Jesse O’Connell is the senior vice president for Education at American Progress, where he leads the organization’s crosscutting efforts to advance policies that guarantee all Americans access to high-quality educational opportunities across the full learning spectrum—including early childhood education, K-12 education, and higher education. O’Connell is an experienced nonprofit leader and higher education policy expert. In his current role, he is responsible for developing, building support for, and successfully implementing American Progress’ education policy agenda.
Prior to joining to American Progress, O’Connell served as the strategy director for federal policy at Lumina Foundation, where he led the development and advancement of the foundation’s federal policy priorities with the goal of increasing the attainment of high-quality credentials and promoting affordable pathways through postsecondary education. Before that, he was the assistant director for federal relations at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and he began his career as a financial aid administrator at Georgetown University.
He holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree from Georgetown, where he was an All-American as a member of the track and field team. In addition to his professional work, O’Connell is involved in his community of Alexandria, Virginia, where he lives with his wife and two children.