Reframing Learning Loss Amidst a Pandemic

While there’s no doubt the pandemic has deeply impacted the learning experiences of young people across our region and our nation, calls to focus solely on “learning loss” not only dismisses the resilience and creativity of young people who have forged through three years of pandemic schooling, but also ignores longstanding bias against Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Students of Color (BILSOC) in our nation’s schools. Nellie Mae’s first #EdEquityTalks of 2022, co-sponsored with LiberatED, will feature a conversation on how we can leverage racial justice and equity to reframe conversations about learning loss and uplift the brilliance, determination, and wisdom of our young people. Register today for this free hour-long conversation!


Giulia Gennari, student @South Burlington High School

Law-Rel Butler, lead organizer @Alliance for Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., founder @LiberatED

Alexis Harewood, program officer @Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Jaylee Carles, student @Manchester High School

Favour Ben-Okafor, student @Manchester High School West

Movement Building, Power, Black Futures, Public Education and Collective Liberation: A Conversation with Alicia Garza

Join Nellie Mae for the next event in our #EdEquityTalks series! We are excited to host Alicia Garza, principal at Black Futures Lab and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network. Public education, political education, and justice-centered work are often seen as separate entities even though they share many fundamental elements. This conversation will focus on understanding how power and movement-building principles and strategies can help us make meaning of the landscape of education, and how racial equity and justice in education are elements of a larger movement we all need to be a part of.  View recording below.


Alicia Garza, Principal @Black Futures Lab

Dr. Gislaine N. Ngounou, Interim President and CEO @Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Informing Our Future By Inspecting Our Past: Deconstructing Lessons from Ed Reform to Create New Solutions

Many believe that education can transform people’s lives – with the potential to open up doors of opportunity that had previously been shut. For those who care deeply about social, racial and economic justice in America, it’s a powerful idea. That’s why it feels so painful—and unjust—that public education in the United States has not lived up to its promise.

Now 20 years since the passage of NCLB, and over 50 years since the passage of ESEA, stark inequities still exist in our public education system. Even so, there have been promising efforts to close these gaps, ensuring that every young person has an equitable shot at a high-quality public education. There are promising efforts now, as many seek to dismantle what has not worked for far too long and to create and build anew. We see and hear this in the current calls to not go back to a status quo that did not serve most students, families, and communities well.

In this conversation, Dr. Keith Catone, Executive Director at CYCLE, will sit down with Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford, Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, Dr. Deborah Jewell-Sherman, the Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Practice in educational leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and NMEF Board member, and Dr. Warren Simmons, former director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, and also a NMEF Board member. Our panelists have spent a significant amount of time working in education reform and working to improve our nation’s schools. In conversation with them, we’ll learn how we can apply the lessons of our past to current work focused on advancing a more equitable and racially just future.

Informing Our Future by Inspecting Our Past #EdEquityTalks Event


Dr. Keith Catone, Executive Director @CYCLE (Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education)

Dr. Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Professor of Practice, The Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership @Harvard Graduate School of Education

Dr. Sonya Douglass Horsford, Professor @Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Warren Simmons, Former Director @Annenberg Institute for School Reform

Intersectionality in Action: A Conversation with Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw



Known for her foundational work around critical race theory and intersectionality, Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw will join us to discuss her work and how she is advancing conversations about intersectionality in our communities and nation. In an intimate conversation hosted by Incoming Interim Nellie Mae President & CEO Dr. Gislaine Ngounou, we’ll hear about the work. Professor Crenshaw is leading through The African American Policy Forum, and through efforts like the #SayHerName campaign and Black Girls Matter initiative that center the experiences of Black women and girls.

What does critical race theory and intersectionality in action look like in public education? What can funders glean from these concepts to inform their practices?

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation champions efforts that challenge racial inequities and advance excellent, student-centered public education for all New England youth. 



Dr. Gislaine Ngounou
Incoming Interim President & CEO

Gislaine joined the Nellie Mae Education Foundation in 2019.

With more than fifteen years of experience working across the education sector, Gislaine brings to the Foundation a breadth of experience that includes work with nonprofits, individual schools, and school districts. Most recently, she served as the Chief Program Officer for Arlington, Virginia-based Phi Delta Kappa International, a professional organization for educators.

In this role, she designed and led programs that supported school district leaders, provided leadership coaching surrounding issues of equity and social justice, and created and facilitated an ongoing community that allowed system-level leaders in districts from across the country to learn from one another.

Prior to her work at Phi Delta Kappa, Gislaine worked for school districts including Hartford Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, and Kansas City Missouri School District. She is passionate about social justice, racial equity, adult learning, youth and community empowerment, system change, and increasing educational opportunities for all students.

Kimberlé Crenshaw
Co-Founder & Executive Director

Kimberlé Crenshaw is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is the Promise Institute Professor at UCLA Law School and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor at Columbia Law School.

She is popularly known for her development of “intersectionality,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the #SayHerName Campaign, and is the host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!. She also is a columnist for The New Republic, and the moderator of the widely impactful webinar series Under The Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that the Twin Pandemics Lay Bare.  She is one of the most cited scholars in legal history and has been recognized as Ms. magazine’s “No. 1 Most Inspiring Feminist;” one of Prospect Magazine’s ten most important thinkers in the world; and even listed in Ebony’s “Power 100″ issue.