Welcoming Jeff Kirsch as our Vice President of National Policy + Advocacy
August 17, 2017
We are very excited to welcome Jeff Kirsch to Healthy Schools Campaign as our new Vice President of National Policy + Advocacy. Jeff will be working with leaders from national organizations, advocacy organizations and stakeholders across the country to advance HSC’s policy and advocacy agenda, with a special focus on supporting student health and school wellness through Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation. “At the national level, I’ll work with both the education and health community to build consensus about what it means to have healthy schools and healthy kids.”
Jeff has been an advocate for the health and wellness of children throughout his career. “My whole work life, which is now pretty long, has been around children and family issues and issues affecting families in poverty,” he says. “It’s been an interesting journey. I’m excited to work with Healthy Schools Campaign because it pulls together a lot of what I’ve worked on.”
After Jeff graduated from the University of Virginia in 1971, he headed to San Elizario, Texas, a very small town about 30 miles outside of El Paso, as a community organizer with VISTA. One of the first things Jeff did when he arrived was to meet with parents and ask what they wanted him to work on. The parents heard that students in El Paso got lunch during the school day and they wanted to know if their children could get lunch, too.
After starting and running a school meal program there, nearby communities asked him to do the same in their town. “I went from town to town working with parents to convince the school board to start the lunch program,” he says. “Once you get a few going, everyone wants it. It was the most productive year of my career.”
After his year of service was up, Jeff moved to New York City to work with Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), an organization that had supported the school meal program work in Texas. He stayed for eight years, eventually becoming the executive director. Jeff then moved to Families USA, a national organization focusing on achieving improved health and health coverage for all Americans. Jeff then became the Vice President of Council for a Strong America, where he organized unexpected messengers, including retired generals and admirals, law enforcement leaders, and business executives to advocate for children’s development, education and health.
We are excited to welcome Jeff to the HSC team!