The NewSchools team draws on extensive experience from across the education, business, policy and nonprofit sectors to help build high-quality education organizations.
NewSchools is committed to transforming public education through powerful ideas and passionate entrepreneurs so that all children — especially those in underserved communities — have the opportunity to succeed.
Stacey Childress is the CEO at NewSchools Venture Fund.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Childress led the K-12 Next Generation Learning team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, investing in schools and technologies that support personalized learning for middle and high school students in the United States.
Prior to joining the foundation, Childress was on the faculty of the Harvard Business School where she wrote and taught about entrepreneurial activity in public education in the United States. Her work focused on urban public school districts, charter schools, and nonprofit and for-profit enterprises with missions to improve the public system. During her time at Harvard she wrote three books and more than thirty cases and articles about education entrepreneurship. She also won teaching awards from her students and the HBS dean for her elective course on education entrepreneurship, which was taken by nearly 1000 students between 2004 and 2010.
Before working in academia, Childress was a co-founder of an enterprise software company and also spent ten years in a Fortune 500 company in sales and general management.
Early in her career, she taught in a Texas public high school. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Harvard Business School. In 2012, she was named one of Forbes Magazine’s Impact 15, a group of innovators revolutionizing education in the United States and around the world.
- @erikdlarson @NewCoFest @johnbattelle way to go Erik! - 3 days ago
- Coming to Terms About Mentorship by #EPfellow @vivooshkac http://t.co/0xRM6ZM5PX via @HuffPostEdu @nextgenstacey @nsvfseed #EPpartner - 7 days ago
- .@SLP_EDU's thoughts on foundations and ed tech via @AspenInstitute's 5 best ideas of the day http://t.co/KIofeFxVvH great piece Shauntel! - 10 days ago
- thanks tim!! @TimOlsonSF @thenerdyteacher @coolcatteacher @drvickip @Catlin_Tucker - 13 days ago
Sandra Becker is the Chief Financial Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, and works in NewSchools’ Oakland office. Previously she was Chief Financial Officer at the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay. As CFO, Sandra oversaw the financial reporting and operating budgets of both organizations and managed the Foundation’s assets of $100MM.
Sandra focused her career on the nonprofit sector while Audit Manager at Ernst & Young, where she counted both the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Rescue Committee as clients. Upon leaving public accounting, Sandra served as Controller for the Marin Community Foundation, overseeing financial reporting for the country’s third largest community foundation.
Sandra has expertise in the real estate and software industries. She also spent five years as owner and COO of Ft. Docs, an independent document management company that provides hard copy and electronic storage, and scanning services, as well as compliance services for hospitals and medical offices during the initial period of HIPAA.
Sandra is former Treasurer of HeadsUp, a foundation that raises supplemental funding for schools in the San Rafael School District. Currently, she is on the board of WeAreSr!, which raises funds for arts, music and athletics at San Rafael High School. Sandra received her B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University.
Joseph Cabrera is the Full Charge Accountant at NewSchools Venture Fund’s Oakland headquarters where he administers the fund’s financial activities including full-cycle general ledger and grantmaking.
Joseph has more than 20 years of finance and accounting experience. Before coming to NewSchools, Joseph served as controller for the Community Action Agency of San Mateo County for eight years.
Jennifer Carolan is Managing Director of the NewSchools Seed Fund, which she co-founded to make investments in early-stage education technology companies with potential for big impact in K-12 education.
Jennifer began her career as a teacher in traditional district schools where she became interested in differentiated learning. After studying master teachers at Stanford School of Education, she published her research on differentiation in Education Leadership. Jennifer is most interested in the intersection of technology, differentiated instruction and access. Jennifer is on the Boards of: BetterLesson, Education Elements, EdSurge, Equal Opportunity Schools and FreshGrade. She still teaches sometimes, most recently Innovations in Teaching 338 at Stanford’s School of Education/d.school and a home math camp for her kids and their friends. Jennifer has three children who attend a charter school in Los Altos California.
