I dislike labeling children 'at risk' or 'disadvantaged' because the only things they are truly at risk of, or disadvantaged by, are being held to low academic expectations and not having an equal opportunity to realize their potentials.
Dr. Elizabeth "Betty" Molina Morgan is the executive director of the Grad Nation campaign for America's Promise Alliance. In this role, Dr. Morgan leads the campaign to mobilize all Americans in an effort to reverse the high school dropout crisis. She works closely with education leaders at the national, state, and local levels to support school reform initiatives, and encourages them to collaborate with community and business leaders to help bring more essential health, life and academic supports to the nation's most vulnerable young people.
Dr. Morgan has spent more than 30 years working in all facets (inner-city, rural and suburban) of public education. She was the superintendent of Maryland´s Washington County Schools for nearly a decade. There, she led the high-poverty district to move from 78 percent to 92 percent graduation rate and from one of the highest dropout rates of any district in the state to one of the lowest. Prior to that, she was chief academic officer with the Baltimore City Public Schools during its first, major reform effort. She has been a teacher, principal and senior administrator in several other school systems.
During her tenure as superintendent, Dr. Morgan focused on developing innovative and challenging educational opportunities to serve the needs of the wide range of students who attend public schools. She is a passionate advocate for high academic standards and for transforming schools to reach world-class levels, providing choices for students and their parents.
A native New Yorker and first-generation American, Dr. Morgan comes from a bilingual/bicultural background. She speaks Spanish fluently, and has spent much of her personal and professional life supporting the education of students from culturally and ethnically-diverse backgrounds, especially those who live in poverty.
She is a proud graduate of City University, Queens College campus, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature and a Master of Science degree in Curriculum Development through the ADEM Scholars Program; she holds a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Administration, as well as a Professional Diploma (PD) in the Teaching of Reading from Hofstra University where she was part of the Bilingual Doctoral Fellowship Program; she earned her PhD from American University in Educational Administration. She has also been a doctoral fellow in Linguistics at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC.
Throughout her career, Dr. Morgan has received numerous awards for excellence. In addition to her recent title as the American Association of School Administrators' "2010 National Superintendent of the Year," Dr. Morgan was named one of Maryland's "Most Influential Citizens," and one of its' "Top 100 Women" by the Daily Record newspaper. She received a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) in 2011, and is a past recipient of the Maryland State Senate Award for "State Leadership in Gifted Education" and the Nancy S. Grasmick "Excellence in Minority Achievement" award.
Dr. Morgan travels the country delivering keynote speeches on her favorite topics: leading school transformation; creating equal, academic opportunities for all students; the urgent need to raise standards for teaching and learning; and educating students at levels that will prepare them for true success in college or in a chosen career.
She has been an advisor and consultant to school systems and organizations on turning around low-performing schools through in-depth strategic planning; conscious development of human capital; creation of a culture of high expectations; close monitoring of student progress with data-driven decision making; and risk taking and innovation. Dr. Morgan believes that all schools have the capacity for self transformation through intentional focus on improvement.
She is the parent of two, grown daughters, and is married to Douglas Morgan, a high school mathematics teacher.