Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP)
Michael Robbins is Senior Advisor for Nonprofit Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, he develops and supports initiatives within the federal government to help maximize the education contributions of community-based organizations. Michael works with communities across the country to strengthen partnerships between schools, families, and community-based organizations to propel school improvement and create a community culture of education success. He also focuses on how digital learning can transform the way that schools, parents, communities, and youth collaborate to boost student engagement and learning.
Michael has two decades of experience in education and youth development as a social entrepreneur and cross-sector leader. Before joining the Obama administration, Michael served at The SEED Foundation where he focused on community engagement, fundraising, and new school development. While at SEED he also chaired the board of the D.C. charter school association.
Michael's career has spanned from the grassroots to the national level. He has worked intensively with children and families in the most challenged neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. He has collaborated with and advised leaders in education, nonprofits, government, philanthropy, and business. Michael has also held senior leadership positions at FIRST and The Shriver Center, and worked on the start-up of AmeriCorps during the Clinton administration.
Michael holds a bachelor's degree from Rhodes College and master's degrees in business administration and public management from the University of Maryland. He is the father of a first grader who inspires his work to transform American education.
Ken Bedell is ordained in The United Methodist Church. He led congregations for 16 years in New York, Maryland, and Ohio. He has taught at the junior high, high school, college and theological schools level. As a volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee he taught high school in Swaziland. In his capacity as executive secretary of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities Ken visited schools and colleges in Argentine, Brazil, Korea, Mozambique, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. His is the author of five books and numerous articles and scholarly papers. His book entitled, "Different Ships—Same Boat," on ethics was published by the World Association for Christian Communication. For five years he edited the annual "Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches" for the National Council of Churches. After receiving his PhD in sociology he became active in the Religious Research Association where he served on the executive committee. As an early promoter of the use of technology in education and the church, he was the founding president of the Church Computer Users Network in the mid 1980s. He is married to the former Kathryn Hale. They have two grown daughters, Charity Pelletier and Sarah Cook and three grandchildren.
Anna Leach is the Confidential Assistant at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Anna holds a Bachelor"s degree from Hope College where she majored in secondary education. Anna previously interned with the Center in the spring of 2011, supporting the launch of the President"s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge and other key outreach efforts undertaken by the Center to promote engagement of faith-based and community organizations in education. Anna has served as a teacher of 7th grade World History and Geography. Her classroom experience has provided her with essential skills and perspectives to further the work of the Center and its impact at the local level. Additionally, through her leadership activities on campus, focused on strengthening community partnerships to create positive change for stakeholders. In her free time, Anna enjoys traveling, reading, and crossing things off her bucket list.