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Cecilia Holden, director of legislative and community affairs for the North Carolina State Board of Education, has been tapped to be the first president and CEO of myFutureNC.

“Cecilia’s experience is both impressive and essential in this new role for our new organization … Her previous roles bring an important level of hands-on experience in business, workforce, and economic development to our organization,” a press release stated.

myFutureNC is a nonprofit organization focused on educational attainment and is the result of cross-sector collaboration between North Carolina leaders in education, business, and government. The organization began in 2017 as a commission studying the state’s economic and educational needs and planning ways to meet them. In February, the commission issued an attainment goal that by 2030, 2 million 25- to 44-year-olds in North Carolina will receive a high-quality credential or college degree.

According to the press release, Holden has held leadership positions at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, IBM, and the state Department of Commerce, in addition to her work with the State Board of Education.

“She has a working knowledge of the community-driven approach important to our mission, coupled with a unique understanding of both the education and business sectors needed to drive talent development within the state,” the press release stated.

Holden added in an email that her new role combines her passion for educational attainment with her experience in the private and public sectors.

“This position is the perfect place to combine this passion and my education and business background. As president & CEO of myFutureNC, I look forward to building on the substantial work already accomplished by the myFutureNC board and stakeholders, as we work together to achieve the organization’s bold educational attainment goal for the State of North Carolina,” she said.

According to the press release, as president and CEO of myFutureNC, Holden’s responsibilities are as follows:

  • Work with the board to advance the strategic direction and priorities for myFutureNC’s work.
  • Collaborate with cross-sector leaders to support innovation and foster partnership.
  • Engage commissioners to champion and drive myFutureNC’s work.
  • Build organizational capacity to deliver outcomes.
  • Grow strong partner relationships.
  • Serve as a primary spokesperson and champion.
  • Lead business development and fundraising for the organization.
  • Work with policymakers to advocate for policies that will increase attainment.
  • Oversee the development of research and data to support policy and program changes.

Jeni Corn, formerly of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and RTI International, is also joining the team as an advisor. 

The myFutureNC Board of Directors consists of:

Board Co-Chairs: 

  • Dale Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of Curi
  • Peter Hans, President of the North Carolina Community College System
  • Andrea Smith, Chief Administrative Officer of Bank of America

Board of Directors

  • Jack Cecil, President and CEO of Biltmore Farms
  • Geoff Coltrane: Education advisor to Governor Roy Cooper
  • Eric Davis, NC State Board of Education Chair
  • Representative John Fraley, House Speaker Tim Moore’s Designee
  • Senator Deanna Ballard, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s Designee
  • Ann Goodnight, Senior Director of Community Relations, SAS
  • Peter Hans, President, North Carolina Community College System
  • Kevin Howell, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, Partnerships, and Economic Development, NC State University
  • Dale Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer, Curi
  • Mark Johnson, State Superintendent
  • David Mounts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Inmar
  • Anna Spangler Nelson, Chairman, Spangler Companies
  • MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair, John M. Belk Endowment
  • Dr. William Roper, Interim President, UNC System
  • Andrea Smith, Chief Administrative Officer, Bank of America
  • Dr. Hope Williams, President, NC Independent Colleges and Universities

Editor’s Note: EducationNC CEO Mebane Rash served as a subject matter expert to the P-12 committee of the commission.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados is senior reporter for EducationNC.