Lauren Gilbert

Nonprofit Fellow


Chief Executive Officer, BELL

Lauren is a passionate leader who brings extensive knowledge and experience from her work in multiple fields of the educational system. Having committed her life to serving children, Lauren has transitioned from the classroom, to district level leadership, and into the non-profit sector with a keen understanding of the educational needs and landscape in which BELL operates. Her dedication to excellence and innovation are characteristics that have marked the course of her career as she continually strives to bring high quality educational opportunities to students across the nation.

After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Special Education from the University of New Mexico, Lauren began her career as a special education teacher, first in Albuquerque and later in Worcester, MA. Her success in the classroom eventually took her to new leadership roles at the district level, initially as the Assistant Director of Student Services and eventually as the Assistant Superintendent of the Natick Public School District in Massachusetts. As a key driver of the district’s strategic efforts, she oversaw nearly half of the district budget, and managed federal and state grant opportunities including Title I, special education, and special education teacher quality. During her five years as Assistant Superintendent, Lauren was tapped by the state department of education to provide year-long training to new administrators and teachers on leadership, data-analysis, assessment, and instruction.

Since joining BELL’s team in 2011, Lauren has been responsible for program design, staff professional development, evaluation and national strategic partnerships. This has included her work with MDRC to complete a randomized control trial of summer learning programs for middle school students as well as leading efforts to continuously improve program quality and launch new endeavors aimed at achieving transformational scale with BELL programs. Lauren has led the charge on many strategic initiatives and partnerships, including Power Scholars Academy, BELL’s partnership with the Y-USA, which has grown exponentially from three sites in 2013 to over 65 sites in 2016. Her leadership over the past five years has been integral as BELL has launched several initiatives including expanding its programs to include Pre-K, developing higher standards for instructional quality, as well as providing sophisticated and research-based professional development and program models to BELL staff and scholars nation-wide.

In 2012, Lauren earned her doctorate in education from Boston College where she also served as a supervising advisor for students pursuing their Masters in Education Administration. She recently participated in Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management executive education course, and has served as an adjunct professor at Simmons College, a consultant for Teachers 21, and is a member of the Department of Education’s Program Quality Assurance team.  As a sought-out speaker in the Out of School Time field, Lauren has presented at numerous conferences including the National Summer Learning Association annual conference.

Outside of BELL, Lauren is the proud mother of a very active 10-year-old daughter, Ayla, and can often be found at one of Ayla’s softball games or national cheerleading competitions when she is not working. She loves to travel and experience new places as well as spend quality time with her family, especially when her sister and nephews are in town from Holland. From her home in Ashland, Lauren enjoys the simple things like listening to audio books while driving, conversing or indulging in her fondness for spicy food that has stayed with her from Mexican roots.