Zainab Ali

MPA-PNP - 2013

Chief of Staff
Camden City School District
Zainab Ali

How did being in New York impact your professional journey?

New York City has the largest school system in the country. When I was at Wagner the system had already been undergoing reform for several years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, so there truly wasn’t a better place in the country to be learning about the successes and challenges in education. That experience will always influence the way I think about the problems I tackle in my career.

How did you find your first post-Wagner job?

I started my “post-Wagner” job while I was still at Wagner because it was such an amazing opportunity. As a Bohnett fellow at Wagner I worked at the New York City Department of Education for a summer—and during my time there I was offered the position of special assistant to the Chancellor. I had written my Bohnett fellowship application essay about working for the Chancellor—so it truly was a dream come true.

Describe your current job.

I currently serve as Chief of Staff to Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard at the Camden City School District in Southern New Jersey. In this role I am responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of the school district, and the execution of the highest priority initiatives—from balancing our budget to staffing our schools and ensuring our students and schools are getting the resources they need.