Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D.

President and Executive Director

Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D. has served as President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina since June 2020, bringing with her more than 20 years of educational policy and leadership working directly with schools and districts across North Carolina to improve equity and build capacity for innovation.

Prior to her role at the Forum, Mary Ann was the Senior Director of the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative (PLLC) at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University. She and her team lead ongoing, job-embedded professional learning to guide superintendents, district teams, and principals, coaches, and teachers in North Carolina and across the country through the Future Ready Schools and with the Leading Personalized and Digital Learning program for principals. Mary Ann and her team also led the development of the Learning Differences and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) online courses and micro-credentials, with over 20,000 participants across the world. Mary Ann co-wrote Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change through Harvard Education Press, as well as many other publications on personalized learning, culture, leadership, and learning analytics.

Mary Ann previously served as the Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) in Washington, D.C., where she led a national and nonpartisan nonprofit focused on innovation with members from all fifty state departments of education. Under her leadership, SETDA conducted research and engaged business partners, researchers, district and state education leaders, and policymakers to identify challenges, opportunities and recommendations to support schools and students. This work included a focus on topics such as equitable access to broadband internet, professional learning and assessment; as well as providing input to legislation and policies.

Mary Ann has an extensive background in conducting and designing research and implementing research-based practices as well as having a significant impact on the development of policy proposals at local, state and national levels. Dr. Wolf served as the lead author of the book Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change, (Harvard Ed Press) which focuses on tangible practices of principals and puts forth a framework for leading change. Mary Ann has also testified before Congress on personalized and digital learning, provided significant input on the 2009 ARRA/Stimulus Educational Technology federal legislation, and has worked extensively with members of Congress, the Bush and Obama administrations, state leaders in NC and all fifty states, and other policy organizations.

Previously, Mary Ann was the chair, vice chair, and member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board. After teaching fifth grade in Henrico, Virginia, Mary Ann received her Ph.D. in Education, Administration and Supervision from The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She received a Master’s of Education from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and marketing from Georgetown University. Mary Ann lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Brian; and she has three children, Marin, Matthew, and Andrew, who attend — or have attended — public schools in NC.

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