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President of Public Education Network to address UTC spring graduates

Wendy D. Puriefoy, President of the Public Education Network, will deliver the spring commencement address to 700 graduates of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. in McKenzie Arena.

Puriefoy is a nationally recognized expert on issues of public school reform, civil society, and philanthropy. She has written and spoken extensively on education equity and opportunity issues for poor and disadvantaged children.

Puriefoy has been president of the Public Education Network (PEN), the nation’s largest network of community-based public school reform organizations, since PEN was founded in 1991. PEN is now a national network of local education funds serving 34 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, reaching 11.5 million students in 18,000 schools in more than 1,600 school districts in low-income communities.

With support from leading national foundations, PEN recently launched multi-million dollar initiatives on teacher quality, standards and accountability, and schools and community services.

PEN has also launched Give Kids Good Schools, a national campaign to guarantee a quality public education for every child in the nation. Through national activities and online resources, the campaign seeks to provide Americans with the information and tools they need to take action in their communities and improve their public schools.

Puriefoy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from William Smith College and holds three Master of Arts degrees in African American Studies, American Studies, and American Colonial History from Boston University.

Puriefoy serves on the boards of numerous national organizations including DEMOS, Children’s Defense Fund, Board of Overseers of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the National Center for Family Philanthropy.

May 1, 2007