The best modality to accelerate leadership development for middle- to senior-level leaders is personalized, one-on-one coaching. 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:
Expertise: Finance & Facilities, Operations, Leadership & Management
Alex Terman has more than 15 years of management and leadership experience in the non-profit, education, and technology sectors. Alex currently works as an independent consultant assisting organizations in the education sector in the areas of strategy, finance and operations. Prior to starting his consulting practice, Alex served as a Partner at The Learning Accelerator, a non-profit organization that supports the implementation of high-quality blended learning in school districts across America. Alex co-founded Digital Parent, an online service providing expert advice and e-learning resources for parents of young children. He also served as the Chief Business Officer for the Stupski Foundation, an operating foundation focused on transforming urban school districts. In addition to his involvement in education, Alex has experience working in business and corporate development roles at America Online and in management consulting at Bain & Company. He has an MBA from Stanford, an undergraduate degree in history from UC Berkeley and completed the Broad Residency, a two-year program that prepares leaders for senior management roles within public education. Alex serves on the boards of CollegeSpring and Rocketship Education, and as a mentor for GSVlabs, an education technology incubator.
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, Development, Policy & Advocacy
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, Finance, and Facilities
Most recently Bruce was the Principal of Edina High School, one of the top performing high schools in the state of Minnesota. During Locklear’s tenure, Edina High School was recognized for a tradition of academic excellence as a member of the 21st Century School Consortium and as the first Minnesota School to be recognized as a P21 Exemplar School. Under his leadership, Edina was recognized by both US News and World Report and Newsweek as one of the top public high schools in America, and by Siemens as a Nationally Recognized School for work in
advanced placement course offerings and student successes in advanced placement testing.
Locklear also served as principal of Delano High School prior to Edina. Here, he and his staff
were recognized as a National Model School, Governor’s Spotlight School and we able to turn
the school into a high performing school by establish the Delano Way:
1. Show Up
2. Show Up on Time
3. Failure is not an Option.
Bruce himself was recognized as Minnesota’s Principal of the Year in 2010, and was
highly engaged with the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals and the National
Association of Secondary School Principals, where he served as a member of each Board of
Directors. Locklear also sits on the Harvard Principal Centers Advisory Board.
Bruce is married to Dawn and they have two daughters, Brittany and Bethany.
Expertise: Development, Leadership & Management, Operations
Candice Santomauro is an independent consultant, providing operational and fundraising expertise to clients in the education sector. After serving in the Air Force and earning a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Strayer University, Candice had a successful career building and overseeing a 500+ member sales force. Candice eventually transitioned to the education sector to apply her talents to support worthy organizations. Most recently, Candice was Vice President of Local Engagement for GreatSchools, the nation’s leading online K-12 school guide, where she established localized partnerships with school officials, districts, state departments of education, educational organizations, funders, and corporations, with 6 and 7 figure funding streams in each locale. Prior to this Candice was the Director of Operations and Outreach at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, overseeing their information technology, fundraising and human capitol efforts. Candice also served as Director of Development for Cornerstone Schools of Washington, D.C., Inc., a private school that provides an academically rigorous education to 200 low-income, at-risk students. A Florida native, she now resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Rodd, and her two children, both public school students, and actively participates in local education-related initiatives, including serving as a Trustee for BASIS DC.
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management, Policy & Advocacy
Carlos Perez recently served as Executive Director of Charter Parents United, organizing parents across various charter school networks around issues of school quality, educational equity, and parent and community empowerment and advocacy. He previously served as the CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association. Prior to that, he was the Director of Public Policy for the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and a community organizer. Mr. Perez organized new immigrant Latino communities in Virginia, Minnesota, Missouri, and Louisiana to increase political engagement, representation, and advocacy. Mr. Perez received an MA in public services from DePaul University and is a graduate of Truman State University. He lives in his childhood neighborhood in Chicago with his wife and two daughters.
