College Board Names Dr. Stefanie Sanford as Chief of Policy, Advocacy, and Government Relations

Dec 05, 2012, 11:30 ET from The College Board

Nonprofit Education Organization Announces Significant New Commitment to Excellence in Career and Technical Education led by Tom Rudin

NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The College Board today announced that Dr. Stefanie Sanford has been appointed to lead the organization's policy, advocacy and government relations work. The appointment is effective March 1, 2013. At the same time as Sanford's appointment, the nonprofit education organization announced a substantial commitment to delivering high quality career technical education by appointing one of its most trusted senior leaders, Tom Rudin, to lead this major new initiative.

"Stefanie is an extraordinarily talented and dynamic policy leader," said David Coleman, president of the College Board. "She has a remarkable track record of delivering results and has the expertise and deep relationships needed to get things done that matter for kids. Her success in building diverse, bipartisan partnerships based on shared data and evidence is unparalleled. We are honored that Stefanie has chosen to join our team."

Sanford, 46, is Director of Policy and Advocacy for the U.S. Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she has led the development and execution of advocacy strategies to support the foundation's College Ready and Post Secondary Success programs.  In her nearly 11 years at the Gates Foundation, Sanford has played an integral role in establishing the U.S. Program as a national leader in education policy and advocacy. Her team launched the Data Quality Campaign and helped build the coalition around the Graduation Rate Compact, which made clear for the first time galvanizing, comparable data on four year high school graduation rates across the country. 

A hallmark of her leadership has been building effective, diverse coalitions of organizations and partnerships within and across states to advance transparency and education policy in both higher education and K-12.  Sanford and her team supported the development of the Honor States Grant Program with the National Governors Association, the American Diploma Project Network and the Common Core State Standards now adopted by 46 states.  All of these efforts have created a policy environment in which to execute on issues around teacher effectiveness and performance management systems to support great teaching. Much of Sanford's work has focused on creating conditions to scale best practice.  In an effort to migrate the lessons learned around transparency and data in secondary education into postsecondary reform, she and her team supported the development of Complete College America, which promotes state adoption of policies and practices to increase the number of students who complete a degree or credential.

Sanford will help lead the executive team at the College Board and oversee the policy agenda for the nonprofit organization, which serves an estimated 7 million students and 6,000 member institutions each year.  She will lead work with policymakers and public institutions to ensure that the College Board delivers rigorous coursework and the next generation of assessment. She will also work to ensure that the College Board dramatically improves outcomes for low income students and those of color.

Sanford is a former White House Fellow and is the author of a book on generational change in American politics: Civic Life in the Information Age: Politics, Technology and Generation X.

"The next three years open up huge opportunities to assure many more students are truly career and college ready," Sanford said. "I am excited to join the College Board because I believe, as its president does, that equity and excellence must advance together and that the College Board is uniquely placed to assure that recent policy victories translate into dramatically improved learning and outcomes for students."

Sanford added, "I am so grateful to have had a backstage pass to one of the great philanthropic efforts of our lifetimes.  I have learned so much from Bill, Melinda, and the extraordinary people who I have had the privilege to work with since the earliest days of the Foundation.  Our work at the College Board will continue to advance the impatient pursuit of social justice and economic opportunity for America's young people central to the Foundation's mission." 

College Board Announces Significant New Commitment to Excellence in Career and Technical Education led by Tom Rudin

At the same time as Sanford's appointment, the College Board today announced a substantial commitment to delivering high quality career technical education by appointing one of its most trusted senior leaders to lead this major initiative.

Tom Rudin, who has overseen government relations and development at the College Board since 2004, will lead a team focused on ensuring quality to CTE education for students who aspire to enter the workforce, pursue industry certification, join the military, or consider other career options.  

"Tom lives and breathes the College Board values," said Coleman. "There is no one better suited to ensure that as we enter into a new era our work reflects the highest standards of equity and excellence on which the institution is built. Our state and district partners have indicated the clear need for an ally to help deliver rigor through CTE, and with Tom's appointment the College Board has answered that call for partnership."

Over the past several years, Rudin has played an integral role in the growth of the AP® program by spearheading efforts to expand access for low-income and traditionally underserved students. Thanks in large part to initiatives he led, federal support for AP has helped raise the number of low-income students taking AP exams from 50,000 in 1999 to nearly 600,000 last spring. Rudin's new role is a significant step forward in the College Board's commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for all students.    

"We have a remarkable opportunity to serve the substantial percentage of high school students who participate in CTE.  It is time to broaden the College Board's aspirations to help deliver both college and career readiness experiences across grades 6-12 for the next generation," Rudin said. "I am so pleased that David Coleman shares this aspiration and has asked me to lead the development of this critical effort. If the College Board can have an impact in the CTE arena, the beneficiaries will include individual students and workers, our business and civic organizations, and ultimately the economic and social vitality of the nation as a whole."

Dr. Stefanie Sanford

Dr. Stefanie Sanford, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the U.S. Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, leads a team and investment portfolio that supports policy development and advocacy at the national and state level to improve student success in K-12 and postsecondary education.

Prior to joining the Gates Foundation in 2002, she served in several senior policy positions in both Democratic and Republican offices in Texas state government, as well as being a White House Fellow in the Office of Cabinet Affairs.

She has more recently served as a German Marshall Fellow and an Education Entrepreneurial Fellow of the Aspen Institute, as well as on several non-profit advisory boards. She is the author of the book Civic Life in the Information Age: Politics, Technology and Generation X and numerous articles on technology issues and education policy.

She holds a B.S. in Communication from Texas Christian University, an M.P.A. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Political Communication from the University of Texas.

Tom Rudin

Tom Rudin leads the College Board's advocacy and policy work. He manages all aspects of the advocacy/policy agenda, including directing the government relations agenda for the College Board at both the federal and state levels; managing the College Board's Center for Advocacy & Policy; and overseeing the development and fund-raising work of the organization.

During his tenure in these roles, Tom's accomplishments have included the following:  successfully advocating for significant expansion of federal AP funding to subsidize the participation of low-income students in the program, with growth from 50,000 low-income students taking AP Exams in 1999 to nearly 600,000 low-income students taking AP Exams last spring; creating a strong College Board presence in state capitals, with the Board now active in influencing education policy, legislation and appropriations in 40 states; establishing the College Board's Advocacy & Policy Center, which gives voice and visibility to College Board policies and recommendations in the areas of academic rigor, student financial aid, access and diversity in education, school counseling, and college admissions and completion;  securing grants to support College Board programs and initiatives, having helped raise more than $100 million in funding from foundations, government agencies and businesses. 

Prior to joining the College Board, Tom worked in the office of policy at the National Institutes of Health, taught at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and helped coordinate the National Math and Science Network at the University of North Carolina.

Tom holds a B.A. degree from Purdue University, and an M.P.A. and M.S.W. from UNC-Chapel Hill.

The College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world's leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit

SOURCE The College Board