Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Welcomes Jesse O’Connell as Senior Vice President for Education Policy
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Welcomes Jesse O’Connell as Senior Vice President for Education Policy

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress announced Jesse O’Connell as senior vice president for Education Policy. In this role, he will lead the organization’s crosscutting efforts to advance policies that guarantee all Americans have access to high-quality educational opportunities across the full learning spectrum—including early childhood education, K-12 education, and higher education. As senior vice president, O’Connell will be responsible for developing, building support for, and successfully implementing CAP’s education policy agenda.

Prior to joining to CAP, O’Connell served as strategy director for federal policy at Lumina Foundation, where he led the development and advancement of the foundation’s federal policy priorities, with the goal of increasing the attainment of high-quality credentials and promoting affordable pathways through postsecondary education. Before that, he was the assistant director for federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and he began his career as a financial aid administrator at Georgetown University. He holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Georgetown, where he was an All-American as a member of the track and field team. In addition to his professional work, O’Connell is involved in his community of Alexandria, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and two children.

“This is an urgent moment for education in America. Every level of our system is facing challenges of access, affordability, and quality outcomes, even as that system also struggles against bad-faith attacks on multiple fronts. Strengthening American education so that it is more resilient, equitable, accountable, and responsive to students, educators, parents, and communities must be a key priority of policymakers grappling with the effects of the pandemic, which is why we are thrilled to welcome Jesse in this new role,” said Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “His vast experience and stakeholder relationships will help CAP build on his long-standing work to ensure our education systems are preparing students for meaningful careers, delivering value, and keeping America and its employers globally competitive.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at

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