President and CEO
Kent Pekel is an educational leader who has worked at the school, district, state, federal, and university levels. Throughout his diverse career, he has sought to bridge research, practice, and policy to help young people from marginalized communities learn and thrive. Kent is currently President and CEO of Search Institute, an internationally recognized not-for-profit organization that conducts applied research and develops practical resources that enhance the capacity of schools, youth programs, and other organizations to help young people be and become their best selves. Among other recent recognition, in 2018 Search Institute received the Award for Organizational Excellence in Research and Programming for Youth from the Society for Research on Adolescence.
Prior to joining Search Institute in 2012, Kent served as the founding Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s College Readiness Consortium, and as Executive Director of Research and Development in the Saint Paul Public Schools. He served in several senior staff positions during the Clinton Administration, including as a White House Fellow assigned to the Director of the CIA, Special Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of State, and Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Education. Kent began his career as a high school teacher in his home state of Minnesota. He holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Yale University, a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Minnesota.
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