The Nellie Mae Education Foundation Appoints Dr. Gislaine N. Ngounou, Ed. L.D., as Interim President and CEO

Dr. Ngounou to bring nearly two decades of experience in the education and nonprofit space to the role

Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.
May 20 · 4 min read

Quincy, MA — May 20, 2021: The Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board of Directors, in consultation with outgoing President and CEO Nick Donohue, has appointed Dr. Gislaine N. Ngounou, Ed. L.D., as Interim President and CEO, effective June 1, 2021. The organization is thrilled to name Dr. Ngounou to this elevated leadership role, and is confident that she will continue to build on the solid foundation that she, along with Foundation colleagues, advisors, and grantees, has set. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation expects Dr. Ngounou to remain in the interim role for 6–12 months as they pause their external search while taking time to determine next steps around decisions of future, permanent leadership of the organization.

I feel confident that I am well-equipped to lead and support the organization through this transition. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with our Board, Nellie Mae colleagues, community advisors, and grantee partners to continue to move the Foundation’s work forward, so that we may use our power and privilege as an organization to uproot systemic racism. — Dr. Ngounou,Vice President, Strategy and Programs, Nellie Mae Education Foundation

When Dr. Ngounou takes on the position of Interim President and CEO on June 1, she will bring nearly two decades of experience working across the education sector, including work with nonprofits, individual schools, and school districts. Most recently, she served as the Foundation’s Vice President of Strategy and Programs, where she was responsible for successfully implementing the organization’s new grantmaking strategy focused on advancing racial equity in public education. Before coming to the Foundation, Dr. Ngounou 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, Dr. Ngounou worked for school districts including Hartford Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, and the Kansas City Missouri School District. She is passionate about social justice, racial equity, adult learning, youth and community empowerment, systems change, and increasing educational access and opportunities for all students to thrive.

I speak on behalf of the entire Nellie Mae Board of Directors when I say that we are more than excited to have Gislaine in the Interim President and CEO role. — Greg Gunn, Chair, Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board of Directors

“I am excited and thankful for this opportunity, and feel confident that I am well-equipped and positioned to lead and support the organization through this transition,” said Dr. Ngounou. “I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with our Board, Nellie Mae colleagues, community advisors, and grantee partners to continue to move the Foundation’s work forward, so that we may use our power and privilege as an organization to uproot systemic racism — both within philanthropy and our public education system. I hope we can continue to advance a philanthropic practice that centers the voices of those most impacted by injustices.”

“I speak on behalf of the entire Nellie Mae Board of Directors when I say that we are more than excited to have Gislaine in the Interim President and CEO role,” said Greg Gunn, Chair of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board of Directors. “We are confident that this move will allow her to continue to move the organization forward in advancing a vision where all young people have access to an excellent and equitable public education that prepares them to succeed and thrive in community. Additionally, this move will allow the organization to continue implementing its current grantmaking strategy uninterrupted.”

Outgoing President and CEO Nick Donohue plans to transition out of the organization effective May 31, 2021, after over 14 years at the organization. The Foundation remains ever grateful for Nick’s exemplary leadership over the years. “Nick’s guidance and expertise has pushed us to more deeply engage in racial equity work as a foundation, which in turn has made us a much more responsive grantmaker,” said Greg Gunn. “He has been responsible for shepherding in student-centered approaches to learning as a national education reform strategy, and really helping to shift the narrative around how people think about the ways schools should be organized to best serve young people. We know Nick’s legacy will be carried out as we continue our work, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Gislaine brings strategic vision, deep knowledge around education, extensive experience with racial equity and change management, that will bring so much to advancing the organization’s vision. It is because of her leadership and execution that the Foundation has been able to implement our new grantmaking strategy with thoughtfulness, humility, and care. — Nick Donohue, Outgoing Nellie Mae Education Foundation President and CEO

“While I will miss working closely with Nellie Mae colleagues, partners, and grantees, I couldn’t be more thrilled for Gislaine and the organization about this decision,” said Nick Donohue. “Gislaine brings strategic vision, deep knowledge around education, extensive experience with racial equity and change management, and an inspiring leadership style that will bring so much to advancing the organization’s vision. It is because of her leadership and execution that the Foundation has been able to implement our new grantmaking strategy with thoughtfulness, humility, and care. It has been the privilege and honor of my lifetime to work at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and I look forward to watching how the organization grows even more under her full leadership.”