Press Releases

Committee for Children Appoints New CEO


CONTACT: Shauna McBride,, 206-612-8718

Colleen Oliver Takes the Helm of the Growing Nonprofit

SEATTLE — Committee for Children (CFC), the global leader in research-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, announced today that its board of directors has selected Colleen Oliver as chief executive officer (CEO), effective September 16, 2019.

Oliver has over two decades of leadership experience gained from directing large-scale transformation efforts in the education and nonprofit sectors. She succeeds Joan Cole Duffell, who announced plans to retire last February.

“This is an exciting time for CFC. Our programs currently reach 15 million children annually, but we want to reach significantly more, with an even greater impact on their safety and well-being. Colleen has dedicated her career to goals like these, and her track record of accomplishments make her uniquely qualified to lead CFC successfully into the future” said Jon Reingold, president of CFC’s board of directors.

“It’s an honor to join Committee for Children, an organization that epitomizes my passion for helping children thrive,” Oliver said. “I’m thrilled to lead this team because I’m convinced that through strong partnerships, ambitious goals, and a commitment to impact, we can positively transform the social-emotional well-being of children.”

Most recently, Oliver served as vice president of school leadership at the New Teacher Center; a national nonprofit focused on accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. Before that, she was executive director of the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, where she oversaw grantmaking, primarily in the areas of public education and workforce development.

During her time as chief academic officer at the Partnership for LA Schools—a comprehensive school turnaround organization launched by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa—Oliver’s commitment to educational equity led her to spearhead a program to transform sixteen of the historically lowest-performing schools in three high-poverty, underserved communities: Boyle Heights (East LA), South LA, and Watts. In the 2011–12 and 2012–13 school years, the Partnership helped these schools achieve the highest academic growth among all mid to large size districts in California.

“I’ve known and admired Colleen for many years. She’s a visionary leader, cultivating shared ownership by building from the voices of those closest to kids and classrooms. She is a model practitioner, willing to take healthy risks in service of discovering what’s possible for children,” said Tanya Ortiz Franklin, senior director of school culture and restorative communities at The Partnership Schools. “She is both growth- and solutions-oriented as she leads her team to learn and improve together, and I am so excited to see what comes from her leadership at Committee for Children.”

The selection of Oliver caps a thorough succession-planning and comprehensive national search process, which was facilitated by Russell Reynolds, a global executive search firm.

About Committee for Children

Committee for Children is a nonprofit on a mission to ensure children everywhere can thrive emotionally, socially, and academically. Best known for our innovative social-emotional learning curricula that blend research and rigor with intuitive program design, we empower children and their adults with skills that help them realize their goals in the classroom and throughout their lives. Since 1979, we’ve been connecting experts in the field to share experiences and advance the cause of educating the whole child. A force in advocacy, we’re helping pass policies and legislation that place importance on creating safe and supportive learning environments. Today our programs reach more than 15 million children in over 70 countries worldwide. By lifting up children today, we’re helping them create a safe and positive society for the future. Learn more at

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