Written by Ed Osborn
Elsa M. Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University, has joined the board of directors of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the largest charitable organization in New England focused exclusively on education. Warren Simmons, executive director of Brown University's Annenberg Institute for School Reform, has also joined the board.
The years of experience and commitment that Núñez and Simmons bring to their new roles will help Nellie Mae succeed in making education more equitable and effective. "We offer a very warm welcome to Dr. Núñez and Dr. Simmons to Nellie Mae's board of directors," said Nick Donohue, president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. "Their commitment and close ties to both local and statewide communities, as well as their strategic visions and depths of experience, will bring value to the group and offer critical insight to the long-term success of our educational system."
Núñez has worked in education for more than 40 years and is a recognized leader. She has been at Eastern Connecticut State University since 2006, where she has made a profound and lasting impact. She has established Eastern's role as Connecticut's only public liberal arts university, while also providing valuable support for faculty and undergraduate research and academics.
Her commitment to education access has contributed to Eastern having the highest percentage of minority faculty among all colleges and universities in Connecticut and has enhanced the retention rates of underrepresented student populations. Under her leadership, Eastern achieved the largest gain in the six-year graduation rate of Latino students from 2004-10.
In addition to Nellie Mae Education's board of directors, Núñez currently serves on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Connecticut Association for Human Services, Leadership Greater Hartford, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. Simmons currently co-chairs the Aspen Urban Superintendents Network, and serves on the National Research Council's Committee on Strengthening Science Education through a Teacher Learning Continuum.
Simmons directs the work of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, which aims to improve outcomes and practices in urban schools, especially those serving economically disadvantaged students. He also team teaches a course in Urban Systems and Structure in Brown University's Urban Education Policy Master's Program.
Simmons is a recent recipient of the Distinguished Citizens Award from the National Governors Association and has served on the advisory groups and boards of several prominent national organizations including the National Center on Education and the Economy, Public Education Network, the Merck Institute, the National Equity Project, PLATO Learning, Inc. and the Campaign for Educational Equity.