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Charter Board Partners

CEO and Co-Founder Carrie Chimerine Irvin has an extensive background in education policy and school reform, focusing on preK-12 education for economically disadvantaged students and communities. In 2013, Carrie delivered a TEDx talk about Charter Board Partners' innovative work to improve the quality of public education. In addition, CBP's work has been featured in Education Week, Education Next, The Washington Post, and NPR. Previously, Carrie was a consultant for Education Resource Strategies, a nonprofit that works with urban districts to help them redirect resources to improve student achievement; held a leadership position at New American Schools; held positions as a policy researcher and analyst at Policy Studies Associates, and taught eighth grade at the American School in Japan. Carrie is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow, a prestigious and selective program designed to "strengthen and sustain diverse, high potential leaders who are reimagining public education.” She recently chaired the Board of Trustees of the National Child Research Center, a model preschool in Washington, DC, and currently serves on the Georgetown Child and Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Council. She holds a master's degree in education policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor's degree from Brown University. Carrie lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and two daughters. Email:

Chief of Governance and Business Strategy Kate Essex brings extensive experience in urban education to Charter Board Partners. She began her career in education as the first Education Director for Horton’s Kids, an award-winning nonprofit serving children and families in Anacostia. She then went on to gather a broad perspective on the DC Education landscape through positions at KIPP DC: KEY Academy, Sidwell Friends School, and Excel Academy Public Charter School. Much of Kate's work has focused on increasing access to great schools for all children regardless of zip code or family circumstance. Kate remains in touch with many of the students she has worked with over the years as they continue with their education by attending some of the nation’s best high schools and universities. These students have shaped her core belief that an excellent education has the power to transform a child’s future. Kate holds a master's in education and human development from The George Washington University and a bachelor's degree from Duke University. Email:

Director of Board Support and Evaluation Sarah Manes comes to Charter Board Partners with extensive experience in strategic planning and education research. Most of her work has focused on school leadership and teacher-related issues as well as STEM program evaluation and workforce concerns. Sarah has worked with myriad stakeholders in the education landscape from Montgomery County Public Schools to the National Science Foundation to the Urban Institute. Sarah has also been very active in schools including serving as a Trustee of an independent school board, president of a parents' association, and a Girls on the Run coach. She continues to actively volunteer in her children’s school. Sarah holds a master's in public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College. Email:

Chief of Governance and Recruitment Strategy Shereen Williams joins Charter Board Partners with a wealth of experience in public education. Most recently she was the Special Assistant to the Chancellor at DC Public Schools, the fastest improving urban school district in the nation. Before that, she served as the Senior Director of Community Partnerships and managed the district’s relationships with local and national partners. In that role, Shereen successfully cultivated relationships that resulted in tremendous resources for students and teachers across the district. She began her career 22 years ago as a Teach for America corps member, teaching elementary school in the South Bronx and Washington Heights sections of New York City. Shereen has also served on the board of the Emmanuel Community Economic Development Corporation in Brooklyn, NY as both secretary and board chair. Shereen holds a master’s degree in urban planning from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Email:

Recruitment Specialist Alicia Robinson is the founder of EdPlus Consulting, born in 2013 out of a desire to improve educational equity for marginalized communities. Alicia has fifteen years of hands-on experience in early childhood through 12 th  grade urban education as an instructor, non-profit manager, talent/human assets executive and career search/development coach. She is passionate about connecting people with opportunities to create equitable education for every student. EdPlus works with those invested in education as a social justice issue to bring the right people to the right work. EdPlus Consulting engages in individual coaching for talent professionals and career searchers, recruitment searches for schools and education organizations, and professional development for those leading talent management initiatives within high-impact organizations. Prior to beginning her consulting career, Alicia served as the Chief Talent Officer at DC Prep, a charter management organization for students in preschool-8 th  grade ranked for multiple consecutive years as the highest performing CMO in Washington. Alicia began her career in education in 2001 as a member of the inaugural class of DC Teaching Fellows, a program of TNTP, and went on to join the founding faculty of DC Prep. She also has experience leading education and recruitment initiatives at Washington Scholarship Fund and New Leaders for New Schools.

