Pearl Johnson Biedron - Founder, The Willow School
Pearl holds a B.A. in English and American literature from Brown University, and a M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the Institute of Health Professions at Massachusetts General Hospital. She taught at the Pennington School in New Jersey and at the Charles Armstrong School in Belmont, California. Gretchen has also worked as a private tutor, specializing in language and learning disabilities. Prior to enrolling at Brown, she attended Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, The Peck School in Morristown, and The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Gabriel Brodbar - Founder and Executive Director, NYU Program in Social Entrepreneurship
Gabriel Brodbar is the founding Executive Director of the New York University Program in Social Entrepreneurship, a leading and pioneering approach to finding and catalyzing extraordinary social change agents. Prior to NYU, Gabriel served as the founding Director of Dartington-i New York and as the founding Director of the Office of Housing Policy and Development at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, both of which focused on performance contracting systems and social impact bonds, supportive housing development, and data-based policy analysis. He has developed and operated award-winning dropout prevention and college preparatory programs for at-risk youth, is a founding member of the Child Welfare League of America’s National Homelessness Advisory Panel, and is a Teach For America alumnus. His published work on the intersections of foster care and homelessness, community-based needs assessment tools and social entrepreneurship can be found in Child Welfare, The Social Service Review, and Beyond Profit.
Alberto Carvalho - Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Alberto M. Carvalho has served as Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth largest school system, since September 2008. He is a nationally recognized expert on education transformation, finance, and leadership development. During his tenure, M-DCPS has become one of the nation’s highest-performing urban school systems receiving systemwide accreditation from AdvancEd in 2014. The District has also been named as the 2014 College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year, as well as the 2012 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education. As a staunch believer in school choice, he has expanded choice options in Miami-Dade to include over 500 offerings including programs in fine and performing arts, biotechnology, engineering, robotics, aviation, forensic sciences, and many others.
Kevin P. Chavous - Author, Attorney, and National Eduction Reformer
As a former member of the Council of the District of Columbia and Chair of the Council's Education Committee, Mr. Chavous was at the forefront of promoting change within the District public school system. His efforts led to more than $500 million new dollars being made available to educate children in D.C. A leading national advocate for educational choice, Mr. Chavous helped to shepherd the charter school movement into the nation's capital. Under his education committee chairmanship, the D.C. charter school movement became the most prolific charter school jurisdiction in the country, with now nearly half of D.C.'s public school children attending charter schools. In recent years, Mr. Chavous has worked to advance charter school and parental choice programs in a host of jurisdictions around the country, most notably in Louisiana and Indiana.
David Coleman - CEO, College Board
With a team of educators, David founded the Grow Network, an organization committed to making assessment results truly useful for teachers, parents and students. McGraw-Hill acquired the Grow Network in 2005. PreviouslyIn 2007, David left McGraw-Hill and cofounded Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit that assembles educators and researchers to design actions based on evidence to improve student outcomes. Student Achievement Partners played a leading role in developing the Common Core State Standards in math and literacy. David left Student Achievement Partners in the fall of 2012 to become president of the College Board. David was named to the 2013 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He has been recognized as one of the POLITICO 50 for 2014, Time magazine’s “11 Education Activists for 2011”, and was one of the NewSchools Venture Fund Change Agents of the Year for 2012.
David Dik - National Executive Director, Young Audiences
David A. Dik was appointed National Executive Director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning in July 2010, the nation’s largest arts in education network. Prior to this position, he served as the Managing Director of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, having also served as the Guild’s Director of Education. David serves on the Leadership Team of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, Board of Directors for the Music-in-Education National Consortium, the Advisory Committee of the Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a trustee of the Potsdam College Foundation and a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Arts in Education Advisory Council. David’s career began as a certified school music educator.
Jeff Ervine - President & Founder, Bridg-it
Jeffrey J. Ervine is Founder and President of Bridg-it LLC. Mr. Ervine spent the first two decades of his professional life on wall street in financial services. His career began in public accounting (as a CPA for Deloitte), and later he became an investment banker and finally he specialized in asset management focussing in the hedge fund and private equity industry. After being defamed online in 2008 and spending several years defending his name in court, eventually winning a mult-million dollar verdict for cyber defamation, Mr. Ervine developed an expertise and passion for helping victims of online defamation. Mr. Ervine created Bridg-it to provide school communities with the first sustainable solution to bullying, cyberbully and harassment. Mr. Ervine is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University B.S. in Accounting and has an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
William Ethridge - Former CEO, Pearson Education
Will Ethridge is active in the education sector as an investor, a board member of several companies, and as the Principal of Ethridge Advisors, where he provides advisory services to education companies, educational institutions, policy makers and private equity companies. From 2008 through 2014, Mr. Ethridge was CEO of Pearson North America and also served on Pearson’s board of directors. From March 2003 to 2008 Mr. Ethridge served as Chief Executive Officer of Pearson’s Higher Education, International and Professional Publishing Groups.
