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Hiawatha Academies Executive Director to resign 

Search begins for new Executive Director

Minneapolis, MN – (Dec. 18, 2017) – Eli Kramer has announced that he will resign from his role as Executive Director of Hiawatha Academies effective June 2018. The search for his successor will begin in January.

Hiawatha Academies is a network of schools serving students from kindergarten to high school with a mission to permanently disrupt educational inequity by ensuring a great school for every child.

Kramer plans to focus on ensuring a smooth leadership transition over the next few months. In six years, Kramer has overseen a network of schools that provide students with a rigorous, well-rounded education that prepares them for college. During his tenure, Hiawatha Academies has grown from one school with about 300 students to next year operating five schools with approximately 1,600 students.

“We are grateful for the passion and dedication that Eli has brought to Hiawatha through the years. Our schools will benefit for years to come,” said Board Chair Margarita Dimas Cultu, in a statement to stakeholders.

Cultu credits Kramer for effectively collaborating with staff, community partners and parents to build a high-performing, growing network of schools. She describes him as a leader who embraces diversity and passionately works to bring equity to the educational process.

Under Kramer’s leadership, Hiawatha Academies’ educators have earned a reputation as leaders in the fight to eliminate educational inequity in Minneapolis.

“This has been a really weighty decision for me because of how much I love Hiawatha and how much I admire the team that I get to do this critical work with,” said Kramer, in a statement to staff and community partners. “While I have every confidence in the future of Hiawatha Academies, I have come to the conclusion that what is best for the organization in its next phase of growth is to have new executive leadership.”

Cultu said the Board views this leadership transition as an opportunity to build upon past and current successes. Board members are unified in the belief that Hiawatha has the right vision and strategic plan and will move through this transition period in a position of strength.

The Board expects to have a new Executive Director in place before the start of the 2018-19 school year. After forming a selection committee, the Board plans to engage stakeholders in the search process.

Key Accomplishments during Kramer’s tenure

  • Growth from one to five schools next year
  • Growth from 300 students to 1,600 students next year
  • Growth from 40 full-time staff to approximately 240
  • Increased operational budget from $5 million to $25 million
  • Multiple “Reward” distinctions from the MN Department of Education, including the #2 MMR score in the entire state in 2012
  • Included on Star Tribune “Beat the Odds” list every year of that report
  • Formed a first-of-its-kind-in-Minnesota District/Charter Collaboration with the Minneapolis Public Schools


About Hiawatha Academies

Hiawatha Academies is a network of high-performing K-12 college preparatory charter schools located in South Minneapolis. Our mission is to empower all Hiawatha scholars with the knowledge, character and leadership skills to graduate from college and serve the common good. Our equity vision is to honor the humanity of all people, we actively disrupt systemic inequity in pursuit of an equitable world. Visit our website at