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OneGoal Announces New Executive Director in New York

Dr. Alaina Harper Brings a Record of Success from the Secondary and Postsecondary Sectors

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2024 — Leading postsecondary advising and success organization OneGoal announced today the appointment of Dr. Alaina Harper as its new executive director in New York.

Alaina has been an educator for over twenty years. She brings a passion for expanding opportunities for students and extensive experience leading and scaling education entities. Most recently, Dr. Harper served as the Managing Director of Partner Success at Relay Graduate School of Education. During her tenure at Relay, Alaina led their work in Philadelphia and Camden and oversaw key programs in New York. She also expanded programs and partnerships between school and district partners and state authorizers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC.

Reflecting on her new role, Dr. Harper stated, “I have seen the impact of how postsecondary planning in high school can impact career trajectories and possibilities in the future. I know how powerful it can be to have a network of caring adults working together, centered on student success. I want that for my family and for all students.”

Dr. Harper began her career in New York City as a middle school English and science teacher in the Bronx, where she served for ten years. Her role as grade-level chair allowed her to oversee the curriculum and coach other educators. Dr. Harper holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Science in Teaching focused on Curriculum and Teaching from Fordham University, and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Harvard University.

“On behalf of our team and students across New York City, OneGoal is excited to welcome Alaina,” said Melissa Connelly, OneGoal CEO. “Our New York team has become an important partner working alongside New York City Public School leaders and local postsecondary institutions. Dr. Harper’s expertise and leadership will ensure we continue to deliver strong results and expand our reach so that more students can realize their greatest postsecondary ambitions.”

Prioritizing community understanding, context, and relationships, Dr. Harper joins a dynamic team of postsecondary experts in New York. OneGoal serves some 1,700 students across 13 partner schools in New York City. To date, 87% of OneGoal high school grads in New York enroll in a postsecondary institution, and 76% of those persist one year after high school graduation.

Under Alaina’s leadership, the team will remain focused on supporting students’ greatest postsecondary aspirations while growing the organization’s reach in New York to 25 partner schools by Sept 2025.


About OneGoal
OneGoal transforms postsecondary advising and support so that every student can define their own future. Together with our partners, we’re building a movement to close the opportunity gap. We work side-by-side with partner schools and districts to build their knowledge and capacity. The result is more equitable and effective support for all students. Our unique approach, honed over 15 years, prioritizes strong human relationships. And it’s proven to deliver real student impact. Nationally, 82% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution, and 73% of those who enroll persist one year after high school. An independent study by the University of Chicago found that OneGoal students are about 40% more likely to earn their postsecondary degrees than students from similar backgrounds.

For more information on OneGoal, contact Stephen Barker, OneGoal Director of Communications, at [email protected], (316) 734-1042.

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