The best modality to accelerate leadership development for middle- to senior-level leaders is personalized, one-on-one coaching.All coaches are selected through a comprehensive interview process and EdFuel ensures that each coach has an explicit understanding of how to develop leaders in their approach to diversity, equity and inclusiveness, regardless of their functional expertise. Our coaches have deep leadership experience and functional expertise in the following areas:
- Leadership and Management
- Organizational Strategy
- Development / Fundraising
- Finance and Facilities
- Human Capital / Talent
- Information Technology
“Our coach brings a balance of relevant experience, coaching expertise, and a perfectly calibrated sense of when to tell us what to do and when to teach us how to decide for ourselves. It’s tough to be an effective coach, and our coach goes well beyond effective—he’s an extraordinary coach, a rock-solid advisor, and the objective yet invested presence we desperately need.”Chief Executive Officer, Charter Board Partners
Meet the Coaches
Our coaching cadre includes an incredible group of senior leaders across the education sector. Meet some of our coaches below:
President and Founder, The Etten Group
Amy Etten is the President and Founder of The Etten Group, a fundraising and philanthropy consulting firm. She is an executive-level development professional with two decades of experience in the private and nonprofit sectors, and more than 13 years of experience working directly with national foundations and high net worth individuals in support of education reform. Since creating The Etten Group in November 2014, Amy has worked with the Center for Reinventing Public Education, EdFuel, Stand for Children, Student Achievement Partners and Relay Graduate School of Education. Prior to founding The Etten Group, Amy spent seven years at TNTP, a national nonprofit organization committed to ensuring effective teaching in every classroom. As Director of Development, she was charged with building a development department and ultimately raised more than $100 million and $20 million in grants from national foundations and the federal government, respectively. Amy began her development career at The Chicago Public Education Fund, a venture philanthropy fund created to engage the private sector in ensuring a world-class public education for all children in Chicago. There, she supported the design and implementation of a comprehensive development strategy to raise $30 million from high net worth individuals and corporations. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan and a Master of Public Administration from New York University. She is recognized for having strong interpersonal skills and establishing meaningful, long-lasting donor relationships. Amy currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband, Nick and her sons, Henry and Ryan.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Strategy
Andrew is a consultant to entrepreneurs and mission-driven investors focused on education reform across the United States. He provides support in diverse areas including growth strategy, executive leadership, organizational design, governance, investment strategy, and program-related investments. Much of his recent work relates to charter management organizations and the development of regional ecosystems to support education entrepreneurship.
Prior to launching his consulting practice in 2013, Andrew was Partner and Chief Operating Officer at the Charter School Growth Fund, a venture philanthropy firm that has invested over $300 million in high-performing charter management organizations seeking to scale in underserved communities. While at CSGF, Andrew led dozens of engagements across the country, helping both early stage and more established CMOs to develop organizational capacity and implement ambitious growth strategies. Andrew also helped drive CSGF’s overall strategy, growth, culture, and systems and worked closely with CSGF’s board of directors and funders.
Before joining CSGF in 2007, Andrew was a Vice President at Teach for America, where he led the New York City Growth Strategy & Development team during a period of rapid expansion. Andrew also has a background advising companies around capital markets and M&A transactions, developed while serving as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers and an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell. Andrew holds a J.D. from New York University and a B.A. from Macalester College. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Expertise:Leadership and Management, Operations
Bob Oberleitner is focused on providing executive coaching that helps leaders move through uncertainty in an agile manner and communicate more effectively resulting in improved and more consistent performance in all aspects of their career including expanding their capacity to self-adjust. Through coaching he facilitates leaders being able to leverage their strengths and build the key competencies needed to achieve desired business results.
He has dedicated his career to helping people solve challenges through his work with, and the development of, senior executives and front line managers. Bob blends more than 28 years of leadership and executive experience with the knowledge skills and experience of an executive coach. As a leader he has led a variety of organizational projects and teams, ranging in size up to over 1,000 people, including both executives and managers.
Bob is a Georgetown University-trained Executive Coach. His clients have included leaders from both the private and public sectors including VPs, executive directors and front line supervisors. He comes from a family of teachers including school and district administrators. Bob lives in the greater Washington DC area.
In his coaching, Bob engages the whole person. As Peter Drucker noted, a primary job of a leader is to manage his or her own energy in order to facilitate the most effective functioning of the team. During the coaching conversation Bob and his clients jointly craft an individualized coaching development plan after confirming expectations and the executive’s desired results. The meetings are intentional with the objective of moving from thought to action.
Independent Fundraising and Operations Consultant
Expertise: Development, Leadership & Management, Operations
Candice Gayl is an independent consultant, providing operational and fundraising expertise to clients in the education sector. An Air Force veteran, Candice Gayl has a track record of success across multiple domains, including as a software engineer, in for-profit sales and marketing, and throughout the education sector. Candice specializes in program development and capacity-building, and works with organizations to create and execute fundraising plans, establish and manage relationships with key stakeholders and funders, and craft location-based strategies for effective program implementation. Her entrepreneurial senior executive background coupled with her proven leadership at managing diverse teams consistently result in developing six- and seven-figure funding streams for her employers and clients, including Bellwether Education Partners, National Math and Science Initiative, GreatSchools, District of Columbia Public Charter School Board, PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education), National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, One Chance Illinois, the Rose Foundation, and PIE (Policy Innovators in Education) Network. Candice holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Strayer University. A Florida native, she now resides in Washington, D.C. with her two children, where she actively participates in local education-related initiatives, including serving as a Trustee for BASIS DC public charter school.
