SAGA Innovations


We built it. They’re coming.


SAGA Innovations

Antonio Gutierrez | Co-Founder

May 26, 2016

“If you build it, they will come.” I think about this (paraphrased) line from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams a lot these days. 

Alan Safran and I founded SAGA Innovations in Alan’s kitchen just 19 months ago. It was just the two of us then, but we had a dream that our brand of high-dosage, in-school-day math tutoring could have a tremendous impact on high school students everywhere. And we believed that if we built it, others would come to help.

And now, a year-and-a-half later, we’re thrilled that so many people are indeed flocking to join this cause.

We’ve grown our tutoring corps to more than 178 SAGA Fellows. University of Chicago Urban Labs has documented the success of our approach. Our work has received national attention from media outlets like the New York Times and the Brookings Institution. And new funding from organizations like Chicago Beyond and A Better Chicago is helping us reach more students.

This month brought yet another very important addition to our ranks: we hired Glenn Lesniak as our new Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Executive Director for NYC.

Glenn has amazing leadership qualifications. He is a retired Army Reserve Corps of Engineer Major General with over 25 years of operations experience in the private sector. He has commanded soldiers at every level and was a Construction Project Manager with Exxon. He established two large corporate organizations –within Verizon and within the US Army Reserve – and both new organizations were presented Quality Awards within the first two years of operation. Glenn knows how to build organizations.

As I’ve interacted with Glenn over the past month, it’s clear that his lifelong passion for math – the core of SAGA’s tutoring presently — is surpassed only by his passion for helping young men and women to succeed in school and in life. As Glenn said recently of his decision to join SAGA: “Education opens people up to a broad array of new opportunities that will help them be successful throughout their lifetime, and it teaches us that with hard work and focus almost anything is possible.”

To have someone with this remarkable skillset and illustrious background join our organization speaks volumes about the value of the work that our SAGA fellows are doing today in Chicago and New York.

With Glenn’s help and guidance, we plan to keep building our field of dreams, and we’re more certain than ever that a growing number of people from all walks of life will come to help us transform the lives of students throughout the U.S.

We invite you to join us, too. Learn more about SAGA Fellows here.

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