Nan Skelton retired in 2011 but remains deeply connected to the work of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship. She leads the center’s external public work around issues of civic education, reclaiming neighborhoods, and the democratic renewal of education. She is a co-founder of the Jane Addams School for Democracy and co-founder of the Neighborhood Learning Community, both based in the West Side neighborhood of Saint Paul. She also serves on the Saint Paul Second Shift Commission, which is developing new programs through Saint Paul’s parks, recreation centers, and libraries to extend the learning day for young people.
Prior to joining the center, Skelton was an assistant commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Education from 1983-1990, and provided leadership on youth development legislation, AIDS education, school-to-work initiatives, and dropout prevention research with the National Governor’s Association. She also served as a program officer in the Lilly Endowment’s Education Division, and founded and directed several community-based nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities.
In 2005, Skelton was awarded the Josie R. Johnson Award for exceptional contributions to human rights and social justice. She is a 2002 recipient of the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Community Service Award.
She has edited or co-authored the following publications:
- Voices of Hope: The Story of the Jane Addams School for Democracy (Kettering Foundation, forthcoming)
- Neighborhoods Matter: How Children Make Connections (Kettering Foundation, 2006)
- Youth Civic Engagement: Reflections on an Emerging Public Idea (Center for Democracy and Citizenship, 2002)
Skelton earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the College of Saint Catherine.
Areas of Expertise
Civic engagement; youth policy, including making the connection between in-school and out of school time learning; and neighborhood and community development, particularly in areas with immigrant populations.