Margaret is passionate about true systems change that happens when the public and private sectors work together under a unified strategy for a common goal. She believes a strong nonprofit is one that is constantly seeking to identify a need, understand the root cause of that need, and work toward the elimination of barriers to access and opportunity for all members of a community. As her first mentor told her, “The job of any social service organization is to put itself out of business.” She has worked with a number of nonprofit direct service agencies on strategic planning and visioning to help them better understand ways to enable system wide change rather than serving as a stop-gap measure.
Margaret began her career as an advocate for artists and arts education. She has written extensively on the relationship between participation in the arts and social engagement. With a desire to directly impact future generations, she moved into the public education research and advocacy sphere in 2014 when she joined the Nashville Public Education Foundation. She was instrumental in the design and implementation of Project RESET, which brought high-level research on the performance of Nashville public schools to the forefront of community conversation. That work repositioned NPEF as a true change-agent for student outcomes, setting the stage for the foundation to respond effectively and efficiently to community needs.
The daughter of public school and higher-ed teachers, Margaret grew up in Durham, N.C., where she graduated from her local public school, Riverside High School, and earned a B.A. degree in visual art and art history from Duke University. She holds a master’s degree in contemporary art history and theory from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she taught undergraduate courses in art history, cultural studies and writing. Margaret lives in Nashville with her dog, Beau, over 20 houseplants and a (slowly) growing art collection. She enjoys cooking, painting, traveling and reading and is an avid swimmer.