For the Media

NEA Foundation Names New President and CEO

by Sharon Gallagher Fishbaugh, NBCT, M.Ed., The NEA Foundation Board Chair, 2009 Utah Teacher of the Year

In April, we announced that after 13 years of leading the NEA Foundation, Harriet Sanford would step down from her position as CEO and President in 2019. I am writing to share the exciting news that, after a six-month, nationwide search, the Foundation’s Board of Directors selected Sara Sneed to become the next President and CEO, on March 1, 2019.

Sara is exactly the right person to build on the NEA Foundation’s many accomplishments and to enhance the depth, scope and impact of our work. She brings extensive experience and expertise in education policy and strategy to her role as well as demonstrated success in advancing education equity and leading cross-sector collaborations.

Joining the NEA Foundation as the former Director of Education Investments with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Sara led the development of initiatives enabling educators, schools and school districts to achieve critical improvements in policies and practices supporting student learning and student success.

Sara has deep experience in building strong and sustained partnerships with educators, funders, the nonprofit sector and others. She is a nationally recognized champion of public education and a visionary leader with expertise in institutional, policy and program development and complex systems change. Best of all, she shares our commitment to keeping the promise of public education, upholding the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and supporting educators in the service of students.

This is an exciting moment for both the NEA Foundation and for public education. As we enter our 50th year, public perception of educators as positive drivers of change is growing, and their influence in policy and practice can be seen across the country. It is the right time to examine these trends, to look carefully at the role the Foundation has played, and, most important, determine how we can strengthen that role moving forward.

Sara will ensure that the NEA Foundation continues to provide educators, their schools and districts, with the resources and tools they need to do their best work, whether they teach global competencies, facilitate project-based learning, are designing new curriculums, or seeking significant policy change. Sara will be supported by a dedicated and capable staff and Board of Directors, along with a community of educators committed to continuous improvement.

I remain proud of the Foundation’s impactful past and hopeful for our future, as we welcome Sara Sneed on March 1 as our new CEO and President. Learn more about Sara in her bio and find a few more details in this release. You also can subscribe to the Foundation’s updates to learn more about this amazing leader and what lies ahead for the organization.


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