Deborah M. McGriff is a Former Managing Partner with NewSchools Venture Fund where she focused on closing the demographic gap between students, executive leaders and governing boards. Through leadership positions at NewSchools Venture Fund and EdisonLearning, she expanded access to innovative, high-quality charter schools for low-income and working class students in 16 of the nation’s largest cities in a dozen states and the District of Columbia. Her advocacy and governance expertise were tapped as Board Chair of Beyond12, Board Chair and executive committee member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, founder and Vice Chair of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, President of the Education Industry Association, member of Harvard Kennedy School of Government Program on Education Policy and Governance Advisory Board, and member of numerous charter school boards, including charter management organizations in the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame. Deborah’s impact in the education reform movement was recognized in 2013 at The Center for Education Reform: “Before It Was Cool Conference” and by her selection as a Pahara-Aspen Fellow. She began her career in 1970 as a teacher in Community School District 13 of the New York City Public Schools. She was the first female Assistant Superintendent in Cambridge, MA and the first female Deputy Superintendent in Milwaukee, WI. In 1991, Dr. McGriff became the first female General Superintendent of the 200,000-student Detroit Public Schools where she successfully opened 25 choice and empowered schools. Crain’s Detroit Business named her 1992 Newsmaker of the Year.