Meet the Team

Irina Cortez
Chief of Staff
BA, Tennessee State University

Irina has worked with non-profit and education-focused organizations for over 15 years. She began her career in DC with environmental non-profits but soon realized that while she appreciated – and would continue to champion – the importance of our natural spaces, her real concern was for the communities who, because of systemic barriers, did not have access to them. A native Memphian, Irina returned to her hometown to help train school leaders on best practices in recruiting, hiring and retaining excellent teachers with TNTP, focusing primarily on high needs schools. Irina then joined the Tennessee Achievement School District as Founding Director of School Operations for Westside Achievement Middle School and, later KIPP Delta, to refine operations at the school and network levels. After KIPP Delta, Irina moved on to Education First Consulting and led internal operations, with a broad portfolio that included communications, talent systems, and DEI initiatives. Irina most recently worked with Teaching Trust in Dallas as Managing Director of People Operations to build out the human capital function, with a focus on building equitable and inclusive systems.

Irina is passionate about pursuing work with the best, most important causes and ensuring that people, specifically people of color, work in organizations that value them and their voices. She strongly believes that by designing for the people whose perspective is least solicited and whose voices are least amplified, we all win. Irina earned a B.A. in History from Tennessee State University

Interested in joining our team as a chief of staff?
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