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Brandy Bynum Dawson and Magan Gonzales-Smith Join MDC Senior Leadership Team

MDC is excited to announce the addition of two new members to its senior leadership team. Brandy Bynum Dawson will be joining MDC as the Senior Director for Rural Prosperity and Investment and Magan Gonzales-Smith will be joining as the Senior Director for Educational Equity. In their positions, Brandy and Magan will work to increase MDC’s capacity-building capabilities, expand our portfolio in the areas of rural development and educational access, and help ensure MDC promotes equity across the South. Both Brandy and Magan are innovative leaders and founders who bring decades of experience, insight, and expertise in their respective fields. 

Brandy starts her role in August, leading MDC’s rural prosperity engagements in NC and beyond, managing a state, regional and national portfolio of work. Prior to joining MDC, she worked for over three years as senior director of policy, research, and innovation at the NC Rural Center, where she provided oversight and management of the Center’s research and policy agendas, and innovative programs/initiatives while cultivating partner relations and cross-programmatic, internal center-wide initiatives. 

A native northeastern North Carolinian, Brandy graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, receiving a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in sociology. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from NC State University, with a concentration in mental health policy. 

Magan begins her role as Senior Director for Educational Equity in September. She’ll shape and build MDC’s agenda to advance educational opportunity and equity for children and youth throughout the South. 

Magan’s career has been dedicated to working with communities, systems leaders, and policymakers to create stronger and more equitable educational opportunities for young people. In 2018 she worked alongside other community leaders to create and launch the Durham Public Schools Foundation (DPSF) and served as DPSF’s founding Executive Director. 

Previously, Magan was the Associate Director of Insights & Impact for Hill Learning Center where she built research partnerships and supported a network of schools in delivering literacy strategies for struggling readers. Her other past work includes recruiting alternative licensure public school teachers, designing teacher and principal professional growth systems, creating policy strategy for the NC Large District Superintendent Consortium, and managing teacher grants for the Asheville City Schools Foundation. 

Having grown up in Texas and North Carolina and now raising her children in Durham, Magan deeply loves the South and is committed to making it a place where all people can thrive. She received her B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University and her Master’s in Public Policy from Duke University. 

We are thrilled to have these dynamic leaders on the MDC team!