LEEF’s New Executive Director, Coleen Brighton

The Leander Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF), the educational foundation supporting all Leander ISD students and staff, announced its new Executive Director Coleen Brighton. Coleen joined LEEF’s Board of Directors in 2015 and most recently held the Director of Operations and Development position.

“The LEEF Board is excited for Coleen Brighton to serve as our next Executive Director! As a long time employee and supporter of LEEF, she demonstrates dedication to our mission and has a passion for supporting Leander ISD.  We look forward to her leadership as we make this transition and continue to reach for our goal of putting $1 Million Back into the Classroom.”   – Crystal Smith, LEEF Board President

Coleen has been a champion to LEEF’s mission for over 8 years, and has proven her ability to create and grow strategic and thoughtful partnerships with community businesses, families and Leander ISD staff. Coleen first joined LEEF in 2015 as a volunteer, then a member of its Board of Directors, and in 2017 was hired as its Director of Operations and Development working with then Executive Director, Dr. Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia. 

During Coleen’s time at LEEF the foundation has grown from $300,000 in annual revenue to over $630,000 last fiscal year. Coleen launched the grant writing program for LEEF in 2019 and during COVID secured over $225,000 through several grant awards, including Moody Foundation, St. David’s Foundation and Austin Community Foundation. This funding enabled Leander ISD to hire a full-time mental health professional to focus on early intervention with our youngest student population. The success of the grant program raised enough to fund this full-time position for 3-years through the 2022-2023 school year.

Coleen is a storyteller, fundraiser and relationship builder at heart and her 22 years working  in the business and nonprofit communities in the Austin area has impacted underserved youth, women and families including, Ronald McDonald House Central Texas, SAFE Austin and St. Louise House.  

Coleen is known as a committed leader, well-respected community partner, honest communicator and relentless advocate for those in need. “I love meeting new people and businesses that want to make an impact, listening to their stories and what is important in their philanthropy. When we work together and inspire the best out of someone, whether it be a donor, a volunteer, a teacher, or friend, it makes all the difference,” she explains. “Education is powerful and every student should have access and I’m honored to serve as LEEF’s Executive Director to continue advocating and building our team to serve more Leander ISD students and staff. 

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