Whitney Grubbs, a leader with more than a decade of experience in education, public policy and cross-sector collaboration, has been named the executive director of the Chalkboard Project effective immediately.
Chalkboard Project is an independent education organization dedicated to making Oregon’s K-12 public schools among the best in the country. It is funded by Foundations for a Better Oregon, which includes Oregon's leading philanthropic foundations as members. Grubbs is stepping into the role after the departure of Sue Hildick, who served as Chalkboard's executive director for 13 years.
Grubbs brings significant experience, expertise and relationships across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. As chief of staff to the Oregon Education Investment Board and senior staff to Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Grubbs provided strategic guidance to policy makers and successfully moved significant legislation aimed at improving education outcomes, reducing disparities and supporting educators. Grubbs served as deputy director of the Chalkboard Project in 2015-2016.
"At this critical moment, Whitney brings a vision to Chalkboard, where philanthropy and government can bridge innovative pilot programs to statewide capacity," said Corrine Oishi, board chair of the Chalkboard Project. "We are excited to be moving forward with her deep experience, leadership and strong commitment to equity that will positively impact school districts across Oregon."
As executive director of the Chalkboard Project, Grubbs will support the work of the Educator Advancement Council and its charge to improve teaching and learning throughout the state. Grubbs also will determine Chalkboard’s ongoing education-related activities, policy and advocacy work, and field research or pilot programming.
"Since her early days with the Oregon Education Investment Board, Whitney has demonstrated a clear understanding of the roles of public educators, community partners and families to support Oregon’s children’s success," said Martha Richards, board member of Chalkboard Project. "She brings a commitment to shared leadership that is critical as Oregon’s educational system seeks to align its pre-K, K-12, and college and career education priorities."
"Chalkboard and, most important, students and educators across Oregon are extremely fortunate to have the benefit of Whitney's multi-sector policy and education reform leadership experience," said Doug Stamm, a cofounder of Chalkboard and former CEO of Meyer Memorial Trust. "Her proven track record of innovation, advocacy and student-achievement centered outcomes is just what's needed to lead Chalkboard into the future."
Grubbs earned a law degree with highest honors from the University of Montana School of Law and a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Montana. She lives in Portland with her husband and two children, both of whom are students in Portland Public Schools.
The Oregon philanthropic foundations that fund the Chalkboard Project include The Collins Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, The Oregon Community Foundation, and 32 affiliate funders.