Achievement First Career Overview | Glassdoor

Achievement First Overview

Brooklyn, NY
1001 to 5000 employees
School / School District
$1 to $5 million (USD) per year
Achievement First is a growing network of non-profit, high-performing, college-preparatory, K to 12 public charter schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. Achievement First was established in 2003 by the founders of Amistad Academy, a nationally acclaimed public ... Read more

Mission: The mission of Achievement First is to deliver on the promise of equal educational opportunity for all of America's children. We believe that all children, regardless of race or economic status, can succeed if they have access to a great education. Achievement ... Read more

Company Updates

  • Teach with AF! Now hiring for the 2018-19 school year in Brooklyn, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Teacher, Teacher-in-Residence and School Leadership candidates can now email resumes directly to the recruitment team. Click here to learn more:

    Overview | Achievement First

    We're hiring across all of our geographies-Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut; Brooklyn, New York; and Providence, Rhode Island. Click below for more information on our current job openings.

  • Amazing news! On this year’s state test, Zada made the most progress of any Achievement First Connecticut student. We sat down with Zada, now a fifth-grader at AF Hartford Academy Middle, and her mother Symanther, to learn more about her and her success.

    "Thank You for Pushing Me": A Scholar's Story

    On this year's state test, Zada made the most progress of any Achievement First Connecticut student, growing at least 2 proficiency levels in both ELA and math.

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Achievement First Video

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Achievement First – Why Work For Us?


In 1998, a group of New Haven founders came together with a clear goal in mind: to prove that urban students can achieve at the same high levels as their affluent suburban counterparts. Confronted by the popular attitude that demographics were destiny, we decided that the best way to address the problem was to change the system.

We set out to create a public charter school—Amistad Academy—that would enable its students to achieve at high levels. Over the last 10 years, Amistad Academy has produced Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) results that have shattered the notion that "those kids can't learn." For the past seven years, Amistad Academy students—100 percent of whom are selected by blind lottery, 78 percent of whom receive free and reduced lunch and 98 percent of whom are African American or Hispanic—have beat state averages in reading and math, demonstrating that they can achieve on par with their wealthiest peers statewide.

In June 2003, we created a separate 501(c)3 non-profit, Achievement First, with the goal of using Amistad Academy's knowledge and best practices to have a greater impact. We opened the second school, Elm City College Preparatory, in 2004 and expanded the model to include elementary grades.

In fall 2005, under the leadership of New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Achievement First expanded into Brooklyn. One of Klein's core reform strategies was to locate high-performing public charter schools in New York's lowest-performing districts. Achievement First opened two new schools in central Brooklyn—Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School and Achievement First East New York Charter School.

The Brooklyn network continued to grow in 2006 with the opening of Achievement First Bushwick Charter School and Achievement First Endeavor Charter School, followed in 2008 by Achievement First Brownsville. Thanks to changes in Connecticut charter law, we were also able to open Amistad Academy High School and Amistad Academy Elementary School, paving the way for Connecticut's first K to 12 public charter school. Achievement First's Connecticut network was able to expand into Bridgeport with a new middle school in 2007 and, in 2008, into Hartford with new elementary and middle schools. Our first Rhode Island school, Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary, opened in August 2013.

Achievement First has grown into a network that includes 29 schools in five cities. In 1999, Amistad Academy opened with 84 fifth and sixth graders. Now, in the 2014-15 school year, Achievement First is serving 9,500 students in grades K to 12.

Greenfield Schools

Greenfield is a new school model designed to help develop the best prepared students in the world. Achievement First’s Greenfield schools will provide rigorous, high-quality instruction within a nurturing school community focused on developing self-motivated learners, problem-solvers and leaders. Students will benefit from more small group learning, greater access to technology, deep and meaningful enrichment opportunities (such as music, martial arts & STEM inventions), and extended field trips that allow students to go deeper in an area of interest and experience hands-on learning in more authentic and engaging ways.  

Achievement First Greenfield from Achievement First on Vimeo.

Achievement First Reviews

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Achievement First Co-CEO and President and Co-CEO and Superintendent Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
90 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    Helpful (10)

    "Rewarding and demanding"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Current Employee - Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (More than 5 years)


    I'm finishing my fifth year at an Achievement First Middle School. I came to AF after mixed results teaching in a district ran school and a different charter school. My first year at AF was powerful--because of the systems at my school, I was able to get closer to my goal of providing every student with an excellent education. Previously, I was able to serve kids that were invested in school, but I struggled to reach kids that seemed uninterested and/or misbehaved consistently. I realized, though, that it wasn't the systems themselves that helped me, but the team of teachers I worked with that prioritized our collective vision rather than their individual classrooms. I recently attended the "high school senior signing day" for the 8th graders I taught five years ago and it was extremely rewarding to learn which colleges they would be attending in the fall: UPENN, Carleton, Colombia, Lafayette, Skidmore, etc. I believe AF is truly expanding the life opportunities for almost every student in our schools and am proud to be part of this team.

    On a more personal note, I feel like my coach at AF has helped me significantly improve each year. I feel fortunate to have a job where I am improving each day.


    I love this work and it has become all consuming at times. I regularly put in much more than 60 hour work weeks. There have been times where the amount of work I have on my plate has been stressful and I have struggled to give my family the time I want to give them. Another significant stress agent is the irregular schedules my school frequently has. Our days are long, 7:15-4:15, and irregular schedules for events such as interim assessments can lead to me having fewer much cherished preparation blocks.

    Advice to Management

    I think we should shorten the school day to make this job more sustainable.

    I think we should build in more extracurricular activities to help develop the whole child. We're doing a good job academically preparing kids for the rigors of high school and college, but I'd like to see us do more developing students interests and hobbies beyond the classroom. This could also increase investment in our schools.

See All 242 Reviews

Achievement First Photos

Achievement First photo of: Team and Family
Achievement First photo of: Achievement First Hartford Elementary
Achievement First photo of: Achievement
Achievement First photo of: Joy
Achievement First photo of: High Expectations
Achievement First photo of: Team and Family
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Achievement First Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview




  1. Featured Interview


    Teacher In Residence Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New Haven, CT
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied online. I interviewed at Achievement First (New Haven, CT).


    First I applied with my resume, references, and some some short essay questions. I received a response back with an invitation to set a time for a phone interview. The phone interview was approximately 30 minutes and my recruiter, while very professional, was very pleasant, which eased my nerves. We went into my background, my goals, and why I chose to apply to AF. I was told I would hear back within 72 hours. I was then invited to go to the school location and have a tour, give a demo class, and interview with the principal. I was emailed some specifics for my demo class. Also, the day before, I had another 30 minutes on the phone with my recruiter to answer any questions and receive some additional coaching on what was expected of me and what I could expect the following day. The tour, demo and interview were what I expected. I spent some time observing prior to the demo and interviewed with the principal at the end for about 30-45 minutes. Again, I was told I would hear back within 72 hrs, which I did!

    Interview Questions

    • I was asked to describe one episode from my past where I was told I needed to improve and how I handled it.   Answer Question
See All 123 Interviews

Achievement First Awards & Accolades

  • #1 in Connecticut High Schools, US News & World Report, 2017
  • Finalist, The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, 2015

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