- Investors Debate Possible Bubble in the Ed-Tech Marketplace
- Venture capitalists learn to love education
- Baltimore, Boston Move to Build Ed-Tech Hubs
- A Tale of Different Deals: Diving into Early Stage Edtech Investments
- Boston, Baltimore Seeking to Become Hubs for Ed-Tech Startups
- Education Startup Tales2Go Raises $750K for ‘Netflix-Like’ Audiobook App
- Engrade Raises $3M to Unify Classroom Management into Single Platform
- Social Entrepreneurs Try to Offer Solutions to K-12 Problems
- NewSchools Venture Fund Announces Early-Stage Education Technology Fund to Accelerate Student Achievement
- Blended Learning Startup Education Elements Raises $2.1 Million
- BetterLesson Grabs $1.6 Million to Let Educators Find and Share the Best Lesson Plans
- Smart Phones for Smart Kids @kpcb @johndoerr http://t.co/yll1qQJZFE via @WSJ - 6 hours ago
- This year more than 750 million educational apps for mobile will be installed. @johndoerr Smart Phones for Smart Kids http://t.co/bTRltuWy9G - 7 hours ago
- Nice, @ericries . childcare provided for Lean Startup Conference: http://t.co/ocTZ3cgx04, that's a smart innovation! - 1 day ago
- How NewSchools Picks Its Investments https://t.co/IpLQYc0ygZ #edtech via @EdSurge - 1 day ago
Venture Board Seats
Rich Crandall is an Associate Partner in the NewSchools Venture Fund’s Oakland office, where he splits his time between planning NewSchools’ annual Summit and Community of Practice events, and the work on the National Network of Charter Schools to enhance college readiness and success.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Rich was the K-12 Lab Director at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (also known as the “d.school”). At the d.school Rich worked to instill creative confidence in innovators across the K-12 system – from district leaders to kindergartners. Rich is thrilled to be at NewSchools helping entrepreneurs to realize their big ideas of making meaningful change in education.
Rich studied mathematics at Colgate University and has his MBA from Stanford University. He first worked in Oakland as high school math teacher through Teach For America, where he lives with his wife Heather and their pug Payton.
Melissa Estrada is the Operations Manager for NewSchools Venture Fund. Melissa has been employed with non-profit organizations for over 10 years and brings a wide range of experience to NewSchools.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Melissa was assistant to the Superintendent at Aspire Public Schools and quickly proved herself invaluable. Prior to that, she was the Executive Assistant to the CEO at ILWU-FSC Federal Credit Union for 8 years. While working full-time, she received her BA from CSU East Bay with a B.S in Administration of Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology and a Masters in Counseling Education with a PPS Credential from San Jose State University. Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and helping underserved students in the East Bay communities.
Thea Fennira is an Executive Assistant in the NewSchools Venture Fund’s Oakland office, supporting the office of the President and CEO. Thea’s experience in the Bay Area includes eight years in semiconductor investment banking, four in financial services private equity, and a year and a half in biotech. She has a broad base of experience, and a commitment to service. As the first in her family lineage to graduate college, she believes every person must have access to a quality education.
Born and raised in Iowa, Thea chose to attend a liberal arts school with a music therapy program, Clarke University, and graduated with a BA in computer science, and a minor in music. Her interests include foreign culture, music, travel, and the arts.
Sosanna Folz is a Venture Assistant in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Boston office. Prior to joining NewSchools, Sosanna was a Resource Consultant for Right Management Consultants, a global organizational consulting firm. While at Right, she provided organizations and transitioning executives with project management, marketplace intelligence and career coaching.
Sosanna holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wofford College in South Carolina. She attended Wofford on a Bonner Scholarship for community service during which time she helped develop and run after-school programs for middle schools in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Yulia Frid is a Program Manager with NewSchools Venture Fund where she provides support to the organization’s Partners and helps manage the Aspen Institute – NewSchools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education fellowship program.
Yulia brings a wide range of experience to this role, as she has worked in the medical, finance, and telecommunication industries. In the last 10 years, she has managed the planning and execution of several companies’ events including event design, site selection, budgeting, logistics, collateral, product display, event analysis, collateral and marketing campaigns. While working full-time, Yulia received her bachelor of science degree in business administration with concentration in marketing from San Francisco State University and a masters degree in business administration from University of Phoenix.
