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K-12 Education

Experienced Educator to Lead The Skillman Foundation’s Education Investments

Carmen Kennedy-Rogers has been hired as a senior program officer of education at The Skillman Foundation, effective July 29, 2019. In this position, Carmen works in partnership with the Foundation’s vice president of program & strategy, Punita Dani Thurman, to provide leadership to a team of program officers who work collaboratively to support the Foundation’s education strategies.  

“We are fortunate to have someone with Carmen’s experience and passion lead the Foundation’s efforts to improve educational opportunities and outcomes in Detroit,” said Skillman Foundation President & CEO Tonya Allen.  

Carmen most recently served as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Avondale Schools in Auburn Hills, where she was responsible for providing leadership and vision to the District by supporting its efforts in planning, implementation, development, direction, review, and evaluation of curriculum and instructional services. She oversaw the District’s federal programs, career and technical education services, assessments, research and educator evaluation services. Prior to that role, Carmen served in a variety of roles across five Michigan school districts, including as an athletic director and as a high school principal of a priority turnaround school. Carmen currently serves as a board member for Wayne State University College of Education Board of Visitors and the Michigan Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Board of Directors. Previously, she served on the Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council. 

Carmen holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and three degrees from Wayne State University, including a Master of Arts in Sports Administration, School Counseling, and an Education Specialist Degree. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Michigan-Flint. 

Other Staff Changes 

The Skillman Foundation welcomed Jessica Eiland as a special projects manager, working closely with the Office of the President and external partners to advance the Foundation’s mission in service of Detroit children. Prior to working for the Foundation, Jessica worked in St. Louis, Missouri where she held positions as project manager for Rise Community Development, president of Northside Community Housing, and associate director of Skinker DeBaliviere Community Council. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Washington University. 

The Foundation welcomed Mark Navarro as a communications fellow, a two-year fellowship that supports The Skillman Foundation and Council of Michigan Foundations. Mark has worked in outreach and communications for educational nonprofits for the last six years, including work at Teach For America. He also worked as a secondary English teacher in Detroit for two years as part of TFA. He is enrolled in a master’s of public administration program at Wayne State University.  

The Foundation also welcomed Ammara Ansari as a learning and impact fellow with support of the Council of Michigan Foundations. Previously, she worked with the consulting firm Global Impact Strategies in Washington D.C. as a research intern. Ammara earned a master’s degree in public policy from University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. 

The Skillman Foundation

A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.

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