Tonya Allen stepping down as head of Skillman Foundation, the influential backer of better education for Detroit students

Tonya Allen stepping down as head of Skillman Foundation, the influential backer of better education for Detroit students

Tonya Allen, who has helmed one of the most influential nonprofits working to improve K-12 education in Detroit, is stepping down to take a new job in Minneapolis.
Allen will officially leave as the president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation (a Chalkbeat funder) in 2021. Allen, who has held that role at Skillman since 2014, will lead the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis.
Maria Woodruff-Wright, Skillman’s vice president of operations and its chief financial officer, will become interim CEO as a search for a new leader takes place.
“We’ll have an aggressive search for candidates who represent the foundation’s relentless commitment to children, to Detroit, and to equity. We also acknowledge that Detroit is talent-rich; we’ve had great success at finding local leaders,” said Suzanne Shank, a board member and chair of the foundation’s search committee.
“The Skillman Foundation and Detroit are my heart,” Allen said in a statement. “Thinking about the impact our team has been able to make for children in Detroit fills me with pride. I never saw myself leaving, but when you are called you must act.”
Allen said she is confident Skillman “is well-equipped to continue its mission as a fierce champion for Detroit kids, after all they have done this over six decades.”

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