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Kris Murray To Lead BELL's Programs & Partnerships in California

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Oakland, CA, Feb. 23, 2015 - Kris Murray, a former public school teacher who subsequently built a successful career in nonprofit and foundation management, has joined BELL as its new executive director for California.

In her new role, Murray will lead summer learning and afterschool programs operated in partnership with the school systems in San Jose, San Rafael and Oakland. She also will work with additional school systems and philanthropic organizations to enable more schools and communities to expand quality learning time for the students who need it most.

BELL, Building Educated Leaders for Life, is one of the nation's leading nonprofit providers of quality expanded learning programs for children in grades K-8. Its mission is to transform the academic achievement, self-confidence and life trajectories of children living in low-income, urban communities. BELL serves more than 12,000 students in public schools across the country through its summer and after-school programs, including nearly 1,000 in the San Francisco Bay area.

"BELL has built several strong and effective partnerships in northern California," said Tiffany Gueye, Ph.D., BELL's Chief Executive Officer. "With Kris' leadership, we look forward to building on that success so that more scholars and families can access the expanded learning opportunities they need and deserve."

Murray brings to BELL a broad range of experience and passion in community development and education. Most recently, she served as the executive director of Young Audiences of Northern California, an organization focused on bringing community-based artists to schools throughout the Bay area. Over the course of the past five years, she stabilized the finances of the group and developed a new strategic plan.

Prior to joining Young Audiences, Murray worked as the deputy director for the West region of DonorsChoose.org, an online charity organization that makes it easy for members of the public to support the classroom projects of public school teachers. Before joining DonorsChoose.org, Murray worked as the executive director of the Alameda Education Foundation and before that as the owner and operator of a nationally-accredited preschool.

BELL first launched its expanded learning programs in the Bay area in 2012, using funding from the Social Innovation Fund and local donors, including Tipping Point Community. Assessment data from the summer of 2014 showed that participating students - called "scholars" in BELL programs - gained reading and math skills, avoided summer learning loss, and strengthened their social skills and self-confidence.

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