Leah Austin

Vice President of Programs

As Vice President of Programs, Dr. Leah Austin has strategic and operational responsibility for all program areas of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF). In this role, she oversees the Foundation's efforts to use collaboration, advocacy, and research to advance equity and excellence in education for all students in the South. Prior to joining SEF, Dr. Austin was a Senior Associate for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she managed a portfolio of investments, programs, and partnerships designed to increase the educational achievement of children living in Atlanta, GA.  Before that, she served as a Director of Programs for the United Way of Greater Atlanta, where she led the development and investment in early learning programming for the organization. Her prior work includes: establishing a national literacy campaign to encourage reading between men and boys, successfully advocating for universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds in the District of Columbia, and coordinating parent leadership programs in the early learning field. She received her doctorate of education in Education Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, her M.A. in School Psychology from Howard University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Fisk University. 

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