Founder & CEO of Pearl Strategy Partners
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Strategy, Operations
Carolyn is a consultant and coach to mission-driven leaders, assisting them with their most pressing strategic and operational initiatives as well as management objectives. Carolyn has nearly 20 years of experience in line management and consulting roles and she understands first-hand the opportunities and challenges leaders face. She founded Pearl Strategy Partners to ensure leaders have objective yet compassionate support in the hard work of increasing their organization’s impact. Her recent clients include Walton Family Foundation, Teach For America, Los AngelesUnified School District,Ensemble Learning,World Federation ofUnited Nations Associations.
Prior to founding Pearl, Carolyn was Deputy to the COO at Turnaround for Children, managed the Program Operations Department and led efforts to redesign central & regional operations. In 2012, Carolyn co-founded Young Education Professionals NYC, which connects and empowers tomorrow’s leaders through knowledge, career, and professional development programs. Carolyn has also worked at Pearson, collaborating with State Education Departments to create an online assessment platform; at NYC Department of Education, managing 23 grant programs totaling $2.5B in funding; and at Teach For America, leading strategic planning efforts. She began her career advising Fortune 500 companies on large scale change management. Carolyn holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hamilton College.
Expertise: Talent and HR, Leadership & Management
Chantal is the Principal of Redcliff Coaching, a California, Bay Area-based leadership development organization. Redcliff offers coaching for individual leaders and teams seeking to make profound behavior shifts in pursuit of greater social impact.
Chantal began her career as a Teach For America corps members where she supported the growth and development of a remarkable class of fourth graders. Since her time in the classroom over 15years ago, she’s focused her work on growing and developing adults so they can operate in the way they most aspire. She’s worked in the non-profit sector with organizations such as KIPP, Scholar Match, and BUILD, in the academic world with Stanford, and in the corporate sector with companies such as Clif Bar and Clorox.
Chantal is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, certified Immunity to Change Facilitator, certified Strength Deployment Inventory Facilitator, and an LMAP 360 Assessment administrator. She’s received extensive training from Cambridge Leadership Associates on Adaptive Leadership, from Coaches Rising on Adult Development, and from Echoing Green on the Work on Purpose curriculum. She earned a BA from Georgetown University, an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and she co-authored the Stanford Social Innovation Review article Freeing the Social Entrepreneur. She lives in Oakland, CA, where she loves spending time with her three kids and husband.
Director of Communications, TNTP
Expertise: Communications, Marketing and Policy & Advocacy
Chris Arnold has helped leaders across the country inform and inspire their school communities. He has 13 years of experience in the public education system, first as a classroom teacher in a high-need school and later as a strategic communications advisor to urban and rural districts, state departments of education and a variety of charter management organizations. As a Director of Communications at TNTP, he has worked with leaders and policymakers at the Louisiana Department of Education, the Rhode Island Department of Education, the Indiana Department of Education, D.C. Public Schools, Houston ISD, San Francisco USD, the New York City DOE and others on a range of communications and policy priorities, including: teacher evaluation, development and compensation systems, teacher recruitment and retention, school leader recruitment and training, as well as helping leaders develop a vision for rigorous academics. A graduate of the University of Oregon and Purdue University, he lives in Concord, California.
Expertise: Leadership & Management and Strategy
Chris has been a coach to CEO’s and ED’s since starting his own consulting practice in 1994. He specializes in the nuts and bolts of leading effective teams. Chris’ clients have come from a cross-section of organizations and have included the leaders of a law firm, a brokerage company, a private university , an insurance company, a for-profit online university ,a precision welding company, a charter grade school and a science center as examples.
Chris has been a college instructor, taught Situational Leadership for many years and has served on the boards of a start-up computer software company, a nonprofit entrepreneurial center, a public safety supply company and a window manufacturer. Chris is also aboard member and minority investor for an online provider of scheduling tools for the medical community. He is a board member, treasurer and past chair for the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, a farmer-to-farmer network and farm event organization. Chris is also the treasurer and board member for Great River Educational Arts Theatre (GREAT), a central Minnesota community theatre organization.
Prior to1994, Chris led a variety of line and staff organizations at American Express Financial Advisors(now called Ameriprise)for thirteen years. In 1987 he was named a Vice President and joined the board for IDS Life, American Express Financial Advisors’ largest and most profitable subsidiary.
Chris has an MBA inFinance from the University of Chicago and a BA, magna cum laude, in Economics from Macalester College with minors in mathematics and history. Chris has two adult daughters and resides in St. Cloud, Minnesota with his wife Joanne.They are the owners of a small business and farm called Plum Creek Garlic.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources/Talent Management
Clara Hess has over a decade of experience teaching, leading human capital initiatives, helping teams use data to make decisions, and managing cross-sector work with charter schools and districts. Clara currently coaches and develops regional leaders at Teach For America on vision setting, strategic planning, team culture, decision-making and management. She previously oversaw operations, human capital, strategic planning, and external partnerships at the DC Public Charter School Board, DC’s sole charter school authorizer. Clara has a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from NC State University and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies and Psychology from the University of Georgia. Based out of New York City, she is passionate about developing people as managers and leaders using a strengths-based model focused on results.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Policy & Advocacy, Governance
Crystal Brakke started her career as a teacher in rural North Carolina and has stayed centered on the need to achieve equity and excellence for students, particularly those who are historically marginalized, ever since. She is currently a vice president at Teach For America, serving as the organization’s ombuds. In this role she supports individual staff by providing confidential, independent, impartial, and informal support while also helping to elevate the experiences of staff as the organization continues to evolve and aspires to live out its mission, vision, and core values. Crystal has also worked on TFA’s recruitment and teacher preparation teams and most recently was Executive Director of Teach For America in the Twin Cities. Crystal was elected to the Richfield Public Schools board in November 2015 and currently serves as vice chair. She is passionate about maximizing the intersection of leadership, policy, and community engagement as a way to make meaningful change in schools. Crystal received her B.A. in History and American Studies at Colby College and M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University, where she received one of two Leadership in Education awards.
