CHAPEL HILL, NC –  Andrea Poole, a top administrator at the North Carolina Community College System, has been named executive director of the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, the agency that administers the state’s financial aid and education savings programs.

Poole is currently the community college system’s vice president for strategic initiatives. She was approved by the NCSEAA Board of Directors on Dec. 30, following her nomination by UNC System President Peter Hans. She will begin her role as leader of the agency on Jan. 25, succeeding Elizabeth McDuffie, who is retiring Feb. 1.

“The Board of the NCSEAA is exceptionally pleased to find someone with the breadth and depth of experience that Andrea Poole brings to the table,” said James Roberts, chair of the Board of Directors.  “We look forward to working with her to assist with the funding of education in the state of North Carolina.” 

Poole has more than 20 years of service to the State of North Carolina, including more than a decade focused on higher education.

At the NC Community College System, she drives key initiatives, collaborating with external partners and overseeing the implementation of the system’s strategic plan.

“North Carolina will continue to be the beneficiary of Andrea Poole’s expertise in finance and higher education,” said Hans, the former president of the NC Community College System. “She is a creative thinker and problem solver who will keep students at the forefront of important decisions on financial aid — always with the goal of increasing affordable access to our colleges and universities.”

Previously, Poole worked for six years at the UNC System Office, first as associate vice president of finance and university budgets, and later as secretary of the university. From 2005 to 2013, Poole was a fiscal analyst in the North Carolina General Assembly’s nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division. There, she specialized in issues surrounding higher education, financial aid and health and human services. Poole began her career as a policy analyst for the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. 

She earned a Bachelor of Science from Duke University and a Master of Public Administration from North Carolina State University.