Executive Director, The Public Education Foundation
Dan Challener has served as president of the Public Education Foundation since 1999. PEF’s mission is to increase the achievement and opportunities of students who attend public schools in southeastern Tennessee and, especially, Hamilton County.
Presently, PEF’s major projects include the Hamilton County Leadership Pipeline (a partnership with Hamilton County Schools that provides comprehensive, articulated training for future leaders), Project Inspire (a teacher residency program that recruits, trains, and supports teachers in high needs schools), the College and Career Success Network (which helps students determine their path after high school and includes Camp College and STEP-UP Chattanooga, which provides economically disadvantaged high school students with paid summer internships at many of Chattanooga’s most respected businesses).
PEF’s STEM Hub provides support for innovative teachers through a portfolio of professional development opportunities for teachers. In January of 2017, Volkswagen Group of America in Chattanooga announced a $1m gift and a partnership between VW, the state of Tennessee, Hamilton County Schools and PEF; this new partnership will enable 16 middle schools and high schools to create state of the art VW eLabs-- classrooms where students will develop deep engineering and environmental knowledge through authentic problem solving.
Dan earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his Ph.D. from Brown University. He is married to an amazing public school teacher and the proud father of three children who graduated from Hamilton County public schools and have now all graduated from college.