Washington, DC Based Executive Coach and Independent Education Consultant
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital/Talent, Development
Elfreda has over 40 years of experience driving positive change and initiating reform in high-performing and challenging environments in diverse education communities. She specializes in coaching and empowering leaders to reach their full potential. She has held key leadership positions in public education including Superintendent, Chief of Staff, Deputy Superintendent, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, and Director of Professional Development. She is a facilitator with the National Institute for School Leadership and a coach/facilitator with Performance Fact. She has directed comprehensive human resources and talent development programs and managed complex labor negotiations. She is adept at coaching and counseling those going through life transitions and those entering leadership positions in public education and corporate communities. Elfreda has a Ph.D. in Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from John Hopkins University. She has held senior leadership positions at Blackboard, Harcourt, Global Partnership Schools, and Knowledge Delivery Systems. Elfreda has served on the boards of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, See Forever Foundation, and Boys Town of Washington, DC. She serves on the Executive Council of New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. Elfreda is committed to improving the education of all children and was appointed to serve on the Education Committee of the African-American Women’s Advisory Council to the President of Liberia. She has launched a successful travel agency, Premier Travel Unlimited, reflecting her pursuit of a well-balanced life and her entrepreneurial spirit.
Director, Global Academy
Expertise: Leadership and Management, Operations, School Culture
Ms. Fisk is a career educator who has been a teacher and administrator in private, traditional public districts, and charter schools for the past 38 years. Ms. Fisk began her career teaching social studies and English for four years at Coon Rapids Junior High School in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. She then taught high school history, geography and debate at St. Paul Academy and Summit for the next eleven years. After a successful career in teaching, she went on to become the Upper School Director at Mounds Park Academy, a private, college preparatory school located in a St. Paul suburb. Ms. Fisk left the private sector to work in the public charter school movement by becoming the first principal of two Minneapolis schools founded by the East African immigrant community (the Twin Cities International Elementary School and the Minnesota International Middle School). After leaving the international schools, she became principal at Henry Sibley High School, a large public high school located in a suburb of St Paul. In 2008, Ms. Fisk and fellow educator Melissa Storbakken, founded a new K-8 charter school called Global Academy. The school is an authorized International Baccalaureate site and serves a diverse, immigrant student population of 425 students. Global Academy is celebrating its tenth year of operation and has been a leading school in closing the achievement gap in Minnesota. Ms. Fisk’s major areas of expertise are in creating an academic school culture, technology integration, and general school administration (budget, staffing, supervision).
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Development, Academics
Over the last twenty years, Dr. Jean Snell has engaged with educators to help
develop their capacity to close the achievement gap and to foster high quality
teaching and learning conditions for all students. As an independent educational
consultant, Jean provides leadership coaching to school and teacher leaders and
qualitative data evaluation services to school and program administrators. Dr. Snell
is a certified Lead Inspector with Teacher Prep Inspection (TPI-US), a curriculum
developer and teacher trainer for Educators Rising, and a classroom evaluator for
the DC Public Charter School Board. Previously, she launched the Leading Educators
teacher leadership Fellowship program in Washington, DC as the Regional Executive
Director, directed the Maryland Master’s Certification program at University of
Maryland, and served as one of the founding Program Directors for the Center for
Educational Leadership at the University of Washington. Jean earned her Doctorate
in Education Policy at the University of Washington as well as the Danforth
Leadership school administrator credential. She began her career in education as a
secondary English teacher.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Strategy
Jenn Barr Weiss supports schools and education non-profits in achieving strategic priorities through long-term planning, talent strategy and coaching support. Jenn was a leader at Scholar Academies, where she oversaw talent practices as the network of turnaround schools doubled in size. Jenn’s professional experience includes time with Teach For America, KIPP and DC Public Schools. She has an MAT from American University and a BA in Government and Spanish from Claremont McKenna College.
As a consultant to schools and education non-profits, Jenn focuses support on developing and enabling long-term strategies, leading talent-related initiatives and developing teams to expand their impact. Clients include EdFuel, Teach For America, Leading Educators and numerous charter management organizations.
Lead Producer, Pod Save the People
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management, Operations, Development
Jess began her career in public relations in the entertainment industry in NYC after graduating from NYU’s dramatic literature program. She then went to Georgetown Law and practiced corporate law on Wall Street before pivoting to manage external relations and alumni affairs for Teach For America’s New York office for five years, followed by six years managing large teams and national strategy for Teach For America’s national umbrella. Jess most recently led the European expansion and development work for Teach For All, and is now the lead producer for Pod Save the People, a top national podcast. Jess’s passions and experience come from leading new ventures, managing joyful and inclusive teams to success, and coaching diverse leaders to unlock their voices and passions as they seek to make a real equity impact in our country and internationally. Jess also serves on the founding board of Teach For Italy and is the board chair of Green Card Voices.
Founder & President, Healing is Justice
Associate and Director of Client Experience, Bright Morning Consulting
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital & Talent, Data and Analysis, Strategy
Jessie believes that healing is justice and coaching is a tool to promote that healing. We all want equity for our students so we need to develop the most healed and aligned leaders working with and for them and their families. Coaching is our best technology in facilitating this process.