Senior Consultant Sid Smith leads our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work. He is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow and is a founding board member of Pahara Institute, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify, strengthen, and sustain diverse high-potential leaders who are transforming public education. Sid also serves on the board of the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law Foundation as well as the board of Reading Partners, Washington, D.C. He is on the Advisory Board for the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School’s Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, serves on the St. Andrew’s diversity council, and coaches the school’s girls’ Junior Varsity and middle school basketball teams. His past education-focused activities include serving as Chair of the Multicultural Affairs Committee on the Phillips Academy, Andover Alumni Council. Sid’s economic-focused activities include being a Charter Member of The Marathon Foundation, an organization focused on increasing investment of capital into businesses with significant minority ownership or management; serving as past Chair of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce Incubator Advisory Board; and serving as a former Commissioner on the Virginia Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Enterprise. Sid is also the founder and President of SRS Counsel PLLC, a solo law practice that provides virtual general counsel services on a range of corporate and transactional matters. He serves as general counsel to Syncom Venture Partners, a leading media and communications venture firm, and the National Association of Investment Companies, the leading trade association for investors in ethnically diverse companies. Prior to founding SRS Counsel, Sid practice for nearly 14 years at the law firms of K&L Gates LLP and Cooley LLP. More recently, he was a partner in the corporate and securities group at K&L Gates. Sid is also co-founder of Discourse Analytics, Inc., a data analytics company launched in 2011 that enhances audience messaging and activation by building issue-weighted profiles on individuals and providing micro-segmenting of groups, audiences, and communities based upon common activation points. Before becoming an attorney and entrepreneur, Sid was Assistant for External Affairs for New Jersey Governor James J. Florio, and prior to that he was Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs for New Jersey Congressman Robert G. Torricelli. Sid graduated from Yale with a B.A. in English, where he was a member of the varsity basketball team, and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is also a graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover.

Senior Governance Consultant Debbie comes to Charter Board Partners with over two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector. She most recently served as the DC Director for Education Pioneers where she led the successful growth and implementation of transformative Education Pioneers Fellowship programs in the DC Metro area with school districts, charter schools, and nonprofits. Debbie was Senior Vice President of Partner Engagement at America's Promise Alliance and prior to that role, she was a Program Manager at the CityBridge Foundation. Debbie holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Florida and a master’s from American University. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer working on nonprofit development in Lithuania and was an active member of the board of Septima Clark Public Charter School in DC.

Board of Directors

Tom Vander Ark, Board Chair

Tom Vander Ark is the author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and CEO/Partner and founder of Mr. Vander Ark is also a partner in Learn Capital, a venture capital firm investing in learning content, platforms, and services with the goal of transforming educational engagement, access, and effectiveness. Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he implemented $3.5 billion in scholarship and grant programs. Mr. Vander Ark was the first business executive to serve as public school superintendent in Washington state. A prolific writer and speaker, Mr. Vander Ark has published thousands of articles and blogs. In December 2006, Newsweek readers voted him the most influential baby boomer in education. Mr. Vander Ark is a director of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and several other nonprofits. He received the Distinguished Achievement Medal and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. He received his master's in business administration in finance from the University of Denver. He continues his education online.

Michael Clifton

Michael S. Clifton is a Vice President in the Technology, Media & Telecom Buyout Group. He focuses on buyout and growth equity investments in larger companies including software, software enabled services, semiconductors, communication infrastructure, and related distribution businesses. Mr. Clifton is based in Washington. Since joining Carlyle in 2011, Mr. Clifton has been actively involved with the firm's investments in CommScope, SS&C Technologies, and Freescale Semiconductor. Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Clifton was with Brazos Private Equity Partners in Dallas, Arcapita in Atlanta, and Banc of America Securities’ mergers & acquisitions group in New York. Mr. Clifton received an MBA with high distinction from the Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar, and an A.B., cum laude, in classics from Davidson College.

Evan DeCorte

Evan DeCorte is Vice President at Columbia Capital. He joined Columbia Capital in 2011 and focuses on Broadband Infrastructure, Enterprise IT Services and Cyber Security investments. Prior to joining Columbia Capital, Mr. DeCorte was the Head of Marketing and led the Voice Business for Roshan TDCA, Afghanistan’s largest telecommunications provider. Before joining Roshan, Mr. DeCorte was as an analyst with JPMorgan Chase’s foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives group in New York. Mr. DeCorte received his bachelor's in science from The George Washington University, where he double majored in Economics and Political Science.

