Colleen Gilligan



Colleen grew up in Seattle, Wash., and graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. degree in jazz studies. As a music major at USC, she became very involved in Thornton Outreach, the university’s music education program that works with surrounding K–12 public school students in South Central Los Angeles. After graduation, Colleen joined Teach For America and moved to Nashville, teaching sixth-grade math and social studies at both a traditional public and a charter school in Metro Nashville Public Schools. During this time, she earned her Master of Education degree at Lipscomb University.

During her time in the classroom, Colleen was inspired to work in education policy and programming in order to help make sure all students receive an excellent education and all educators who teach them are well-supported and appreciated. After leaving her role as a teacher, Colleen earned a Master of Leadership and Public Service degree from Lipscomb University, connecting with a cohort of learners with a passion for creating positive, lasting change across a variety of city, school, and government systems. She began working at the Nashville Public Education Foundation in January 2017 and is currently a project analyst on the programming team.