Jessie has worked in education for over a decade as a bilingual and ESL teacher, manager, consultant and instructional and leadership coach to school and district-based leaders as well as non-profit leaders. She earned a BA in History from Syracuse University, an MA in Education from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX., and is a Certified Professional Coach through Coaching for Transformation of Leadership That Works. In the fall of 2017 she left her national Vice-President role at Teach For America to focus on her own coaching and consulting business. Jessie also works with Elena Aguilar of Bright Morning Consulting to bring Art of Coaching transformational practices to leaders across the country. She is passionate about designing and facilitating learning experiences that support people in rediscovering who they are and what they want to create. Jessie lives in Brooklyn, New York. You will often find her reading, meditating, traveling, doing Zumba and eating delicious vegetarian/vegan food.
Chief Operating Officer, NatureBridge
Expertise: Operations, Leadership and Management, Strategy
Judy Lin is an experienced leader with an extensive skill set and unique background across the corporate and non-profit sectors. Judy is Chief Operating Officer of NatureBridge, the largest non-profit educational partner of the National Park Service. NatureBridge provides outdoor residential environmental science programs in national parks to over 35,000 students and 700 schools in each year. Judy oversees all aspects of program delivery including operations, education and sales and marketing.
Prior to NatureBridge, Judy served as Chief Operating Officer for KIPP Atlanta Schools, leading the organization through growth from two to eight schools and overseeing all areas of business and school operations. Judy was also previously the Chief Executive Officer of Beaucoup Favors, a leading online retailer in the wedding and special events industries, driving growth and profitability while scaling infrastructure and staffing. Judy held Director positions in Corporate Business Development and Strategy for Warner Bros. and Turner Broadcasting System working on strategic initiatives and global business development. Judy’s career in the sports industry spanned business administration at the U.S. Olympic Committee to event marketing and management with the National Basketball Association.
Judy holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. from Northwestern University in Economics and Asian Studies. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Founder, JM Collaborative
Expertise: Leadership and Management / Strategy / Operations / Finance
Julia Matthews is the founder of JM Collaborative, a strategy and operations consulting firm. Since establishing JM Collaborative in 2018, Julia has worked closely with Arm in Arm, Brooklyn LAB Charter School, Columbia University’s CPRL, DC’s Office of the State Superintendent, Newark Opportunity Youth Network, The National Center for Learning Disabilities & Understood, and Chris Cerf’s The Uplands Center. JM Collaborative’s areas of focus include evaluation for continuous improvement, executive coaching, organizational planning and growth strategy, and acting as a project-based COO for hire.
In 2003, Julia started her career as a Teach For America middle school teacher in the Bronx and then worked in development for TFA. Julia served as a management consultant at Booz & Company and then engaged in strategy and operations work for Relay Graduate School of Education. She then spearheaded a major growth initiative as Senior Director of Expansion for Columbia University’s Center for Public Research and Leadership, and simultaneously led CPRL consulting projects with clients across the education sector. Julia went on to manage the academic budget for Newark Public Schools before opening her own consulting practice.
Julia earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, her MS in teaching from Pace University, and her BA in International Relations from The University of Pennsylvania. She lives in the Princeton, NJ area with her husband and three sons, Leopold, Kostas, and Felix.
Independent Consultant and Leadership Coach
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Operations
No matter where you serve right now in education, you surely know change to be part of your experience. Julie joined the EdFuel coaching cadre in May 2018 because she believes effective leadership is at the heart of any change process.
Julie has served as a secondary Spanish teacher and an elementary and middle school administrator. Drawn to solving global problems, Julie started a consulting practice in 2016. She has consulted with school districts on redesign efforts, social emotional learning, shrinking achievement gaps, and dabbled with educationally related startups as well. For Julie, this work has underscored how essential it is for any organization to have effective leaders who create conditions for, communicate, and inspire change.
Julie graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and a 6th year degree in Educational Leadership. She currently resides with her family in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Founder, Little Bites Coaching
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Prioritization/Planning
Kelly Harris Perrin has spent time teaching middle school, working in higher education, and managing teams and projects in the non-profit sector. She founded Little Bites Coaching to help leaders work smarter, make a big impact, and avoid burnout. Currently, Kelly partners with groups and individuals to revolutionize HOW they work, and tackles everything from strategic planning, team structures and division of labor, executive prioritization and organization, time & energy management, and even email inboxes.
Kelly is also the co-creator of the Shine360 Leadership Review, a strengths-based 360-degree feedback and coaching model for executives and school leaders.
Kelly holds a BA in History from Northwestern University and a Masters in Higher Education Policy from the University of Maryland. She’s a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Typological Indicator instrument, is experienced in the Gallup StrengthsFinder, and completed Immunity to Change facilitator training with Minds at Work at Harvard University.
CEO, Co-Founder, oneTILT
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital/Talent, Data and Analysis
Kimberly currently serves co-founder and CEO of oneTILT, an organization that supports education managers to lead from a place of equity and innovation. Prior to co-founding oneTILT, she served as the Managing Director of Programming for Teach For America – DC Region, where she lead a team of eight to coach and develop the nearly 800 TFA corps member and Alumni Teachers in the DMV. Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, Kimberly graduated from the University of Virginia with a dual degree in Economics and Psychology. She then joined Teach For America, where she taught 7th grade Mathematics & 8th grade Algebra I at Friendship Public Charter School – Woodridge Elementary and Middle School in Washington, DC. After her time in the classroom and graduating with a Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Mathematics from American University, Kimberly joined Teach For America’s staff in Washington, DC. Kimberly has served as the board chair of The Collective-DC, Teach for America’s alumni association for people of color, co-chair of the Latin@ Staff Network at Teach for America, and the advisor of La Familia, a resource group for Latino and Hispanic corps members in DC. Kimberly is obsessed with all things equity, Soul-Cycle, & The New York Yankees.
