RALEIGH, NC (May 4, 2020) — The Public School Forum of North Carolina has named Dr. Mary Ann Wolf as its new President and Executive Director. On June 15, 2020, Dr. Wolf will succeed Interim President and Executive Director Dr. Michael D. Priddy.

“Our Board is excited to have a proven leader in Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, who will guide the Forum at this critical time as our state and local school systems strive to assure all students, regardless of their zip code, have the opportunity to realize their constitutional right of a sound basic education. Her knowledge, skills, and experience in North Carolina, as well as across our nation, in the areas of research, public policy, and innovative programming are a strong match with our excellent staff and our current and emerging initiatives,” said Forum Board Chairman Dr. Thomas Williams. 

Dr. Mary Ann Wolf has more than 20 years of experience in education policy and leadership. As a Senior Director at North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, Dr. Wolf led the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative (PLLC), where she worked directly with schools and districts across North Carolina to improve equity and build capacity for innovation. 

“I am honored and excited to join the Public School Forum of NC. We are facing a challenging time in education, and the Forum’s policy, research, and programs — all of which have a laser focus on equity — have never been more important,” said Dr. Wolf. “I look forward to working with the talented team, Board of Directors, Advisory Board, many EPFP and Teaching Fellow alumni and education leaders across our state to build upon the Forum’s thirty-five year history and improve education for all of our students.”

During her tenure at the Friday Institute, Dr. Wolf empowered her team to develop programs and opportunities for educators and administrators that emphasize innovative practices in education, with the ultimate goal of meeting the needs of all students. Utilizing continuous improvement and design-thinking approaches, Dr. Wolf and her team worked with networks of administrators and educators across the state and the country to address challenges facing their schools and students. Most recently, Dr. Wolf and her team led the development and implementation of a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) MOOC-Ed, which now includes a forum on SEL from a Distance, with over 10,000 participants to date. Dr. Wolf has worked to develop a diverse portfolio of funders and attracted new grant opportunities to support this invaluable work at the Friday Institute.

Prior to her position at the Friday Institute, Dr. Wolf 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.

Dr. Wolf 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. Dr. Wolf 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.

Dr. Wolf serves as the current chair of the non-partisan, elected Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board. After teaching fifth grade in Henrico, Virginia, Dr. Wolf 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. Dr. Wolf lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Brian; and she has three children, Marin, Matthew, and Andrew, who attend public schools in NC.

About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at https://www.ncforum.org/.


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