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Kenann McKenzie-DeFranza

Kenann McKenzie-DeFranza

Associate Professor in Practice of Education

Director of Academic Innovation and Strategic Partnerships

B.A., Cornell University Masters of Education (M.Ed.)
University of Virginia, Ph.D.
Columbia University, TC and the Harvard Kennedy School Nonprofit Leadership certificate


Dr. Kenann McKenzie-DeFranza serves as the Director of Academic Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, and Associate Professor of Practice. Her background and expertise include civic engagement research & practice, organizational consulting, PreK-12 schools and higher education professional development on subjects such as educational practices, policy, administration, and leadership. She has authored numerous papers and peer reviewed publications. 

She most recently served as the inaugural Director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center, Tufts University from 2021–2023. Prior to that she was director of the Aspire Institute housed at BU Wheelock School of Education, 2017 until 2021. 

At the Federal education level from 2015–2017, she served as Executive Director for the National Board of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education for several years, which oversees all funding for education research via the Institute for Education Sciences. Prior experiences add to over 20 years in education policy, advocacy research and teaching.

In 2022, she was recognized with the Heroine Award by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Commission on the Status of Women.