Barbara Best is Director of Student and Fellows Programs at the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership. She oversees CPL’s eight current fellowship programs serving 74 fellows and 500 fellowship program alumni.  Barbara spent 13 years at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), most recently serving as Director of Foundation Relations and Special Projects where she cultivated and stewarded relationships with major national foundations and coordinated special projects of strategic importance to CDF including a partnership with the American Association of School Administrators and school districts in four states to systematically identify uninsured children and link them with health coverage. Barbara spent ten years in CDF’s Texas office, rising from an outreach coordinator to Texas Executive Director, where she oversaw offices in Houston, Austin and the Rio Grande Valley region along the Mexican border and mobilized regional coordinators in ten Texas cities to restore health coverage to 175,000 uninsured Texas children. She is a graduate of Duke University and received her Mid-Career Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2010 where she served as the first Mid-Career Fellow in the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management.

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