Mary Peniston, M.P.A.

Chief Program Officer

Ms. Peniston has over 30 years of experience as an innovative project developer and manager with deep understanding of complex social systems gleaned from her previous work in education, early childhood, community economic development and philanthropy. Before joining the Child First leadership team in 2009, Ms. Peniston served as special assistant to the Superintendent of Schools in Norwalk where she led the development of the Norwalk Early Childhood Plan and spearheaded initiatives to build afterschool systems, improve instructional technology, and cultivate school reform. She worked in Nicaragua for eight years where she held senior positions at the Central Bank of Nicaragua and served as the Women-in-Development Program Officer for the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA). She has worked in both the private and public banking sectors, with experience in international and community banking. She has also supported philanthropic organizations, working as a consultant for the Ford Foundation and serving as a board member of two foundations in Connecticut. Ms. Peniston received a Master in Public Affairs degree at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American History and Literature from Harvard University.