Dr. Vicki Phillips


Dr. Vicki Phillips is a senior adviser/education strategist for national and international organizations and ed-tech companies devoted to the engagement and professional learning of teachers, as well as the design of conditions and systems in which teaching and learning can thrive.

Vicki has a strong record of reform at all levels of education, from neighborhood schools to the federal government. She has served as a teacher, leader of a nonprofit education foundation, superintendent of schools, state chief of basic and higher education and for nearly a decade as the director of K-12 education for the world’s largest foundation.

She most recently served as director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the work to ensure students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college, career and community, and to improve the effectiveness and support of teachers. Vicki and her team sought to advance education innovations, including new school designs focused on personalized learning and high quality, tech-enabled curriculum and instructional tools.

Prior to joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she was superintendent of Portland Public Schools in Oregon. Earlier, Vicki served as Pennsylvania State Secretary of Education and as superintendent in the School District of Lancaster, PA. She previously served at the state level in her home state of Kentucky, helping to implement the sweeping changes demanded by the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990.

Born in Kentucky and raised on a small farm, Vicki was the first in her family to go to college. She holds a doctorate in international leadership and management from the University of Lincoln in England, as well as three honorary doctorates. She served as a founding member of the governing council for England’s National College for School Leadership and an advisor to the Harvard Urban Superintendent’s Program.