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Ahmeed Turner Named Executive Director of Say Yes Syracuse
SYRACUSE, NY, Sept. 28 — Ahmeed Turner, the scholarship director of Say Yes Syracuse since 2012, has been named the chapter’s executive director, the Say Yes to Education national organization announced today.
Launched in 2008, the Say Yes Syracuse partnership has marshaled an array of public and private entities – including the Syracuse City School District; the city of Syracuse; Onondaga County, and the Central New York Community Foundation, as well as nonprofit organizations, local businesses and higher education institutions – around the goal of all public and charter school children in the city not only graduating high school, but doing so ready for college or other postsecondary education and with the wherewithal to afford it.
“As the scholarship director of Say Yes Syracuse, Ahmeed Turner has made a difference in the lives of families across the city,’’ said Gene Chasin, the president and chief operating officer of Say Yes to Education. “Those of us who have been fortunate to work closely with Ahmeed know that he combines a life-long, first-hand knowledge of Syracuse with an encyclopedic understanding of college access — all of which he brings to bear in support of instilling hope in young people and helping them maximize their gifts and talents.”
The Say Yes Syracuse Scholarship Board has raised more than $30 million – including through a $20 million grant from New York State’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative — for a scholarship fund that covers the cost of tuition (after Federal and state aid has been applied) for qualifying SCSD graduates who attend public colleges and universities in the SUNY and CUNY systems. Since 2009, more than 3,800 Syracuse City School District graduates have gone off to college with scholarships or other support from the Say Yes Syracuse partnership.
Over that same period, the high school graduation rate in Syracuse has risen 12 points — from 52 percent (in 2008) to 64 percent (2016), according to New York State figures, and the high school graduation rate of African American students in particular has climbed 17 points, from 49 percent to 66 percent, and is now effectively comparable to that of white students.
Turner, who joined Say Yes Syracuse in 2009 as a site coordinator at Bellevue Elementary School, is a graduate of Nottingham High School in Syracuse. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cheney State and a master’s degree, in marriage and family therapy, from Syracuse University.
“I’m excited to continue to build on the momentum of the Say Yes Syracuse partnership,” Turner said. “Working together, we are not only supporting the children of Syracuse and preparing them for adult success, but elevating the community as a whole.”
About Say Yes Syracuse
Say Yes Syracuse is a landmark collaboration that brings together the Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College, the member colleges and universities of the Say Yes Higher Education Compact, the Syracuse Teachers’ Association, the Syracuse Association of Administrators and Supervisors, the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, the American Institutes for Research, the national Say Yes organization and a diverse group of Syracuse area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations. Say Yes Syracuse seeks to develop the full potential of every child, particularly students from low-income and other backgrounds historically underrepresented on the nation’s college and university campuses. In the long run, Say Yes believes its efforts will have a positive impact on the local economy, including by arming the program’s students with a postsecondary degree or certificate — and the qualifications to excel in a range of occupations. Say Yes provides comprehensive support (including academic, social-emotional and medical services) to Syracuse City School District students to eliminate predictable barriers to academic achievement. Syracuse City School District graduates who meet residency and other requirements, and who have been admitted to an in-state public college or university, are eligible to receive “last dollar” tuition scholarships (after Pell Grants and state aid) to that institution, from the local Say Yes Scholarship Fund, regardless of annual family income. In addition, depending on family income, Say Yes Syracuse Scholars may be eligible to receive scholarships to one of the more than 100 private colleges and universities in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact. www.sayyessyracuse.org
About Say Yes to Education
Founded in 1987, Say Yes to Education is a nonprofit that partners with communities around the goal of every public school student not only graduating high school – but doing so with the preparation to complete a college or other postsecondary education, and with the wherewithal to afford it. Say Yes works with its community partners to bring together local stakeholders and arms that coalition with the tools to boost postsecondary participation and success. Those systems and structures enable the work of the local Say Yes partnership to be sustained through predictable transitions in leadership, and historically unpredictable funding from state and local sources. The organization’s support services are available to tens of thousands of public school students, pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Most are in community wide chapters in Syracuse and Buffalo, NY, as well as Guilford County (Greensboro-High Point), NC. Say Yes, which has begun the search for its next community chapter, has smaller chapters in Harlem in New York City and Philadelphia. www.sayyestoeducation.org