Naomi Rubin DeVeaux

Naomi Rubin DeVeaux guides the school performance and data teams at the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) and is responsible for the development and implementation of qualitative and quantitative tools to evaluate public charter schools. Naomi co-authored, with Mark Schneider of AIR and Steven Taylor at FOCUS, Choice Without Options (2011), a study of school reform in the District of Columbia. She has presented at the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools Annual Conventions on Common Core State Standards and Charter School Design and Development. Ms. DeVeaux has extensive experience working in urban education as both a teacher and literacy coach at Long Beach Unified School District (CA) and the Seed Public Charter School (DC). As Deputy Director at Friends of Choice in Urban Schools (FOCUS), she led the effort to develop and publish the first school quality dashboards that compared school performance across sector and across the city. Ms. DeVeaux earned her bachelor’s degree from Reed College (OR) and a master's in curriculum and instruction from California State University, Long Beach. She holds a professional clear teaching credential (CA) and was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.

Corey Ealons

Corey brings more than 20 years of expertise as a strategic communicator from a wide range of experiences including The White House, Capitol Hill, political campaigns, commercial marketing and the U.S. military. As a leader on the VOX team, Corey directs client efforts in broad political, public policy and reputational campaigns. Corey is also co-chair of both the VOX Cybersecurity Practice and Media Relations Practice. Prior to joining VOX, Corey served as a communications director for The White House communications office providing counsel on issues concerning specialty media to President Barack Obama, members of the White House Executive Staff and Senior Administration Officials. In this role, he developed and implemented targeted communications strategies for the Administration’s most significant initiatives including the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform. Corey held the same position during the 2008 Obama-Biden General Election Campaign. His political work also includes serving in presidential campaigns since 2000 as well as a number of congressional campaigns across the country. In 2002, Corey managed a winning campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. Corey later served as deputy chief of staff and communications director for the congressman responsible for constituency communications, media relations and issue advocacy associated with the Member’s committees including Ways & Means, Judiciary and Financial Services. Additional career highlights include service with the 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard), the U.S. Army Ceremonial Honor Guard for the President of the United States which conducts funerals and guards the Tomb of the Unknown in Arlington National Cemetery. Corey is a graduate of the University of Alabama where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and Political Communications. He is a regular political commentator appearing on FOX News and National Public Radio. During his rare down time, he enjoys spending time with family.

Julie Green

Julie Anne Green, Executive Director at New Futures, has more than 20 years of nonprofit and leadership experience including development, marketing, public relations, and community engagement. Since joining E.L. Haynes in 2005, annual fund revenues have grown by more than 3,000%, and Green led the school's first-ever comprehensive campaign, raising more than $11 million for annual, capital, and special projects between 2009 and 2012. Previously, Green was Director of Development for George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, where she raised private funds and built community fundraising organizations for the College’s Center for the Arts, Theater of the First Amendment, and four academic arts departments. She has worked with Virginia Opera, The Washington Opera, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is an officer on the Board of Directors for Jubilee JumpStart, a non-profit early childhood center serving DC families. Green holds a B.A. in music from Mount Holyoke College.

Beth Hunkapiller

Beth Hunkapiller is board chair of Aspire Public Schools, a charter management organization with 38 schools and 15,000 students in California and Tennessee. She has served as board chair of Aspire for nine years. Beth began her involvement with charter schools as a founder of the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, the first charter school in California. A nineteen-year member of the San Carlos Elementary School District Board of Education, Beth served eleven years as a member of the California Advisory Commission on Charter Schools. As a founding member of the commission, she participated in early California charter policy development, authorization and oversight. Beth was chair of the charter commission from 2008 to 2010. Her career in education began as an eighth grade middle school reading and English teacher of underserved Latino, Vietnamese and Cambodian students in the Mountain View School District in El Monte, California. She is also formerly a middle school administrator and director of the California Department of Education Charter Schools Division. Beth graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University and received her teaching credential from U.C. Irvine and masters from USC.