Expertise: Communications, Marketing and Policy & Advocacy
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
Colleen is a facilitator, leadership coach, and organizational consultant. Her work centers on supporting leaders and organizations transform challenges into opportunities for growth and improved performance. Colleen has worked in the fields of organizational transformation and leadership development for over ten years. She owns and operates a Leadership Development consultancy and does much of her work with leaders in K-12 Education. Prior to her current role, she was most recently with the management consulting firm McKinsey & Co where she led the Firm’s Principal Leadership Development Group and Performance Transformation client service line. Colleen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the University of Colorado (Summa Cum Laude). She completed the Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Program and the McKinsey Facilitator Development Program. She is an ICF-Certified Coach and is a Gallup-trained Strengths Coach. She is the founder and President of CCN Consulting and the Managing Partner of Coleman Education.
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.
Expertise: Information Technology
Dave has 18+ years experience in online technology, product development, and digital communications. Dave currently serves as the CTO at Quad Learning Inc., an education and technology startup company in Washington DC. Since joining the company in 2012, Dave works to ensure that Quad Learning’s technology strategy aligns with its business goals, the mission of the American Honors program, and the IT systems at collaborating community colleges. Dave manages a team of project managers, software engineers, designers, systems administrators and customer support professionals who build and manage software products, services, and IT infrastructure for students, faculty, advisors, and employees. In his previous position as Partner at Fleishman-Hillard Digital, Dave led a wide range of web development and technology projects for universities, non-profits, federal government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, Dave served as Director of Product and Technology at Match.com, managing all aspects of web development, IT operations, and internationalization for the company’s product portfolio in the United Kingdom; and as a lead engineer at The Motley Fool, where he developed online software focused on delivering financial education and services to customers. Dave graduated with honors from Duke University with a BS in Mathematics.
Expertise: Fundraising, External Affairs
Dominique joined the KIPP Foundation as a Major Gift Officer in July, 2015. She is responsible for identifying, cultivating, securing, and stewarding major donors. She came to KIPP from Teach For America in Greater Philadelphia, where she was a member of the Leadership Team in charge of regional development efforts at the head of a four-person development team. Prior to joining TFA staff, Dominique was a corps member and a science teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for four years, and also worked for several years leading Out of School Time programming in West Philadelphia.
Dominique received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband Ben.
Expertise: Human Capital/Talent
Dominique Morris strongly believes that all children are entitled to a high quality public education, and that recruiting, cultivating and retaining top talent is a key lever in education reform. She currently serves as HR Director at San Jose Unified School District (SJUSD) where she is responsible for managing the District’s talent reform work. Prior to joining SJUSD, Dominique worked for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), a system of 1,700 schools and 1.1 million students. While at NYCDOE, Dominique served as Chief of Staff for the Research and Policy Support Group, Director of Operations for the Office of Early Childhood Education and Deputy Strategy Officer for the Division of Talent, Labor and Innovation. Dominique was born and raised in California and has received degrees from UC Berkeley and New York University. She is also a graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, HR/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.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources, Operations
Emily supports the KIPP Bay Area Schools leadership team with strategic projects, primarily focused on talent and human capital, and coaches teammates. In addition, Emily works as an independent leadership coach for clients in both the for-profit and non-profit fields. Emily served as Chief Operating Officer for KIPP Bay Area Schools for six years, from July 2008 – June 2014. She led the Regional Support Office (RSO), and oversaw finance, human resources, talent recruitment, KIPP Through College, facilities, technology, and operations for KIPP Bay Area Schools. Prior to joining KIPP Bay Area Schools, Emily worked for three years as a Senior Analyst with NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that invests in social entrepreneurs. At NewSchools, Emily performed due diligence on potential investments, and provided strategic and operational guidance to ventures in the NewSchools Portfolio. She led NewSchools’ first social impact evaluation and successfully pitched two investments to secure $4M in funding. Emily began her career at Dean & Company, a boutique strategy consulting firm in Washington, DC, where she applied quantitative problem solving to support clients ranging from large electric utilities to startups. Emily holds a MBA and an MA in Education from Stanford University, and a BA in English Literature from Dartmouth College.
