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NCEE Board of Trustees Names Dr. Vicki Phillips New CEO

Internationally Recognized Educator and Thought Leader Succeeds Anthony Mackay as Chief Executive Officer of The National Center on Education and the Economy

Washington, DC — The National Center on Education and the Economy’s (NCEE) Board of Trustees, led by co-chairs Joyce Elliot and Anthony Mackay, voted unanimously at its March meeting to name Dr. Vicki Phillips the organization’s new CEO. Board Co-Chair Elliot called the hiring an inspiring move forward for the organization.

“In this time of rethinking and resetting the necessity of education to evolve and commit anew to an equitable, world-class education for every child, Vicki Phillips is the right leader for NCEE,” Elliot said. “She is a champion of equity and opportunity for excellence for all students and is uniquely positioned to lead NCEE as it works to collaborate with current and new partners to design systems of education capable of delivering a first-class experience.”

Elliott added, “Vicki brings an unequaled breadth of experience to the role. She has taught in the classroom, helped shape state education policy, led the education division of the world’s largest foundation, and has had a career-long interest in international education. Moreover, she has the first-hand experience as a past executive at NCEE to know what it means to continue to grow our good work in an ever-changing environment.”

Dr. Phillips, who will step into the role on July 1, 2022, said the opportunity to lead NCEE in its work to create systemic improvement in U.S. education was a culminating moment in her career.

“It is a privilege to lead NCEE,” Phillips said. “Its talented people and proud history of working for more equitable, higher achieving and stronger systems of public education are held in high regard both here in the U.S. and around the world. I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for their confidence and support. Our students, schools and communities continue to reel from the fallout of the global pandemic and face increasing inequities. There is no organization better positioned than NCEE to support U.S. states, districts, and schools in redesigning their education systems for achieving more equitable outcomes for all of our students.”

Dr. Vicki Phillips, incoming CEO at NCEE
Dr. Vicki Phillips, incoming CEO at NCEE

Dr. Phillips, who was most recently Executive Vice President and Chief Learning Officer at the National Geographic Society, previously held a number of leadership roles including as the State Superintendent of Education of Pennsylvania, the Superintendent of Schools at Portland (Oregon) Public Schools, and the head of K-12 education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Phillips also recently served as a Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus on education improvement, public policy, equity, and social impact.

Board Co-Chair and current NCEE CEO Anthony Mackay, who Dr. Phillips will succeed as CEO, echoed Elliot’s sentiments.

“Dr. Phillips brings an unparalleled combination of educational vision, experience and expertise,” Mackay said. “In conducting an international search, the Board was fortunate to be able to consider a number of highly qualified candidates. Vicki was our number one choice. We are both delighted and excited to have her as NCEE’s incoming leader.”

This is a return to NCEE for Dr. Phillips. In the mid 1990s, she served as Chief of Staff at the National Alliance for Restructuring Education, an NCEE-led partnership of states, schools, foundations, and non-profits working to improve public education.

A native of Kentucky, Dr. Phillips grew up on her family’s farm and was the first of her family to attend college. She began her career as a middle and high school teacher in the Simpson County (Kentucky) School District. Following her career as a classroom teacher, she served as a senior executive in the Kentucky Department of Education.

Reporters interested in speaking with Dr. Phillips or NCEE Board leadership may contact Brendan Williams-Kief at