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Linked Learning Alliance Team Welcomes New Staff to Lead Partnerships and Operations to Support Ambitious Education Aims across California and Nation

January 12, 2023 | Linked Learning Alliance

The Linked Learning Alliance today announces the appointment of Spencer Sherman as Vice President of Partnerships and Innovation, Dr. Ana Tilton as Vice President of Operations, and Letitia Dowling as Director of Operations. These additions to the Alliance team expand the organization's expertise and capacity to accelerate young people toward self-determined futures through high-quality Linked Learning educational pathways.

Sherman, Tilton, and Dowling bring deep knowledge and versatile skills, drawing on their past leadership within major education organizations, school districts, and state government. Their combined experience in advancing policies and practices that expand excellence and equity in education at all levels prepares them to guide and support the Alliance's ambitious next-phase aims, among them: integrating cross-sector investments and activities to make learning experiences more coherent and effective, delivering on the promise of Golden State Pathways program in California, and extending and strengthening Linked Learning opportunities for students in regions across the country.

Previously, Sherman served as Chief for Innovation at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). At the Department, Sherman spearheaded PrepareRI, a cross-agency initiative that prepares young people for success in both college and high-paying, high-demand careers. During his tenure, career and technical education (CTE) programs expanded to every district in the state, student CTE participation nearly tripled, and Rhode Island posted the largest growth in AP participation and performance of any state in the country. Sherman's teams also launched several new initiatives, including the agency's first unified enrollment system for K–12 course opportunities and adult education, a statewide AI-powered college and career readiness chatbot, and a tutoring initiative for COVID recovery.

Dr. Tilton's career demonstrates a deep commitment to equity with experience across the education spectrum, including service as an educator, operations officer, superintendent, and board member. As the former Executive Director of Grantmakers for Education, Tilton collaborated with hundreds of philanthropic organizations focused on investing in equitable education solutions for all learners. A Latina and first-generation college student, she brings personal and professional insight to the Alliance’s vision for education transformation. Prior to her time leading Grantmakers for Education, Tilton helped launch the first GEMS World Academy K–12 school in the United States, bringing an international perspective of excellence to education in the U.S.

Dowling is a driven and creative operation leader and project manager with a passion for community-led action and social justice. She has more than 15 years of experience in organizational strategic growth and development, teaching, school leadership, educator recruitment, and development. Before joining the Alliance, Dowling served as the Special Assistant to the President of Voorhees University, where she established a Transformation Office to execute the University's strategic vision and goals. Dowling has also led program management, human resources, and organizational effectiveness initiatives for Grantmakers for Education, Bottom Line, District of Columbia Public Schools, The New Teachers Project, and Georgia Teaching Fellows.

As Vice President of Partnerships and Innovation, Sherman will guide cross-sector work on economic justice driven by collaboration between K–12, postsecondary, and industry stakeholders. He will also play a focused leadership role in supporting cross-state collaboration across the northeast to advance Linked Learning. In her role as Vice President of Operations, Dr. Tilton will lead the Alliance's organizational effectiveness strategies to support a growing team, while operationalizing equity and belonging within policies, practices, and culture. As Director of Operations, Dowling will steer performance management to ensure alignment with the Alliance's strategy and organizational effectiveness goals.

This announcement comes at a time of important growth and opportunity for connected college- and career-focused education following California’s $500 million investment in the Golden State Pathways (GSP) program, a statewide initiative modeled after the Linked Learning approach. Sherman, Tilton, and Dowling will play key roles in the effective implementation of GSP, ensuring the program delivers on its intended equity goals and results in a powerful, coherent learning experience for all students.

"The Alliance is entering a new phase of expansion and growth as we transform the K–12 through postsecondary to career pipeline to ensure education and economic justice for all," said Anne Stanton, President and CEO of the Linked Learning Alliance. "In Spencer, Ana, and Letitia, we have found innovative leaders who bring the experience and vision to support meaningful change at a moment when public consciousness and policy conditions are ripe for breaking through old silos and connecting learning and career experiences as never before."

The Linked Learning Alliance leads a movement to connect all young people to college, career, and purpose. These additions position the organization and learning communities across the U.S. to take bold new steps for equity and excellence in education.