Foundation News

Foundation CEO departs for WestEd role, will join CEF Board of Directors

CEF’s VP of Academics to serve as Interim Executive Director during candidate search

RICHMOND, CA — The Chamberlin Education Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer will leave her current position to join the executive team at WestEd, a national, nonprofit education organization.

Outgoing CEO Dr. Stefanie Phillips will begin her new role as Chief Talent Officer at WestEd at the end of April.

After stepping down from her leadership position at CEF, Phillips will join the foundation’s Board of Directors.

During her tenure at CEF, Phillips deepened partnerships with West Contra Costa educators, principals, district and charter leaders, and student advocates across the education ecosystem.

Phillips led the CEF team through organizational restructuring, strategic planning, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools reopened, she initiated a program staff expansion, and managed the growth of grants and programs designed to support West Contra Costa public schools students. Under her leadership, the foundation grew its grants and program portfolio by 50% to total over $4 million in 2023-24.

"During my tenure, Dr. Phillips has worked collaboratively with WCCUSD to create innovative solutions in service of the whole child. We have been grateful for her leadership, and this partnership."

Phillips’ deep commitment to building partnerships with and among public school leaders opened doors for CEF’s support to reach more educators, and strengthen teacher and leader capacity in dozens of local schools, particularly those serving large numbers of students with the greatest need for improved academic support.

“Our collaboration with WCC leaders has been instrumental in fostering meaningful partnerships and driving positive change in the education community,” Phillips said in a written statement.

West Contra Costa Unified Schools Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Hurst echoed Phillips in a statement shared with the foundation. 

“One of our strategic priorities has been around establishing strong partnerships to achieve uncommon outcomes for our students,” Hurst said. 

“The Chamberlin Foundation has been the example of such a partner. During my tenure, Dr. Phillips has worked collaboratively with WCCUSD to create innovative solutions in service of the whole child,” Hurst said. “We have been grateful for her leadership, and this partnership.”

The CEF Board of Directors named Caroline Damon to serve as Interim Executive Director during an executive search for a permanent replacement. In her current role as the foundation’s Vice President, Academics, Damon oversees CEF’s grantmaking and program support for K-12 public schools in West Contra Costa.

“Stefanie has been a visionary and compassionate leader of Chamberlin Education Foundation, and our team is lucky to have benefited from her mentorship and guidance,” Damon said.

To continue her support for the CEF mission and team, Phillips will join the CEF Board of Directors in May. She will lend her experience and perspective as the sixth member of the board that currently includes founding directors Susan and Steve Chamberlin, and board members Melinda Erkelens, Anne Hoffman, and Dr. Arun Ramanathan.

“We have been delighted with Stefanie’s leadership, and her engagement with our district’s public school leaders, educators, and partners in pursuit of improving outcomes for all kids in West County,” Mr. Chamberlin said.

“We wish her the best in her new role, and we’re excited to welcome her to our foundation’s Board of Directors,” he said.

Phillips affirmed her commitment to continued service in the West Contra Costa community.

“I live here, and will continue to advocate for and support educators in the space to the best of my ability. Serving on the CEF Board will allow me to meaningfully persist in supporting our West County students and educators,” she said.

About the Chamberlin Education Foundation

The Chamberlin Education Foundation supports initiatives that advance education equity and academic excellence in West Contra Costa public schools. CEF’s grants and programs support effective education leadership, high-quality curriculum and instruction, educator talent pipelines, and help create and sustain a student-centered public education ecosystem.

Click here for more about our team, our vision, and our foundation’s guiding principles.