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EFC Board of Directors
Nick Driver, EFCPS Board Chair
Nick Driver serves as Vice President for Northern California for the California Charter Schools Association, a non-profit membership, technical assistance and advocacy group supporting charter public schools. Nick provides a wide range of advocacy and support services for existing charter schools, as well as playing an important advocacy and technical assistance role in assisting community groups, teachers and parents who are interested in opening up new charter schools. His local advocacy and support for charters has led to the creation of more than 100 new charter public schools during his tenure, while supporting the 400+ existing charter schools in northern California to grow stronger and to focus on increasing student achievement; however schools desire to measure it. Nick brings a diverse background in journalism, international affairs, and education activism to his charter school work. His first career as a journalist in China during the 1980s and 1990s provided a deep appreciation for U.S.-style democracy, as well as the intense focus that Chinese families place on education. Upon his return from China, Nick immersed himself in public schools, and specifically the politics and processes of San Francisco public education. Not content to be an involved parent at his kids’ local elementary school, he sought to make an impact on city-wide and statewide educational issues as a parent activist. He believes that charter schools are one avenue to strengthen the entire public education system.
Adam Smith, Board Member
Adam currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Bonfire Communications, a communications and strategy agency based in San Francisco. He is responsible for the success of Bonfire’s client and operational project work. Prior to joining Bonfire, Adam was senior vice president and U.S. practice director at the global public relations firm Hill and Knowlton (HK) where he managed day-to-day operations for its online communications practice. Earlier in his career, Adam managed the client services team at Extension11 and also served as a consultant in PwC’s Strategic Change consulting practice in New York. Adam holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Indiana University and an MBA in marketing from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Eva Camp, Board Member
Eva also serves on the Board of Full Circle Fund. A mother of three children, she dedicates her time to improving education. She currently leads the Parents Association with over 600 volunteers and serves on the Board of Trustees at Head-Royce, her children’s school. She also serves on the Board of National Equity Project (formerly BAYCES), which coaches people to become the leaders who deliver on the promise of a quality education for every child in America. Eva worked for more than 10 years at Microsoft, marketing some of the company’s most successful products, including Word, Office and consumer titles. Her last role there was Director of Market Planning and Analysis for Microsoft’s line of home products. Other highlights at Microsoft include helping lead the turnaround in the company’s Japanese application software business during a 3 year stint in Microsoft’s Far East region and leading the first worldwide launch of Microsoft Office in over 25 languages. Prior to Microsoft, she worked in product management at Proctor & Gamble. Eva has a BA from Harvard University.
Dirk Tillotson, Board Member
Dirk is the Founder and Director of Great School Choices, a nonprofit developed to seed and grow strong and sustainable community-based charter schools dedicated to educating underserved student populations in New York, where he helped launch 17 schools. Prior to his work there, he served as COO and interim CEO for the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, and consulted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools post-Katrina in New Orleans, as the first national charter school boots on the ground, post storm. He also led the school based aspects of RAND education’s largest project; reform of the education system of the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, and the implementation of charter-like “independent schools” there. His charter school work began in Oakland, California, where he led or developed several high achieving schools and founded a charter support organization under the aegis of ARC Associates, Oakland Charters Together.
Paul Byrd Jr., Board Member
Paul Byrd Jr. serves the role of not only a Parent Board Member but also a Parent Leader at World / Achieve Academy. Paul Byrd Jr. is committed to helping the development, enrichment and expansion of EFC (Education for Change) and its commitment, to education and the community that it serves. He believes that change begins with a thought and with that thought comes action. Our future resides in knowing we did everything to give every child the life they deserve, and it’s starts with their education and safety. Paul Byrd Jr. is committed to EFC for these great reasons.
Mike Barr, Board Member
Mike is the CFO of Reading Partners, an Oakland-based national non-profit focused on improving childhood literacy. After working in the tech sector for a number of years, Mike joined Aspire Public Schools as their CFO in 2004. Over the next 7 years, he oversaw Aspire’s growth from 10 schools serving 3,000 children to 30 schools serving 10,000 children. Since leaving Aspire in 2011, Mike has served as Interim CFO for a variety of educational non-profits at various stages of their life cycle, including StudentsFirst, Oakland Schools Foundation (now the Oakland Public Education Fund), Envision Education, and College Track. Mike has also done consulting for a number of other education-related organizations over the past few years. Mike lives in Oakland with his wife and two daughters, both of whom proudly attend public schools in Oakland. He also serves on the board of Oakland School for the Arts.
