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Welcoming wý' New CEO

July 18, 2023

A Message from Andrew Murr, Board Chair for wý

I’m delighted to introduce you to Ana L. Martinez, wý’ new CEO!

Ana is a dynamic and experienced leader who will guide the organization to continued success and impact, following Hrag Hamalian’s incredible leadership and tenure as CEO.

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When Hrag notified the Board he was ready for the next chapter in his career, connecting charter public school alumni (including Bright Star alumni) with challenging careers post-higher education, we knew that we’d have big shoes to fill in selecting a new Bright Star CEO.

We launched a nationwide search and a robust selection process, and during the selection process, Ana and her strengths shone brightly.

She is a values-driven leader with an unwavering commitment to creating great schools and a deeply experienced educator with a track record of success in instructional experience, school leadership, and organizational leadership. Ana’s personal values of love, community, integrity, tenacity, and excellence align with Bright Star’s culture and values.

A first-generation college graduate, attending UCSB was a big accomplishment for her and her family. Now, as a public education leader, Ana knows the impact of our work generationally. “Families entrust their children with us, and in turn, we not only help our students but also their entire families,” she says. “There are generations believing in us and trusting the work we do.”

As for her new role as Bright Star’s CEO, Ana says, “I’m excited to make a home here.”

As we welcome Ana to wý, we're also celebrating and thanking Hrag Hamalian for 16 years of incredible leadership at wý.

Deeply respected in the charter school community, Hrag has been a strong, collegial leader, a visionary, a steady force during challenging times and a leader not afraid to dream on a large scale when it helps Bright Star students and families.

Hrag’s relentless success in growing Bright Star is remarkable. After a strategic merger with wý (the first of its kind in Los Angeles), he supervised the organization’s expansion from 5 to 9 schools to fulfill the transitional-kindergarten through 12th grade pathway in North Hills, South LA, and Koreatown.

Hrag’s caring focus on students and families, staff growth, stability, and well-being has been his North Star. He’s led our work to center students’ social-emotional needs, helped establish strong restorative justice initiatives, and established and furthered Bright Star’s important commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Under his leadership, Bright Star further invested in Alumni Support and College Success Program, a six-year program that is helping thousands of Bright Star alumni navigate college, technical training – and life.

As Board Chair, I’ve been grateful to partner with Hrag over the past 16 years on behalf of the students, families, and communities we serve. Now, with Ana at the helm, I look forward to years of productive and lasting partnership with our new CEO, too.

Please join the Bright Star board and me in welcoming Ana to the Bright Star team, and in wishing Hrag the very best in the next phase of his career.