Paul Fields is the Director of Programs and Partnerships at The Knowledge House in The Bronx, NYC.
Paul was raised in Bergen County, NJ, educated in Lancaster, PA, matured in Brooklyn, NY and tested in Oakland, CA. While not a nomad by nature, Paul’s experiences in each of these places have helped mold him into the dynamic leader he is today. Paul has been an educator for 10 years, working for two well-known non-profits on opposite coasts; the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City and College Track in Oakland, CA. But before making an impact in education, he was making a different type of impact on Franklin & Marshall’s campus. In 2005, Paul co-founded a student organization called IMPACT (Intelligent Men-of-color Purposefully Accomplishing College Together). Eventually, he turned that group into a nonprofit with the mission of increasing the retention and graduation rates of male students of color at institutions of higher education.
Paul graduated from F&M with a degree in Africana Studies in 2008 and joined the Harlem Children’s Zone’s College Success Office. He worked his way through the ranks and became the program’s Director by 2012. During his time there, he also worked part-time at a teen center in the affluent city of Scarsdale, NY. It was there that he deepened his understanding of the disparities in educational equity between low-income and privileged families. It was his work at the Harlem Children’s Zone which affirmed Paul’s desire to invest in communities of color. Having just graduated college, it was easy for Paul to quickly build meaningful relationships with students and to use his experience in undergrad as a blueprint of success—a blueprint that most of his students’ parents, having not gone to college, could not offer. Paul learned the ins and outs of the organization by holding multiple roles in the College Success Office and never turning down opportunities for growth. He was selected by HCZ’s executive leadership to train organizations from various states on HCZ’s model for college completion through the agency’s Practitioner’s Institute. He was also hand-selected by senior managers to participate in the agency’s first Assistant Director fellowship in 2011. Under his leadership as Director, 74.5% of students were on track to graduate from a 2 or 4-year college.
Paul joined College Track (CT) in 2014 as the Director of College Partnerships. In this role, he engineered relationships with colleges and universities with the objective of reducing financial gaps, increasing freshman persistence and improving 4-year college graduation rates. He strategically increased the number of signed partnerships in target regions from 12 to 17 by 2016. Later that year, Paul assumed the Director of College Services position wherein he created a vision for and lead CT’s college completion efforts by implementing a college persistence program model. In collaboration with the Evaluation department, he created an instance in Salesforce called CAT (College Advising and Tracking), which for the first time since CT sent students to college in 2001, gave the organization visibility into the credits attempts vs. earned and overall progress toward graduation for each student enrolled in post-secondary institutions. Simultaneously, he oversaw the national college scholarship program by projecting financial need for soon-to-be and current college students, partnered with local and national scholarship providers, and managed a $1.3M budget for financial awards.
In April 2017, Paul earned the privilege of becoming the Oakland Site Director where continues to set a bold and compelling vision for 25 employees, ensuring that 480 high school students graduate with competitive GPAs, matriculate into the 4-year college of their choice and earn a bachelor’s degree within 6 years. Paul is a lover of music and from 2008 to 2014, worked as the manager for Strictly Business Soundsystem, a well-known Caribbean DJ team in the tri-state area. He is the youngest of Raylena and Carl’s two sons and still wants to be like his big brother, Bradley when he grows up.