Sudhir Aggarwal, Board Member
Sudhir Aggarwal is an accomplished CEO, financier, private investor and business advisor. Currently, he is “Advisor to the CEO” for multiple companies, including a publishing company, a 401k plan administrator, a saas model database company, an internet retailer, and a digital marketing company. Sudhir has invested in private companies, taken board roles, and overseen and guided management teams through periods of growth and transition. At present, he is Chairman of Zuca, a specialty consumer products company, and a Director of Skyline, a general contractor, and Earth Mama Angel Baby, an organic baby products firm. Sudhir completed his undergraduate work at Dartmouth College and holds a MBA from Stanford. Throughout his career, he has supported reform efforts in public education.
Home Office Leadership
Hae-Sin Kim Thomas, Chief Executive Officer
Hae-Sin has been the CEO of EFC for four years and brings 22 years of K-12 public education experience to this team. 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 the lead organizer and co-founder of Great Oakland Public Schools, an Oakland-based education advocacy group and watchdog. Before urbanED solutions, 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. A recent external evaluation of the new schools reform work in Oakland found that new schools more frequently accelerated math and English–language arts performance when compared to other district schools and that new schools significantly outperformed the schools they replaced in academic achievement, suspension rates, attendance rates, and overall student, teacher, and parent satisfaction.
Prior to that, she was the founding principal of ASCEND, one of the five original new small and autonomous schools opened in Oakland, California, a school recognized for accelerating achievement and engaging community. Ms. Thomas started teaching in Oakland through Teach for America in 1993 and continued teaching for six years before becoming a site administrator. During this time, she also worked as the Special Education school director for the Teach for America Summer Institute. 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.
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.
Enikia Ford Morthel, Chief of Schools
As the Chief of Schools, Ms. Morthel supervises all principals within the EFC network. Before transitioning into her current role, Enikia was the principal of Cox Academy, an EFC school located in deep East Oakland that made over 100 points in state API gains under her leadership. Prior to joining the EFC team, Enikia worked for 8 years in the Hayward Unified School District where she held numerous leadership positions including a 3 year elementary school principalship. She has provided strategic educational consulting services for companies like ETS, LeapFrog Schoolhouse and Shakespeare Squared. Despite the variety of positions she has held, Enikia still identifies herself first and foremost as a teacher. Outside of work, Ms. Morthel enjoys public speaking, writing, serving the community and spending time with her family and friends. She received her Masters in Education from University of California at Berkeley and serves as the Education Chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Enikia also sits on a number of education boards and committees in the Bay Area.
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.
Larissa Adam, Chief Talent Officer
Larissa Adam is Chief Talent Officer at Education for Change. Before transitioning into her current role, she 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.
Marcus Jamal Fields, Chief of Growth and School Improvement
Jamal comes to EFC with 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher and site administrator in California public schools. He is committed to developing systems for schools to become truly student centered places of learning where students take ownership of their learning and are well supported by caring and knowledgeable adults. He began his career in education as a children’s snowboard and ski instructor at Squaw Valley Ski Resort then transitioned into the classroom as an elementary school teacher in San Francisco’s Hunters Point Neighborhood. As a school principal Jamal has lead five schools, all of which experienced significant gains in student achievement under his leadership. In 2013 Jamal was nominated as the ACSA Region 6 administrator of the year for his work at Junction Avenue K-8 School in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District. Most recently, Jamal worked at NewSchools Venture Fund to develop the human capital investment strategy for the Oakland Fund, a 5.5 million dollar investment fund focused on transforming public education in Oakland.
Outside of work Jamal enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, camping, biking, snow sports and exploring the many other outdoor recreational opportunities surrounding the bay area. He holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a Masters degree in Education from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Doctor of Education Leadership degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Stanley Zheng, Chief Strategy Officer
Stanley is the Chief Strategy Officer at EFC. Previously, he was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he advised the management of retail, aerospace & defense, and private equity companies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan. During his time with BCG, Stanley worked with one of the largest urban school districts in devising its finance strategy and go-to-market strategy for new academic offerings, including virtual schooling. As the Chief Strategy Officer, he is responsible for developing EFC’s growth strategy and developing systems, processes, and tools in operations, finance, and HR. He has an AB magna cum laude in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. Stanley is the first person in his family to attend college. In his free time, he volunteers with College Track and Reading Partners.
