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Saxon Nelson

Director of Community Engagement

Pronouns: He/Him


  • B.A. in Marketing: Chestnut Hill College

About Saxon Nelson

Saxon Nelson serves as RFA’s Director of Community Engagement. He provides leadership, strategic planning, and visioning to RFA to expand community engagement principles and strategies within RFA’s mission, vision, research portfolio, and projects. Nelson is a Philadelphia native and public school graduate.

Before joining RFA, Nelson was a contractor for special projects for the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education. There, he focused on efforts to diversify Pennsylvania’s teacher workforce, convening counselors and managing PDE grants and scholarships. Nelson also served as a technical assistance and capacity coordinator for the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education and its Community Schools Initiative. At the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), he managed the quality improvement system for out-of-school time programs and developed a local, regional, and national early warning response system.

Nelson has served on and led many boards, including United Communities of Southeast Philadelphia, Youth United for Change, and Greensgrow Farms.

  • I'm a real nerd about...

    The Philadelphia 76ers!

  • Can't stop listening to...

    Album: Try a Little Tenderness By: Gloria Lynne

  • A fun fact about me is....

    I actively played the cello for 15 years.

Key Projects by Saxon Nelson

Democratizing Education Data Collective

Read More K-12

Evaluation of the Catto Scholarship in Philadelphia

Read More Postsecondary & Workforce

Allegheny County Educator Diversity Project

Read More K-12
See all author projects

Recent Publications by Saxon Nelson


The Need for More Teachers of Color

This booklet, The Need for More Teachers of Color, was released as part of a Teach-In hosted by Research for Action on April 23, 2022, in FDR Park in Philadelphia. The booklet provides highlights of…


FAQ: Superintendents in Pennsylvania School Districts

Superintendent leadership plays an important role in charting the trajectory of school district operations and ultimately of student learning. Meanwhile, several school districts undergo a superintendent transition each year, yet relatively little is known about…