Meet the Staff: Andrea Nelson

It’s truly a pleasure to welcome our new Director of Education, Andrea Nelson, to the 826DC team! Andrea is a dynamic and thoughtful educator who will lead 826DC’s programming into its next chapter.

We can’t wait for you to meet Andrea. In the meantime, check out this Q&A to get to know her a little better:


Name: Andrea Nelson

Role: Director of Education

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Hometown: New York


What drew you to 826DC?

Throughout my career, I’ve always been inspired by the creativity of young people. I started my career running after school arts programming in Baltimore. This grounded my belief in the importance of finding creative ways to foster third spaces for kids. I firmly believe that to do right by young people, we must find ways to support them as individuals by putting their voices on equal footing with our own. That’s exactly what happens here at 826DC. I’m beyond thrilled to join the team as we continue to give space for young people and caring adults across the District.

What was your favorite book growing up and why?

I love(d) Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy. The protagonist, Lyra, is a fierce female lead surrounded by many equally-strong female characters, from witches to nomadic matriarchs. The worlds that Pullman created were fantastical while somehow still feeling close enough to reality to imagine myself there.

I read the first book in the series, The Golden Compass, with my dad. This, and many other shared books, showed me the power of sharing stories together.

To this day, I’m also pretty convinced that my dog is my daemon.

What’s one unusual thing on your desk right now?

A list of questions for a tree near where I grew up. I’m currently waiting on the answers.

If you were a magician, what would be your signature magic trick?

Pulling rabbits out of a hat—I’m sure it’s cramped in there.

What inspired you to get involved with this kind of work, and why do you think it’s so important?

As a society, we often don’t give kids and young people the respect that they deserve. Creating spaces with and for them, and providing a platform for their voices to be heard, is an essential ingredient in changing that. Having even the smallest hand in supporting that work and having the opportunity to learn from young people is a privilege.