Hae-Sin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer
Hae-Sin has been the CEO of EFC for seven years and brings 25 years of K-12 public education experience to this team, most of those years in Oakland, California. Her focus before joining EFCPS was in the turnaround space – working with school districts and charter management organizations to recreate their lowest-performing schools as the CEO of urbanED solutions. She was also a lead organizer and co-founder of GO Public Schools, an education advocacy group and watchdog. Prior to that, Hae-Sin worked for the Oakland Unified School District as a teacher, principal, school developer, and executive officer. She led a team charged with designing and leading two foundational tenets of OUSD’s nationally-recognized reform effort – creating quality school options for families in every neighborhood and ensuring high-performing, more personalized communities of learning for children. She facilitated the design and opening of 22 new schools, replacing 18 chronically-failing schools.
She was the founding principal of ASCEND, one of the five original new small autonomous schools, a school recognized for accelerating achievement and engaging community. Ms. Thomas started teaching in Oakland in 1993 as a Special Education teacher at Bret Harte Middle School. She holds a B.A in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of San Francisco, and a Master’s in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. She was born in South Korea and resides in the East Bay with her husband, two children and Formosan Mountain Dog.
Larissa Adam, Superintendent of Schools
Larissa Adam is Chief Talent Officer at Education for Change. Before transitioning into her current role, she served as Chief Talent Officer for three years and prior to that served for ten years as Principal at ASCEND, a K-8 school recognized for its arts-integrated expeditionary learning model and effective community engagement practices. During that period, she facilitated significant increases in student achievement and led her staff and families to successfully petition for charter status. Prior to being Principal, she collaborated closely with community leaders to get Oakland’s New Small Autonomous school reform policy passed, and went on to co-found ASCEND, one of the first five New Small Autonomous Schools, as a teacher leader. Ms. Adam started teaching in Oakland through Teach for America in 1993, and continued teaching at her original placement site for eight years. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and International Relations from UC Davis, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from UC Berkeley.
Noah Bradley, Chief Academic Officer
Mr. Bradley comes to EFC with over 16 years of experience in education. After joining Teach for America in 1997, he taught 2nd and 3rd grades for 13 years in Oakland public schools, receiving OUSD’s Teacher of the Year award in 2010. Mr. Bradley went on to serve as a teacher coach, reading interventionist, and most recently Assistant Principal at Think College Now, a high-performing public school in Oakland’s Fruitvale district. He has provided strategic consulting for teacher teams, school sites, and districts across the greater bay area. He received his BA from Vanderbilt University and enjoys hiking and playing with his two children.
Sundar Chari, Chief Strategy Officer
Mr. Chari joined EFC as its first ever Director of Innovation and Technology in 2013. Previously, Mr. Chari had been on the front-line helping to lead high-profile initiatives for the Chicago Public Schools for 6 years. Mr. Chari has numerous experiences leading change management processes and developing the capacity of leaders to adopt new strategies, including leading a blended learning pilot program and developing the processes that guided over 500 schools through the major effort of redesigning their school day around student needs. Prior to working at Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Chari was a peer educator in India and a research associate for an organization that did economic analyses. He comes to EFC with a strong background in public policy, analytics, and project management.
Fabiola Harvey, Chief Operating Officer
Fabiola Harvey has been with Education for Change since 2006 and currently serves as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Earlier in her career, Fabiola served as the Area Financial Manager for the Las Vegas cluster of Edison Schools. While at Edison, she led the start-up and transition of the business operations for 7 schools in Clark County School District. This was the first time the district had awarded a cluster of schools to be managed by one charter management organization. Prior to working in Las Vegas, Fabiola served as the Business Manager for one of the most troubled schools in San Francisco Unified School District, Edison Charter Academy, where she successfully revived the financial stability of the organization . Fabiola arrived at EFC with over 15 years of experience and a long standing commitment to urban education. She was born and raised in Mexico City where she earned a double degree from the Centro Universitario Anglo Americano in Modern Languages and English as a Second Language Instruction. Most of her family live in Mexico City but her mom and her dog Gigi live in Las Vegas where she spends much of her free time.
Jen Nguyen, Chief of Leadership Development
Jen comes to EFC with over 18 years of experience in education. She began her teaching career in OUSD in 1996, and has taught at the early elementary level as well as in middle and high school. Jen is Reading Recovery Certified, a National Writing Project Fellow, National Board Certified, and has a Master’s Degree in Urban Educational Leadership. She has been coaching teachers and school leaders for the past ten years. After spending 16 years as a teacher and site leader, Jen took a district level position where she is able to work with coaches and site leaders to ensure high quality instruction is happening for every student in every classroom.
Brandee Stewart, Chief of Student Support Services
Brandee comes to EFC after 18 years working in education and as a principal in Oakland Unified for 12 years. She began her teaching career as a high school teacher in New Orleans in 1999 and also served as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles. In 2005 Brandee joined New Leaders for New Schools. As a New leader she led the redesign at the Havenscourt campus and in 2006 opened Roots International Academy (Middle School). In 2011 Brandee became an elementary principal in Oakland Unified and led the merger of two small elementary schools. In 2015 Brandee received her Doctorate in Education from the Leading for Educational Equity Program at University of California, Berkeley.