College Board Names Amy Wilkins Senior Fellow for Social Justice
NEW YORK — The College Board today announced that effective March 1, Amy Wilkins will join the organization as a senior fellow for social justice. Wilkins most recently served as The Education Trust’s (Ed Trust) vice president for government affairs and communications and played an integral part in building Ed Trust into the force it is today.
“Amy is a true leader in the education advocacy and civil rights communities,” said David Coleman, president of the College Board. “She understands that while talking about the issues facing our students is important, taking action and creating real solutions to address these challenges is the ultimate goal. I am honored to welcome her to the College Board team.”
Wilkins is a highly experienced education advocate and political and community organizer. She has dedicated her career to expanding educational opportunities for low-income and underserved students. During her 16-year tenure at Ed Trust, Wilkins honed her proven skills in advocacy, organizing and communications to build robust grassroots efforts, including the “Save Pell” campaign. Launched in 2011, the campaign focused on preserving Pell Grants, which make higher education accessible and affordable for many low-income and working-class students. She also recently helped Ed Trust launch the “I Am Not a Loan” campaign to demand a solution to America’s college affordability crisis. The multifaceted effort builds on the successful work started by the Save Pell campaign.
Wilkins’s commitment to equal access and opportunity for all students was also demonstrated in her 1997 lobbying efforts around Title II of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. During that time, she advocated for increased funding to be allotted to teacher preparation and training. She also is widely credited with helping shape aspects of No Child Left Behind. Wilkins has worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Democratic National Committee, the Peace Corps and the White House Office of Media Affairs.
In her role as senior fellow, Wilkins will help evaluate, support and expand the College Board’s social agenda. She will work to elevate and increase awareness of the organization’s commitment to serving all students, especially students of color and those from low-income and minority communities. As she helps bring attention to the unique issues facing these students, and the College Board’s work to address them, Wilkins will also take the time to evaluate — through research and evidence — the efficacy of the College Board’s efforts.
"This is a tremendous opportunity. I'm honored and humbled to have the chance to support David [Coleman], the trustees and the staff of the College Board in their determination to more powerfully use their considerable resources and reputation on behalf of low-income students and students of color,” Wilkins said. “In so doing, the College Board will not just improve the futures of these young people, it will enhance our collective future as a more prosperous, fairer, and stronger nation. It’s hard to think of work that's more vital and exciting."
Education Leaders Comment on Amy Wilkins Appointment as Fellow for Social Justice:
Congressman George Miller: “Amy is a tireless advocate to ensure that all children, no matter their background, have the opportunity to get the education they need to be successful. I applaud her work over the years to make educational equity a national priority for policymakers. The College Board is lucky to have someone with her expertise and her dedication to our nation’s students.”
James Forman Jr., Clinical Professor of Law, Yale University: “With unrelenting passion and trenchant insight, Amy has been a fighter for educational equity and justice for low-income kids and kids of color. Low-income kids are always at risk of being left out of the policy conversation, but Amy has made sure that they aren’t forgotten. Hers is a distinctive voice for an essential cause. The bad news is that she will be terribly missed at Ed Trust; the good news is that she will keep fighting for educational equity at the College Board.”
Donald N. Langenberg, Chancellor Emeritus, University System of Maryland: “For 16 years, Amy Wilkins has served as one of the senior leaders of the Education Trust, an organization dedicated to reducing the education achievement gaps among elements of the American population. She has done so with a remarkable combination of vision, strategic thinking and practical political know-how. Amy is the perfect choice for her new position with the College Board. She is truly the renaissance leader it needs in this area.”