Vice President, Leadership Development at Teach For America
Program Designer at Bright Morning
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources/Talent, Staff Development
LesLee’s passion is supporting committed leaders to hone their talents and build the capacity required to bring their vision to life and deliver on promises to students, families and communities. She began her career as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia, where she was inspired by the limitless potential of her students to make working towards educational excellence and equity her life’s work. Since then, she has served in multiple senior leadership roles at Teach For America locally and nationally, including leading efforts in recruitment, program design and implementation, staff hiring and development, and teacher and leadership coaching. In her last role at Teach For America, as Vice-President of Leadership Development, she led enterprise-level work designing and implementing the organization’s first shared leadership framework and leadership development model. She is currently a partner at the Wildflower Foundation and the Chief Operating Officer at Bright Morning Consulting where she partners with Elena Aguilar to bring Transformational Coaching to educators across the country.
As a coach LesLee works with clients to quiet their inner critic, hold space to do meaningful reflection about their leadership, and set an inspiring vision while also growing concrete management skills.
LesLee has had the privilege of being trained in Transformational Coaching by Elena Aguilar, Cognitive Coaching, the Immunity to Change method by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey at Harvard, and completed her IFC credential program with Coaching Out of the Box. LesLee, her husband and two sons live in Minneapolis.
Education Marketing and Communications Specialist
Expertise: Communications, Marketing
Lindsay Kelly has spent over a decade developing and executing communications and marketing strategies for K-12 schools and support programs. She currently serves as the Director of External Affairs for KIPP Eastern North Carolina, overseeing communications and marketing for six schools and spearheading the region’s planned growth to ten schools. Previously, she served on the national public affairs team for KIPP, supporting national media outreach and regional communications directors at KIPP schools across the country. She also served as the Director of Communications and Marketing for KIPP DC for over seven years, as the network grew from five to 16 schools. Prior to KIPP, Lindsay worked in youth development, as a public school teacher, and for a traditional PR firm. She holds a B.A. in English and Theater Studies and an M.A. in English from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Chief Executive, Arizona Chamber Foundation
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management, Policy & Advocacy
Lisa Graham Keegan has spent 11 years as Principal Partner at the Keegan Company ( www.keegancompany.com), where she consults, writes, and speaks on critical issues and emerging markets in American education. Mrs. Keegan spent a decade serving as an Arizona elected official, first as a member of Arizona’s House of Representatives where she chaired the education committee, and then as the elected state superintendent of public instruction. She served as John McCain’s education advisor for two presidential campaigns, and currently serves on a number of corporate and volunteer boards. She is Senior Advisor to National School Choice Week, a nationwide celebration that shines a spotlight on all types of excellence in schooling. She also directs the “A for Arizona” project. A for Arizona is a joint effort of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that seeks to rapidly expand the number of Arizona’s A -grade district, magnet and charter schools serving primarily low income students. Mrs. Keegan’s first book, Simple Choices: thoughts on creating environments that support who your child is meant to be, was released in May 2013. She lives in Peoria, Arizona with her husband and family.
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management, Policy & Advocacy
Mary Ann Nelson is an executive coach and professional developer with broad education experience and a leadership career including coaching other educators. She coaches clients to improved personal performance through their design of professional improvement goals to achieve student learning gains. She uses an inquiry-based approach and 1:1 confidential support. Coaching conversations involve analysis of client-provided evidence about needs, clarifying what the client wants to achieve, assessing opportunities and risks inherent in the client’s unique school context, considering research-proven ideas about professional practice related to priority improvements, and developing potential action strategies to apply and monitor. Mary Ann understands the difficulties of leading schools that are struggling with multiple challenges, having been a HS teacher, HS principal, district curriculum leader, K-12 school superintendent, and a state education agency assistant commissioner for academic excellence in MN. Mary Ann has over 20 years of experience coaching school principals in MN and other states. She has taught university courses and mentored dissertation researchers around the world. She evaluated school applications for state and national quality awards based on criteria for high performance excellence. She has consulted with school leaders across states to assess and improve programs and student services. Mary Ann has been lauded for exemplary policy-making support to local legislators and governor office staff; in 2017 the U of M awarded her distinguished alumni recognition. Mary Ann describes herself as a “can-do” problem solver, an enthusiastic supporter of school leaders in their quest to improve education and students’ lives.
Deputy Superintendent, Bright Star Schools
Expertise: Academics, Leadership & Management, Organizational Culture & Health
As a first-generation college student, Melissa Kaplan is passionate about creating educational systems that are intentional about closing the achievement gap and ensuring every learner has the opportunity to succeed. As Deputy Superintendent for Bright Star Schools, one of Los Angeles’ most consistently successful charter management organizations, Melissa is responsible for the coaching and development of school leaders and central instructional support; the hiring, coaching, and retention of school site staff; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and ensuring the alignment between the organization’s core values and daily practices. Prior to her role at Bright Star Schools, Melissa served as Chief Academic Officer at ICEF Public Schools and has served in a variety of leadership and instructional roles including district and site administration, instructional coaching and literacy development, and classroom teacher. She has worked extensively as a consultant assisting districts and CMOs in curriculum development and system building. Her professional interests include academic program development, change management, and creating inclusive school and organizational culture.
