Minneapolis, February 13, 2017—Teach For America–Twin Cities today is excited to announce that Mikisha Nation has become its executive director. Nation will oversee all aspects of the teacher and leadership development program as it seeks to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty.
“Mikisha is a visionary leader and has demonstrated the strategic insight and collaborative spirit required to improve outcomes for children in the Twin Cities. We are excited that she will use her experience to advance the movement to end educational inequity,” said Bill Graves, the co-chair of the Teach For America–Twin Cities board and president of the John & Denise Graves Foundation. “Mikisha has a proven track record for successfully engaging organizations in transformational change while inspiring greater community and philanthropic support.”
In her new position, Nation will lead a network of more than 40 Teach For America corps members and nearly 700 alumni. Established in 2009, the nonprofit organization works with 15 local school districts and charter networks, including Minneapolis Public Schools, Hiawatha Academies, Higher Ground Academy, and KIPP Minnesota, and its alumni work across career sectors to advance educational equity.
“I’m excited to set the strategic direction at Teach For America—Twin Cities. My priorities are to foster a diverse teacher and leadership pipeline, and build school and community partnerships,” Nation said. “I believe in the power of the Twin Cities community. Working together, we will ensure that all children have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.”
Bill McKinney, vice president for strategic development at Thrivent Financial and the board chair at CaringBridge, has worked closely with Nation for the past four years on the CaringBridge Board of Directors. “Mikisha is a dynamic leader who not only has the skills to lead a highly effective team, but the passion to inspire future teachers and the compassion to connect with students and families. It’s exciting that she has been chosen for this important role at Teach For America,” McKinney said.
Nation brings nearly 15 years of experience in corporate, government, and non-profit leadership to her new role at Teach For America—Twin Cities. She most recently served for over two years as the executive director of the academic enrichment and college preparatory program Breakthrough Twin Cities. Under her leadership, the program doubled the number of youth served to about 500 students and increased training to 100 diverse young leaders, who gained skills and insight in student engagement and classroom teaching. Nation also inspired a broader base of philanthropic support, more than doubling contributed revenue during her tenure.
Prior to Breakthrough, Nation was a senior business partner at Target Corporation for four years. She received a Strategic Priority Award for Organizational Effectiveness for managing Target’s partnership with Gallup and pioneering groundbreaking programs in employee engagement, health promotion, and wellbeing for over 365,000 team members.
A noted thought leader on program and partnership innovation, Nation has received recognition throughout her career. Nation served as the director for a business and leadership institute for diverse high school students at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. She received the Director’s Innovation Award from the LEADership, Education and Development National Office for launching a pilot Native American business and economic development program. Nation also received several honors during her tenure as a senior project officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS), including the HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for her leadership and contribution to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Nation shares lived experience with many of the students Teach For America serves. At age six, Nation migrated with her family from Jamaica to the U.S., where she was raised in an inner-city community in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She credits her success to her parents unrelenting encouragement to be curious, along with support from a few extraordinary teachers and programs like Horizons, Upward Bound and Connecticut Scholars. Nation earned her bachelor of arts in psychology, with a focus on brain science, education and child development, from Dartmouth College. She completed graduate coursework in public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has undertaken advanced training in fundraising management from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Nation and her husband moved to Minnesota in 2009. They live in South Minneapolis and are parents to three young boys. Nation has been a lifelong sports and avid arts enthusiast. In her youth she played varsity basketball, and as a young adult she coached middle school girls. In her spare time, she enjoys participating in community and family events at MacPhail Center for Music, Voice of Culture Drum and Dance, and Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts. Nation and her family attend Park United Methodist Church. She currently serves on the board of directors for CaringBridge and is a member of Women United at the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Some 6,900 corps members are teaching today in 53 urban and rural regions across the country. They join a Teach For America community that is 53,000 strong, working across every sector to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.