Sandra Alberti, Director of State and District Partnerships and PD for Student Achievement Partners
Sandra Alberti is Instruction Partners’ Board Chair and the Director of State and District Partnerships and Professional Development 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.
Chris Barbic, Senior Education Fellow at the Arnold Foundation and former Superintendent of the Achievement School District
Chris Barbic serves as senior education fellow with the Laura & John Arnold Foundation. His work involves advancing the portfolio model of school governance. He is the founding superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District, which was established to dramatically improve student outcomes at the state’s lowest-performing schools in 2011. He served at superintendent for five years. Prior to that, he founded and led YES Prep Public Schools as the CEO from 1998 to 2011. YES Prep is a network of free, open-enrollment public charter schools in Houston. The network’s 16 schools rank among the top-performing schools in the country, and over 70% of YES Prep alumni are currently enrolled in college or have earned a college degree.
David K. Cohen, John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Education and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan
David Cohen is a five-year Visiting Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and both the John Dewey Collegiate Professor of Education in the School of Education and Professor of Education Policy in the Ford School of Public Policy at The University of Michigan. He has been at the University of Michigan since 1993, before which he was the Dean of the College of Education and a professor at Michigan State University. His research interests include educational policy, the relations between policy and instruction, the improvement of teaching, and the relationship between democracy and public education. His past work includes studies of the effects of schooling, efforts to reform schools and teaching, the evaluation of educational experiments and large scale intervention programs, and the relations between research and policy.
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.
Ben Fenton, Senior Advisor for Systemic Impact for Turnaround for Children
Ben joined Turnaround for Children in 2016 as Senior Advisor for Systemic Impact. In this role, Ben works on strategies to codify and share the insights and tools that Turnaround is developing or adapting from its direct work in schools. Prior to joining Turnaround, Ben co-founded New Leaders, a national nonprofit dedicated to developing transformational leaders for high poverty schools. Over his 16-year tenure with New Leaders, Ben served as the Chief Operating Officer, led the organization’s research and evaluation work and most recently built a team that provided consulting services to states and districts around leadership quality, based on lessons learned from the New Leaders program and research. Ben was the lead author of Breakthrough Principals, a book that helps principals diagnose specific areas for school improvement and then match their leadership actions to those needs. Ben holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an A.B. in social studies from Harvard College.
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, Executive Director of Teach for America - New Orleans
Kira serves as the executive director of Teach For America-New Orleans 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.
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.