Nellie Mae Education Foundation appoints its next President and CEO
Dr. Gisele C. Shorter will officially take on the role starting July 11, adding to the small list of Black women leading foundations in the U.S.
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The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has announced that Dr. Gisele C. Shorter will become its next President & CEO, starting July 11.
Throughout her career, Dr. Shorter has established herself as a nationally recognized social change strategist, developing extensive experience in leading youth development, education, and community-based organizations through programmatic resets, large-scale culture change initiatives, and strategic re-engineering.
Over the last 15 years, she has led large-scale and community-based programmatic, research, and policy initiatives to advance justice and equity, close health disparities, and ensure access and opportunities for diverse youth to prosper.
In a statement, she said she is “proud” to have been selected for this new role as Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s next leader and is “eager to partner with staff and community partners to advance racial justice and educational equity across New England.”
“In my experience, I’ve found that we can solve some of the most difficult and enduring challenges in our educational system by formulating solutions in partnership with students, educators, and families,” Dr. Shorter added.
Her appointment is significant, as she joins a small but mighty group of Black women who are at the helm of major foundations, philanthropic organizations, and enterprising businesses.
A recent study by Philanthropy News Digest found that people of color comprised just 14% of foundation CEOs.
Dr. Shorter will now serve as a key voice and presence as she leads the largest educational foundation in New England at a time when Black leadership — particularly Black women leadership — is severely lacking in the foundation space amid calls for diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice.
Since 2018, Dr. Shorter has served as director of the National Education Strategy at the Raikes Foundation, where she was responsible for impact and strategy coherence across the K-12, post-secondary, education field building, and policy. Furthermore, she had been tasked with advancing justice and equity in the redesign of the national public education system by leveraging the science of learning and development.
“Dr. Shorter’s work is rooted in the belief that an equitable society starts with an equitable education system,” said Dr. Warren Simmons, board chair of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. “Her distinctive expertise and knowledge in developing and leading national educational policy initiatives that create learning environments that advance student success will support the Foundation’s critical mission to increase educational equity in New England.”
Founded in 1990, The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has been at the forefront of supporting diverse youth in having access to high-quality systems of public education through student-centered approaches to learning.
With her experience and track record, Dr. Shorter will help lead the Foundation into its next chapter.
“I am excited to build on the Foundation’s rich history of investing in community transformation and partnerships that advance schools as places where every young person is accepted, valued, and supported in their learning and development,” said Dr. Shorter.
“This is at the heart of what matters to families in every community and state within the region,” she added.