Emily Grad - Founder and CEO, Edhesive
Emily Grad is the founder and CEO of Edhesive. She incubated the business while at Amplify where she served as the Executive Director of Program Management of its Innovation Lab. Prior to Amplify, Emily served as the Director of Production for The Daily, News Corp's mobile news app, and the Global Creative Producer for AOL. Before moving to New York, Emily worked at various design agencies in Seattle. While in college, Emily worked as a substitute teacher for a local middle school. She has a deep passion for using technology to make advanced curriculum accessible to all students. Emily herself benefited advanced curriculum. Through the AP coursework she completed in high school, Emily was able to skip her freshman year and start college as a sophomore. Emily holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Washington.
Alan Hilburg - President/CEO, Hilburg Associates
Alan Hilburg, President and CEO of HilburgAssociates, is an award-winning author of two NY Times bestsellers on leadership, a filmmaker (with an Academy Award nomination) and a senior advisor, counselor and strategist to more than 200 international leadership teams, CEOS, country presidents on institutional branding and organization transitions. He also describes himself as an "edupreneur and education missionary" which demands that we tireless believe that education innovation is defined in how we share our life's career successes and experiences with the next generation of leaders.
Eric Jones - Founder and CEO, EdGems
Eric served as an Executive Vice President of Pearson plc. in London, working with all three of the company’s divisions, Pearson Education, Penguin Publishing and The Financial Times. He also served as Executive Vice President of the Penguin Television Group, and Executive Vice President Worldwide of Pearson Broadband Ltd. He designed, launched and ran the original Channel One News— a daily program serving millions of students—during its first five years. During that company’s last five years, Eric was brought back in to serve as the Senior Vice President and Founder of Channel One 2.0, responsible for transitioning the original television news service to an Internet Protocol delivery with the inclusion of daily interactive lessons. Channel One was sold to Houghton Mifflin in May of 2014.
Gary June - Founding Partner, Hatch Group
Gary June is a media and education professional with high level results and talent generation expertise in education, trade publishing, content technology, sales, marketing, business development and strategy. He is also active in the education venture circuit and an angel investor in several media and ed-tech companies.
Kathy LeMay - CEO, Raising Change
Kathy LeMay is an internationally-recognized public speaker, philanthropic advisor, global social change fundraiser and published author whose purpose-driven life centers on lifting up the voices, stories, leadership and influence of women and girls around the world. Kathy speaks about the transformative life; of shifting from success to significance, and putting humanity back into modern philanthropy. She coaches social change innovators and global donors to boldly and unapologetically create the world we know is possible. Kathy's book The Generosity Plan, released by Simon & Schuster and Beyond Words in 2010, aims to put philanthropic power into the hands of regular individuals, families, and communities.
Vineet Madan - Founder, Junction Education
Vineet Madan is the Founder & CEO of Junction Education, a company focused on scaling affordable, engaging and effective courseware for colleges and universities. In just 18 months post-launch, Junction has saved students over $300,000 on course materials while delivering a learning experience that 82% of students prefer to alternatives. A frequent speaker and writer on the digital transformation of education, his perspectives have been widely covered including in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, CNN, Mashable, The Huffington Post, The Verge, Crain’s, Fox News and The New York Times.
Molly Melching - Founder and CEO, Tostan
Molly Melching has lived and worked in Senegal, West Africa since 1974 and has dedicated her life to the empowerment of communities at grassroots levels. Molly’s early experiences working with children in Dakar and living in a rural village enforced her beliefs that many development efforts were not addressing the true needs and realities of African communities. In collaboration with community members, Molly began to develop a new type of learning program that actively involved both adults and adolescents by using African languages and traditional methods of learning. Their efforts grew throughout the 1980s, leading Molly to found Tostan in 1991.