Carrie Irvin

CEO and Co-Founder Carrie Chimerine Irvin has an extensive background in education policy and school reform, focusing on preK-12 education for economically disadvantaged students and communities. In 2013, Carrie delivered a TEDx talk about Charter Board Partners' innovative work to improve the quality of public education. In addition, CBP's work has been featured in Education Week, Education Next, The Washington Post, and NPR. Previously, Carrie was a consultant for Education Resource Strategies, a nonprofit that works with urban districts to help them redirect resources to improve student achievement; held a leadership position at New American Schools; held positions as a policy researcher and analyst at Policy Studies Associates, and taught eighth grade at the American School in Japan. Carrie is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow, a prestigious and selective program designed to "strengthen and sustain diverse, high potential leaders who are reimagining public education.” She recently chaired the Board of Trustees of the National Child Research Center, a model preschool in Washington, DC, and currently serves on the Georgetown Child and Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Council. She holds a master's degree in education policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor's degree from Brown University. Carrie lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband and two daughters.

Brian Jones

Brian Jones has extensive experience across sectors, having served in senior leadership roles in the business, education, and nonprofit sectors, and in state and federal government, and has a J.D. and legal experience as well. He was appointed Strayer University’s 15th president in 2015. He joined the university as its general counsel in 2012 and later spent a year working as part of the founding team of Strayer@Work, a business unit focused on providing customized skills development and employer funded degree programs to corporate clients. Immediately prior to joining Strayer University, Brian co-founded and served as president of Latimer Education, Inc., an early stage venture-backed education company partnering with an historically black college to provide online postsecondary education solutions to African American working adults. He served as General Counsel of College Loan Corporation and was responsible for legal activities and assuring compliance with federal and state laws regulating higher education financing and marketing. He served for four years as the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), a Senate-confirmed presidential appointment in the administration of President George W. Bush, in which capacity he was the fourth-ranking officer of the Department and principal adviser to the Secretary on all legal matters affecting department programs and activities. Prior to his tenure at DOE, Brian was an attorney with the law firm of Curiale Dellaverson Hirschfeld Kelly and Kraemer, where he provided educational law counseling to many colleges and universities. He also served California Governor Pete Wilson as Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary and Deputy General Counsel, as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee from 1997 to 1998 and served as the President of the Center for New Black Leadership from 1995 to 1997. Brian serves on the Loan Advisory Council of the California Student Aid Commission. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University. Brian served as board chair of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and serves on the board of directors of two D.C. public charter schools (Monument Academy and D.C. Prep) as well as the College Loan Corporation and the Washington Ballet. He previously served as chair of the D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB), the sole authorizer of public charter schools in the nation’s capital.

Nicholas Luongo

Nick Luongo is a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP. Mr. Luongo focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions and general corporate matters. He has developed particular experience in structuring and negotiating leveraged buyouts, acquisitions and dispositions of corporate divisions and equity investment transactions. In 2013, Mr. Luongo was honored as a winner of The M&A Advisor's "40 Under 40" M&A Advisor Recognition Award. He received his juris doctorate from Boston University School of Law and his bachelor's degree from Yale University.

Maura Marino

Maura Marino is the Chief Executive Officer of Education Forward DC. Maura previously served as the Managing Partner of the DC Schools Fund at NewSchools Venture Fund. Prior to joining NewSchools, Ms. Marino was Program Director and Lead Teacher at East Palo Alto High School, a charter school in Northern California. As Program Director, she coordinated student support services and managed external relations in addition to teaching humanities. Ms. Marino served on the steering committee for the Stanford Schools Corporation and was a member of the Stanford School of Education’s Performance Assessment Collaborative. During graduate school, Ms. Marino worked on the Network Growth Team at the KIPP Foundation, implementing their “smart growth” strategy. Ms. Marino earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Stanford University, a master's degree in teaching from Teachers’ College, and a master's in business administration from Harvard University.

