It all started with a chance meeting where then-PhD student Chris Haid was introduced to an administrator at one of A Better Chicago’s grantees, KIPP Chicago (KIPP), and offered to help with some data analysis the organization was doing. Nine years later, Chris is now the chief of staff at KIPP—which is the highest-performing network of public schools in Chicago—and is leading work that ensures families in our city, regardless of their zip code, have options and access to great educational opportunities for their children. Supporting seven KIPP schools throughout the city that serve more than 2,400 K-8 students each year, Chris has his hands full and is deeply commitment to KIPP’s mission.
To say Chris goes above and beyond for his students is an understatement. For Chris and his wife Amy Pouba, who is KIPP’s superintendent, the children they serve are more like family—and, for one student, the couple actually became family when Amy and Chris served as foster parents for four years.
Chris doesn’t sugar-coat their fostering experience. It was a challenging and transformative journey for everyone involved: his family, their foster son, and even the faculty and staff at KIPP who jumped in to provide additional support during the transition. The experience solidified Chris and Amy’s commitment to ensuring that every child in Chicago has the support to succeed. Today, that student is 21 years old and remains close to Amy and Chris.
In his role as chief of staff, Chris has spearheaded key strategic initiatives at KIPP and credits much of his success to A Better Chicago’s financial support and strategic guidance. A project he’s particularly proud of collaborating with A Better Chicago on is an alumnae engagement plan that helps to maintain continuity for KIPP students when they leave eighth grade and move on to high school and college.
“More organizations need to be reflective of the fabric the city we live in is woven from. We’ll know we’re successful when the person in my role looks like one of our students.”- Chris Haid
Chris approaches his role and his work with a unique self-awareness that allows him to recognize that there’s something critical his students need that he himself can’t personally provide but can be instrumental in helping them achieve: representation. He wants them to not only see themselves reflected in the diversity of the staff at organizations like KIPP, but also to aspire to be the future leaders of those organizations. For Chris, a better Chicago is one where the teachers, administrators and leadership of world-class organizations like KIPP are representative of the student populations they serve.
Chris is building a better Chicago. Learn more about the incredible people who make up our community at #WeAreChicago