Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D. is Chief Executive Officer at BellXcel, a leading national non-profit in youth development with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating proven educational solutions. BellXcel partners with youth organizations and schools to license its evidence-based comprehensive solution for K-8 afterschool and summer programming.
Lauren joined BellXcel in 2011 and served in several leadership roles prior to being named CEO in 2017, including Vice President of Program Impact, President and Chief Strategy Officer.
Lauren is leading the organization in an ambitious strategic transformation focused on changing the way its partners empower educators, build sustainable high-quality practices and outcomes, and reach exponentially more children and their families. Most significantly, Lauren is overseeing the creation of bold, innovative solutions that will further revolutionize the youth development sector as first to market, all-in-one SaaS products for youth leaders and school administrators to scale and power their programs anytime, anywhere.
Lauren’s ongoing commitment to bring the power of practitioner work and deep research together to build field capacity fueled the launch the Sperling Center for Research and Innovation, an independent BellXcel affiliate designed to bridge the research to practice to policy gap in the education field.
Lauren began her career as a special education teacher in her native New Mexico and later served as an Assistant Superintendent in Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of New Mexico in Special Education and earned a Doctorate in Education from Boston College.
Lauren has attended the highly-selective nonprofit leadership program at Harvard University, and was named a Results for America Nonprofit Fellow in 2016. She serves as a member of The Bridgespan Group’s Knowledge Advisory Board, a diverse group of recognized leaders committed to accelerating impact in the social sector and deepening the relevance and influence of insights and tools.
Lauren also serves as a board member for Roca, a community-based organization determined to be a relentless force in disrupting incarceration, poverty and racism by engaging young adults, police and systems at the center of urban violence to address trauma, find hope and drive change.
Lauren is the proud mother of an active and beautiful teenaged daughter.
Brenda leads SCRI as Managing Partner and serves as Chief Impact Officer for BellXcel. She is a longtime visionary in the field of OST and youth development. Brenda oversees research and evaluation and develops solutions to elevate the quality and impact of educational experiences nationally.
For more than 15 years, Brenda has worked at the intersection of research, policy, and practice, translating key learnings to positively influence the education and well-being of young people and their families. Her insight and expertise have led organizations and communities to develop strategies that expand their capacity to serve more young people.
Prior to joining BellXcel, Brenda founded and led The Learning Agenda, a consultancy dedicated to building knowledge and capacity in the nonprofit, philanthropic and education sectors. She also served as vice president of the National Summer Learning Association. Brenda has a particular interest in studying the pivotal role that summer, afterschool, sports, arts, and enrichment programs play in supporting the holistic development and academic trajectories of youth.
Brenda holds a MA in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
BellXcel is governed by a Board of Directors who provide oversight, leadership and counsel to meet the organization’s strategic priorities.
Chair, Executive Director, Samberg Family Foundation
Vice Chair, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs & Co.
Executive Advisor, Thomas H. Lee Partners
Managing Partner, Bulger Capital
Chief Investment Officer, Spencer Foundation
Managing Director, Thomas H. Lee Partners
Partner and Americas Forensic & Integrity Services Leader, EY Boston
Owner, AK Consulting
Managing Partner, Ernst & Young (retired)
Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Deputy Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston
General Partner, Norwest Ventures Partners
Chief Executive Officer, BellXcel
SCRI’s strong network of experts in youth development and education guides our innovative work. In addition to providing specific expertise on engagements, our Research Advisory Board shapes our most pressing questions, as well as our methods to answer them.
Senior Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research
Senior Fellow, Center for Excellence in Survey Research, NORC at the University Chicago
Policy Researcher, The RAND Corporation
Chair, Independent Consultant
Managing Director, American Institutes for Research