PANASONIC FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES new executive director:  alejandra ceja

NEWARK, N.J., June 12, 2017 -- Panasonic Foundation, Inc. today announced the appointment of Alejandra O. Ceja as Executive Director. Ms. Ceja will assume the role beginning June 12th, succeeding Dr. Larry Leverett, who retired after a decade of extraordinary leadership.

Most recently, Ms. Ceja has served as the Executive Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics at the U. S. Department of Education. She has also served as a Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Education and as Senior Budget and Appropriations Advisor for the House Committee on Education and Labor. In 2015, she was awarded the Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund to prepare leaders from the U. S. and Europe for transatlantic relations. In her new role, Ms. Ceja will report to the Board of Directors of the foundation, whose Chair is Dr. Milton Chen, Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Ms. Ceja received her B. A. in political science from Mount St. Mary's University in Los Angeles and her M.P.A. in public administration from Baruch College, CUNY. She grew up in the Los Angeles area.

"On behalf of our board of directors, we are excited to welcome Alejandra to the Panasonic Foundation," said Dr. Chen. "She brings keen national leadership experience and a passion for educational equity to further advance the vision, mission and strategic direction of the Foundation."

Damien Atkins, Panasonic Corporation of North America's General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, said: "We're delighted to have Alejandra serve the Foundation as Executive Director. Her experience in advocating for educational opportunities aligns well with the goals of the Panasonic Foundation." Mr. Atkins also represents the Corporation as a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Panasonic Foundation," said Ms. Ceja, who comes to the organization with over 15 years of experience in government and education advocacy. "I can think of no better place to continue the effort to advocate for the academic and social success of students in underserved communities."



Panasonic Foundation is an operating, not grantmaking, non-profit foundation. It is currently working in long-term partnership with 7 school districts around the United States and with 15 superintendents participating in the New Jersey Network of Superintendents. Five districts are participating in Collaboration for Innovation, an online community of practice of Panasonic Foundation in partnership with the Consortium for School Networking.


The Panasonic Foundation was created in 1984 by a $10 million endowment from Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, which has since been renamed Panasonic Corporation of North America (PNA). The Foundation’s resource base was later strengthened with by an additional endowment of $10 million from PNA’s Japanese parent corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial (now Panasonic Corporation). The Foundation currently has an operating annual budget of $1.4 million.


The Foundation is a leader in education reform with:

  • A whole-system approach fostering system-level and system-wide changes to improve learning for all students in urban school districts;
  • A definition of “school system” that includes the central administration, the school board, the teachers union, and the principals association, and an insistence on the active participation and collaboration of these four key internal stakeholder groups;
  • The use of experts—its senior consultants and staff—to provide ongoing, on-the-ground assistance to Partner districts; experience with other external change agents to address issues of coherence and alignment;
  • Long-term Partnerships with many school districts, some of which have extended more than 10 years;
  • The support and development of cross-district communities of practice to advance equity and excellence in public education.