Higher Education Leader Bonita J. Brown Joins Achieving the Dream as Director of Network Engagement

SILVER SPRING, MD (December 18, 2017) - Dr. Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream, today announced that Bonita J. Brown, a national higher education leader, will join the organization on January 2, 2018 as Director of Network Engagement. Mrs. Brown is currently Director of Higher Education Practice at The Education Trust, where she leads a national initiative, OASIS, a network of 10 regional, comprehensive, minority-serving institutions developed to share and implement best practices for student success, specifically working on behalf of low-income students and students of color.

In her capacity at The Education Trust, Mrs. Brown collaborates with senior leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to develop leadership capacity to implement student success practices. Under her leadership, network institutions saw a 10 percent improvement in the percentage of students on track to graduate in four years in the first year of the initiative. “Bonita’s knowledge of higher education administration and systems combined with her experience working closely with institutions striving to develop and implement best practices for student success will contribute greatly to our work building institutional capacity within our Network colleges, said Dr. Stout. “She brings a set of skills that complement ATD’s expertise along with a passion for helping low-income students and students of color achieve their educational dreams.”

She has held senior leadership positions in a number of colleges and universities, ranging from vice chancellor, chief of staff, and general counsel. She holds membership in three state bars. “I have always had a passion for helping students advance, especially low-income and students of color. When I look at the education pipeline, many of these students are beginning at community colleges. They are expanding their breadth of offerings, preparing students to complete their goals of earning a degree or transferring,” says Mrs. Brown. “Community colleges realize that it’s a different game now, and they are learning how to behave and perform differently. Achieving the Dream is leading the way in increasing and implementing student success and I want to be part of that.”

Among other responsibilities for ATD’s Network of 220 colleges in 40 states, Mrs. Brown will lead the First Year Experience program for new colleges joining the ATD Network, lead the Network Advisory Committee, manage the organization’s peer learning activities, and connect communities of practice to support peer learning. Ms. Brown plans to spend time with community colleges that are in the ATD Network, working closely with them to learn about their challenges, their successes, and helping to share that knowledge with other community colleges in and outside of the Network.

“I’m excited about becoming part of the ATD team, joining Dr. Stout and the great staff there. Achieving the Dream has a strong reputation across the country and I’m pleased to be contributing to their work. I believe that education is a gateway to a bright future and look forward continuing my work helping students achieve their goals as part of the ATD team.” Mrs. Brown is a frequent presenter and panelist at professional conferences and meetings and is the author of a number of articles and book chapters on the topics of leadership, governing boards, and law. She received the 2014 Top Women in Business Award from Triad Business Journal, Greensboro, NC.

Mrs. Brown earned the Juris Doctorate degree from Wake Forest University School of Law and the Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest University.  

Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of more than 220 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth, and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with nearly 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with Network colleges in 41 states and the District of Columbia to reach more than 4 million community college students.

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