News / Insights

Announcing CLX's New Executive Director

  • Daniel Ash

After an extensive regional search, I am pleased to announce that the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) Board of Directors has appointed Sana Jafri as the organization’s new Executive Director, effective December 16, 2019. Sana will replace CLX founding Executive Director Maria Hibbs, who announced her retirement in September.

CLX was formed two years ago by bringing together the work of the Hive Chicago Learning Network, an initiative of the Mozilla Foundation, and the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, housed at The Chicago Community Trust. A former high-school English educator, non-profit and fundraising professional, Sana joined Chicago’s work to advance interest-driven learning in 2015 as a Program Officer at the Hive Fund. She managed the Fund’s investments in innovative initiatives aiming to close the learning equity gaps faced by thousands of young people in Chicago. Sana quickly became a trusted colleague within the Hive (now CLX) community, supporting out-of-school-time educators and organizations with grant funding to fuel the development of great new ideas.

When CLX was created in 2018, Sana continued to lead our grantmaking efforts, but also sought ways to strategically integrate the activities of the former Hive Network and Fund to make Chicago a connected community where all learning counts—whether in school, out of school, online or on the job. She was promoted to Director of Growth and Advocacy in 2019 and initiated two highly successful collaborative projects celebrating interest-driven, hands-on learning. Remake Learning Days CHI is Chicago’s first festival for the future of learning and work designed to spotlight the learning ecosystem. She also helped to create the Brother Mike Hawkins Award for Mentorship to recognize the legacy of Brother Mike Hawkins, a digital media mentor, in our community and mentors who continue to inspire, connect, and love our youth. Sana was adept at bringing together the right partners in a spirit of collaboration to successfully execute each project. Both will become annual highlights on Chicago’s calendar.

We are proud that CLX is remaking learning in Chicago so it’s driven by learners’ interests, enhanced by technology, and connected to opportunity. Our career pathways and digital badging work is making it possible to connect youth interests, career exploration and workforce development experiences across organizations and contexts. The CLX community, now consisting of more than 200 youth-serving organizations, serves as a lever for social change, affecting individuals, organizations, and systems alike.

With her vision, enthusiasm and ability to get things done, Sana is the right person to lead CLX as it transitions to its new phase of impact and growth. Please join the CLX Board and me in congratulating Sana on her new role and supporting her leadership.

Daniel O. Ash

CLX Board Chair