As Relay’s co-founder and president, Norman Atkins has led the institution since 2008. Atkins is also the founder, board chair and former CEO of Uncommon Schools, one of the nation’s highest-performing nonprofit charter management organizations, with 38 schools serving 10,000 students. In 1997, he co-founded and co-ledNorth Star Academy Charter School of Newark, one of New Jersey’s very first and most celebrated charter schools. From 1989 to 1994, he was the co-executive director of the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City.
In recent years, Atkins has helped found Zearn, an education technology start-up, and has joined the board of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. He began his career as a freelance journalist, writing about education, poverty, politics, culture and social issues for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Parenting, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.