Ellen London, the recently hired executive director of Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital, has a bachelor of music degree and originally planned to become an orchestra musician. It was only after her first nonprofit job that she became hooked on a career that she felt was less about “being something” like a musician and more about “doing something” that had a lasting impact on others. Several years and a handful of jobs later, London landed at the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, where her work provided the perfect springboard for her current role. With the organization’s mission to support youth development, London worked to connect more than 1,000 community partners to help students and youth in the District meet education challenges. When she learned of the job opening at Communities In Schools, she said she “honed in on it.” “I knew this would be the perfect position for me,” said London. “Communities In Schools demonstrates not just a passion for supporting students, but a proven model for getting the job done.” Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital is currently serving approximately 2,000 students in four schools. Among London’s many new responsibilities is her most pressing goal to ensure the fidelity of the Communities In Schools model and position the affiliate for growth. “Ellen's dedication to ensuring students have access to necessary resources and an enriching education is inspiring to staff and board members alike,” said Kimberly H. Johnson, chairman, Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital board of directors. “She has eagerly embraced the Communities In Schools model, and is working closely with the national office, other affiliates, program partners and our school principals to ensure that we are delivering results.” London is grateful the affiliate is entering the stage of reaccreditation. She said the rigorous process has provided a straightforward blueprint and prioritized everything that needed to get accomplished in her first six months. In her role with Communities In Schools, London also finds she has more opportunity to interact with students. She recently attended a book reading event at Moten Elementary School and had the chance to participate, reading “Otis,” the story of a friendly tractor, to about 30 four-year-old students. “I loved it!” said London. “The more I can get out and promote the principles of the Communities In Schools model at the schools themselves, the more support we can garner from the school district and hopefully increase our footprint in DC.”
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