Deputy Director of Two-Generation Strategy, Atlanta Civic Site
Leah Austin is responsible for the management and coordination of the programs and investments related to increasing the educational success and achievement of children living in Neighborhood Planning Unit V, the set of neighborhoods that is the focus of the Atlanta Civic Site. She provides guidance and support to the civic site’s partners at the Dunbar Learning Complex, which is implementing a birth-through-third-grade initiative to ensure that all children are able to read proficiently by the time they begin fourth grade. She also works with the Center for Working Families Inc. to increase economic opportunities for enrolled parents.
Austin brings more than 10 years of professional experience in the field of education, literacy and early child development. At United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, she led the Early Reading First program and coordinated the organization’s family literacy and transition-to-school efforts. She provided coaching and training to early childhood teachers to reinforce best practices in language and literacy instruction. She also implemented efforts to support the smooth transition from early care and learning to elementary school for children in Atlanta, including the creation of a transition-to-school advisory council and the facilitation of joint professional development activities for early childhood and elementary school teachers. While serving in a number of education-focused roles in the Washington, D.C., area, she established a national literacy campaign to encourage reading between men and boys, advocated for universal prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds in the District of Columbia and coordinated a parent leadership program in four centers for early care and learning.
Austin holds a doctorate of education degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she conducted research on effective reforms for urban communities seeking to increase early-grade literacy. She received a master’s degree in education in school psychology from Howard University and a bachelor's degree from Fisk University.