Leah Austin to Coordinate Two-Generation Efforts

Posted February 1, 2013
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Leah AustinLeah Austin has been lead­ing the Atlanta Civic Sites edu­ca­tion achieve­ment efforts since the begin­ning of 2011. Last fall, she became deputy direc­tor of two-gen­er­a­tion strat­e­gy, which rec­og­nizes that break­ing the cycle of pover­ty that traps many low-income fam­i­lies requires pro­mot­ing the eco­nom­ic well-being of par­ents while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly ensur­ing that their young chil­dren are healthy, thriv­ing and devel­op­ing on track to be suc­cess­ful in school and life.

To achieve this ambi­tious goal in Atlanta’s NPU‑V neigh­bor­hoods, Austin will work with our part­ners in edu­ca­tion achieve­ment and fam­i­ly eco­nom­ic suc­cess to bet­ter coor­di­nate their efforts to pro­vide the max­i­mum ben­e­fit for area chil­dren and fam­i­lies. She will pro­vide guid­ance and sup­port to the Dun­bar Learn­ing Com­plex and its birth-through-third-grade ini­tia­tive to ensure all chil­dren can read pro­fi­cient­ly when they begin fourth grade. She will also help the learn­ing com­plex strength­en its con­nec­tions with the Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies Inc.

Austin brings more than 10 years of pro­fes­sion­al expe­ri­ence in the field of edu­ca­tion, lit­er­a­cy and ear­ly child devel­op­ment. She direct­ed Unit­ed Way of Greater Atlanta’s Ear­ly Read­ing First Pro­gram, coach­ing and train­ing ear­ly child­hood teach­ers to rein­force best prac­tices in lan­guage and lit­er­a­cy instruc­tion. She also led efforts to sup­port the smooth tran­si­tion from ear­ly care and learn­ing to ele­men­tary school for Atlanta chil­dren. Before com­ing to Atlanta, she estab­lished and coor­di­nat­ed a nation­al lit­er­a­cy cam­paign to encour­age read­ing between men and boys and a par­ent lead­er­ship pro­gram in ear­ly care and learn­ing cen­ters through­out Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Austin is work­ing toward her doc­tor­ate of edu­ca­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and con­duct­ing research on effec­tive reforms for urban com­mu­ni­ties seek­ing to increase ear­ly grade lit­er­a­cy. She received a mas­ter of edu­ca­tion in school psy­chol­o­gy from Howard Uni­ver­si­ty and a Bach­e­lor of Arts from Fisk University.

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