Shavar Jeffries serves as President of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and is a partner in Lowenstein Sandler’s Litigation Department. Jeffries began his role at DFER in September 2015, and brings a personal commitment to ensuring that a child’s zip code does not define their destiny. From his efforts fighting for fair funding practices to get schools the resources they deserved to his service leading the New Jersey Attorney General’s Juvenile Justice and Civil Rights Departments, he has been a vocal advocate for social justice.
John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served as the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2016 to 2017 as a member of President Barack Obama's administration. Before becoming education secretary and beginning in 2015, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.
Nina Rees is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Rees has over 20 years of experience in Washington, D.C., most recently as Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for Knowledge Universe. Prior to her tenure at KU, she served as the first Deputy Under Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education and as Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy to the Vice President at the White House.
Gerard Robinson is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he works on education policy issues including school choice, K-12 regulatory development and implementation, the role of for-profit institutions in education, prison education and reentry, rural education, and the role of community colleges and HBCUs in adult advancement. Before joining AEI, Robinson served as commissioner of education for the State of Florida and secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He also served as president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Robinson started his career as a fifth-grade teacher.
Hanna Skandera is leading the transformation of New Mexico public schools as Secretary of Education. With her leadership, graduation rates are at an all-time high, AP enrollment has doubled, the number of "A" and "B" schools has increased by one-third and 30,000 more students are in "A" and "B" schools. Prior to New Mexico, Skandera served Deputy Chief of Staff under U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Undersecretary of Education under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Deputy Commissioner under Governor Jeb Bush. Skandera has also taught education policy at Pepperdine University and has served as a Research Fellow for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Diane Tavenner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools (SPS), a leading charter management organization. The Summit Learning model leverages technology to connect students’ long-term goals to their daily actions and empowers them to own their learning. Summit’s graduates are completing four-year college degrees at twice the national average. Newsweek and US News & World Report have ranked Summit among the top public schools in the nation. In partnership with Facebook, Summit is currently working to scale personalized learning by making the Summit Learning Platform available to schools across the United States free through the Summit Learning Program.
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