Join the First Scholars Network!
Become a Network Member to transform your institution for first-gen student success.
First Scholars Network Member logo

Brenda Dann-Messier, Ed.D.

Senior Advisor, Education Strategy Group; Rhode Island’s Postsecondary Commissioner; Past Assistant Secretary for Career, Tech, & Adult Education

BIO: Brenda Dann-Messier

Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier worked at Education Strategy Group (ESG) from 2015 -2017 as a Senior Advisor and Coach for the New Skills For Youth Initiative and has returned to ESG as a Senior Advisor. In 2017, Brenda was appointed Rhode Island’s Postsecondary Commissioner and served as Commissioner until May 2019.

From 2009-2014, Brenda served in the Obama Administration as the Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education and from 2013-2014 was also the Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Prior to her time at the U.S. Department of Education, Brenda was the President of Dorcas Place Adult and Family Learning Center for a decade and directed two TRIO programs at the Community College of Rhode Island, including serving as the director of Education Opportunity Center in Rhode Island.

Brenda is a Board member of the National Skills Coalition, Rhode Island’s Commerce Corporation and President of the Re-Entry Campus Program Board. She holds an Ed. D from Johnson and Wales University and a M.Ed. and BA from Rhode Island College.