financial sustainability of the organization, championed the expansion of digital tools in teacher professional development, worked to strengthen our reputation as an industry leader, and saw our global educator network more than doubled in size. Today, Facing History’s network approaches half a million educators, and includes teachers in all 50 US states and virtually every country in the world.
In the last two years alone, Roger has led the organization with a steady hand through the convergence of a global pandemic that saw educators and students across the globe learning remotely for the first time in history; a racial awakening unlike any we've seen in modern time; and deepening social and political divisions that threaten democracies all over the world. He’s been at the helm as we’ve expanded our Teaching for Equity and Justice model into a full professional development program that equips educators with the tools to dismantle the historical context of educational inequity; launched our Contemporary Antisemitism Initiative to combat the rising tide of antisemitism, and developed our acclaimed Teaching with Current Events resources designed to help educators and students make sense of headline issues and the world around them.
“Facing History could not and would not be the organization that we are today without Roger’s steadfast leadership,” said Jill Garling, Chair of Facing History’s Board of Directors. “Through Roger’s leadership, we are stronger than ever and have an incredible foundation to build on. As we continue to serve our educators and students in these turbulent times, we will be looking to find the next CEO of Facing History who can build on the tremendous work that Roger has accomplished during his eight years here. ”
Roger came to Facing History after a distinguished 22-year tenure at Connecticut College, where he served both in the classroom and the administration. In addition to serving as the Elie Wiesel Professor of Judaic Studies, Roger also served as the associate dean of faculty and later as the dean and chief academic officer. In the classroom Roger demonstrated his commitment to principles we consider core to the Facing History approach like academic rigor, ethical reflection, and creating a culture of inquiry, and earned the esteemed John S. King Memorial Award for his outstanding work as a teacher. In his roles as an administrator and leader he worked tirelessly to raise the level of student-faculty engagement and oversaw the creation of the College’s first LGBTQ center, and the inception of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity. His leadership reached all aspects of campus life, from curricular design and institutional planning to budgeting and he brought these invaluable experiences to Facing History.