Derrell assumed leadership of NYCAN in 2014 after more than 12 years of working in education advocacy in New Jersey and across the country.
Derrell previously served as the executive director at Better Education for Kids, a 501c4 organization supporting bipartisan education reforms in New Jersey. At B4K Derrell worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. This bill tied the acquisition of tenure to teacher effectiveness and student outcomes, shortened the process necessary to remove an ineffective teacher and provided systems and support for teachers who needed improvement. B4K’s advocacy also led to electoral victories for reform-minded candidates in Jersey City’s mayoral and school board races and in several New Jersey State Assembly races.
Prior to B4K, Derrell spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) as director of communications and then executive director. Derrell led strategy, operations and communications for the organization, focusing advocacy efforts on school choice, high standards and expectations and financial transparency. While there he also served on Governor Christie’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force, which gave recommendations on a new, statewide evaluation system for teachers and leaders.
Derrell frequently contributes to education debates in print, digital, radio and TV media. He serves on several boards dedicated to putting the needs of students and families first, including Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, EdBuild, The Partnership for Educational Justice and The Parent Coalition for Excellent Education. He is a former board member of We Can Do Better New Jersey and St. Anthony High School in Jersey City.
A native of Baltimore, Derrell attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.A. in English.