Vanessa Ford is a nationally-recognized leader in elementary STEM education. In 2016, after 14 years as a teacher with DC Public Schools, she became the Director of Training and Curriculum for a national education non-profit, leading teams of educators in multiple regions around the country.
Vanessa has been called upon to share her expertise on panels and at conferences convened by national education organizations, has extensive experience in instructional coaching, and has led teacher training initiatives. Vanessa also works with school systems and outside organizations to develop elementary school curricula, ensuring cross-school alignment with local and national standards, ease of teacher adoption, accurate and effective implementation, and data-driven measurement. Through all of this work, she has focused on education equality and access for all students.
When Vanessa and her husband JR’s youngest child transitioned to live as Ellie in early 2015, they have worked to affirm her identity while raising awareness about and support for transgender youth. They first told their story in an Upworthy video and since then have written op-eds in The Washington Post, The New York Times, took part in Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, partnered with The National Center for Transgender Equality to create a "Trans 101" video, and created an international "Stand with Gavin" video project in support and anticipation of the Supreme Court case.
The Fords feel strongly that schools play a critical role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of transgender students. Vanessa have worked with pre-service teachers and students at a number of universities, as well as lead school-based trainings nationally. She and her husband have led “Families in Transition” workshops and the Ford family was part of a meeting with Secretary DeVos following Obama's Title IX guidance being rescinded.
Vanessa earned her M.A. in Teaching from Trinity University, and her B.A. in Psychology from Bates College. She is a licensed D.C. elementary school teacher and an alumnus of Teach for America.