Dr. Kenann McKenzie-DeFranza is the Founder of Aspiring Spirit, LLC consulting group which includes the well-known podcast.  Her background and expertise includes civic engagement research & practice, organizational consulting,  PreK-12 and higher education professional development on subjects such as educational practices, policy, administration, and leadership. At the Federal education level, she served as Executive Director for the National Board of Education Sciences in the US Department of Education for several years. Dr. McKenzie also is noted as the inaugural Director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center founded at Tufts University. She now serves as an Associate Professor of Education Practice and Director of Academic Innovation & Strategic Partnerships at Gordon College, MA.

Collectively, she has worked for over two decades in the education sector as a college academic counselor, researcher, lecturer, policy analyst and a high school administrator, and now as a full-time academic faculty member.

In her civic life, she is a Rotarian, serves on several non-profit boards, is an elected official on the Beverly Massachusetts School Committee, and serves as President of the newly founded North Shore Branch of the NAACP ‘23-’25.

In 2022, she was recognized with the Heroine Award by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Commission on the Status of Women.

Dr. McKenzie has a BA from Cornell University, M.Ed., from the University of Virginia and Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Teachers College.