Denise Forte (pronounced “fort”) is the President and CEO at The Education Trust, a national advocacy organization often described as “the most important truth teller” in American public education.
As one of the country’s leading voices on education equity, Denise is a fierce advocate for employing evidence-based strategies to create high achieving learning environments that turn barriers and gaps into bridges and pipelines for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.
Denise joined Ed Trust in 2019 as Senior Vice President for Partnerships and Engagement, guiding the organization’s expansion by developing robust working relationships with legislators, education advocates, traditional and emerging civil rights groups, parents, students, and the business community.
Her lifetime of public service includes 20 years in senior congressional staff roles on Capitol Hill, and a stint in the executive branch, serving in the Obama administration as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development in the Department of Education.
Prior to Ed Trust, Denise was a Senior Fellow and Director of Public Affairs for The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank. She also has served as the Vice President for Policy Leadership at Leadership for Educational Equity, a nonprofit organization supporting current and former teachers in public leadership.
Denise has a B.S. in Computer Science from Duke University, and a M.A. in Women’s Studies from the George Washington University. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
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