Amanda Rivera is the Executive Director of Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud (Youth Development Institute) in Puerto Rico and has over nine years of professional experience in education and child welfare. Prior to joining Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud, Ms. Rivera led all federal policy and government affairs for Youth Villages, a national nonprofit serving over 23,000 children, youth and their families each year. In this role, she led efforts to reform and influence federal policy in the areas of child welfare financing, supports for transition-age youth, and behavioral health. Before Youth Villages, she was an Associate at edCount, where she served as Deputy Director for the organization’s Technical Assistance project with Puerto Rico’s Department of Education. In this role she provided technical assistance in the implementation of No Child Left Behind and other federal policies. During her time at edCount Ms. Rivera also conducted a series of studies, including assessment validity studies and a school culture study. Her career also includes experiences as a middle school teacher through Teach for America; coordinator of a school- based conflict mediation program through the Chana and Samuel Levis Foundation in Puerto Rico; and Director of Development for Our Lady of Lourdes School in Harlem, New York.
Ms. Rivera holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she concentrated in social policy, with a particular focus on children and youth. In her free time, Ms. Rivera has dedicated her time to the development of youth leadership in Puerto Rico. She was the co-founder and co-president of Mentes Puertorriqueñas en Acción, a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating a pipeline of leadership for Puerto Rico, that has impacted nearly 1000 young adults in the island. She also recently joined the Board of Directors of Cenadores, an organization dedicated to connecting the Puerto Rican diaspora with civil society in Puerto Rico. Ms. Rivera completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard College, where she obtained a B.A. in Government and Sociology.