Durham Public Schools Foundation Hires Executive Director

In fall of 2018 a group of Durham community leaders and public school advocates launched the Durham Public Schools Foundation (DPSF) to catalyze innovative ideas and foster community engagement that will accelerate transformation of the Durham Public Schools to ensure success and equity for every student.

After an extensive search and hiring process, DPSF is pleased to announce it has hired Magan Gonzales-Smith to be the organization’s Executive Director. Magan's passion for public schools and commitment to education justice is shaped by being the daughter of a first-generation college student and her decade of work with several urban school districts.

“I’m honored to serve the students, educators and families who make up Durham Public Schools in this role. My years working in Durham schools has shown me that we have brilliant students and dedicated educators and I know that when we build community support and investment in them Durham can fulfill the promise of public education for every student.”

Magan has spent her career working with public school students, educators and school district leaders to dismantle barriers to success for students of color and other historically marginalized students. Most recently, Magan served as the Associate Director of Insights & Impact for Hill Learning Center. In this role, Magan worked closely with Eastway Elementary and YE Smith Elementary on implementing a literacy intervention program for struggling readers.

Her past work includes recruiting teachers for high-poverty schools in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Education, designing new teacher and principal professional growth systems in Detroit with TNTP (The New Teacher Project), creating policy recommendations and advocacy strategy for the NC Large District Superintendent Consortium, and managing teacher grant programs for the Asheville City Schools Foundation.

Magan received her B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University and her Master's in Public Policy from Duke University.  Magan grew up in North Carolina and she and her husband make their home in East Durham.

As Executive Director, Magan will work alongside the Board of Directors to lead the DPS Foundation in uniting public-and private-sector resources and leaders around strategies to strengthen and champion DPS, including funding innovation grants for educators, students and their families.

In the coming year, DPSF will collaborate with business and community leaders on efforts to champion Durham Public Schools and engage with DPS students, educators and families to listen to and support their ideas for ensuring every DPS student can succeed and thrive.

The founding board of directors of the DPS Foundation is comprised of DPS teachers, parents, alumni and Durham business and community leaders. The Foundation is also guided by a circle of advisors, which includes Mayor Steve Schewel, Former Mayor Bill Bell and DPS Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. You can learn more about and contribute to the DPS Foundation at bullcityschools.org and follow their activities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at bullcityschools.

Magan Gonzales-Smith