Tostan is an organization whose innovative grassroots education model—the Community Empowerment Program (CEP)—engages communities for three years in cross-cutting themes of democracy, human rights, problem-solving, hygiene, health, literacy, project management skills and parental education.
Daniel Meyer - CEO, Academica Virtual Education
Academica Virtual Education is one of the fastest growing digital learning organizations in the world (from seven enrollments in 2010 to 40,000+ in 2016) with students throughout the US, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and soon the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. In addition to his management duties, Daniel provides digital consulting to over 140 K-12 schools and college settings within the Academica network of schools. He also regularly consults with external investors and accelerators to evaluate the viability of education, technology, and business ventures. He previously served as the Chief Learning Officer for Academica.
Eva Moskowitz - Founder and CEO, Success Academy Charter Schools
Eva Moskowitz founded Success Academy Charter Schools in 2006 to tackle the monumental crisis in public education in the most prominent city in the United States. Over the past ten years, Success has become the largest network of public charter schools in New York City – one of the fastest-growing and highest-performing in the country and a beacon for educators searching for innovation and inspiration in the classroom. With 41 dynamic schools (as of August), from elementary to high school, the network’s goal is to prepare every scholar to go college. Success has proved many times over that, regardless of neighborhood, racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines, children can attain the highest academic standards.
Armando Pérez - Rap Artist, Founder of SLAM
Armando Christian Perez—globally known as Pitbull—is everywhere. His relentless work ethic transformed him into a Grammy-winning international superstar, visionary entrepreneur, fashion maven, and successful actor. His social media presence speaks to nearly 90 million people daily, matching some television networks. It’s almost impossible to think the Miami native born to Cuban-American expatriates, “turned a negative into a positive” and became one of the world’s greatest entertainers and businessmen, but that’s exactly what he accomplished. Continuously giving back and cultivating success among the next generation, he serves as the brand ambassador for Sports, Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM!)—part of the Academica charter school network with locations in Little Havana, Miami and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Neesha Rahim - Co-Founder, Level Up Village
Neesha Rahim co-founded Level Up Village with a conviction that applying global collaboration and STEAM learning to real-life problems will transform the world of education and not only equip young people for the jobs of the future, but also prepare them to lead successful, happy lives. Her Masters Degree in Social Work and International Affairs from Columbia University, along with her extensive work with youth development and conflict resolution organizations all over the world, power her passion for wide-scale impact in education. In the early years of her career, Neesha spent time at UNICEF and then at a small school in Harlem, NY, serving at-risk children, followed by work in youth conflict resolution at Seeds of Peace. Neesha later moved to management and development consulting with organizations around the world, helping them meet their ambitious goals and expand their impact. As an active member of the PTA, Neesha also worked to bring innovative programs to her children’s after-school program.
Peter Samuelson - Founder, Starlight Children's Foundation
Peter Samuelson is an accomplished film producer and in parallel, a serial pro-socialentrepreneur. Films produced by Peter Samuelson have been nominated for multiple Academy Awards. In 1999 his strong passion for children’s advocacy led him to co-found First Star, a DC based nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of America’s abused and neglected children. In1982, Peter co-founded the Starlight Children’s Foundation—an international charity dedicated togranting wishes for seriously ill children. In 1990 Peter founded with Steven Spielberg and GeneralNorman Schwarzkopf Starbright World, an online social network to educate, encourage andempower children to cope with the medical, emotional and social challenges of their illness.
Shoshana Vernick joined Sterling Partners in 2003 and is currently a Managing Director of the Education Opportunity Fund. As Managing Director of the Education Opportunity fund, Shoshana guides the fund’s investment strategy and governance processes. The fund’s focus is on technology-relevant, growth stage companies that align with the following themes: enabling the globalization of education, partnering with colleges and universities, utilizing advanced analytics to improve education services, reshaping the student experience and enabling successful outcomes, implementing technology to improve how students learn and teachers teach, and addressing relevant skill gaps and promoting workforce opportunities.
Fernando Zulueta - President, Academica
Fernando Zulueta is the president of Academica Corporation, one of the nation's largest and most successful charter school service and support organizations. Academica serves more than 150 charter schools in Florida, California, Utah, Nevada, DC, and Texas. He is a Board Member of The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, past Chairman of the Florida Charter School Review Panel, and founding Board Member of the Florida Consortium of Charter Schools.
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