Judi Steele is President & CEO of The Public Education Foundation. She has served local, national and international education and business communities as an educator, business owner, consultant and executive coach. Steele, who has championed public education and the arts, is a respected thought leader guided by an entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to challenge conventional wisdom. Steele, who was active in the civil rights movement, is a champion of equal rights and human justice. She has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all public school children.
Steele was born and raised in New York City and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and elementary education from Hunter College. She began her distinguished education career as a fifth grade teacher at P.S. 171 in East Harlem. Before beginning her career with the Clark County School District, she taught elementary and middle school in Providence, Rhode Island, where she began her graduate studies at Brown University. She completed her Master of Education degree in secondary and adult education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her career with CCSD began as a classroom teacher at C.V.T. Gilbert Prestige School. She also served as Integration Consultant with the Intergroup Education Department under Dr. Claude Perkins and worked with Claude Parson. She was a Team Leader for Teacher Corps, Summer School Site Administrator, and was the first teacher of the Academically Talented Program and the first coordinator of Child Find.
As the Director of Special Education Programs and Services for the District, Steele developed and implemented procedures and staff development activities to ensure that all disabled students received a free, public and appropriate education. Steele was responsible for district-wide programs for the visually, orally and emotionally challenged, learning disabled and academically talented. She designed CCSD’s first Individualized Education Program; established multi-disciplinary team processes; and supervised speech and language therapists, school nurses and teachers of the academically talented.
In 1987, Steele took a leave of absence to assist with some political campaigns and became President of Steele & Associates, a management consulting firm. In 1991, she returned to CCSD and served in a dual role as Manager of the Office of Development and Education Improvement for CCSD and Executive Director of the newly incorporated Clark County Public Education Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization established to improve public education in Southern Nevada. In 2001, she retired from the District and was named President of the Foundation. Since its inception, the Foundation, working collaboratively with CCSD, has been a leader in creating and sponsoring innovative, results-driven initiatives to improve student performance, demonstrate accountability and support educational excellence.
Steele has received numerous honors and awards for her lifelong service to children, education and community. In 2006, the Clark County Board of School Trustees honored Steele, as she became the namesake of the Judith D. Steele Elementary School. She also has been inducted into the CCSD Educational Excellence Hall of Fame. Steele has served on numerous boards of directors, advisory boards and was the Founder and President of the Arts Council of Henderson and “Nevada Shakespeare in the Park.”
She has a daughter, Elyse, a son, Arthur, and two granddaughters, Taylor and Haley.
With vision, passion and boundless energy, Steele has lived by the Talmudic philosophy: “If not now, when? If not me, who?”