Ursula Wright is a Division Director at WestEd and a member of the agency’s senior leadership team. In this role, she is responsible for leading and supporting a 200+ person team focused on fulfilling a range of K–12 education needs that bridge policy, research, and educator practice.
Wright’s immediate past position was with FSG, a global consulting firm that focuses on social impact, where she co-led the firm’s Education and Youth practice. In that role, she was responsible for talent development, field-building, and leadership of strategy and systems change engagements that involved private philanthropy, community foundations, national nonprofits, and local governments.
Prior to working at FSG, Wright was a senior member of the Obama Administration, serving as the appointed deputy in the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. In this capacity, she served as the Department’s policy lead on place-based initiatives such as Promise Zones, Promise Neighborhoods, Building Neighborhood Capacity Program, and the Race to the Top – District program, which, at the time, was the nation’s largest personalized learning initiative. Wright’s portfolio also included the federal Charter Schools Program and a host of special projects for the White House.
Prior to her government service, Wright was an executive at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. She helped grow NAPCS from a start-up to an established advocacy organization serving millions of charter school students nationwide as well as more than a million students on charter school waiting lists. Before transitioning to the not-for-profit sector, Wright developed functional competencies in strategy, operations, finance, and marketing within corporate America.
Wright has further contributed to public education through her board service, including tenures with The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing, certifying, and supporting people who want to improve their communities by becoming a teacher; and Achievement Preparatory Academy, a renowned charter school in the most economically disadvantaged ward of Washington, DC. Wright has also served on the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board of Montgomery County, MD, by appointment of former County Executive Isiah Leggett, and is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery (MD).
Wright earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has also completed executive education coursework at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.