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 ata 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; Human Resources; Development
Over the last fifteen 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 inspector with Teacher Prep Inspection (TPI-US). 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, HR/Talent
Jennifer has over twenty years experience leading innovative, transformational strategic initiatives, including ten years as a national education reform leader. She is currently the president of Spark Strategic Consulting (SSC), an organization committed to help impact-based organizations envision and reach their potential. Prior to founding SSC she was the executive director of Talent Management and Strategic Programs for Denver Public Schools (DPS). In this role, she oversaw the district’s human capital strategies for teachers and principals, including strategies for recruitment, development, evaluation, compensation, tenure, and retention of high-performing educators. She also led efforts to successfully secure over $60MM in competitive grant dollars from national and local foundations and from federal grants. Prior to DPS, Jennifer was Vice President at the Broomfield-based Charter School Growth Fund, a national venture philanthropy organization designed to provide financial and strategic resources to replicate high-quality charter schools serving students from low-income households. As a founding member of the leadership team she developed a national application process to identify and select the highest quality charter schools for replication. She was responsible for $23MM in committed capital and supported a portfolio of seven CMOs through the long-term implementation of their growth plans. She guided the leadership teams of charter schools through the strategic development of a business plans and financial models. Jennifer began her career in education reform at the New York City Department of Education, leading work for the CEO of Human Resources on business transformation and the customer experience. Prior to entering the world of education reform, Jennifer spent several years at American Express, where she worked in Strategic Venture Capital before leading marketing teams in loyalty and acquisition marketing. She began her career at Bain & Company, a top strategy consulting firm, where she partnered with corporations to develop and implement both growth and turnaround plans. Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, magna cum laude, from Pomona College and a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School.
Expertise: Talent and HR, Leadership & Management
Jenn Barr Weiss has over a decade of experience designing, leading and implementing talent systems. Jenn most recently 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 talent strategies, planning and leading talent acquisition initiatives and developing teams to expand their impact. Jenn’s passion for this work stems from the belief that helping adults perform at the highest levels is the most important thing we can do to close the achievement and access gaps in education.
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.
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. She most recently served as Chief Operating Officer for KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools, leading the organization through growth from two to eight schools and overseeing all areas of business operations for the region.
Prior to KIPP, Judy was Chief Executive Officer of Beaucoup Favors, a leading online retailer in the wedding and special events industries. She drove the growth of the company and its profitability through marketing and technology while scaling infrastructure and staffing. Judy also previously held Director positions in Corporate Business Development and Strategy for Warner Bros. and Turner Broadcasting System working on strategic initiatives and global business development for these media conglomerates. Judy’s experience in the sports industry spanned business administration at the U.S. Olympic Committee to event marketing and management with the National Basketball Association.
Expertise: Communications, Development, Leadership & Management
Julie Anne Green, Chief Marketing and Development Officer for E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, has nearly 20 years of nonprofit and leadership experience, encompassing a variety of work including development, marketing, public relations, board management, and community engagement. Since beginning her tenure with E.L. Haynes in 2005, annual fund revenues have grown by more than 3,000% and Julie successfully led the school’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, raising more than $11 million for annual, capital, and special projects between 2009 and 2012. Prior to joining the E.L. Haynes team, Green was Director of Development for George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. In that capacity, she raised private funds and built community fundraising organizations for the College’s many entities, including the Center for the Arts, Theater of the First Amendment, and four academic arts departments. She has also worked with Virginia Opera, The Washington Opera, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She serves on the boards of the Mount Holyoke Club of Greater Washington, DC and Jubilee JumpStart, a non-profit early childhood center serving DC families. Green holds a B.A. in Music from Mount Holyoke College.