Yulia was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia and immigrated to San Francisco, California at the age of 13 in 1992.
Eva Gonda Green is the Director of Portfolio Development for the NewSchools Venture Fund Seed Fund. In this role, Eva works closely with portfolio companies on a range of strategic areas, including business and market development, and strategic partnerships. Eva has a background in elementary school teaching, education policy analysis, business leadership, and public interest law. Throughout her career, Eva has been driven by a commitment to helping organizations overcome challenges to improve outcomes for low-income students.
Before joining the Seed Fund, Eva oversaw strategic initiatives for Ted Mitchell, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund. Prior to her work in education, Eva was a professional equestrian and trained the Gold Medal winning horse and rider for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. A graduate of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, Eva attended Stanford Law School and graduated cum laude with honors from Occidental College earning a BA in American Studies with an emphasis in Education.
Vanessa Gonzalez is an Associate Partner in NewSchool’s Washington, DC office and focuses on diligence and management assistance for ventures in the DC Schools Fund.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Vanessa was a Design and Implementation Consultant at Education Elements, where she worked closely with school leaders and teachers across the country to launch blended learning models. Vanessa began her career as a consultant at Bain and Company, where she advised clients in a variety of industries on strategic and operational issues. She also advised nonprofits as a consultant at The Bridgespan Group. During graduate school, Vanessa was an Education Pioneers Fellow at AUSL, a teacher residency and school turnaround operator in Chicago.
Vanessa earned a BA in Economics and Spanish from Emory University, as well as an MBA and MA in Education from Stanford University.
Simin Hailu is Development Operations Coordinator at NewSchools Venture Fund. She manages the development data system and ensures operations run smoothly for the development team. Additionally, she provides administrative support to the Chief Advancement Officer.
Simin brings experience with development operations from her previous years at Raising A Reader, a national early childhood literacy nonprofit. Prior to that she volunteered as an adult literacy tutor with the San Mateo County’s READS Program and assisted children with special needs at the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy.
Simin was born in Botswana but returned to California with her family at the age of three. Since then she has called Northern California home. Simin graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Liberal Studies.
- Curious about what drives and informs @nsvfSEED's investing? @jencarolan on Seeds approach http://t.co/ApBRdAX3ou http://t.co/Otv0QnoLTZ - 2 days ago
- Wearable Tech Goes Haute Couture http://t.co/WCcBEVjpFP #tech #fashion #wearabletech http://t.co/Csjday8cYV - 2 days ago
- Congrats @Beyond12! Robin Hood $5 Million College Success Challenge Announces Semi Finalists https://t.co/gyLxONSIoQ #edtech via @EdSurge - 6 days ago
- Bring on the learning revolution! http://t.co/4cXgj60rFd - 9 days ago
David Havens is a Senior Analyst in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Palo Alto office, where he focuses on market research and supporting education technology ventures.
David has focused on innovation in education for the last two years. At Stanford, he co-founded The Flying Treehouse, a volunteer group that teaches creative writing to elementary students and turns their stories into a full-length performance. Prior to that, he pioneered high-school outreach as an intern at the first year of the Tallapoosa Theater Festival, which helped bring improv and Shakespeare to rural Georgia. He also worked as a teaching assistant in the Drama and Biology departments at Stanford, and was the first improv teacher for adults at a Stanford alumni camp in the Sierras.
David earned a BA in Human Biology with a focus on Neuroscience from Stanford University. He also studied computer science, design, and education.
Jessica Henry is a Senior Analyst in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Washington, DC office, where she focuses on management assistance and strategy development for the DC Schools Fund.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Jessica was the Program Director for All Stars Helping Kids, a Bay Area grant-making organization. While at All Stars, she oversaw grant-making initiatives in both California and New York working effectively with grantees, managed philanthropic activities for a portfolio of professional athlete clients, and managed operations for the organization. Jessica earned a BA in Human Biology with a focus in child health and development from Stanford University.