Lisa Palmer

A Duke University graduate, Lisa Palmer has worked in a variety of fields all with a goal of generating revenue and providing value to stakeholders. She began her career as a Financial Analyst at Lehman Brothers in the Media and Telecommunications Group. Upon completion of the Analyst program, she transitioned to the media industry where she worked for three independent film studios as well as a television network in the areas of sales and marketing. After working with nonprofit clients at a sponsorship marketing agency, she moved to the nonprofit world where she until recently served as the Director of Major Partnerships at the national nonprofit KaBOOM! Since 2006, Ms. Palmer has closed deals with over 70 corporate partners and has served as a senior member of a team that has raised approximately $8oM which has funded, among other programs at KaBOOM!, the creation of over 1,000 playgrounds serving more than three million kids over the lifetime of the playgrounds.

Michael Pickrum

Michael Pickrum is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), and the pre-eminent entertainment brand serving African Americans and consumers of Black culture globally. As Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Pickrum is responsible for managing the financial operations for BET Networks and plays a strategic role in the overall management of the company. Prior to becoming Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Pickrum was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of BET Interactive, LLC, since 2003. He was responsible for the development and refinement of’s successful business model, driving the site’s growth and accelerating revenue. He also facilitated the 2006 purchase of from the site’s original non-BET investment group. Under Mr. Pickrum’s leadership, has become a leading online destination for African American content. Mr. Pickrum first joined BET Interactive in September 1999 as Vice President of Business Development for, where he expanded the site’s business plan and developed news concepts for market analysis and competitive analysis. Prior to that, he served as a telecommunications and Internet consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. A native of Cincinnati, Mr. Pickrum holds a master's in business administration in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He also has a master’s of science degree in engineering-economic systems and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Job Opportunities

Charter Board Partners is looking for motivated and talented professionals to join our growing team as we work to ensure that every child has the opportunity to attend a great school. Our current openings are listed below:

National Team

Our Supporters

Charter Board Partners is grateful to our generous supporters for their belief in our mission and for making our work possible.

Lead Investors

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy and productive lives. Under its U.S. program, the Foundation focuses on ensuring that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and in life. In alignment with its "College-Ready Education" U.S. program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given Charter Board Partners a grant to strengthen governance within the charter school sector, including support to expand our proven governance model to Washington state and to build out an online resource center of best governance practices, tools, and case studies.

NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools is a national venture philanthropy firm that raises philanthropic capital from both individual and institutional investors, and then uses those funds to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education. NewSchools is committed to transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children, especially those in underserved communities, have the opportunity to succeed. The firm initially invested in Charter Board Partners through its DC Schools Fund to allow us to launch operations in the fall of 2010. One year later, NewSchools renewed its investment with a sizable grant, making Charter Board Partners one of four key DC investments to improve academic achievement in charter schools.

The Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation gave Charter Board Partners a grant to implement core parts of our model. Driven by the urgent need to dramatically raise student achievement, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, the Foundation has invested more than $1 billion to date to initiatives that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education. Empowering parents to choose quality schools, regardless of type - traditional public, private, or public charter school - will help spur the bold transformation of our national K-12 system of public education. Washington, DC is one of the Foundation's key markets and Charter Board Partners is a part of their investment in stronger charter schools.

Corporate Partners

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins is a full-service international law firm with approximately 2,000 attorneys in 31 offices around the world. The founders of Latham & Watkins instilled an ethic of hard work, commitment, and quality that flourishes today and has nurtured the firm's dramatic growth into one of the world's premier business law firms. They have built internationally recognized practices in a wide spectrum of transactional, litigation, corporate, and regulatory areas.

PwC Charitable Foundation

The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., is a section 501(c)(3) organization that makes contributions to the people of PwC in times of financial hardship, and to nonprofit organizations that support and promote education and humanitarianism.

The Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group is a private global investment firm based in Washington, DC that originates, structures, and acts as lead equity investor in management-led buyouts, strategic minority equity investments, equity private placements, consolidations and buildups, and growth capital financings.


Edelman is the world's largest public relations firm, with more than 5000 employees in 65 cities, as well as affiliates in more than 35 cities.

PNC Bank

PNC Bank operates across 19 states and the District of Columbia. With over 2,600 branches, PNC Bank provides more than 6 million consumer and small business customers with deposit, lending, cash management and investment services. CBP looks forward to recruiting some of PNC's rising stars into the Fellows program, utilizing their expertise to support charter school boards in DC.


Clark Charitable Foundation

Harold M. & Adeline S. Morrison Foundation

Weatherspoon Charitable Foundation

Public Funders