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We are so pleased to welcome Fatimah Burnam-Watkins to the Board of Trustees at Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss in Mountainside and Newark. Executive Director, Lindsay Schambach said: ‘Fatimah brings a history of professional excellence, experience scaling a nonprofit, and a deep connection to our mission to her role on our board. We look forward to benefitting from her insights as we continue to grow Imagine’s programs.’
Fatimah Burnam-Watkins has worked in education and leadership development for nearly 20 years. She currently serves as the Senior Vice President of the Office of Transformation and Change at Teach For America (TFA). In this role, she is responsible for coaching executives and teams on how to lead through change. Fatimah began her career as a 2001 Teach For America corps member in Baltimore where she taught high school English and History at Northwestern High School. After teaching, Fatimah joined Teach For America staff to begin her work in coaching and development first as Program Director (teacher coach) in New York City, and then served as managing director of TFA’s Philadelphia training institute before leading the New Jersey region as Executive Director for nearly 6 years. Prior to her current role, Fatimah led TFA’s National Program and was most recently the Senior Vice President of Executive Leadership & Learning Team to help strengthen the system of support, development and learning for all 52 regional executive directors and 17 national senior leaders across Teach For America.
Concurrently, Fatimah is founder of her own practice and part of a network of practitioners that help executives and organizations build their leadership capacity to accelerate growth and expand overall impact. The practice draws on techniques and approaches that enable leaders to build capabilities they need to maintain their core business while simultaneously imagining new realities. Fatimah has designed and delivered training experiences for a variety of groups and individuals from independent charter school networks, education non-profit organizations, and private consulting groups. Fatimah is obsessed with developing strong leaders and strong team cultures as a means to advance work and reach ambitious outcomes.
In January 2018, Fatimah was sworn in as a governor appointed member of the New Jersey State Board of Education where she chairs the Social Emotional Learning and Equity committees. She is also part of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellows Program, a leadership program supporting diverse, executive leaders who are reimagining America’s public schools. Fatimah exercises her passion for service and mentorship as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated as well by mentoring young women of color through the Growing in Grief program, which started in honor of her mother, Isadell Riley, to mentor young women dealing with the loss or lack of a mother-figure.
Fatimah received a B.S. in Political Science & Afro-American Studies from the University of Maryland – College Park; and a Secondary Teaching Certification from Johns Hopkins University. In her most important role, Fatimah is a wife to her husband Jon and a mother to 14-year-old triplets Bryce, Cole, and Corynne.
Imagine’s Board Chair, Diana Miller shared this: ‘On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Imagine, we welcome Fatimah to the board and are so excited about what she brings to Imagine. Fatimah has a wealth of experience with nonprofits and brings incredible leadership skills, as well as kindness and compassion. We look forward to the opportunity to work together to serve Imagine’s mission, supporting families that are coping with loss and to ensure no child grieves alone.’