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Black Tie International:
Dave Barger

Dave Barger.  Photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways

Dave Barger.  Photo courtesy of JetBlue Airways

PENCIL Founder Lisa Belzberg Hands Reins
to JetBlue CEO Dave Barger

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Executive Lewis Warren, Jr.
Elected to Board

June 14, 2011, New York, NY – PENCIL, the NYC–based non-profit that works to improve student achievement by bringing private sector expertise into public schools, announced today that Dave Barger, President and CEO of JetBlue Airways, has been elected Chair of the organization's Board of Directors. He succeeds the organization’s founder, Lisa Belzberg, who launched PENCIL in 1995. Belzberg will serve as Chair Emeritus and remain involved in the organization that is credited with mobilizing the city’s private sector to play an active role in public education, and which today operates programs in four cities.

Additionally, the Board elected Lewis Warren, Jr. of Bank of America Merrill Lynch to its membership.

“After sixteen years, I am more convinced than ever in the importance of PENCIL’s mission and its unique ability to change schools and transform lives,” Belzberg said. “It’s a tremendous honor for this organization, and particularly gratifying to me personally, to have the opportunity to bring on a business leader of Dave Barger’s caliber to take PENCIL’s work forward as we continue to grow in New York City and across the country.”

Barger said that he was honored to be entrusted by the Board to lead one of New York City’s most-respected and best-known education not-for-profits. Having experienced the work firsthand as a successful PENCIL Partner to PS 153 in West Harlem, and now Aviation High School in Long Island City, JetBlue’s new hometown, Barger plans to work with the staff to build on the foundation Belzberg helped create and expand the work in multiple ways.

“PENCIL has been a critical force in connecting the city’s private sector with the public school system, and helping business leaders realize that they have a big stake in the success of students,” he said. “Lisa’s contribution to New York is priceless, and I’m honored to carry her vision forward.”

Founded in 1995, PENCIL began with Principal For A Day®, an awareness program designed to provide leaders from all sectors with an opportunity to spend a day experiencing a New York City public school through the lens of a principal, and to directly connect with students enrolled in our public schools. As the city’s leaders expressed interest and commitment, PENCIL developed more structured programs to engage the private sector in schools in ways that have a measurable impact on students.

Today, PENCIL’s Partnership Program has helped to build relationships between private sector leaders and public school principals in hundreds of schools across the five boroughs, with affiliate programs now operating in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Rochester.

Additionally, the PENCIL Fellows Program, launched four years ago to provide public high school students with career readiness training and six-week, paid summer internships doing meaningful work at some of the city’s top businesses, has grown into one of the state’s most well-respected internship programs.

“When Lisa first hatched the idea of PENCIL, public education in New York City and large urban centers was largely considered to be someone else’s problem,” said PENCIL President, Michael Haberman. “Today, in no small part because of her determination and sheer grit, virtually every major corporation, foundation and elected official has placed public education at the forefront of the agenda and is stepping up to do their part.”

“What Lisa has built is remarkable,” he said. “I’m confident that the legacy she is leaving will be enhanced by Dave and the leadership and vision he will bring to PENCIL.”

PENCIL also announced today the election of Lewis Warren, Jr., Global Commercial Banking Treasury Solutions executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to its Board of Directors. With 25 years of banking experience at many of the world’s leading financial institutions, and as one of the city’s top African-American leaders in the industry, Warren brings a valuable set of skills and experience as well as a diverse perspective that will make him a tremendous asset to PENCIL’s work supporting public schools in New York City and beyond.

“It’s an honor to welcome Lewis to PENCIL’s Board of Directors,” said Barger. “Lewis’ business and leadership experience will add richness to the PENCIL organization, to the benefit of New York’s public school students and their families.”

In his role at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Warren oversees a team of associates who deliver treasury and liquidity solutions to commercial and institutional clients across the country and internationally. Based in New York City, he also is a member of the company’s Management Operating Committee. Previously, he served as Global Commercial Banking Northeast Region executive, with responsibilities for Middle Market and Business Banking from Pennsylvania north to the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

“I am very pleased to join PENCIL’s Board,” said Warren. “With such dramatic changes in the corporate world in recent years, it’s clearer than ever that we all must play a role in cultivating today’s young people, tomorrow’s leaders, through public education. PENCIL provides an ideal opportunity for the private sector to do just that by sharing its most valuable asset—human capital—with our public schools and their students.”

In 2010, Warren was elected to The Executive Leadership Council. He was recently recognized as a “Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive and Emerging Leader” by Diversity MBA Magazine, and Black Enterprise Magazine in 2006 named Warren one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street.”

PENCIL inspires innovative solutions to the challenges facing public education by providing results-driven opportunities for the private sector to actively participate in transforming public schools. The PENCIL Partnership Program builds and supports customized relationships between private sector and school leaders, with hundreds of Partnerships throughout the five boroughs and increasingly nationwide. There are currently affiliate programs in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Rochester. The PENCIL Fellows Program provides ambitious, pre-screened high school students with job-readiness training and six-week, paid summer internships at some of the New York City’s top businesses. For more information about PENCIL, visit  or call 646-638-0565 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


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