Dr. Christopher Warren, a project coordinator at the University of South Florida, was named director of the Write Field Program for Minority Youth at the Poynter Institute on Thursday. He will succeed Kenny Irby, who left the institute last month.
Warren, who oversees a program for unmarried parents, is a non-traditional hire for a writing program once headed by Irby, a traditionally trained journalist.
Now in its fifth year, the Write Field Program mentors middle school boys in hopes of improving their academic performance. The program was featured nationally on PBS and recognized by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan last year for its work in helping to reduce the dropout rate, especially among students of color.
Before being named director, Warren had served as a mentor with the Write Field Program for three years, according to a press release announcing his new appointment.
“Our commitment to the Write Field program and to the St. Petersburg community, has never been stronger,” said Poynter President Tim Franklin. “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Warren to his new role and are confident that he will bring his energy and enthusiasm to this transformational experience for young boys in not just writing – but in life.”
Irby, who had been director of diversity programs and community relations and who also founded Poynter’s photojournalism department in 1995, left as part of a “necessary reduction in staff as the institute seeks financial stability,” the Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince reported late last month.