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Charter Board Partners

Carrie’s deep commitment to equity and quality in public education is backed by extensive experience in education policy and reform, especially for traditionally underserved students. Her experience includes analyzing federal education policy, shaping innovative school design programs, and teaching 8th-grade social studies. She delivered a TEDx talk about CBP’s innovative work to improve the quality of public education. Her work has been featured in Education Week, the Washington Post, and Education Next. Carrie chaired the Board of Trustees of the National Child Research Center, and currently serves on the Georgetown University Child and Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Council and on the founding board of School Board Partners. She graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School and Brown University, and is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow. An avid runner and amateur baker, Carrie lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband, two daughters, and high-strung dog.

Email Carrie: cirvin@charterboards.org

Lucy brings the experience of more than 20 years to her role. She joined Teach For America and taught middle school in New York City. She has held leadership positions with a number of exceptional institutions, including the New York State Education Department, Teach For America New York and CORO NY. Lucy shifted to adult education at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where she served as a leader in the Office of Organizational Development and Training. She then joined City University of New York’s School of Professional Studies to manage a state-wide governance training program. In 2011, Lucy became the Executive Director of Citizen Schools, an out-of-school time program. Most recently she worked at Teach For America where her work focused on the organization's executives. Outside of work, her passions are great food and incredible wine.

Contact Lucy: lcastillo@charterboards.org

Kate helps charter school board members across the country understand how to recognize and demand excellence at their schools. Kate’s passion for educational equity comes from years of working directly with students and families in Washington, DC. Many of her “kids” from Horton’s Kids and KIPP DC are now working in education as young adults. Kate’s career has given her direct experience with charter governance at its best and its most dysfunctional. Her work is driven by the principle that with strong leadership, charter schools have the potential to bring about the transformative and lasting impact that their students deserve. Kate holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a Master’s in Education from The George Washington University. On her breaks from geeking out over governance, Kate runs with Back on My Feet Baltimore, plans adventurous trips and meals, binges on podcasts, and dotes on her niece.

Email Kate: kessex@charterboards.org

Debbie coaches, trains and consults with boards across the country concentrating on good governance, people and relationships. She understands how a board focused on more than just compliance is critical to the success of a school. As DC Director for Education Pioneers, Senior Vice President of Partner Engagement at America's Promise Alliance, and Program Manager at the CityBridge Foundation, she built partnerships and helped connect talent to opportunities. 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.

Email Debbie: dlister@charterboards.org

Shereen leads board candidate recruitment and supports boards across the country in their efforts to build relationships and govern better. She began her career by teaching elementary school in New York City through Teach for America. Although she left the classroom many years ago, Shereen will tell you that she is, and will always be, a teacher. As Senior Director of Community Partnerships and later Special Assistant to the Chancellor at DC Public Schools, she successfully cultivated relationships that resulted in tremendous resources for students and teachers across the district. 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. Away from the office, she is usually pedaling away on her Peloton or checking her phone to make sure her six-year-old daughter hasn’t purchased anything online.

Email Shereen: swilliams@charterboards.org

Sarah provides strategic programmatic support across the team. Beginning as a Teach For America corps member in Houston, TX, Sarah taught middle school math and science for six years. In teacher leader roles at KIPP Houston, she facilitated professional development, oversaw student culture, and coordinated fundraising. With Leading Educators, Sarah was a founding member of the district consulting team, in which she partnered with school systems leaders to assess needs and prepare for launch of teacher leadership programs. Most recently, Sarah has provided consulting for public charter schools, including leading the recruitment and hiring of founding leadership roles for the first all-girls charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. After hours, Sarah runs 5K’s, spends quality time with her family, and volunteers as a reading tutor.

Email Sarah: smorgan@charterboards.org

David is a former journalist, with a commitment to telling meaningful stories and promoting educational opportunity for all students. He served as spokesman and communications director for the Maine Department of Education and then for the annual multi-state PARCC assessments during a time of intense national scrutiny. He has been quoted extensively in Politico, the Washington Post, Education Week, on National Public Radio, and in other national and state media. David was a member of the second cohort of Teach For America, teaching high school French in pre-Katrina New Orleans. He co-founded and directed the Maine Jewish Film Festival, and serves on the board of a small family foundation based in New York. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and two very large cats.

Email David: dconnerty-marin@charterboards.org

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 GettingSmart.com. 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.

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.

Brian Jones

Brian Jones is Strayer University’s 15th president. He joined the university in 2012 as general counsel. Previously, he co-founded and was president of Latimer Education, which partnered with an historically black college to provide online postsecondary education solutions to African American working adults.

He was General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Education, in the administration of President George W. Bush, and was an attorney with Curiale Dellaverson Hirschfeld Kelly and Kraemer. He has served California Governor Pete Wilson and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and as President of the Center for New Black Leadership.He currently chairs the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and serves on the boards of directors of two DC public charter schools, College Loan Corporation and the Washington Ballet. He was previously chair of the DC Public Charter School Board. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the UCLA School of Law.

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.

Frances Messano

Frances Messano is Chief of Staff and Managing Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund where she co-leads the diversity strategy and investment work, ensures strong organizational culture, designs the annual Summit conference, manages the relationship with the board, and leads strategic initiatives to support NewSchools’ success. Most recently, Frances served as Vice President of Strategy on Teach for America’s Strategy, Innovation and Organization Development Team. Before that, Frances was an Associate Partner at Monitor Institute, the social impact practice within Monitor Deloitte’s strategy consulting arm, where she focused her practice on helping education organizations scale their impact through strategy development, organizational design, leadership development, and program design.

Additional experiences include working at Morgan Stanley for four years in equity sales and structuring. Frances has an MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Harvard College. Frances is a first-generation college graduate and an alum of Prep for Prep, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, organizations that she credits with helping her gain access to educational and professional opportunity.

Michael Pickrum

Michael Pickrum is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Cengage, an education and technology company serving higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide.

Michael most recently served as Chief Strategy Officer of EVERFI, an edtech company that provides digital learning and certification solutions. Previously, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at the global media and entertainment company BET Networks/VIACOM.

A native of Cincinnati, Pickrum holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in engineering-economic systems, both from Stanford University. He earned a master's in business administration in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the board the Meridian International Center.

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.


Clark Charitable Foundation

J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation

Harold M. & Adeline S. Morrison Foundation

Weatherspoon Charitable Foundation

"We always know if the board we are meeting with is a CBP board. They ask thoughtful questions, bring a sense of professionalism to the table, and are focused on student outcomes. CBP boards understand their responsibility, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, for ensuring that the students at their schools are getting a high-quality education. We can spot a CBP board a mile away, and it’s a sign of an increasingly accountable and responsible charter school sector."

— Naomi Rubin DeVeaux

Deputy Director, DC Public Charter School Board