Management Consultant & Coach
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources/Talent
Miwa brings more than twenty years of experience as a teacher, non-profit executive, and human capital partner to her current work as a coach and consultant to leaders and organizations in the field of education. She is passionate about developing people to grow as leaders and maximize their impact. Miwa began her career as an elementary school teacher in the DC Public Schools. She joined the staff of Teach For America in 2001 and had the opportunity to develop and lead teams in several contexts during her fourteen year tenure, including serving as the Executive Director of Teach For America DC and a Senior Managing Director on the Human Assets team. In her Human Assets role, Miwa served as an advisor to senior leaders on human capital strategy, providing coaching and support on vision setting, talent development, team culture, change management, and diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Miwa holds an A.B. in English and American Literature from Harvard University and an Ed.M. in Early Childhood Risk and Prevention from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Senior Director of Networks, Leading Educators
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital & Talent, Data & Analytics
Throughout her career, Monique has been driven by an intrinsic passion to reform educational systems so that all children can receive an excellent education.
Monique has extensive experience in classroom teaching and teacher leadership. As a Founding Lower Academy Director, she most recently led efforts to turnaround a low performing charter into a safe, warm and learning-centered environment. Monique has been able to achieve significant gains as a leader, coach and teacher through strong relationships, a clear vision for academic and cultural success, and routinized systems that support goals. In addition to her roles in schools, Monique also consulted for several nonprofit organizations to strategically develop and implement programs to manage relationships, recruit talent, raise funds, and train educators.
Monique’s professional career began as a Teach for America corps member after she completed her undergraduate studies at Temple University. Monique also earned two Master’s of Science degrees in Teaching and Early Childhood Leadership from Pace University and Bank Street College of Education. Monique currently works for Leading Educators as the Senior Director of Networks where are primary responsibilities are client engagement, team management and strategy.
Senior Advisor, KIPP Bay Area Schools & Independent Consultant and Leadership Coach
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources, Operations
Morgan Carter Ripski is an independent consultant working with charter schools, management organizations, and entrepreneurs to plan and implement scaling strategies, build fundraising plans and teams in support of growth, and manage projects. Exemplary projects include:
- Entrepreneurial Engineer for Camelback Ventures, serving as a coach for school leaders throughout a fellowship program.
- Co-director and faculty member for Replicating Quality Schools, creating and delivering lessons about scaling charter schools in an intensive program for single-site school operators considering expansion.
- Senior Consultant for Square Button, analyzing budgeting practices, policy, and board governance for a charter management organization.
Previously, Morgan served as the President for Collegiate Academies, where she helped the growing charter management organization triple in size by successfully leading application processes to secure 9 charters, facilitating and authoring strategic growth plans, and securing $7.5M to support Collegiate’s 3 existing schools and an additional $5.8M to support the opening of 4 new schools in 2016 and beyond. Morgan has also served as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Science and Math Education and the Communications and Development Director for New Schools for New Orleans.
Prior to her career in education, Morgan worked as a recruiter in San Francisco. Working across a wide range of industries (including finance, software, and creative firms), she managed the temporary services department, effectively sourcing, matching, and overseeing the activity of over 100 short-term employees each week.
Morgan holds degrees from Stanford University and Bates College. She lives with her husband and two sons in New Orleans.
Owner, NJM Coaching & Consulting | Executive Director, Teach For America Expertise:Leadership and Management; Organizational Strategy; Development/Fundraising
Nafeesha is currently an executive director at Teach For America and owner of Nafeesha Irby Consulting. Nafeesha started her career as a high school teacher and advanced into teacher coaching supporting educators in the K-12 setting in both rural and urban communities. During this time she focused on developing the leadership of teachers beyond the classroom by providing differentiated and targeted one-on-one support. She later received her Master of School Administration and principal’s license before becoming a middle school administrator and soon a non-profit founding executive director.
She has first-hand experience with start-up initiatives, board building and governance, fundraising/development, talent hiring and performance, and systems change management. Nafeesha’s work has also included supporting individuals and teams to manage toward more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments. She has been trained by the Racial Equity Institute to take a race-based approach to inequitable systemic issues. She has also been trained under the Distinguished Leadership in Practice model, Conscious Leadership, Understanding by Design, Facilitative Leadership and Crucial Conversations.
Nafeesha is a doctoral student at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College obtaining her Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations.
Chief Operating Officer, KIPP Philadelphia
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Finance & Facilities, Operations
As Chief Operating Officer, Natalie Wiltshire is responsible for design, implementation and efficiency improvements for all areas of operations for KIPP Philadelphia Schools. Prior to joining KPS, Natalie was the Director of New York Operations for Achievement First, overseeing school operations for seven academies in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to joining Achievement First’s central management team, she served as the founding Director of School Operations for Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School. Natalie earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Natalie and her husband, Larry, have two sons—Hayden and Mason.
Independent Consultant and Coach
Expertise: Human Capital & Talent, Operations, Data and Analysis
Neha is an independent consultant and leadership coach for education clients, specializing in scaling talent and operations because she believes great people are integral to achieving successful outcomes. Throughout her career, Neha has worked with a diverse range of global and domestic organizations, including multinational corporations to small, rural-based social enterprises, developing customized solutions to jump-start their talent practices.
With more than a decade of experience, Neha has developed a rich understanding of the education sector through multiple lenses. She began her work in education as a teacher in rural India, implementing an activity-based curriculum. After returning to the United States, Neha transitioned to Amplify, a large digital education company based in Brooklyn, NY, working with educational leaders from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to support teachers through innovative technology solutions. More recently, Neha led the Talent Operations team at Achievement First overseeing systems, data, and processes related to operations of a 20-person recruitment team responsible for recruiting 500+ teachers and leaders. During her time at Achievement First (AF), Neha also developed and executed the organization’s multi-year Talent Strategy in collaboration with AF’s Co-CEO and Vice President, leading the research, data analysis and benchmarking efforts.
