January 30, 2024 –The NEA Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Jasmine “Jazz” Cleark-Gibson as its program officer for community schools. Cleark-Gibson, based in Jackson, Miss., brings an exceptional background in various education-related roles to the Foundation. As a former public school teacher and innovator, Cleark-Gibson gained firsthand experience addressing how opportunity gaps impact student and educator success. In her most recent post as an organizational specialist with the Mississippi Association of Educators, she led the Safe Water in Jackson Coalition, advocating for the rights of Jackson public school students to access to safe and reliable water at school and at home.
“I am thrilled to contribute my skills and expertise to The NEA Foundation’s work in the Southern region,” said Cleark-Gibson. “Community schools are not just aimed at improving academic outcomes, but they have been proven to enhance students’ overall experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Ultimately, this student-centered initiative will positively impact the trajectory of their futures and our global society.”
“Across the country, the community schools strategy has strengthened public schools and significantly improved students’ educational experiences and outcomes,” said Sara Sneed, president and CEO of The NEA Foundation. “The NEA Foundation has been incredibly proud to support the development of these public schools across Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and I am very excited to have Jazz join the Foundation as we further this critical endeavor.”
The expansion of the Foundation to include the program officer for community schools comes at a time of growth, both for The NEA Foundation at large and its Community Schools Initiative, now entering its fourth year. The Foundation’s Initiative is part of a larger national effort to address the needs of individual children, families, and communities by providing new and increased resources to support students’ wellbeing and school success. Often going well beyond meeting academic needs, community schools address students’ physical and mental health, increase their enrichment opportunities, and strengthen family and community engagement in public schools. The NEA Foundation’s Community Schools Initiative is unique in that it focuses on the Deep South, a region with the highest levels of poverty in the U.S., while persistently receiving the lowest levels of philanthropic investment, drawing national attention in a report by the Bridgespan Group.
The NEA Foundation is delighted to bring Cleark-Gibson on board and looks forward to an impactful future together. She begins her new position on February 15, 2024.
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About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a national philanthropic organization that invests in educators’ leadership, shared learning and collaboration; supports partnerships and initiatives that strengthen public education; and promotes improvements in public education policy and practice. Find us at neafoundation.org, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.