Dr. Nakia Towns is currently the Chief Program Officer at Accelerate. Previously, she served as Deputy Superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), serving nearly 182,000 students in the state’s largest district, which is also the 11th largest in the country. In this role, she acted as the Superintendent’s designee and provided strategic support to all divisions, with a focus on school improvement and operations as well as curriculum and instructional support. Nakia led transformative work in GCPS to support high quality instructional materials aligned to the science of reading and full implementation of whole child supports to achieve educational equity.
Before her appointment in GCPS, Nakia served as interim and deputy superintendent at Hamilton County Schools (HCS) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Towns was also Assistant Commissioner, Division of Data and Research, at the Tennessee Department of Education. After beginning her career in the fields of technology and finance, Nakia transitioned to education leadership at Knox County Schools where she rose to Chief Accountability Officer.
At Duke University, Nakia completed a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and earned an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business. She also earned an M.Ed. in educational leadership from The Broad Center for Education Management (now part of the Yale University School of Management) and a doctorate of education in K-12 leadership and policy from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.