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NASBE Honors Past President and CEO Kristen Amundson with Award


Alexandria, Va.—The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is pleased to announce that Kristen Amundson, past president and CEO of NASBE, will receive its 2020 David A. Kysilko Award. NASBE’s Board of Directors gives this award to an individual who has demonstrated unwavering commitment to NASBE’s values and to service on behalf of state boards of education.

Before her retirement from NASBE, Amundson represented the 44th District in the Virginia General Assembly for a decade. She also served for nearly a decade on the Fairfax County School Board, including two years as its chair. She was senior vice president for external affairs at Education Sector, an independent think tank; served on Virginia’s P–16 Council, the Southern Regional Education Board; and was a Virginia commissioner to the Education Commission of the States. Amundson also co-founded la BECA Women’s Scholarship Foundation, which helps young women in Central and South America pursue their educational dreams. She co-led a mentoring initiative at Christ Church in Alexandria called Kids of Note and is currently launching EduTutorVA, a nonprofit organization that is designed to close learning gaps by providing one-on-one tutoring in core academic areas by trained college students and alumni. Two other EduTutorVA co-founders are former members of the Virginia State Board of Education. Her book, 81 Questions for Parents: Helping Your Kids Succeed in School, will be published later this year.

An ardent supporter of state boards as well as equity and excellence in education, Amundson successfully advocated at the federal level for increased state authority under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law during her tenure. She penned op-eds in major daily newspapers to advance the work of state boards, spoke on numerous panels regarding education, and frequently collaborated with other state-facing education organizations on issues before Congress and the U.S. Department of Education.

As NASBE president and CEO from 2013 to 2019, Amundson led the association through a strategic planning process to target resources to issues of greatest priority for its membership. She designed new projects and acquired revenue to support them, increased the quality of member convenings and publications, helped state boards with strategic planning and crisis management, and focused attention on members’ boardsmanship skills. Amundson also wrote “NASBE at 60: State Boards Reflect the History of Public Education in America.”

“Kris’s impact is lasting. She continuously sought and found a seat at the table for state boards on national education policy,” said Brooke Axiotis, NASBE board chair. “Even in her retirement, she is working tirelessly to ensure equity and access to an excellent education for students everywhere.”

The David A. Kysilko Award will be presented at NASBE’s virtual annual conference on October 21, 2020.

NASBE serves as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances.

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