Transcend Board Member
President and CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Dr. Gisele C. Shorter


Dr. Gisele C. Shorter is the third President and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which funds community-rooted educational transformation that challenges racial inequities and advances excellent, student-centered public education for all New England youth. Foundational to Gisele’s career is the deep belief that an equitable society starts with an equitable education system. Over the past 15 years, she has led large-scale community-based programs and research and policy initiatives to advance justice and equity, close health disparities and ensure access and opportunities for Black and Brown youth and communities to flourish. Dr. Shorter most recently served as the Director of the National Education Strategy at the Raikes Foundation, where she was responsible for impact and strategy coherence across the K-12, post-secondary, education field building, and policy portfolios. Dr. Shorter is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at NYU Steinhardt Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology and founding faculty member of NYU’s EdD in Leadership and Innovation degree program. She advises doctoral students on a wide range of complex problems of practice, from the role of philanthropy in China’s evolving socio-political context to the role of district superintendents as agents for change.

Across all aspects of her work and life, Gisele is a tireless education justice and equity leader. She is unapologetically committed to

  • building will and demand at a community level for the ideas of education justice (high-quality education for all children) and equity (regardless of race, SES, etc.);
  • advancing mechanisms to interrogate and respond to who is least well served by the current education and youth-serving systems (defined equity imperatives, feedback loops to understand student experiences and needs, and identifying access and opportunity gaps); and
  • ensuring that trust in community-based solutions and innovation is met with impactful outcomes.

Dr. Shorter earned her doctorate in education from Columbia University Teachers College. She holds a master’s degree from Long Island University and a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. She is a Pahara Aspen Fellow and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.


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