National Staff

Habib Bangura

National Freshman Success Director

An immigrant from Sierra Leone, Habib’s first experiences with educational malpractice occurred when his 9th-grade Guidance Counselor, based solely on Habib’s recent immigrant status, assumed the “Gifted” recommendation on his 8th-grade transcripts to be a clerical error. Rather than the "Advanced" track, he was placed on the Learning Disabled track and several months later “mainstreamed” after the school discovered its “mistake”. This experience left Habib feeling disenchanted with schooling and resulted in his combined 1.667 GPA in his first two years of high school.

Through his mother’s savvy intervention and the dedicated support of a teacher who doubled as a mentor and advocate, Habib was able to rediscover his academic joy and go on to earn degrees from George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Habib considers himself fortunate to have had the aligned systems of support that allowed him to pivot from being a potential high school dropout to a college graduate. He also recognizes the need for and has dedicated his career to building and institutionalizing aligned systems of supports so that his story becomes the norm and not the exception.

Most recently, Habib served as a Community School Director with the Office of School and Community Partnerships at Teachers College, Columbia University where he supported the implementation of a school turnaround model at a portfolio of high-need schools in Harlem. In this capacity, Habib’s work to transform the organizational structures, systems, and practices at one of New York City’s most persistently low-performing schools, ultimately lead to significant improvements in graduation rates, dropout prevention, student attendance, chronic absenteeism, and more efficient and mission-aligned use of resources.

Habib brings to Stand a breath of experience marshalling the resources of non-profits to help build school capacity, and he is eager to help spearhead Stand's effort to get and keep students on-track for on-time graduation. Habib is a proud introvert who still thinks he can hoop; loves hanging out with his toddler daughter; enjoys watching HGTV with his wife, and sees himself taking up gardening one day.

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