Heather Simpson

Heather Simpson is the chief program officer of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children.®  

Heather is responsible for the design, implementation, and monitoring of Room to Read’s Literacy and Girls’ Education & Gender Equality portfolios in 23 countries. Heather leads the development of Room to Read’s overall educational program strategy and oversees the global programs teams. She serves as a critical member of the senior leadership team helping to set strategic direction for Room to Read’s programs and growth. 

Heather is the Vice-Chair of the Board of the Basic Education Coalition and is a member of the executive committee and coleader of the education working group of the Scaling Up Community of Practice.  With over 20 years of international development experience at major nonprofit organizations, Heather has managed large-scale efforts to increase access to quality learning opportunities for children around the world. 

Prior to joining Room to Read, Heather was the senior director for education and child protection at Save the Children. She has worked as a project manager and technical adviser for organizations such as the American Institutes for Research, Juarez and Associates, and Save the Children for education projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and other public and private donors, beginning her career as a Peace Corps volunteer based in Honduras. Throughout her career in international education, she has worked in Latin America, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Southern Africa and has contributed to dialogue on education with NPR, Brookings Institution, the World Bank’s Civil Society Panels, DevEx, Alhurra TV, PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, and USAID. 

Heather earned her bachelor's degree from Yale University and her master’s in education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, hiking, and playing cello in the Washington Conservatory Community Orchestra. 

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