As the founding director and early developer of New Haven Promise, Byrne knows how a place-based scholarship operates and the additional services that make it successful. After a stint in Hartford, serving as the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Connecticut education commissioner’s office, she has returned to the Elm City as special assistant for education policy for the Housing Authority of New Haven.
In that role, she is creating innovative programming to address specific target areas to reduce the achievement gap between students living in low-income housing and those who do not. It is also her charge to help families in public housing provide supports in children’s education.
Byrne had been a top aide to Mayor John DeStefano before serving as the Executive Director of New Haven Promise when it was founded in 2010. When she was picked as one of “40 Under 40” by Connecticut Magazine in 2012, she said, “There’s no better wealth creator, crime-prevention plan or economic-development initiative than ensuring that kids — our future — get an excellent and equal education.”