Education Reformers on the Move: September 2018

"Education Reformers on the Move" is a quarterly email that tracks senior hires in reform-oriented school systems, CMOs, foundations, funding organizations and other nonprofits that support the movement. 

Congratulations to the individuals listed below on their recent transitions!

Tisha Markette, former Founder and CEO of Literacy is Freedom, LLC, recently joined UP Education as Chief Academic Officer. Rodolfo Elizondo joined Alliance College-Ready Public Schools as Instructional Superintendent. Most recently, Rodolfo was Founding Principal of The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management. Mika Krause, most recently the Founding Principal of Moving Everest Charter School, is now a principal at STRIVE Preparatory Schools. Dana Brown is now the principal of Dearborn STEM Academy, a Boston Plan for Excellence Teaching Academy; Dana was most recently a principal at Holyoke Public Schools. Phillip Nguyen, former Director of Secondary Literacy for STRIVE Preparatory Schools, is now Director of Elementary and Middle Years Literacy for Mastery Charter Schools.

(The above paragraph represents searches conducted or placements made by The K12 Search Group).

Lindsay Kruse, former Managing Director of the Leverage Leadership Institute at Relay Graduate School of Education, is now Vice President of PK-12 Education Initiatives at the National Center for Learning Disabilities. New Orleans College Prep recently welcomed Joel Castro as Chief Executive Officer; Joel previously served as Associate Superintendent of the Lubbock Independent School District. Mikaela Seligman was recently promoted to Chief Executive Officer of AchieveMission. Jill Wells Specchierla, former Director of Charter School Development for Pathways Management Group, is now National Director K-12 Education Partnerships for WRiTE BRAiN WORLD. Democracy Prep Public Schools recently named Jeremy Jones the Founding Executive Director in San Antonio; Jeremy was most recently a School Director at YES Prep Public Schools. Peter Shulman was recently named Chief Executive Officer of Urban Teachers; Peter previously served as Deputy Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Education. Melissa Wu, former Chief Program Officer for Education Pioneers, was recently named its Chief Executive Officer. Brandy Fluker Oakley is now Executive Director for Educators for Excellence in Boston; most recently, Brandy was a Project Director for TNTP. Misha Simmonds is now Interim Chief School Administrator at Marion P. Thomas Charter School; Misha previously served as Senior Portfolio Director for the Newark Charter School Fund. Matthew Randazzo, formerly the Chief Executive Officer of the National Math and Science Initiative, is now President & CEO of the Dallas Foundation. Tracy Epp recently joined Richmond Public Schools as Chief Academic Officer; Tracy was previously the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the National Math and Science Initiative. Jonathon Stewart, previously the Director of Data Operations for Summit Public Schools, recently transitioned to Senior Fellow, Oakland CORE Data Collaborative Project at the Rogers Family Foundation. Hiawatha Academies recently named Colette Sims Owens their new Executive Director; Colette previously served as the Director of Academic Strategy and Special Projects for St. Louis Public Schools. Consultant Dr. Rashida Govan joined the New Orleans Youth Initiative as Executive Director. The outgoing Executive Director, Andrea Zayas, transitioned to Academic Superintendent of Elementary Transformation Learning Networks at Boston Public Schools. Former Principal at Bellwether Education Partners, Stephanie Itelman, recently transitioned to Interim Executive Director of Roots Elementary. Gretchen Crosby Sims is now Executive Director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago; most recently, Gretchen served as a Director at Social Finance UK. Magnolia Public Schools announced Alfredo Rubelcava as their new CEO and Superintendent; Alfredo most recently served as Senior Advisor of Diversity, Outreach, and Community Development for the California Charter Schools Association. Kenya Jackson, former Chief Academic Officer for Magnolia Public Schools, joined Uplift Education as Middle School Director of Uplift Infinity Preparatory. Alison Avera is now Chief Strategy and Operations Officer for Teach Plus; previously, Alison served as Chief Operating Officer for Turnaround for Children. IDEA Public Schools welcomed Gil Echeverria as Vice President of HQ Operations; Gil previously was a Principal Consultant for GESH Consulting and Deputy Chief of Business and Operations, Project Management and Continuous Improvement for Oakland Unified School District. Instruction Partners recently welcomed several new team members: Ben Fenton, Chief of Growth and Operations, was most recently Senior Advisor, Systemic Impact at Turnaround for Children; Malika Anderson, Managing Director of Organizational Development, joins Instruction Partners after serving  as Superintendent of the Tennessee Achievement School District; Jordan Brophy-Hilton, Managing Director of Engagement, most recently served as Vice President, Program Delivery for the New Teacher Center; and Allison Leslie, Managing Director of Partnership, was the Memphis-area Superintendent for Aspire Public Schools. Former Senior Program Officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Heather Harding, joined the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation as Director, Policy and Public Understanding. Shannon Wheatley, former Chief of Staff for St. HOPE Public Schools, is now Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Lighthouse Community Public Schools. Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP Foundation, was appointed President of Texas School Venture Fund. Former Managing Partner of Education Cities, Butch Trusty, is now Manager at The Bridgespan Group. Jose Salas, formerly the Founding Principal of Prepa Tec Los Angeles High School, is now Executive Director of Montague Charter Academy. Peter Kannam is now the principal of Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School; previously, Peter was the Managing Partner and Co-founder of America Achieves. Robert Lundin, most recently a School Support Officer for Houston ISD, is now Assistant Superintendent for Spring ISD. Latricia Barksdale, formerly the Vice President, Strategy, for Teach for America, recently joined Promise54 as Chief Operating Officer. Laura Burgos is now District Support Chief at University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education; most recently, Laura was Leader in Residence at the University of Washington College of Education’s Center for Educational Leadership. Former Area Superintendent of Fulton County Schools, Dara Jones-Wilson, is now District Support Chief at University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education. Patrick Brynett, former Partner with TNTP, recently accepted the position as Deputy Chief, Talent Acquisition and Retention at DC Public Schools. The Texas Charter Schools Association named Starlee Coleman, previously the Co-Founder of SchoolForward, as Chief Executive Officer. Alex Hernandez, a Partner at the Charter School Growth Fund, will be the Dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Virginia. Shane Martin was named Provost of Seattle University; most recently, Shane served as dean of both the School of Education and Graduate Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Consultant Deena Williams Mangrum recently joined College Track as Talent Acquisition Director. Founder and President of Blue Seats Consulting, Connie Casson, is now Chief Operating Officer at Surge Institute. Mala Batra Kohli was recently named Interim CEO of Aspire Public Schools after serving as Chief of Staff. Ian Roberts, formerly the Network Superintendent for St. Louis Public Schools, is now Chief Schools Officer for Aspire Public Schools. Anupam Mishra also joined Aspire Public Schools as Chief People Officer after serving as Managing Director for Hellman & Friedman. Morty Ballen, Founder and CEO of Explore Schools, will transition at the end of the year. In January 2019, Christina Froeb, currently serving as Interim Superintendent, will serve as Superintendent, and Carrie Mauer, Chief Operating Officer, will become Executive Director. Dwayne Tucker, who served as Interim CEO of LEAD Public Schools, was recently named permanent CEO. Joaquin Hernandez recently joined Ednovate Inc. as Director of Academics; he was previously Director, Professional Development for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools. Sam Dolcine, former Recruitment Manager with Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, will be leading talent for Endeavor Schools. Gabrielle Ramos-Solomon recently joined the New York City Department of Education as First Deputy, Office of Student Enrollment; most recently, Gabrielle was Chief of School Planning, Enrollment, Research & Data Transparency and Family Support for Newark Public Schools. Sheri Miller, formerly the President & CEO of TranscEnDence Educational Partners, is now Executive Director of the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. Former American Youth Symphony Executive Director, Varina Bleil, is now Executive Director of Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts. The Oakland Public Education Fund recently welcomed Joel Mackey as Executive Director; Joel most recently served as Executive Director of the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund. John Monteleone, former Assistant Superintendent for Oberlin City Schools, is now Model Education Leader for Breakthrough Schools. Brigid Ahern was recently named President and CEO of Turnaround for Children after serving as their Chief External Affairs Officer. Former Chief of Staff and Director, Communications for Building Excellent Schools, Aasimah Navlakhi, was recently named Chief Executive Officer.