Melissa Kim is the Director of the Instructional Practice at NewSchools Venture Fund and is responsible for leading the DC Pilot for the DC Schools Fund. In her role with NewSchools, Melissa currently serves on the board of directors for the DC International School and Paul Public Charter School
Prior to joining the NewSchools team, Melissa served as the principal of Alice Deal Middle School, the highest-performing and largest public middle school in the District of Columbia. During her seven years as principal, Melissa transitioned the school from a traditional junior high serving 700 students in grades 7-9 to a team-based middle school serving more than 1,000 students in grades 6-8. During this time, classrooms were desegregated and detracked and math standards were raised to ensure that all 8th graders enter high school with at least an Algebra or Geometry credit. She also led the successful effort by Alice Deal to become certified as the first International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program in DC Public Schools. She was able to lead these changes while managing a $60 million in situ modernization of the historic school facility.
Melissa came to the District of Columbia as a Teach for America Corps member and taught for six years in Northeast and Southeast DC. After receiving her Masters in school leadership, she joined the inaugural cohort of NewLeaders in Washington, DC. She has served as an assistant principal in Washington, DC, as well as in Arlington, VA. Melissa holds a BS from Colby College, an MS from Trinity College, and an Ed.D from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation focused on practices to integrate within schools to close both the academic achievement gap as well as the social engagement gap.
Venture Board Seats
Lauren Kushman is a Principal in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Boston office, where she manages the Boston Charter School Fund and focuses on investment strategy, due diligence and management assistance for the firm’s portfolio ventures.
Lauren serves on the boards of Excel Academy Charter Schools and Brooke Charter Schools in Boston, MA. Prior to joining NewSchools, Lauren was a high school science teacher at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark, New Jersey. In addition to teaching, she established the high school’s chemistry and physics courses. During graduate school, Lauren was an Education Pioneers Fellow at Building Excellent Schools, where she designed financial models and developed practitioner-based, finance-focused case studies for multiple charter school territories. Lauren holds a BA in chemistry from Princeton University and an MBA and Education MA from Stanford University.
Venture Board Seats
Gloria Lee is the President and Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, and works in NewSchools’ Oakland office. Previously, she was Bay Area Superintendent for Aspire Public Schools. As Area Superintendent, Gloria was responsible for the “double bottom line:” both academic achievement and fiscal stability. Under her leadership, Aspire’s Bay Area schools grew by an average of 66 points on the state’s Academic Performance Index (4.5x the state targets for growth) over a three year period, and received average parent satisfaction ratings of 90%. Aspire’s Bay Area schools also increased enrollment by nearly 40% to over 2700 students – making Aspire’s Bay Area region larger than 60% of the districts in California.
Prior to becoming Area Superintendent, Gloria served as the Founding Chief Operating Officer of Aspire for the organization’s first eight years. As COO, Gloria crafted key elements of Aspire’s growth and business strategy, and developed the systems and processes necessary to bring the Aspire network successfully from 1 school to 17 schools.
Prior to joining Aspire, Gloria was a consultant for McKinsey and Company, helping Fortune 500 companies address major strategic challenges. Gloria also founded a Bay Area office for UCLA School Management Program, a university-based school reform support organization that provided training and coaching to school principals and teachers in leadership and change management. She received her BS in Agricultural Economics at Cornell University, and both a Masters of Business Administration and Masters in Education at Stanford University.
- The power of higher expectations. Put students in college-level stats instead of remedial algebra @insidehighered http://t.co/zy3ARep4If - 15 hours ago
- This is crazy. Thousands of California kids dont get past middle school via @hechingerreport http://t.co/knvcVtVzOl - 15 hours ago
- if you work with low income Oakland students, tell them about this amazing opp for free internet & computer! http://t.co/DfsJ1KMFu2 - 16 hours ago
- @SepheraChou: we missed you at reunion this year! next yr is Oregon - hopefully you can make it. dog is so cute! what is his or her name? - 1 day ago
Venture Board Seats
Maura Marino is the Managing Director of the DC Schools Fund in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Washington, DC office. As part of that role, Maura serves on the boards of Charter Board Partners, DC Prep, Ingenuity Prep, and LearnZillion.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Maura was Program Director and Lead Teacher at East Palo Alto High School, a charter school in Northern California. As Program Director, she coordinated student support services and managed external relations in addition to teaching humanities. Maura served on the steering committee for the Stanford Schools Corporation and was a member of the Stanford School of Education’s Performance Assessment Collaborative. During graduate school, Maura worked on the Network Growth Team at the KIPP Foundation, implementing their “smart growth” strategy.
