Published March 03, 2022 by Tom Porter

Ronald C. Brady ’89, P’19 to Receive 2022 Distinguished Educator Award

For his devotion to providing “transformational opportunities for underserved students” Ronald C. Brady ’89, P’19 has been chosen to receive the 2022 Distinguished Educator Award.


Among the first generation of his family to graduate from college, Brady became a vocal and influential student leader on the Bowdoin campus. A magna cum laude graduate in history and government, he served as house manager of the John Brown Russwurm African American Center, a senior admissions interviewer, and a member of the Student Union Committee, the Newman Society, and the Afro-American Studies Committee. In his senior year, he received the Andrew Allison Haldane Cup. He was also on the track team.

After graduation, Brady was awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship and earned a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University. Then he began a decorated career in education as assistant to the chancellor of the New York City public schools. He quickly and expertly gained knowledge about education strategy and organizational planning, knowledge that was soon put into practice in his next role with the State of New Jersey Department of Education, where he oversaw several state-operated school districts. From 2001 to 2003 Brady was employed by the school systems in Paterson, New Jersey, through a grant from the US Department of Education to improve and increase the number of the city’s small learning academies.

Perhaps Brady’s greatest and most impactful achievement came next, when, in 2007, recognizing the desperate need of underserved student populations and the power of a new educational model to lift those communities, he established Foundation Academies, a free charter school committed to creating “a wide range of intentional learning experiences in a joyful, inclusive, and culturally responsive environment” for schoolchildren in the economically depressed community of Trenton, New Jersey. From modest beginnings, Foundation Academies has grown to serve one thousand students from kindergarten through grade twelve, in four schools spread over two campuses. Brady built upon this success with his later work as executive director of Freedom Prep Charter Schools and as CEO of New Foundations Charter School.

Brady has generously and enthusiastically shared his expertise, energy, and time with Bowdoin, serving as a member of the Alumni Council and then on the Board of Trustees, among many other volunteer roles. Brady was also a member of the Advisory Group for the THRIVE Program, using his considerable skills to help first-generation and low-income students achieve success at Bowdoin. Additionally, he served on the 2014 Presidential Search Committee and the 2016 Ad Hoc Committee on Inclusion.

The Distinguished Educator Award was established in 1964 to recognize outstanding achievement in education (teaching or administration) by a Bowdoin alumnus or alumna in any field and at any level of education.