OFFICE OF DEVELOPMENT
AND ALUMNI RELATIONS
Alumnus/Alumna of the Month
Edward Rodriguez '97
Rewarding Achievement (REACH)
In 2007, after more than 15 years of public interest work as a trial attorney, educator and civic activist, Eddie Rodriguez joined The Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) as Executive Director of its Rewarding Achievement (REACH) program.
REACH is an innovative pay-for-performance program, which Eddie has helped to found and develop. The program aims to improve the college readiness of low-income high school students, especially those from ethnic and racial groups that are underrepresented in higher education, by
focusing keenly on high academic achievement and by rewarding students and schools for success on tough Advanced Placement exams and demonstrated scholarship. Through incentive awards and other investments, REACH encourages students to enroll and excel in the most rigorous courses and to reward dynamism and innovation in NYC high schools serving low-income communities (25 public and 6 parochial in 2007-2008). In its first year, REACH Scholars, who will earn $500 – $1,000 for each score of a 3 or better on qualifying AP exams, will collectively earn several hundred thousand dollars, and REACH Schools will collectively earn a few hundred thousand dollars in Matching Grants, which are based on incremental student performance on AP exams.
Most recently, Mr. Rodriguez served as an attorney with the NYC Department of Education and as Visiting Associate Clinical Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, where he supervised law students in the representation of indigent clients in civil rights, predatory lending, housing, and unfair labor practices litigation. Prior to that, he spent nearly four years in the Office of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, representing agencies and individuals in complex civil rights and constitutional litigation in federal and state courts, including defending the constitutionality of New York’s DNA databank and deadbeat dad statutes. In his years in private practice, Mr. Rodriguez focused on class action, civil rights, and labor and employment matters. Prior to law
school, he served as a public middle school teacher at the Dual Language Middle School
During his tenure as member and then president of his local community school board in Brooklyn (District 15 – Sunset Park, Red Hook, Park Slope), Mr. Rodriguez worked to enact a number of innovative policies and initiatives, including reducing the average first grade class size from 27 to 20, starting the first all-day pre-Kindergarten program in the entire city (and placing it in Sunset Park), and creating smaller, more rigorous, theme-based middle school programs. In 2002, The New York Times called Mr. Rodriguez’s work “particularly dynamic,” in recognition of tangible gains in student achievement among grammar school and middle school children in the district.
Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Regis High School, Columbia College and New York University School of Law. He is the President-elect of the NYU School of Law Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association (BLAPA), and serves on the Board of Directors of the Red Hook Initiative, a community-based organization committed to confronting and affecting the consequences of intergenerational poverty in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In his free time, he enjoys teaching a weekly college-style seminar, The Law and Public Policy, to middle school students at Sunset Park Prep Academy, one of the small middle school programs created during his tenure on the local school board.