On February 1, 2009, John Deasy became deputy director of education (within the United States) at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In his new role, Deasy will focus on promoting policies and practices nationwide that ensure high school graduates—particularly those in urban areas—are adequately prepared for college.
He says the program is going to continue rethinking ways to promote teacher effectiveness, and hopes to help catalyze human capital best practices by helping educators rethink differentiated and performance-based compensation at a systemic level.
Deasy’s team will work throughout the year to find about five particular urban areas in the country where they can focus their work. “It’s a team of really great people,” he says. “We want to reach out to labor unions in the country and work with organizations that are doing work for teacher effectiveness—thinking through teacher training and tenure decisions. We want the best faculty around students.”
Deasy says that Gates would like to spread the knowledge and research it gains to help other organizations with similar goals. “We want to exercise a brand of responsible philanthropy,” he notes. “We want to be transparent in our work and communicate our learning to help others.”
Before joining the Gates Foundation, Deasy served as Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland. He has also been a high school principal and teacher in the Los Angeles area.
Deasy received a master’s degree in education, as well as a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and education, from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.
On January 1, 2009, Robert Enlow became president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. He succeeds Gordon St. Angelo, who has been president and CEO since the foundation’s establishment in 1996.
“Robert’s ascension to the presidency was an easy decision, and I am pleased that the board of trustees has chosen this succession plan,” says St. Angelo. “No one is better qualified, and our transition will be seamless. I look forward to continuing our close partnership as he leads the foundation into the future.”
Enlow says that despite the nation’s economic downturn, he remains excited about the continuing opportunity to advance school choice. “My goal,” he says, “is to be a real latchkey for state-based organizations, and to provide them with services they need to promote school choice in their states.”
One of the goals of the Friedman Foundation is to provide parents with hard data—fiscal and dropout studies—so they can make knowledgeable choices about the schools that work best for their children. To that end, Enlow intends to advance the organization by promoting, among other things, research and fact-finding for the movement. “School choice is a right everyone should have,” says Enlow, “and I’m excited about our opportunities despite challenging times. One of the challenges we face is how to provide a unique service that adds value to our partners. We provide things that state-based groups couldn’t otherwise provide.”
Enlow has served as the foundation’s executive director since late 2004. He joined the Friedman Foundation when it first opened in 1996, serving as fundraiser, projects coordinator, and vice president before being named executive director.
He attended Oxford University, where he worked on a post-graduate degree in theology, and received a bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University.
Greg Forster recently joined the Kern Family Foundation as program director for American history, economics, and religion, a new position for the foundation. The program seeks to understand and strengthen the moral and intellectual foundations of a free, just, and prosperous society.
Forster does not expect K-12 education to be the primary component of his work. His program will instead focus on higher education, public discourse, and alternative avenues for educating citizens.
“Our overarching goal is to build the intellectual infrastructure of a free society,” says Forster. “That means we need a moral basis, and an effective way of managing national affairs, which means a particular interest in limited government and free-market economics.”
Forster acknowledges that a particular challenge will be keeping a broad perspective, rather than focusing too narrowly on “day-to-day political concerns.”
“We’re going through a period of crisis [in this country], where the social order that America was founded on is increasingly challenged,” he observes. “Not only are people challenging the vision we were founded on, but they don’t even know about it. I think we can play a unique role in helping renew that vision.”
Forster formerly served as director of research at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Before that, he worked as a senior research associate at the Manhattan Institute. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 2002.
Moira McDonald has taken a position at the Walton Family Foundation as program officer for the foundation’s Freshwater Conservation Initiative. In this role, new for the foundation, McDonald will work with senior program officer Margaret Bowman to develop a strategy for restoring the Colorado and Mississippi river systems and using economic incentives to ensure healthy and resilient communities for both humans and wildlife.
One challenge for the initiative, McDonald says, will be to find a strategy with sufficient scale to help the basin, but not so large that the foundation could not take it on.
“I am looking to develop a strategy that allows us to take a fresh look at how to really make progress in these basins,” says McDonald. “I’d like to use new tools—like economic incentives—and buttress them with longstanding principles for improving policy to get better environmental results.”
Before joining the foundation, McDonald served as director of the Wetlands Initiative at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, working on a strategic plan for the Mississippi Delta region. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Brown University, and is completing her doctorate in geography at the University of Minnesota, with a concentration in agriculture and flood control in the Mississippi Delta.
Lynn Robinson has begun work at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation as program manager for the Principled Entrepreneurship Initiative. In this position, new for the foundation, Robinson will be primarily responsible for developing strategies to discourage the unwarranted expansion of government into the marketplace and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to launch and grow their own businesses.
“We are looking at opportunities to improve the quality of resources for business leaders, whether through education or new kinds of business groups,” Robinson says. He admits to being excited to begin running smaller-scale experiments and testing the potential to scale up. “Right now, we are in the process of sorting out which strategies we’re going to go with,” he says. “There is a lot of room to make some significant errors, but it’s exciting to try small opportunities and see if they work. Then we’ll redesign as needed.”
One of the challenges facing this initiative, Robinson believes, will be distinguishing it from the other similar entrepreneurship programs that are less market-oriented than Koch’s.
Prior to joining the Koch Charitable Foundation, Robinson worked at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Pew Charitable Trusts. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in political science and a master’s degree from Princeton University in sociology. He received a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in political science.
Stanley Thompson became the director of the education program at the Heinz Endowments on September 1, 2008, succeeding Joseph Dominic, who headed the education program from 1986 until his retirement at the end of 2008.
Thompson says he will deepen the work of the Endowments’ education program primarily by focusing on “schools that work, leadership for a new era, and technology that enhances quality teaching and leadership.” He also plans to work on creating opportunities outside the classroom by helping students make productive use of mobile technology and by establishing real-world internships.
“We’d like to see students have the opportunity to expand their learning experiences,” Thompson says. “We don’t want them just analyzing content in the classroom. We want them to get out, use multiple vantage points of learning, and synthesize this new knowledge with the new skills and new understandings.”
Of particular interest to the foundation, Thompson says, will be finding new avenues to encourage African-American males in their educational pursuits and life outcomes.
Prior to joining Heinz, Thompson served as executive director of the Times2 Academy for Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Providence, Rhode Island.
He holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University, a master’s degree in English literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a master’s in educational administration from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Wheaton College.
Lindsay Miller joined The Philanthropy Roundtable in October 2008 as Annual Meeting director. Before joining the Roundtable, Miller planned events for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a trade association that represents state legislators and private corporations. Prior to ALEC, she served as the manager of membership development for a large D.C.-based trade association focusing on generating dues revenue, improving member benefit programs, and developing educational seminars.
“I’m excited to plan and execute high-quality events for donors who share the Roundtable’s principles,” says Miller. “The Annual Meeting is our most important program of the year, and I look forward to continuing that tradition of excellence with the upcoming 2009 Annual Meeting.”
“We are already working with the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to ensure that the meeting—from October 1st to the 3rd—will be our best yet,” says Miller. “We are delighted to have commitments from Jim Collins (author of Good to Great) and Tom Tierney (chairman and co-founder of the Bridgespan Group).”
Miller earned her B.A. in history and political science from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.