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management, Policy & Advocacy
Kathleen founded EdFuel and currently serves as Board Chair. She also created the Education Design Lab after 8 years on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University, where she saw the need for a separate organization to help universities and entrepreneurs innovate to reinvent post secondary education. Kathleen is also the president of The deLaski Family Foundation, a leading Washington area grant-maker in education and the arts. She has separately spent 10 years in various roles in education reform. For example, Kathleen helped Michelle Rhee create StudentsFirst, a national advocacy movement to create better school options. She served as senior program officer for education at the The Walton Family Foundation, and created Sallie Mae’s award-winning foundation to increase college access for low-income students. Spending five years at America Online, she developed the first interactive tools to engage the public online in elections and the political process and helped the biggest news organizations create digital brands. She and her boss, Steve Case, were named by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics among “25 People Changing the World.” Kathleen was named by President Clinton as Chief Spokesman for the Pentagon, where she oversaw the military’s worldwide public information team. She also spent 13 years as a TV journalist, including 5 years as an ABC News Washington correspondent.
Expertise: Facilities & Finance
Keith has over fifteen years of experience in finance, operations and administrative management related to charter schools and non-profit organizations. As a Senior Financial Manager at Charter School Business Management, a financial services consultancy, Keith is responsible for a client portfolio ranging from start-ups to charter schools that have been operating for over a decade. He frequently supports charter schools facing critical organizational challenges including reaching organizational capacity, diminishing resources and erratic pay scales. He also serves as a strategic thought partner for school leaders with a focus on forecasting and sustainable structures. Furthermore, Keith manages special projects that identify the core issues hindering operational efficiency in existing charter schools and makes recommendations for improvements. Before joining CSBM Keith was the founding Director of Operations Support for Explore Schools Inc., a Charter Management Organization (CMO) serving schools in central Brooklyn. Keith was also the founding Finance Director of Mott Haven Academy Charter School in the South Bronx.
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.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Communications, Marketing, HR, Data & Analysis
Kevin J. Bennett is an award-wining educator, leader, speaker, blogger, consultant, and a constant advocate for children. In 2013, he started KB4Kids, an organization that unites his focus on student success with valued opportunities for children and families. His leadership role in education is varied and active. He currently works as a senior district administrator with Minneapolis Public Schools in the area of fair and equitable practices for K-12 students. Prior to his current role, he was the principal of an award-winning magnet school with campuses in both downtown Minneapolis and suburban Minnesota. Bennett was honored as the MetLife/NASSP National Finalist and Minnesota Principal of the Year in 2012-13 and Chicago Public Schools Performance Plus Teacher of the Year in 2002. He provides innovative leadership through creative program development, visionary strategic planning and enthusiastic commitment to equity and excellence in education. Bennett has served on many boards within the community, including non-profits, businesses and higher education. He has been a guest speaker and panelist at universities and educational conferences sharing his understanding of issues related to increasing student engagement and success, personalized learning, arts education, equity in schools, parent involvement and community partnerships. He has also served as an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline University. Bennett wrote a monthly blog for Teaching Channel, a national non- profit that showcases inspired and effective teaching practices, and provides a forum for educators to connect (https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/author/kbennett/).
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.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Development, Policy & Advocacy
Kristoffer began his career in education 15 years ago as a high school English teacher. He went on to become a national leader in developing and executing national expansion strategies for Rocketship Education, KIPP Austin Public Schools, and the KIPP Foundation. He led initiatives that fostered those organizations’ strategic growth plans, including market analysis, external relations, marketing and communications, fundraising, and the charter authorization process. As part of that work, Kristoffer and his teams secured over 100 charters, raised over $50M, and successfully passed charter legislation in multiple jurisdictions that created better opportunities for schools and students. Today, Kristoffer is the Managing Partner of Ampersand Education, where he uses his unique expertise and experience to support and advise Ampersand’s clients as they consider growth strategy opportunities. Kristoffer is actively leading initiatives on behalf of a range of interests, including Charter Management Organizations, Public School Districts, Harbormasters, Foundations, and EdTech Start-ups. Kristoffer holds degrees from Oregon State University and Emerson College, and lives with his family in Oakland, California. He is an eternal optimist, so naturally believes the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears will one day return to prominence.
