Joel's Open Road


New York City Schools

“It's very hard to get up day-in and day-out and not be excited about what you're doing; so, I guess because of that I've been willing to take some strange curves and detours in the road.”




Culture Inspiration Transitions Fulfillment


comfort, cross examination, john kennedy, law, rewarding, satisfaction, security, social change, victory, vision


It's hard to imagine that Harvard Law alum Joel Klein grew up in the public housing projects of Queens, N.Y. But at 13, he was inspired by the famous words of John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." After that, he knew he wanted work to better his society through law. His dreams pushed him through college and law school, and eventually he ended up working for the government in several prestigious positions—from clerking for a supreme court justice to being a lawyer under President Bill Clinton. But by 2002, Joel realized he wanted to focus on improving education. He left his stable career in law in order to serve as chancellor for the New York City Department of Education. "I knew it was the right time. Some people need the security; my sense was that it was just another hill to climb, and that there is something interesting around that corner that I haven't seen…I think it‘s an exciting way to live."

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