Ken Coll, Ph.D. is the new chair of the board of directors at WestEd, a national leader in research, development and service for education and human-services organizations serving Nevada, California, Arizona and Utah.
Coll, former dean and current professor of counseling and educational psychology at the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Nevada, Reno, became chair July 21. He is the first Nevadan to serve as chair since 2007-08, when William Sparkman, then dean of the College of Education at the University, served as chair of the non-profit, non-political organization headquartered in San Francisco. Coll has served on WestEd’s Board of Directors since 2013.
As chair, Coll serves a key role in establishing the strategic direction of WestEd as it works with educators and policymakers to reduce gaps in educational opportunity and promote positive outcomes for all children and adults.
“With his depth of expertise in student development and his deep commitment to teacher education, Ken Coll brings invaluable experience and vision to the Board and the agency’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” WestEd CEO Glen Harvey said. “I am looking forward to working with him to improve outcomes for all learners.”
WestEd’s Board of Directors consists of leaders from the public and private education, business and human services sectors. Board members play a critical role in the agency’s leadership and strategic planning. Coll succeeds Jacob Moore, associate vice president of Tribal Relations at Arizona State University, who served as the Board’s Chair for 2021–22.
“WestEd is unique in its deep partnership and engagement with its board through our committee structure,” Coll said. “I am grateful for the strong board leadership of previous chairs, most recently Jacob Moore, and am looking forward to continued progress.”
The WestEd board of directors includes 50 top executives of educational, business and human services organizations in Nevada, California, Arizona and Utah. Donald Easton-Brooks, dean of the University’s College of Education and Human Development, also serves on the WestEd board.
“These are difficult times in our country and in the world,” Coll said. “WestEd provides much needed objective knowledge, research, skills and commitment to assist in critical areas of educational works such as college and career readiness, health, safety and wellbeing.”
As the Director of the Community Behavioral Health Collaborative, Coll works to increase access to behavioral health services for underserved communities, schools and agencies in northern Nevada. His award-winning research focuses on school and mental health risk and resilience factors and effective assessment and counseling interventions with struggling adolescent populations.
Coll said his experience with educational issues in Nevada helps to ensure that the state’s interests are addressed in WestEd’s work. Recently, the non-profit has assisted in the development of distance-learning and hybrid educational models in Nevada.
“With his depth of expertise in student development and his deep commitment to teacher education, Coll brings invaluable experience and vision to the Board and the agency’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” Harvey said. “I look forward to working with him to improve outcomes for all learners.”