In September, we announced the hire of CalSAC’s new executive director. As we enter the next phase of our transition plan, we’re excited for the field to get to know Isabelle Mussard. We invite you to read the message below from Isabelle and to meet her at the Passing the Torch celebration on October 17th. Can’t make it? View events in 2020 here.
I am humbled to have been selected as the next servant leader for CalSAC, an organization that embodies my commitment to youth and families and my social justice ethos. To understand where the values that guide me come from you have to know a bit about my childhood.
I grew up in San Francisco as the only child of a single parent with limited English and an eighth-grade education. Her resilience shaped my determination to further my formal education so that I could become a more effective advocate, and access to high quality educational and enrichment programs helped to make it possible. I went to graduate school and became a public school teacher because my mother was not allowed to finish middle school. I went to law school because I wanted to more fiercely parlay knowledge in the service of the homeless families and marginalized youth I worked with.
I spent 25 years learning how to best honor, heal with, and advocate for the people in the immigrant, multiracial, gay and lesbian headed households and communities that raised me. I eagerly accepted positions that allowed me to authentically connect with and support youth and families. I became an afterschool director because the memories of being a latchkey kid are still vivid and I have led afterschool programming, trained providers, and collaboratively developed youth driven programs.
My experience as a Youth Development Policy Director and then as a nonprofit CEO have honed my abilities to effectively lead organizations, teams, and strategic initiatives with meaningful input from youth, providers, management teams, boards and community partners. I have learned to tap into all the available resources - programs, campaigns, policies, procedures, budget, staff, communities - to further the mission of an organization. As a servant leader and parent of four, I am driven by the desire to play my part in dismantling White supremacy and I strive to always examine myself and my work through a social justice lens.
Our communities deeply deserve the authenticity, passion, experience, and commitment that Ruth gifted CalSAC. I am fiercely determined to bring my full and best self to the work to honor the community leaders that came before me, honor the purpose of CalSAC and, most importantly, honor the youth, families, and communities I am joining CalSAC to serve.
I am thrilled to join the CalSAC staff team on October 14th and to begin to build relationships and lead together with the CalSAC community!
Isabelle Mussard, Executive Director
California School-Age Consortium