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. Currently, she is leading enterprise-level work designing and implementing the organization’s first shared leadership framework and leadership development model. She is also the program designer at Bright Morning coaching and consulting where she partners with Elena Aguilar to bring Transformational Coaching to educators across the country. Coaching is LesLee’s greatest professional love and she has had the privilege of being trained in Transformational Coaching by Elena Aguilar, the Immunity to Change method by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, as well as Cognitive Coaching. LesLee, her husband and two young sons live in Minneapolis and spend their days playing outside (when it’s above freezing…), building with Legos, cooking up all sorts of tasty food and reading countless children’s books.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love coaching, and 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, and I believe strongly leaders operating with conviction and strength is our strongest tool in transforming education, and indeed, transforming the world. As a special education teacher, I was privileged to support my middle school students in a defining time in their lives. Since then, I’ve worked with hundreds of teachers and leaders at Teach For America, and now at OneGoal, to support them in leading at their best. My coaching style is mostly investigative and values-driven, though I certainly believe there is a place for tactical support as well. I have a strong background in special education. I have successfully managed teams ranging from 3 to 60 members and reaching hundreds of classrooms and thousands of students in any given year. I’m especially passionate about and good at robust staff development and retention as well as special education professional development and program design. If you are interested in building and leading a strong team of adults, developing your people well, ensuring that learning variability and special education is honored and robustly developed in your school, or even exploring and developing your own values, strengths and leadership, I’d love to work with you!
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management, Operations
Pyper Davis began as executive director for Educare DC in September, 2014, and is responsible for overall leadership of Educare DC, including partnership, policy and funding strategies. Educare is a national network of research-based early childhood programs that prepare at-risk children for school. Educare DC is located in Ward 7, and is an anchor program within the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative. Most recently, Pyper spent over 10 years as the chief operating officer of The SEED Foundation. Pyper helped to lead the growth of SEED, developing the talent, program model and infrastructure within SEED’s college-prep boarding school network. Prior to joining SEED, Pyper spent nine years in the television business, primarily as an executive with The News Corporation, working in both a strategic and operational capacity in London, New York, Los Angeles and in Asia. While at News Corp., Pyper helped create two successful joint ventures in Asia, launched and managed operations for Fox’s new cable sports business, Fox Sports Net, and served as president of cable network, FIT TV. After leaving News Corp., Pyper provided consulting and private equity fundraising for early-stage technology companies as a principal with Katalyst LLC. Pyper started her career as a financial analyst with Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. Pyper has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a member of Princeton University’s Board of Trustees.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Finance & Facilities
As Founder and CEO, Raj is the driving force behind Charter School Business Management, a financial consultancy focused on the growth and sustainability of the charter sector. Widely regarded a national expert on charter school finance, Raj has presented at conferences and workshops across the county and has been featured in numerous publications. In February 2013, he graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, designed to help small businesses grow and create more jobs. He was named Small Business Person of the Year for the NY district by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2011, and under his leadership, CSBM was also awarded Small Business of the Year for Eastern Region of the U.S. by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2009. Recently, Raj was named a 2013 Top Entrepreneur by Crain’s New York Business.
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.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Finance & Facilities, Operations
Sheilah has 20 years of experience in education. Sheilah began her career as a Teach For America corps member in Houston, Texas. After two years in the classroom, she co-founded YES (Youth Engaged in Service) Prep and led the school to Texas exemplary status. After which, she returned to school herself to hone her management skills with an MBA at Boston University. Returning to Texas in 2004, Sheilah built the Charter Management Organization structure allowing YES PREP, and subsequently KIPP Austin, both to grow in size and quality. Sheilah developed phasing to build efficient and effective CMO staffing, school growth and facility utilization. Additionally, Sheilah has built and managed financial models for short and long term decision making. As an early leader in CMO growth, YES Prep and KIPP Austin strategic plans, facilities development and staffing structures are now shared widely between highly successful charter school networks and nationally within the KIPP network.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Operations
Sara Griffin is an independent consultant and coach providing operational and leadership expertise to clients in the education sector. Most recently, Sara was Associate Chief Operating Officer at Uncommon Schools in New York City, where she managed Uncommon’s seven elementary schools in the Brooklyn Region. Prior to this, Sara was Director of Operations at Leadership Prep Ocean Hill Elementary Academy, one of New York State’s highest performing elementary schools. Sara began her career in education as a first grade teacher in New York City’s Department of Education.
