WestEd is pleased to announce the expansion of its senior leadership team with the appointment of two new Division Directors: Susan Mundry and Ursula Wright. Each will provide management and oversight for a portfolio of more than 200 contracts and grants, with primary responsibility for strategic business development, quality assurance, and talent management.

“I’m excited by the depth and quality of expertise that Susan and Ursula bring to WestEd’s senior leadership,” notes WestEd CEO Glen Harvey. “Each has been particularly committed to equity and effective at scaling high-quality, high-impact initiatives. Their leadership approach aligns perfectly with WestEd’s mission of making a positive difference in the education and healthy development of everyone we serve.”

Susan Mundry previously served as Senior Program Director of the Learning Innovations program at WestEd for 7 years, increasing the size and diversity of the program’s staff, and as Associate Director of STEM for the prior 16 years. She has provided strategic direction to research and technical assistance projects, including work with state agencies in over 15 states and territories through two Regional Comprehensive Centers, the Region 1 Equity Assistance Center, and the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands. For a large-scale strategic planning initiative for North Carolina intended to help resolve a longstanding court case on equitable access to education, Susan successfully led a team of experts who conducted a dozen in-depth studies and developed a comprehensive plan for the state to increase access to quality education for its most vulnerable children. As Division Director at WestEd, Susan’s portfolio will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; assessment and accountability; postsecondary pathways and career mobility; research-practice partnerships; and improvement science.

Ursula Wright will join WestEd on September 21, after transitioning from her current role at FSG, a consulting firm focused on social impact, where she co-leads Education and Youth practice, overseeing strategy and systems change engagements for private philanthropy, community foundations, national nonprofits, and local governments. Prior to her time at FSG, Ursula was with the Obama Administration, serving as the appointed deputy in the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education and leading many of the department’s place-based efforts. Her portfolio, which included Promise Zones, Promise Neighborhoods, Race to the Top – District, My Brother’s Keeper, and charter schools, reached millions of students across the United States. Before her government service, she was a long-term executive at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Through each of these professional roles, Ursula earned a reputation for strong organizational leadership, a community-oriented approach to place-based education reform, and a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. At WestEd, Ursula’s portfolio will focus on quality schools and districts; special education; English learners and migrant education; curriculum, assessment, and instruction; literacy; strategic resource allocation; and charters and choice.

“These appointments reflect WestEd’s robust growth and continuous evolution,” says WestEd Chief Program Officer Sabrina Laine, “ushering in a new era of shared ownership for results across the agency’s many talented teams.”