Dr. John Stanford Named State Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio


Dr. John Stanford Named State Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio 

Longtime Columbus resident and experienced education professional takes helm of CDF’s Ohio office 


Alison Paxson, apaxson@childrensdefense.org, Senior Policy Associate, 937-206-2576 

Columbus, OH—Longtime education professional Dr. John Stanford will serve as the next State Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio. The decision to name Stanford as head of Children’s Defense Fund’s Columbus-based office follows a nationwide search. 

Children’s Defense Fund President and CEO Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson said Stanford has the experience needed to continue the fight for disenfranchised children throughout the state of Ohio. 

“Dr. Stanford has a well-established track record of service and advocacy for children across Ohio,” Dr. Wilson said. “We are excited about the ways his record of achievement will enhance Children’s Defense Fund’s impact in Columbus and across the state.”  

Stanford has lived in Columbus for 35 years. While he most recently served as Superintendent of the Allentown School District in Pennsylvania, Dr. Stanford previously served in various administrative roles in the Columbus City Schools district. He fulfilled the duties of Senior Chief Officer of Strategic Implementation, Deputy Superintendent, and Interim Superintendent in Ohio’s largest school system.   

Dr. Stanford credits his parents with instilling in him as a child the integrity needed to seek social justice on behalf of others. 

“Every child deserves an opportunity to pursue their dreams and achieve success,” Dr. Stanford said. “At the heart of this passion is a set of lessons taught to me by my working-class parents. They taught me to be honest and have integrity. They taught me to seek social justice and to fight alongside those with the least power. They also taught me that education is the key to transforming a person’s life. That is why I believe in Children’s Defense Fund’s education and child advocacy strategies. CDF’s education and advocacy efforts are opening minds and providing equal opportunities for lifelong success.” 

Stanford holds Doctor of Philosophy and Juris Doctor degrees from The Ohio State University. He also holds Master of Public Administration in Public Personnel and Bachelor of Social Work degrees from Central Michigan University. 

Dr. Stanford has also served as a member of the NAACP’s Columbus Branch since 2017. 

Instagram- @childdefender1973  




About Children’s Defense Fund 

Celebrating 50 years in 2023, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at www.childrensdefense.org