Maura earned a BA in American Studies from Stanford University, an MA in teaching from Teachers’ College, and an MBA from Harvard University.
Venture Board Seats
Jay Martinez is an Analyst in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Washington, DC office, where he focuses on management assistance and strategy development for the DC Schools Fund.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Jay worked at Chicago Public Schools as an Education Pioneers Fellow and then continued on as analyst. At Chicago Publics Schools, he maintained compliance analytics and conducted data analysis to improve instructional supports and services provided to students. Jay earned a BA in Psychology as well as a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Deborah McGriff is a Managing Director at NewSchools Venture Fund.
Deborah has been committed to transforming the lives of underserved urban school students for more than four decades. In 1993, Deborah became the first public school superintendent to join EdisonLearning (formerly Edison Schools). There, she held numerous positions at the company, including President of Edison Teachers College, Executive Vice President of Charter Schools, and Executive Vice President of several external relations functions.
Prior to joining EdisonLearning, Deborah served as the first female General Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools. Crain’s Detroit Business named her Newsmaker of the Year for 1992. Before that, she was the first female Assistant Superintendent in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the first female Deputy Superintendent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was a teacher and administrator in the New York City Public Schools for more than a decade.
Deborah is former President of the Education Industry Association. In addition to serving on the boards of several high-performing charter management organizations, she is the Chair of the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Beyond 12. She serves on the executive committee of the Policy Innovators in Education Network, and is a founder and national board member of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. She also serves on the advisory board of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and is a member of the Review Board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education.
Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Norfolk State University, a master’s degree in education with a specialization in reading pedagogy from Queens College of the City University of New York, and a doctorate in Administration, Policy and Urban Education from Fordham University.
- For the first time this year, most public school students are nonwhite http://t.co/8w1YSfntKH via @voxdotcom - 2 days ago
- Debate on #teacherquality isn't new.Check out this 1996 convo by Superintendents @dmmcgriff C. Janey, & R. Peterkin... - 2 days ago
- Political Polarization Needlessly Divides Public http://t.co/Spw8Xt2NzD - 2 days ago
- No Common Opinion on the Common Core http://t.co/UxC0YnPrTe - 2 days ago
Venture Board Seats
Clare Middleton-Detzner is the Development Manager at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she manages efforts to raise philanthropic dollars from donors interested in transforming education.Prior to joining NewSchools, Clare worked as a researcher and development manager at ISKME. Her research was focused on developmental education, teacher professional development, educational resource design and use, and education policy. She also served as project manager for Big Ideas Fest, an annual convening of education stakeholders. Clare also served as a Research Associate with the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the University of Minnesota, where her academic research focused on cross-sector collaboration, public policy implementation, and nonprofit governance and accountability. Clare started her career at Greater Twin Cities United Way and has held numerous roles in nonprofit development and program management. Clare received her B.A. in Sociology from Mills College and earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Minnesota.
Taylor Miller-Freutel is a Program Assistant in NewSchools’ Washington DC office, supporting the DC Schools Fund Team.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Taylor was an intern for Congressman Jared Polis, where she worked closely with the Education Legislative Assistant. She attended Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) hearings and conducted research for Congressman Polis’s education legislation including, the GREAT Act, the Race to the Top Act of 2013, and the Student Non-Discrimination Act. Taylor began her career working as a Field Organizer in Henrico, Virginia for Organizing for America, President Obama’s 2012 Presidential Campaign.