With a deep understanding of Human Capital & Talent practices, a firm belief in establishing strong data practices, and rigorous approach to enabling efficient operational practices, Neha has helped several educational organizations build leadership capacity, improve hiring decisions and retain high-performing talent.
Neha holds a B.S. in Marketing and Management from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. with a concentration in social entrepreneurship from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and son, when she’s not crushing it as a mom, Neha enjoys Bollywood films, learning how to perfect handmade pasta and adding new stamps to her passport.
Managing Director, Regional Operations – OneGoal
Expertise: Leadership & Management
I love coaching because I believe it has the power to change the world. I think of coaching as an opportunity to support another leader in becoming and living into the best possible version of themselves. Leaders operating with conviction and strength are our strongest tool in transforming education, and indeed, transforming the world. After spending several years as a classroom teacher, I have coached and managed hundreds of teachers and leaders across school systems. Currently, I serve as an Executive Coach and Director of Learning and Development for OneGoal’s regional Executive Directors. My coaching style is mostly investigative, driven by the values, priorities and needs of the client, though my extensive experience in schools, school systems and non-profits enable me to provide meaningful tactical support when helpful as well. Particular areas of expertise include: team leadership, managing through several layers of management, robust staff learning and development programming, special education, and values-based learning and leadership development. I’d love to work with you!
CEO, SPD Advisory
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Operations
Sarah is the CEO of SPD Advisory, providing expertise at the intersection of education, business, and public policy. Her clients have included the Boston Consulting Group, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Flat World Education. She’s helped them structure deals, evaluate investment opportunities, and develop the human capital policies for the largest school district merger in U.S. history. Previously, she was on the management team a venture-backed education startup, where she was consistently asked to take on the organization’s toughest challenges, including creating scalable student services and operating models and executing a turnaround of marketing and admissions. Prior to that, Sarah started the National Math and Science Initiative with her boss from the U.S. Department of Education. At ED, she served as a Special Advisor to the Secretary’s policy committee. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School where she was a Reynolds Fellow and a George Fellow.
CEO, SPP Ventures
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital & Talent, Data & Analysis, Academics
Sharon Podobnik Peterson is a values-driven multi-passionate who specializes in courageous, passionate leadership. Serving as an executive leadership coach, adjunct professor in Johns Hopkins University Graduate School of Education, and owner of a self-care subscription box business, self-actualization is at the heart of everything she does. Eager to support change makers and game changers in education, she most recently launched her independent coaching practice to provide leaders with the space they need to reflect, process, and grow.
Her passion for understanding human nature and interactions led her to study psychology and sociology, publishing Ethnic Identity, Development, and Academic Achievement in Underrepresented Students and Searching for Affirmation: Relationships between Ethnic Identity and Language Development while at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her M.S.Ed. in Education and Social Change from the University of Miami, and, most recently, her certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.
In the past ten years, Sharon has served as a lead teacher, a teacher trainer for incoming Teach For America corps members, a curriculum writer and specialist for MDCPS, Student Achievement Partners, Great Minds, TFA and DC Prep, a Director of Curriculum at Minds Matter, and has taught courses in Effective Practices and Teaching for Transformation. She most recently served as Director of Academics at an arts-focused charter school where she was responsible for leading a comprehensive school turnaround, including creation of performance management and coaching frameworks, data-disaggregation, mentor coaching four instructional coaches and 20 teacher leaders.
When she’s not teaching or coaching, she’s exploring the world with her husband, Mark, or reading with her spunky kitty, Annie, in Washington, DC.
Chief Talent Officer, UP Education
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital & Talent
Sheri Leo has spent over a decade leading talent and change management efforts in school districts, state departments of education, and school management organizations. She brings experience as an elementary school teacher, strategist, and district and non-profit talent leader to her coaching work. For the past three years, Sheri has led talent strategy and implementation as Chief Talent Officer at UP Education Network. During this time, she has led recruitment, hiring, evaluation, and staff retention efforts, improved network policies to create a more open, inclusive environment, and coached school and network leaders on management and leadership practices. Previously, as a senior consultant at American Institutes for Research, Sheri supported district-and state-level clients on issues of teacher and principal recruitment, evaluation, and compensation. Sheri has also served as Director of Teacher Effectiveness at Chicago Public Schools, where she led new teacher induction, teacher evaluation, National Board Certification, and a performance-based pay pilot. Sheri is an alumna of Teach For America, teaching elementary school for three years in Washington, DC. Sheri holds aB.A. in Public Policy from Brown University, anM.A. in teaching from American University, and an M.P.P. in Education Policy from the University of Chicago.
Founding Partner, BoldFox Group
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management
Steve Cunning is a founding partner at BoldFox Group, a Minneapolis based executive coaching firm for school leaders that specializes in the development and implementation of systems and leader-actions to increase organizational capacity and student outcomes. From 2017-2019, Steve served as Director of Strategic Initiatives at Democracy Prep Public Schools, a New York based network of public charter schools. From 2014-2017, Steve served as Executive Director of Democracy Prep’s Harlem Prep charter in Harlem, New York City, focusing on personnel development and retention, and the school’s growth from a Grades K-8 to a K-12 charter. He also served as both Democracy Prep’s Director of Partnerships and External Affairs Manager from 2011-2014, focusing on the network’s expansion initiatives and school turnaround efforts in five regions. Prior to his work at Democracy Prep, Steve was a Teach For America 2006 Corps Member and taught 5th Grade in the Bronx for five years. Steve graduated from the University of Kansas in 2006 with a double major in Political Science and Communication Studies. Born and raised in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Steve attended and graduated from St. Cloud’s traditional public schools.