Expertise: Communications, Leadership & Management
Steve Cunning is the Executive Director of Democracy Prep Public Schools – Minnesota, a network of public charter schools educating responsible citizen-scholars for success in the college of their choice and a life of active citizenship. From 2014-2017, Steve served as Executive Director of Democracy Prep’s Harlem Prep charter in Harlem, New York City. 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 New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Louisiana, and the Bronx, New York. Before joining Democracy Prep, Steve was a Teach For America 2006 Corps Member and taught 5th Grade in the Bronx. 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.
Expertise: Leadership & Management; Human Resources
For more than 20 years, Suzanne has dedicated her career to working on behalf of children and families in low-income communities. During this time, she served as an executive director of two different non-profit organizations, managed a cohort of executive directors at a large national education non-profit organization, and led a team of senior level consultants who advised executive directors on overall human capital strategy, management and leadership, staff culture and performance, diversity, change management, and employee engagement. Suzanne leads with both heart and a focus on results. She managed a dozen different executive directors at Teach For America during the largest growth period in the organization’s history, during which time the organization grew the number of regions from 23 to 42, increased regional fundraising by more than 30% each year, increased the number of Teach For America teachers by 142%, and grew the overall staff by almost 400%. In addition to bottom line results, Suzanne has a proven track record for developing new and emerging managers into great leaders and managers at the executive level. In addition to her hands-on experience, Suzanne also has a Master’s degree in organizational leadership and ethics. Suzanne brings her love of people and focus on results to her coaching and consulting practice. She specializes in management coaching and training, change management, building strong effective teams, and human capital work. Suzanne is based in the Detroit Metro Area.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital/Talent, Operations
Tina is an experienced Charter School Director of Operations specializing in Strategic Planning, Accountability and Compliance, Start-Up Operations and Human Resources and Talent Management. Tina was previously the Founding Director of Operations for five years at Mott Haven Academy Charter School (MHACS) in the South Bronx, where she was responsible for aligning operation processes with the school’s mission and ensuring organizational capacity. During her time at MHACS, she managed the opening of a school health center, a private school lunch program, served as the construction liaison for the school’s new, $31 million dollar facility and coordinated moving the school to the permanent building. In addition, she supervised the school’s day-to-day operations, including compliance, facilities, transportation, technology, recruitment and human resources and board operations. She currently serves as Director of Operations at Charter School Business Management, Inc., a charter school financial services consultancy. In her spare time, she is a Founding Board Trustee of Heketi Community Charter School in the South Bronx and a member of the Council of Urban Professionals.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, HR/Talent
Veenay Singla is an independent consultant focused on talent, leadership and organization development exclusively 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; and, overseeing all aspects of an annual city-wide teacher celebration event honoring master teachers in a large urban school district. Clients include: The Achievement Network, Bellwether Education Partners, Chicago Public Schools, the Crown Family Philanthropies, FirstLine Schools, Hawaii Department of Education, The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, New Leaders, NewSchools Venture Fund, The Pahara Institute, Rocketship Education, Teach for America, UChicago Impact, Washington University in St. Louis/St. Louis Public Schools.
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 a principal at Adrian Loring Advisors, a C-level consulting advisory group and serves 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 Concord Carlisle Scholarship Fund and is a member of the Boston Chapter of the Society for Information Management. Welles received his undergraduate degree from University of Massachusetts/Amherst and his master’s in business administration from George Washington University.