Imagine a world where every person is enabled with the tools and capacity to empathize, ideate, create and adapt in order to thrive as contributing members of society.

At Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI), we envisioned this world and through the commitment and collaboration of our visionary partners, we are making it a reality.

HFLI was founded in 2003 by The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company Fund to equip students with the skills to imagine and innovate a brighter future and to make an effective transition from the classroom to college and beyond.


We started by developing a network of Henry Ford Academies, small urban K-12 schools that engage a wide range of community partners to prepare learners to succeed in college, pursue a career of choice and address challenges with innovative thinking. Today, HFLI‘s home base is still in the Detroit area, but we are advancing our commitment to redesign how people learn by sharing and evolving our model of success with schools, communities and businesses around the world.

We believe that together with our diverse partners, we can work toward positive, reformative change — “a better way” — and empower innovative and resourceful lifelong learners.


Deborah Parizek

Executive Director

Nanette Gill

Senior Director of Education

Julius McDougal

Senior Director of Finance and Administration

Lisa Kreinbring

Director of External Relations

Kimberly Watts

Director of Development

Sonya Nicks


Ossama Elroos

Associate Director of Information Technology

Jordan Butler

Associate Director

Gwen Strachan

Logistics Manager

Kirsten Bondalapati

Design Thinking Program Coordinator

Board Members


Mike Schmidt

Ford Motor Company Fund

Townsend McNitt

Strategic Consultant

Henry R. Muñoz, III

Muñoz and Company

Brent Ott

The Henry Ford

Deborah Parizek

Henry Ford Learning Institute


Cora Christmas

Henry Ford Academy

Ziad Ojakli


Chair Emeritas

Steven K. Hamp

SKH Advisors
Henry Ford Learning Institute