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Broad Alumni Spotlight: Davis Zaunbrecher (TBR 2017-19)

Davis Zaunbrecher (TBR 2017-19) currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Collegiate Academies in Louisiana. We connected with him to hear about what's coming up for him in 2022. 

Davis Zaunbrecher headshot

What’s your current organization and role?

I'm the Chief Strategy Officer for Collegiate Academies, a charter organization in Louisiana focused on serving high school students.

What is something you’re currently working on in your professional role?

The Collegiate Board of Directors recently hired one of our principals to take the helm as CEO in July 2022. It's an exciting moment for us. In 2022, I get the chance to help Jerel Bryant plan his transition and get concrete about what we want to accomplish as a team. Getting to envision what might be possible in our next 15 years as an organization is really energizing.

How has your experience as a Broad alum influenced the way you approach your work?

My cohort was great. Thoughtful. Passionate about the work. Always caring, but also not hesitant to push themselves and push each other. In any given week, I think of at least one of them and it makes me a better teammate and leader.  

What is one place where you or your organization has been working to increase equity for the students and communities you serve?

I love that our schools are constantly building new and better programs for students across Louisiana that might otherwise not have great options. Two examples from the last few years come to mind: we opened a charter school, Opportunities Academy, dedicated to building the employment and independent living skills of students with disabilities ages 18-21. And we launched Las Sierras Academy, New Orleans' first Newcomer program for high school students who recently arrived in the U.S.

What do you think school system leaders should be thinking more about right now, as the United States works to stabilize and recover from COVID-19?

Everything is hard right now. I've found the most energy from celebrating and affirming the day-to-day choices and growth of the teammates around me. Investing time and energy in team culture at this moment might seem misplaced, but I think that students need thriving, cohesive organizations and school systems now more than ever.

What is a thought-provoking education-related book or article you’ve read recently?

It's a stretch to call Richard Powers' The Overstory an "education-related book." But it is thought-provoking, no doubt. It shook up my perspective and made me rethink what we've been raised to hold up as valid sources of knowledge and wisdom. Read it!