Jessica Donaldson Senior Program Officer for Policy
“Maria Montessori wrote, ‘The child's development follows a path of successive stages of independence, and our knowledge of this must guide us in our behavior towards him. We have to help the child to act, will and think for himself.’ Having grown up in a working class family, I experienced firsthand the game-changing power of an education that fostered independence, self-efficacy, curiosity and a life-long love of learning. I seek out this type of education for my own children and strongly believe that it is the path to ensuring that ALL kids are ready for college and careers in today’s society.”
Jessica Donaldson joined the Foundation in September 2015. She has over 15 years of experience in education, early childhood development, and public health.
Previously, Jessy served as Senior Associate of Policy Reform and Advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she managed the KIDS COUNT state data and advocacy network’s policy grants programs and supported grantee capacity building activities. Before that, she served as Chief of Staff and Associate Director for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a multi-funder initiative focused on providing health, developmental and educational supports for children from birth to age eight to ensure that more low-income kids and kids of color read proficiently by the end of third grade as a milestone for future success in school and life.
Within the field of education, Jessy served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Baltimore City Schools where she supported cross-department integration on District reform efforts. While participating in the Shriver Peaceworker Graduate Fellowship, she also worked as a mental health and behavioral counselor for middle school students at George G. Kelson Elementary/Middle School in the Sandtown Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore.
Jessy started out her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan and Jamaica. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from Kenyon College and a Master of Public Health from John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.