Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) Expands Team with Gerard Robinson as Executive Director

Washington, DC – The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) today announces former Virginia secretary of education, scholar, and policy analyst Gerard Robinson as executive director.

Most recently, Gerard Robinson served as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he worked on education policy issues including choice in public and private schools, regulatory development and implementation of K-12 laws. He also focused on the role of for-profit institutions in education, prison education and reentry, education, and the role of community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in adult advancement.

“I am honored to join the TMCF family as the executive director of CAO. Our center is uniquely positioned to shape the national conversation about moving fragile communities from promise to prosperity,” said Gerard Robinson. “We will listen to stakeholders’ aspirations, fears, and suggested solutions; and be thoughtful about the use of scholarship, public policy, and practice to open more doors of opportunity.”

Before joining AEI, Robinson served as commissioner of education for the State of Florida and secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia and president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Robinson is a member of several education-related boards and earned a master of education degree from Harvard University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Howard University, and an associate of arts degree from El Camino College.

The CAO team, which includes Jennifer H. Wider as deputy director, Candace Kent as program manager, and Lamont Rucks as senior events coordinator, will execute the inaugural CAO State of Opportunity in America Summit to be held in Washington, DC. This invitation-only event will convene 200 influential stakeholders in the research, higher education, and advocacy communities. The summit will also release a much anticipated State of Opportunity in America Report exploring the education, entrepreneurship and criminal justice perspectives of fragile community members compiled from Gallup’s new TMCF/Koch Opportunity Index annual survey.

“Recruiting such a well-established scholar and subject matter expert like Gerard Robinson, from AEI, highlights the serious commitment to the long-term success of this research-based center,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. TMCF president & CEO. “I am excited about the upcoming summit as CAO continues to help identify and remove barriers to opportunity in fragile communities.”

Universities (HBCUs) as well as other majority colleges and universities to develop research-based solutions to the most pressing issues in fragile communities.

Original Press Release