Management Consultant and Coach
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital / Talent, Team Development, DEI
For more than 20 years, Suzanne has dedicated her career to working on behalf of children and families in low-income communities. She began her career as a teacher in rural North Carolina, seeing first-hand the academic achievement gap and its impact on children and communities. Since that time, Suzanne has built her career leading and managing teams in educational and non-profit organizations.
In 2015, Suzanne Lynn started SGL Consulting to support leaders to thrive in their professional lives. She has worked across the education and non-profit sectors and understands first-hand the opportunities & challenges faced by those striving to make a change in our world. Clients and partners include: Education Pioneers, EdFuel, A Better Chicago, Promise54, Teach For America, KIPP, Spring Branch Independent School District, Detroit Public Schools, Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, and EQUITY. Previously, Suzanne spent ten years at Teach For America, first managing a cohort of executive directors during the largest growth period of the organization’s history and subsequently leading a team of senior-level consultants who advised senior leaders on overall human capital strategy, management and leadership, staff culture and performance, diversity, change management, and employee engagement. Earlier in her career, Suzanne was the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin and an Executive Director for Teach For America.
Suzanne received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Ethics from St. Edward’s University in Austin. Suzanne lives in Southeast Michigan, between Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Executive Coach and Independent Consultant
Expertise: Finance and Facilities, Human Capital & Talent, Leadership and Management
Trena Drayton is a tri-sector leader with a track record of designing solutions for systemic problems, managing human capital, leading operational enhancements, investing capital and mitigating operational risk. She’s been both an investor (research analyst and private equity) and an operator (CFO, COO, and CHRO) with half of her career spent at educational institutions: K-12 and higher education. Her work tends to be at the intersection process, people, and product with attention toward the overarching strategy, financial implications, and resource needs associated with decisions. She practices adaptive leadership and emphasizes reconciling the macro with the micro when crafting strategies, stewarding change and implementing plans.
Trena’s coaching style is Socratic with an emphasis on unpacking the root of each situational layer. Her experience has been that this approach builds her coachee’s self-awareness muscle while fostering a deeper understanding of the why. Trena especially likes to solution-build in partnership with her coachees through the lenses of adding perspective, stretching ideas, and considering impact (both intended and unintended). Her aim is for coaching work to be thoughtful, engaging, and relevant.
She actively serves on 2 not-for-profit boards and holds a MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Independent Coach and Consultant
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital/Talent
Veenay Singla is an independent consultant focused on talent and leadership in the education reform sector. Veenay has led a number of successful consulting engagements including: leading and completing an executive search for a new national teacher development organization in New Orleans; devising and conducting a talent audit for a non-profit in Boston resulting in significant organization restructuring; analyzing a large urban school district’s principal pool to inform recruitment and retention policies; developing and facilitating a leadership development program for school leaders; and, overseeing all aspects of an annual city-wide teacher celebration event honoring master teachers in a large urban school district. Sample clients include: The Achievement Network, Bellwether Education Partners, The Broad Center, Chicago Public Schools, the Crown Family Philanthropies, FirstLine Schools, Hawaii Department of Education, The Mind Trust, The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, New Leaders, NewSchools Venture Fund, The Pahara Institute, Rocketship Education, SURGE, Teach for America, UChicago Impact, Washington University in St. Louis/St. Louis Public Schools.
Veenay previously held the position of Associate Partner with the Pahara Institute and Bellwether Education Partners, where she provided thought partnership, operations support and program development in connection with the design of the Aspen Teacher Leaders Program, a new leadership program for teacher and union leaders. At Pahara, Veenay also provided key selection and growth support to the prestigious Pahara-Aspen Fellows program. In addition, she led the charge to analyze and improve Bellwether’s organizational culture, and led the planning and implementation of several organization-wide internal systems.
Earlier, Veenay worked for the Chicago Public Education Fund, a Chicago-based venture philanthropy, where she managed the organization’s multi-million dollar teacher quality portfolio. She also worked for Chicago Public Schools, where she assisted with various teacher quality initiatives and for Boston Public Schools, where she played a key role in helping to establish the district’s first alternative certification program and urban principal preparation program. Veenay began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Houston, Texas as part of Teach for America. Veenay earned her M.P.P. from the University of Chicago, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She graduated with her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Veenay has been trained as an executive coach through the Newfield Network and has been certified through the Center for Creative Leadership to administer all of the 360 assessments in their portfolio. Veenay serves on Advisory Boards for Pilot Light and Flo Chicago (Future Leaders of Chicago).
President and Founder, Door94, Inc.
Expertise: Information Technology, Finance & Facilities
Welles has leveraged the senior finance and operating roles at emerging technology and service companies to execute for high growth and transition situations. Welles has a wealth of experience in developing, implementing and managing information systems as a senior member of a number of New England technology and software companies. He is president and Founder of Door94, a technology services firm working in the K-12 space offering Enterprise Program Management software. He spent 8 years as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of City Year, leading City Year’s IT Services Department and providing planning and analysis, operations and applications and architecture support to City Year’s 26 domestic locations. His previous positions include developing technology platforms and capital strategy software and manufacturing ventures, primarily in New England. Welles is an active member of Boston-area civic organizations, including serving as trustee of the Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle. Welles received his undergraduate degree from University of Massachusetts/Amherst and his master’s in business administration from George Washington University.