Background: Valentina Payne joined Bellwether in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam (formerly Education Post) where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization. In this role, she built on her work as a legislative projects manager at StudentsFirst, where she worked in a handful of states across the U.S. to ensure quality education policies were being passed into law.
Valentina has also worked in Ann Arbor Public Schools and Detroit Public Schools, where she focused on the intersection of the education system and the juvenile justice system.
Valentina has a master's degree in education policy and leadership, and a bachelor's degree in Spanish language and literature, both from the University of Michigan. Valentina resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she enjoys spending as much time as possible outside with her husband, daughter, and goldendoodle dog.
Why I do this work: As the daughter of two immigrants, education was very much seen as the key to the "American dream" in my home growing up — a lesson that has permeated my own educational experience as well as the work that I have accomplished professionally.