Talking with Evo Popoff

Talking with Evo Popoff

Evo Popoff is the Chief Innovation and Intervention Officer/Assistant Commissioner Division of Charter Schools, School Choice, Technology, Turnarounds and Intervention for the NJ Department of Education. He attended the Ed Surge Tri-State Summit on Friday, February 26. His job description is very long, but he originally wasn’t in this field of work. He originally practiced to become a lawyer.

Mr. Popoff described his job as “…the innovation world, which kind of looks at opportunities within education outside of what schools have traditionally done. The intervention side is really about how do we at the department look at our resources to support underperforming schools and districts and provide the support to them.”

Popoff is a very busy man who spends most of his time in meetings, so being an outgoing person and having a good team and good workmates helps him perform his job.

Popoff talked about his normal day on the job. “I have a team directors…that oversee different offices.” He and his co-workers are “…either talking about operational things or to talk about…progress against goals.”

This year on February 3-4, the Pascack Valley Regional High School District had “Virtual Days.” He said, “I’m actually waiting on you guys about how it went.”

When talking about having more virtual days in the future, Mr. Popoff is prepared to just be innovative.

Mr. Popoff really cares about the districts he deals with. He wants the students and the schools to succeed. He commented on the New Jersey school workers: “We have an incredible pool of talent out there: superintendents, administrators and teachers”

When talking about the districts and their performances, he talked about what can be done to help those districts that haven’t performed up to the expectations. “We have 600 plus districts and that makes it really difficult in some ways to be efficient.”

The intervention side of his job is really focusing on the struggling schools. Popoff said that most of these offices devote a portion of their resources to support those districts. He also said that they are constantly intending to do better things.

Moving to the topic about how to make a high school the best it can be, Popoff said, “The element of utilizing high school so that students can really get as sense of themselves, what there are interested in…making them more successful.”

“High school should be an opportunity to expose students to a lot of different things,” said Popoff.

Sitting down and talking to Mr. Popoff helped this report learn more about how to run a school and the intentions people have in making high schools better.