Policy Leader to Shift From Gates Foundation to College Board

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Stefanie Sanford
December 10, 2012

Stefanie Sanford, director of policy and advocacy for the United States Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will move to a position with a similar title at the College Board in March.

At the College Board, where she will be chief of policy, advocacy, and government relations, she expects "to continue the work that she began at the foundation," says Deborah V. Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Gates foundation. Ms. Sanford, 46, who was not available for an interview, will continue to work in Washington, where she is known for bringing people together.

"Her success in building diverse, bipartisan partnerships based on shared data and evidence is unparalleled," said David Coleman, who became the nonprofit organization's president in October, in a written statement.

In common with her new boss, Ms. Sanford has been involved in efforts to standardize educational benchmarks and to use data to develop strategies to improve student outcomes. Both she and Mr. Coleman have been strong advocates of the Common Core State Standards, which define what students should learn in English and mathematics from kindergarten through high school.

As one of the founding partners of the nonprofit organization Student Achievement Partners, Mr. Coleman helped develop and promote the standards, which have been adopted by 46 states. "David is a trusted colleague, and they have a great history of doing this kind of work together," Ms. Robinson says.

Though much of what Ms. Sanford will do in her new job is still undefined, continuing to put the core standards in place and aligning what is taught in earlier grades with college expectations are going to be big issues, Ms. Robinson says.

The College Board oversees the SAT test, Advanced Placement program, and other efforts to ensure academic rigor.

During her nearly 11 years at the Gates foundation, Ms. Sanford participated in efforts to improve college readiness and completion, and to make data on high-school graduation rates comparable across the country.

She said in a written statement that she expected her work in her new position "to continue to advance the impatient pursuit of social justice and economic opportunity for America's young people."