Danielle Nadler, a former journalist who spent years covering Loudoun County, was named executive director of the independent nonprofit Loudoun Education Foundation on September 1. Her extensive background in journalism, she said, gave her the expertise to tackle issues of inequity within Loudoun schools.
As a journalist, “my job was to kind of shine a light on the challenges within the school system, and things that could be improved,” said Nadler, a former editor of Loudoun Now. “It’s kind of fun to be at the table trying to resolve some of those challenges.”
Among the issues she highlighted are a lack of diversity in some of the county’s more rigorous education programs, a lack of weekend meals for students from low-income backgrounds and disparate funding and resources across Loudoun schools and communities.
Nadler said that as she sees it, LEF provides “students and teachers with the tools and opportunities they need to meet their full potential.”
Some of LEF’s student-focused initiatives include the Backpack Coalition, which Nadler said helps send food-insecure students home with meals for themselves and their families. She also touted a $2.4 million grant which allowed LEF to create the K-12 Computer Science Pipeline, providing computer science instruction in all LCPS schools.
The program was launched with “the goal of really preparing that workforce, because … there’s such a need for computer science employees, or computer science workers,” Nadler said.
And in addition to the extra resources for students, she said LEF provides teachers with scholarships to continue their education, as well as classroom grants for innovative projects.
Projects that receive grants should be “cool,” she said. “And by ‘cool,’ I mean creative or innovative or ... really unique.”
Nadler’s career as a journalist spanned 15 years, covering education and politics in California, Las Vegas and Loudoun County, she said. LEF’s previous executive director, Dawn Meyer — who led the LEF for 13 years — tapped Nadler to become the nonprofit's director of communications in January, according to an LEF statement.
Meyer retired from her role in June, after which Nadler became acting director. She was promoted to executive director at the beginning of September.
“I really want to work on spreading the word about LEF,” Nadler said. “I think we can tell our story better and wider.” “We want ... everyday LCPS families to know about us.”
Since its founding in 1991, LEF has raised more than $10 million for local students and teachers, according to the release. Nadler said in just the last year the organization has raised $3 million.