College Possible Milwaukee names new executive director

Kellie Sigh

College Possible Milwaukee has named Kellie Sigh as its next executive director.

Sigh most recently was director of strategic partnerships and customer service for Milwaukee Public Schools.

She succeeds Edie Turnbull, who led the organization from 2011 to 2019.

College Possible Milwaukee is the local branch of a national AmeriCorps organization that helps low-income high school students prepare for college and earn degrees through one-on-one coaching and support.

“Kellie’s experience and connections with MPS, her passion about students, and approach to building and maintaining effective, healthy and whole teams set Kellie up for success in this role,” said College Possible Milwaukee board chair Dick Seesel. “She will have a real impact on the lives of Milwaukee high school and college scholars, as well as our AmeriCorps members, even during this period of all-virtual coaching.”

College Possible Milwaukee works in partnership with 15 high schools, along with local colleges. It serves about 2,300 students annually, 93% of whom are first-generation college students and 95% of whom are students of color.

College Possible students are paired with a coach to guide them through ACT prep, writing college applications, applying for financial aid and transitioning to college.

In an announcement this week, Sigh said she is motivated to close Milwaukee’s “degree divide,” in which students from high-income backgrounds graduate college at twice the rate as their low-income peers. Those disparities have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as students from low-income backgrounds face technological hurdles related to virtual learning and financial hardships associated with the pandemic-induced economic crisis, the organization said.

“I want for our scholars to have all of the opportunities and options that a college degree can afford them,” Sigh said. “Inequities and systemic barriers most definitely exist. I believe that a college degree presents more possibilities to diversify our Milwaukee workforce, raise up community leaders, and position our scholars to be decision-makers within non-profits, corporations, and foundations.”

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