2023 CDF Proctor Institute Leadership

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Dr. Tracy Nájera

Children's Policy & Power Plenary Speaker

Dr. Tracy Nájera

Dr. Tracy Nájera believes that all children have a right to thrive and flourish into adulthood and live with dignity. She had dedicated herself to improving the lives of children and families and serves as a tireless advocate for education equity with the belief that one’s race, zip code, ability status, or gender should not dictate resources, opportunity, and access for an outstanding educational experience. As an advocate, Dr. Nájera has worked in policy and research at the local, state, and federal levels with families in community, school districts, state agencies, national philanthropic organizations, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. Nájera’s career highlights include work with Kids Ohio focusing on urban school districts, achievement gap issues, and school facilities; section chief for education with the Ohio Office of Budget & Management for three governors with a focus on education funding and education tax policy; a senior director with Battelle for Kids working with Appalachian school districts on college and career readiness and in human capital consulting; and senior consultant with Education First working with major philanthropic organizations, major urban school districts, and institutions of higher education on strategy and program implementation.

Today, Dr. Nájera serves as the state director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, the first state affiliate of CDF established in 1981. She is proud to work on behalf of Ohio’s children with amazing colleagues and partners in the areas of health, education equity, child welfare, and nutrition with the goal of ending child poverty in Ohio and in the United States.

Dr. Nájera has a B.A. in political science and international studies, a MPA from the Glenn College of Public Affairs, and PhD in Education Policy & Leadership all from the Ohio State University. In her community, she serves on the boards of Policy Matters Ohio, the Columbus Rotary Club, Mt. Carmel College of Nursing, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Steering Committee, and the Glenn College Alumni Society. Tracy and her partner of 23 years, Israel, call Columbus, Ohio home and delight in spending time with their two children, Riley, a college sophomore and Tatiana and rising junior in high school.