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Kelly Kovacic, Director of Regional Educator Initiatives

Kelly Kovacic grew up in Southern California and started her career in education as a founding teacher at The Preuss School UCSD, a public 6-12 school serving low-income students who will be the first college graduates in their families. As chair of the social studies department, and later a member of the administrative team, Kelly worked closely with teachers, school leaders, and community members to design and implement cutting-edge learning opportunities for students and adults. Because of its success preparing students, Preuss was nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its dramatic student outcomes and named the #1 most transformative school in the nation by Newsweek.

In 2010, while a teacher at Preuss, Kelly was named the California Teacher of the Year and recognized by President Obama and Secretary Duncan as one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. Following her time at the Preuss School, Kelly earned her doctoral degree, focusing on urban school district organization and shifting the culture of central offices to better support student learning and school improvement. Upon graduation, Kelly served as Executive Director of Portfolio Management for Denver Public Schools. In that position, Kelly was amember of the superintendent’s senior team, leading the department responsible for oversight of the districts innovation and charter schools, and the launch of the district’s first innovation zone.

Kelly has been a member of numerous state and national advisory commissions, boards, and committees in the K-12 education field. She has also consulted and led strategic planning processes to improve student outcomes for school districts, state education agencies, and non-profit organizations including Tennessee’s Achievement School District, Baltimore City Schools, New Haven Public Schools, and the Children’s Defense Fund.

Kelly received her Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University, M.A. in Education from Stanford University, and B.A. in History from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).