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City Year Detroit announces New Board Chair: Tonya Adair

City Year has been in the midst of a leadership transition as we begin the 2022-23 school year, welcoming a new Executive Director as well as a new board chair. During City Year Detroit’s annual fundraising event, Get in the Game, City Year Detroit had the pleasure of announcing our newest Board Chair, Tonya Adair.


(Left to Right) Sherisse M Butler City Year Detroit’s new executive director, Tonya Adair City Year Detroit New Board Chair, Derrick Fulton City Year Market President


Jessica Stowers, Managing Director, Impact, recently said  ”When we think about change, most of us can agree, oftentimes change isn’t easy. In fact, some may say it’s scary. However, I had no doubt that the person filling the Board Chair role would be up for the challenge of building on the successes of Mark Zausmer. We are so fortunate to have a City Year Champion in Tonya.” 

Since joining our board three years ago, Tonya has demonstrated her commitment to City Year and the students of Detroit with her enthusiastic participation on the site’s AmeriCorps Member Support Committee. In this role, she has served as a mentor to our AmeriCorps Members, supporting our recruitment, admissions, and corps appreciation efforts through a lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Beyond this, Tonya has been a valuable thought partner to our site’s senior leadership team and has the full respect and confidence of our board members. 

During the event, Tonya said, “It’s been an amazing experience partnering with City Year in various capacities over the last five years. While my official journey with City Year Detroit started in 2018, I’ve had a long-lasting love for this organization, from the very first day that I saw those red jackets lined up outside of my son’s middle school in Milwaukee. City Year corps members touched his life and supported him through a bullying situation when I didn’t even know it was happening. They covered him, advocated for him, and provided social-emotional support to help him get through a tough situation. From that day forward, when I saw those red jackets at a school, I knew students were better off because they had the added support of a near-peer coaching and mentoring them through the school year. “ 

Tonya is currently the Chief People, Equity, & Engagement Officer at United Way for Southeastern Michigan and has an impressive list of accomplishments. Prior to joining United Way, she was an educator with the Milwaukee Public School District, serving in various leadership roles including Chief Academic Officer and Principal of Washington High School of Information Technology. 

“In this post-COVID era, I’m optimistic that if anyone can innovate and find new ways to support students, it’s City Year. I’m motivated by the creative nature of young people to adapt in changing times. I’m inspired that equity is not simply a buzz word for City Year staff, but it’s been a part of its fiber for many years. And I am encouraged that – in this new day – a focus on what’s best for children is a constant priority and discussion of City Year leaders in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Community District. 

City Year Detroit is honored to have Tonya lead the Board and recognize our fortune to serve alongside champions in the community who share our same passion for transformational education. 

To see more about how Tonya Adair works with City Year Detroit, check out this conversation on Fostering Education Equity.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan is a proud partner of City Year Detroit

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