Education Reformers on the Move: April 2018

“Education Reformers on the Move” is a quarterly email that tracks new hires at the director level and above in reform-oriented school systems, CMOs, foundations, funding organizations and other nonprofits that support the movement.

If you or someone you know has recently made a move that you think is appropriate for sector recognition, please feel free to email the information.

Congratulations to the individuals listed below on their recent transitions!

Carrie Mauer, previously Senior Director of Strategy and Operations, Teaching and Learning Labs at KIPP Foundation, is now Chief Operating Officer at Explore Schools. Sarah Lillis, former Institute Director and COO for EdVoice, accepted the California Executive Director role at Teach Plus. Ric Zappa is the new Chief Academic Officer for Caliber Schools; he was most recently Director of School Culture for KIPP Bay Area. Katie Dankleff Pasniewski recently joined the Ewing Marion Kauffman School as Chief Operating Officer; she was most recently Associate Director, The Network at Building Excellent Schools.

(The above paragraph represents searches conducted or placements made by The K12 Search Group).

Para Los Niños announced the selection of Dr. Frances Esparza, Ed.D, as Superintendent & Vice President of Charter Schools; Dr. Esparza transitioned to Para Los Niños after serving as Assistant Superintendent for Boston Public Schools. Kirat Doshi, previously the Director of Evaluation and Data Insights at eSpark Learning, is now Managing Director of Analytics for OneGoal. Amy Liszt, former President and Executive Director of Academy for Global Citizenship, will soon join Chicago Public Schools as Director of Instructional Quality.  Connor Allman transitioned from his role as Data Culture and Professional Learning Manager at Denver Public Schools to Director of Instruction and Leadership Development at Aurora Public Schools. Brittany Estrada, formerly Program and Policy Development Advisor for Los Angeles Unified Schools District, is now Vice President of Performance Management at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.  Krupa Desai transitioned to Managing Director of The Broad Residency after serving as Chief Strategy Officer for Citizens of the World Charter Schools. Former Executive Director of University Heights Charter School and Owner of Scholutions LLC, Misha Simmonds is now Senior Portfolio Director for the Newark Charter School Fund. Allen Mueller, previously the Executive Director of New Schools for Georgia and Strategic Account Executive for Vantage Learning, is now the Director, District Flexibility and Charter Schools Division for the Georgia Department of Education. Former Executive Director of Talent Impact at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Jessica Wilson, is now a Consultant with Hendy Avenue Consulting. Jon Schwartz, previously Operator in Residence for the Charter Schools Growth Fund, is now a Partner at Wildflower Schools. Former Chief Strategy and Operating Officer at The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Mikelle Willis is now Chief People Officer for Leading Educators. Brian Sims, previously Director of Education at ARK Schools in London, recently transition to Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives at UKA Ventures. Education Consultant Frances McLaughlin joined Wildflower Schools as a Partner; previously she was President of Education Pioneers. Andrea Zayas has recently become Founding Executive Director of New Orleans Youth Alliance; she most recently served as Founder and CEO of Upstream ED Consulting. Nancy Livingston, former Chief Academic Officer for KIPP NYC, recently accepted a role as Head of Schools for KIPP Nashville. Benjamin Lindquist, previously a Program Director for the Kern Family Foundation, is now President at the Colorado League of Charter Schools. Warren Morgan was recently named Executive Director at Teach for America in St. Louis, MO; he previously served as a White House Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education. Education Consultant, Katie Hytros, recently joined Future Leaders of Chicago as Executive Director. Former Co-CEO of Project Renaissance, Justin Testerman, is now Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships at Instruction Partners. Tanya Ramos Puig is now Chief Executive Officer for Pencils of Promise. Billy Snow recently accepted the Superintendent role for Cedar Hill ISD; Billy previously served as Chief of Transformation and Innovation for Dallas ISD. Harold Lee recently accepted a position as Director of Strategy and Special Projects with the New Jersey Charter Schools Association. Former Executive Director (West Region) for New Leaders, Sarah Slavin, is now Chief Executive Officer for Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT). Angie Peluse transitioned to Chief of Regions for College Track after serving as Vice President of Financial Strategy and Innovation for Teach for America. Asheesh Misra, former DC Development Director at Urban Teachers, now serves as Chief Academic Officer for DC International School. Edward Xavier Barrios, most recently an Executive Principal for Metro Nashville Public Schools, is now Chief Academic Officer for LEAD Academy University Charter School. Felix Flores now serves as Bay Area Executive Director for iMentor; most recently, he was National Director at #YesWeCode. Jonathan Mathis recently transitioned to Executive Director of Next Step Public Charter School. Michelle Seijas, formerly a Principal at Sacramento Charter High School, was recently named Oakland Executive Director of Surge Institute. Carissa Moffat Miller was recently named Executive Director of the Council of Chief State School Officers after serving as the Deputy Executive Director. Former Senior Director of Talent for the Charter School Growth Fund Alesha Arscott is now Chief Talent Officer at STRIVE Prep. Brett Turner, previously Director of Blended Learning at the New Mexico Public Education Department, recently transitioned to Director of Research and Policy at Tennessee SCORE. Nate Easley now serves as the Founding CEO of Blue School Partners; he was previously Executive Director for the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Former Executive Director, Western Region for New Leaders for New School, Kareem Weaver, has recently transitioned to Managing Partner at New Schools Venture Fund.  Jason Atwood, former Senior Director, Evaluation & Learning at Education Pioneers, transitioned to Director of Research and Learning at New Schools Venture Fund. Amy Wilkins, most recently of The College Board and Education Trust now serves as Senior Vice President of Advocacy for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Josh Thomases, former Dean of Innovation, Policy, and Research for Bank Street College of Education, is now Executive Vice President of Great Oaks Foundation. Jean Claude Brizard was recently promoted from Senior Fellow to Deputy Director & Senior Advisor at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

How to Hire a Charter School ED

As the number of public charter schools continues to grow, so too does the need to find great leaders to run them. Since starting The K12 Search Group—an executive recruitment firm—four years ago, I’ve received more than a few urgent calls from board members asking if we conduct executive director (ED) searches. Even if a board doesn’t have the money to engage a search firm, I’m always happy to answer questions and provide insight gained from my experiences both as a board member conducting an ED search for a charter school and as an executive recruiter who has helped many charter school boards fi nd great talent. I have shared some of this insight here.

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