Arantxa Alvarez, Director of Mathematics and Science
After starting her teaching career with Oakland Unified and then Mt. Diablo Unified in Bay Point, Ms. Alvarez took advantage of several professional development opportunities to pursue her interest specific to teaching mathematics. She quickly discovered how much this particular aspect of education fueled her passion further. She has served as a math coach both in MDUSD and with EFC, as well as a BTSA coach and an instructional coach working to facilitate teacher inquiry at School Improvement Grant (SIG) sites. Still a teacher first, Ms. Alvarez seeks to help other teachers delve deeper into the standards, incorporate best practices in math, and create and deliver well-crafted lessons that are data-driven. As Director of Mathematics, she strives to ensure that this teaching and learning process continues within all the EFC schools.
Jen Nguyen, Director of ELA/ELD
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.
Jonathon Stewart, Director of Assessment, Data and Analysis
Prior to joining EFC, Jonathon served as Data Visualization Analyst at Aspire Public Schools. In this role, he supported the use of data throughout Aspire from teachers to senior staff by creating dashboards and managing Aspire’s primary data reporting tool – Tableau. Before his time at Aspire, Jonathon taught high school math in Oakland as a member of Teach For America and later joined Oakland Unified staff as a Data Coach. Jonathon has a BS in Applied Math from John Hopkins University and a MPP from University of California, Berkeley.
Sundar Chari, Director of Innovation & Technology
Mr. Chari joined EFC as its first ever Director of Innovation and Technology. Previously, Mr. Chari had been on the front-line helping to lead high-profile initiatives for the Chicago Public Schools. As Director of Technology, Mr. Chari led a blended learning pilot program and was responsible for the implementation and development of the technology-based learning strategy at 14 schools. He has numerous experiences leading change management processes and developing the capacity of leaders to adopt new strategies. As Manager of New Initiatives on the mayor’s top education initiative to extend the school day, he developed 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.
Dana Cilono, Director of Early Childhood Education
Dana Cilono began her educational career as a teacher for Education for Change in 2008. An opportunity to develop the organization’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program inspired strong interests in program development and early childhood education. She had the opportunity in 2015 to coordinate Oakland Unified School District’s Summer PreK program through a partnership with First 5 Alameda and Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, providing an educational bridging program to children entering TK or kindergarten with little to no preschool experience. Under her coordination, the program experienced unprecedented growth in participation. Through a partnership with the Rainin Foundation, Mrs. Cilono has the privilege of supporting the expansion of EFC’s TK program as the Director of Early Childhood Education. This expansion includes the continued partnership with the highly impactful SEEDS of Early Learning framework, as well as targeted work around complex play and social emotional learning. Education for Change offers Oakland students and families a truly unique TK experience, and Mrs. Cilono is thrilled to be a part of the team.
Rich McNeel, Director of Revenue
Sandra Barrios, Director of Internal Operations
Larayne Povlsen, Director of Human Resources
Rebecca Reynolds, Director of Staff and Student Recruitment
Lucy Schmidt, Director
Ms. Schmidt has worked at Achieve Academy since it opened its doors in 2005 as World and Achieve Academies and has been the site leader since 2012. She led the union of the two schools on the Hawthorne site. Before serving as Principal, she was a third grade teacher for 7 years and later the Assistant Principal of the Hawthorne campus. Prior to Education for Change, Ms. Schmidt was a director of a Sylvan Learning Center in Sacramento. Ms. Schmidt graduated from CSU Chico where she also earned her teaching credential. When not at school, Ms. Schmidt loves to spend time with friends and family, cook, and hike in the Bay Area. Her favorite children’s books are The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco and Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.
Stephanie Richards, Director
Morgan Alconcher, Principal
I am honored to enter my 4th year as an administrator at ASCEND. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and relocated to the Bay Area 11 years ago. Most of my years have been spent either teaching others, or developing my own knowledge at University of Washington and UC Berkeley. As an educator, I believe that learning and knowledge are the most powerful factors in improving one’s life, and as an educational leader, I see it as my responsibility to make the highest quality of education available to all students.
Beyond leadership, I am the proud mother of an amazing little girl (also an ASCEND student), and I love to go on adventures and spend time with my family. When I am away from ASCEND, I am usually surfing, hiking, running, snowboarding, reading or listening to good music! I love to travel every chance I get and I really enjoy learning about new places and other cultures.
Students reach their highest levels of success when schools and families work together to meet their needs. I look forward to partnering with you this year, and getting to know more about your families and students.
Jeff Embleton, Assistant Principal
I am thrilled to join the ASCEND community. I moved cross-country after spending the past four years at a middle school in Brooklyn, New York. I’m excited to return to Oakland as I began my teaching career right down the street from here. I grew up in CleveIand, Ohio, and after attending Kenyon College, moved to the west coast to continue my education at California Institute of Integral Studies and San Francisco State University.
