The Executive Committee is charged with long-term planning and deliberative decision making for NCTE.
Executive Director, National Council of Teachers of English
Emily Kirkpatrick is an experienced senior executive with deep expertise in organizational strategy, programmatic innovation, external communications, and fundraising in the education and nonprofit space.
A transformative leader, Ms. Kirkpatrick has dedicated her career to public service and civic engagement, seeking to increase national literacy and social mobility, amplify educator voices, and advance the inclusion and empowerment of women.
She has led and managed the establishment of public-private partnerships and created technology-based learning platforms that have helped hundreds of thousands of students improve their language skills and knowledge, broaden their horizons, and increase their opportunities.
Ms. Kirkpatrick assumed her position as the Executive Director of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in November 2015. In this role, she oversees the professional home for English language arts teachers from preK through university and amplifies the voices of educators through connection, collaborations, and a shared mission to improve the teaching and learning of English.
“What makes NCTE so important and impactful is that it was founded on protest more than 100 years ago and continues today to challenge the status quo to improve opportunities for students and teachers.”
Ms. Kirkpatrick works with her team to ensure that NCTE—the oldest and one of the largest literacy and education organizations in the United States—remains at the forefront of the key issues that are important to teachers’ and students’ rights and removes the barriers to inclusion and success.
Prior to NCTE, Ms. Kirkpatrick served in leadership roles at the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), an organization dedicated to eradicating poverty through education solutions for families. At the culmination of her 17-year career there, Ms. Kirkpatrick served as Vice President and Chief Innovator, providing change leadership to evolve the organization’s mission and strategy as well as spearheading collaborations with a range of private foundations, institutions, and the world’s leading companies. Through her leadership, she raised more than $50 million, exponentially amplifying the reach and impact of the organization’s programs throughout the country. During her tenure at the NCFL, Ms. Kirkpatrick created the award-winning digital learning platform Wonderopolis®, which reached millions of children across the globe and which was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the top 50 websites in the world in 2011. She was also featured on CBS Sunday Morning on how to advance literacy nationwide.
“I wanted to put NCFL on the map and intensify our focus on bringing parents and children together to pursue literacy that helps break the cycle of poverty. Our customized approach afforded children the opportunity to move forward by excelling in school as well as helped parents secure jobs with better wages and a promise of a better quality of life.”
From the earliest days of Ms. Kirkpatrick’s career, she has been drawn to public service, civic affairs, and public policy. She was the Deputy Finance Director for Mary Boyle’s campaign for the Ohio US Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Sen. John Glenn.
A native and longtime resident of Kentucky, Ms. Kirkpatrick has also served in planning and public relations roles at the Kentucky Office of the Secretary of Education, Arts and Humanities, and advanced the inclusion of women in public service positions while at the Kentucky Commission on Women.
Ms. Kirkpatrick is a frequent guest speaker at conferences and to consumer brands and groups on topics ranging from organizational leadership and strategic partnerships to leading mission-based organizations and improving literacy and education in the United States. She earned her MBA with honors from Bellarmine University and her BA from Centre College in Kentucky.