Sandra Alberti is Instruction Partners’ Board Chair and the Senior Fellow, Strategic Partnerships for Student Achievement Partners. Sandra joined SAP from the New Jersey Department of Education where she served as the Director of Academic Standards and as the Director of Math and Science Education. In these roles, Sandra was directly involved in state standards, assessment, and professional development policy and implementation strategies. Prior to working at the state level Sandra held several district-level positions including school superintendent, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, principal, subject area supervisor and high school science teacher. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biology from Rutgers University and master's and doctorate degrees in Educational Leadership from Rowan University.
Rick Cruz, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at College Board
Rick Cruz is a seasoned general manager and entrepreneurial leader with more than twenty years’ experience at high-growth for-profit and nonprofit enterprises in the education and advisory services sectors. Rick currently holds the role of Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at The College Board. Prior to that, he served as a Vice President at America’s Promise Alliance, a leader in Education and Youth Practice at the consulting firm FSG, CEO of DC Prep Public Charter Schools, Chief Field Officer of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Vice President at Teach For America, and manager at CEB. Rick also serves on the Board of Directors of the DC Public Charter School Board and is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Rick earned a BA in Philosophy from Yale University and resides in Washington, DC with his wife, Leslie, and two children, Luca and Belén.
Wil Del Pilar, Vice President, Higher Education Policy & Practice at The Education Trust
Wil Del Pilar, Ph.D., serves as Ed Trust’s Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Practice. In this role, Wil spearheads Ed Trust’s mission to highlight inequities and outline solutions in order to improve access, success, affordability, and completion in higher education for low-income students and students of color. Prior to joining Ed Trust, Wil served in Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s administration as Deputy Secretary of Postsecondary and Higher Education, where he developed and implemented the state’s strategic vision for higher education. Wil has also held senior development positions, as the director of development at Pennsylvania State University and at the University of Florida’s Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. Wil holds a doctorate in higher education/higher education administration from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree from California State University-Dominguez Hills, and a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University.
Emily Freitag, CEO of Instruction Partners and former Assistant Commissioner of Curriculum and Instruction at the Tennessee Department of Education
Before cofounding Instruction Partners (formerly District to District), Emily was the Assistant Commissioner of Curriculum and Instruction for the Tennessee Department of Education. In this capacity, she oversaw K-12 core academics including standards, assessment design, instructional materials and educator training and support. She led a collaborative effort to train more than 65,000 teachers and leaders during this time in a peer-led, content-based approach and Tennessee saw increases in student achievement on both NAEP and state tests. At the department, she also managed implementation of educator evaluation and served as Chief of Staff, supporting the development of the strategic plan. For five years before coming to Tennessee, Emily managed Teach For America’s D.C. and Connecticut Regions. She fell in love with education teaching seventh grade math in a rural community in Louisiana.
Kira Orange-Jones, Senior Vice President of Teach for America
Kira serves as Senior Vice President of Teach For America as well as an elected member on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Kira was a 2000 corps member in Baton Rouge, where she taught fourth grade at Eden Park Elementary. She went on to serve as school director for Teach For America summer institute and, as vice president of new site development, led the organization’s efforts to expand to three new regions. Kira is also a moderator for the Pahara fellowship, a 2010 fellow of the Aspen-New Schools cohort, and a member of the Aspen Global Network. In 2015 Kira was named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University, an M.Ed. in school leadership from Harvard University.
David Shine, Partner, Corporate Department at Paul Hastings LLP
David Shine is originally from Providence, RI, where he attended the public schools before escaping to college in New York (Columbia University) and law school (NYU). He has worked with a number of education non-profits including Transcend Education and New Classrooms, as well as the Greater Providence YMCA and YMCA Camp Fuller in Rhode Island. David is a partner at the international law firm Paul Hastings LLP where his work focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, and food and beverage start-ups.
Joanne Weiss, Independent consultant on education programs, technologies, and policy
Joanne Weiss is an independent consultant to organizations on education programs, technologies, and policy. For the past fifteen years, she has focused on driving systems-level education change through high-impact grantmaking, investing, and policymaking. From 2009-2013, she served in the Obama Administration as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and director of the federal Race to the Top program. Prior to that, she led companies that pioneered technology-based approaches to solving teaching and learning challenges in K-12 and higher education. Joanne also sits on the board of LearnZillion and is an Expert-in-Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-Lab), a Senior Fellow with FutureEd at Georgetown University, and a visiting professor in education policy at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. She holds a degree in biochemistry from Princeton University and resides with her husband in Washington, D.C.
Marcus Whitney, CEO of Health:Further and President and Founding Partner of Jumpstart Foundry
Marcus is CEO of Health:Further, a community and festival focused on the future of health, and President and Founding Partner of Jumpstart Foundry, a new kind of venture capital firm focused on innovative, early stage healthcare companies. Jumpstart has a portfolio of over 60 companies including Concert Genetics, Satchel and Sightbox. He also is a co-owner of Nashville SC, Nashville’s professional soccer team set to debut in 2018. Through his social enterprise The Unlikely Company, dedicated to educating and inspiring unlikely entrepreneurs, Marcus has a YouTube show called Create and Orchestrate about entrepreneurship and life, and is finishing a book now with the same title. Marcus has been listed in the Upstart 100 by Upstart Business Journal, Power 100 by Nashville Business Journal, and has been featured in Techcrunch, Fast Company and The Atlantic. Marcus is also a member of the board of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville, the Nashville Public Library Foundation and the Country Music Hall of Fame.