Outside of school, you can find me spending lots of time with my wife Zuleica in the outdoors. We love to camp, bike, hike and enjoy nature. I’m an avid reader and writer, and usually have my nose stuck in a book.
I believe deeply in educating both the mind and the heart. It is one of my responsibilities as an educator and leader to ensure that students are immersed in learning experiences that help them become both smart and good people.
I value the power of relationships and community, and look forward to my first year at ASCEND to help support our students achieve to their fullest potential.
Kevin King, Principal
Kevin King is the Principal of Cox Academy Elementary School in East Oakland. He possesses over 15 years of program development, program management, and educational experience spanning grades K-12. He has been a Director of programming for Seneca Center Family of Agencies for the past decade and has lead school programs, residential programs and crisis stabilization programs. His most recent administrative experience has been shaped by two years of successful leadership at Seneca Center’s Non-Public School in San Leandro. Kevin holds a Bachelors of Psychology degree and a MA in Educational Leadership from Concordia University.
David Norris, Director of Instruction
Now in his second year at Cox Academy, serving as the Director of Instruction, David has been an educator in Oakland for 17 years. David got his teaching credential from Cal State East Bay and began his career in OUSD in 1998. He taught 2nd and 3rd grade for many years, however 4th grade was his absolute favorite. Over the years, he has also held many teacher leadership and coaching roles. David has truly enjoyed supporting his colleagues to become stronger teachers and creating school wide systems that support their growth. This path led him to Cal Berkeley, and the Principal Leadership Institute, where he graduated with MA in Education in 2014. David currently lives in Oakland with his wife Mia.
Leo Fuchs, Principal
Now in his seventh year as principal at Learning Without Limits, and his seventh year on the Jefferson campus, Mr. Fuchs has served as LWL’s principal since we opened our doors in the Fall of 2007. During the 2006-07 school year, he worked with a group of parents, teachers and staff to design our school. He has worked in Oakland schools since 2000, when he moved from Washington, D.C. He attended Brandeis University as an undergraduate, and has graduate degrees from both Brandeis and UC Berkeley. Before coming to our campus, he was a Resource Specialist at Frick Middle School and a Teacher on Special Assignment at Explore Middle School. When not at school, Mr. Fuchs loves to spend time with his family and play tennis. His favorite children’s books are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.
Erin Kollings, Assistant Principal
Sarah Morrill, Co-Director
Sarah Morrill is in her first year as a co-principal of Lazear Charter Academy. Prior to joining the EFC, Sarah served as the senior director for the Teach For America west coast teacher training in Los Angeles, managing the program of 500 new teachers and 100 staff members to create a strong summer school for over 2,000 students. Prior to that role, she worked with the same training in Los Angeles as the district school partners point to ensure students had a strong instructional summer school program to set them up for success in the upcoming year. She started her career in Atlanta GA teaching 3rd grade before becoming a teacher coach across Atlanta for new elementary and social studies teachers. She graduated from Colorado College where she received her BA in International Political
Economy and History. She is excited to be back in northern California as a Davis, CA native.
Jennifer Koelling, Co-Director
Jennifer Koelling is joining Lazear from her previous role as Director of Program with Citizen Schools, a national non-profit that expands the learning day for middle school students. Prior to her work with Citizen Schools, Jennifer was an Academic Dean and Instructional Coach at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto. Jennifer began her career in education with Teach For America and was placed in Alum Rock School District in San Jose where she taught 4th & 5th grade for several years. While in Alum Rock, Jennifer served as a school advisor for MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) and chaired her school’s Young Authors’ Faire committee. Jennifer has a Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and most recently completed her coursework with Reach Institute’s Instructional Leadership Academy to receive her CA Preliminary Administrative Credential. When not at school, Jennifer enjoys running, hiking, and exploring new restaurants with friends.
Michael Hatcher, Principal
Michael is a veteran teacher and administrator, and he has recently joined Education for Change to lead Epic. He has over 10 years of experience as an Oakland K-8 teacher and 7 years of experience leading middle schools. Michael grew up in the Bay Area and attended Saint Mary’s High School in Berkeley. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Morehouse College. He earned his multiple-subject teaching credential from California State University, Hayward and his Master’s in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. An energetic tinkerer and maven, Michael is the father of three girls, deeply committed to education as a natural right, and enjoys practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Francis Abbatantuono, Director of Personalized Learning
Ruth Negash, Assistant Principal