Dr. Lisa Abel-Palmieri, PhD is a non-profit leader with 20 years of experience who is passionate about shaping the future of learning by designing equitable experiences that engage the heart, mind and innate skills in youth. She was most recently the Head of School (Executive Director) and Chief Learning Officer at Nazareth Prep, a progressive independent school focused on bridging education to employment skill gaps in the region for students who’ve been traditionally untapped for STEM careers.
Lisa has been a classroom teacher, after-school program director, STEAM Coordinator, Director of Technology (CIO) and has held positions in industry in workforce development, training and marketing a decade before entering education and nonprofit spaces. Most importantly, she’s a champion for youth and enjoys long-standing relationships with her past students who are now adults.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in public relations and design from Duquesne University as well as a Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing and Master of Science in Technology. A Doctorate of Philosophy was earned at Robert Morris University in Instructional Management and Leadership. Lisa was awarded Non-Profit CIO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Technology Council in 2013. She was honored to join the Deeper Learning Equity Fellows in 2016. She’s been named an ASCD Emerging Leader, Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Leader of the Year finalist, “Who’s Next in Education,” 40 Under 40 by Pittsburgh Magazine, Women of Achievement and Pittsburgh Business Times Women of Influence.
A frequent collaborator within United Way’s APOST and Remake Learning Network, Lisa believes partnerships and culturally relevant experiences launch innovative ideas and programs. She’s on numerous advisory committees in the region and is the Senior Vice-President of Growth for the Boy Scouts of America, Laurel Highlands Council, President of PHCSE Foundation, Advisory Board for Rosedale Technical College, on the Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute Board and on Boys & Girls Clubs of America Workforce Development Advisory Committee.
Lisa is married to Clayton; and they have a son, Anthony, who is in the 2nd grade. They enjoy building, crafting together and attending Cub Scouts! She comes from a large Italian family with humble beginnings in Pittsburgh’s Steel Mills after immigrating from the rolling hills in Abruzzo, Italy.
Dr. Abel-Palmieri expresses “I am honored to lead such a impactful organization that has been a community partner in Western Pennsylvania for more than 130 years; even more honored to be the first female CEO in its history. BGCWPA will continue its rich legacy of traditional programming and build new STEM and workforce development programming to give youth the knowledge and skills to build the futures they want. I am passionate about ensuring that equity is at the heart of all we design. We will build new collaborations with our members, their families, business and industry, educators and the community at large. I look forward to collaborating with the team to bring out the brilliance in the youth we serve.”