Taylor earned a BA in Political Science and a BS in Business Administration from University of Mary Washington.
- (1/2) @nsvf DC @tmillerfreutel, we took your #ALSIceBucketChallenge! @jonathanklein42 + @GOPublicSchools, youre up! https://t.co/WowRhLJLsk - 7 hours ago
- The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers Are Combating the Achievement Gap in America's Schools http://t.co/0Ylw7gARZ2 - 15 hours ago
- A Movement Grows in Ferguson http://t.co/jBih9MESzE via @newyorker - 15 hours ago
- Watch Our New Video: Gainful Employment's Failing Grade http://t.co/QNos8YTbe8 - 17 hours ago
Deborah leads NewSchools’ development, marketing and convening functions, including NewSchools’ annual Summit. As Chief Advancement Officer, Deborah serves as NewSchools’ story teller in chief; develops strategic partnerships with like-minded individuals, foundations and corporations; recruits passionate and innovative leaders to the NewSchools board and leadership council and creates conversations among entrepreneurs, policy makers and thought leaders with the goal of improving their practice and catalyzing change for students. What gets her up in the morning and keeps her awake at night is the urgent need to reimagine education for all students and to close the persistent opportunity and achievement gaps that hold back too many young people in our country.
Vivek Murali is an Associate in the NewSchools Venture Fund’s Palo Alto office, where he focuses on due diligence, impact evaluation, and management assistance for education technology ventures.
Prior to joining NewSchools, was a business manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland supporting the investment bank’s global currency trading business where he monitored financial and credit risk to the division. Vivek began his career working in fixed income sales at J.P. Morgan providing market color and trade ideas to the firm’s institutional clients. While living in New York, he also spent weekends as a volunteer tutor and mentor for at-risk youth at a local elementary school. As an Education Pioneers Fellow at NewSchools, Vivek recommended changes in data collection methods toward impact evaluation based on benchmarking and interviews with portfolio companies.
Vivek received his BBA in Finance and BA in Philosophy from Temple University, as well as an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
- Investment Approaches of the Seed Fund- Part I: #nsvfseed http://t.co/cjjorGJ0Iv - 6 days ago
- FreshGrade Raises $4.3M to Connect Teachers, Students and Parents - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ http://t.co/CKzwwUUTK0 via @WSJ - 6 days ago
- You might see foundations take a more active role in early-stage companies@nsvfSEED's @SLP_EDU explains why: http://t.co/9AmlxuJ86G - 15 days ago
- the @nsvf Yearbook is out. Lots of great stats for @nsvfSEED but fav is 83% user retention. teachers/students love our companies' products! - 22 days ago
Amy Omand is the Controller at NewSchools Venture Fund, and works in the Oakland office. As Controller, Amy is responsible for efficient accounting processes, sound internal controls, monthly financial reporting, and managing our annual audit.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Amy was the Director of Finance & Operations at Tipping Point Community, as well as the Controller at Revolution Foods. At both organizations she helped define fiscal policies and procedures in growing organizations. She started her career as an auditor at PwC and then worked in various finance and accounting roles at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream/ Nestlé. While attaining her MBA, she took a course on the social responsibility of business, and was inspired to always apply her skills in finance and accounting at organizations that were working toward making a positive social change.
Amy received her BS in Accounting from Georgetown University, and MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. She is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a Certified Non Profit Accountant. She lives in Oakland with her husband and two daughters.
Jim Peyser is the Managing Director of NewSchools City Funds at NewSchools Venture Fund’s Boston office, where he leads NewSchools’ city-focused investments. From 1999 through 2006, Jim served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Prior to joining NewSchools, Jim was Education Advisor to two Massachusetts Governors, where he helped shape state policy regarding standards and assessments, school accountability, and charter schools. In 1995, he served as Under Secretary of Education and Special Assistant to the Governor for Charter Schools. He spent more than seven years as Executive Director of Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, where he helped to launch and support Massachusetts’ first charter schools. Prior to joining Pioneer Institute, Jim held various positions at Teradyne, Inc. in Boston, an electronic test equipment manufacturer.
In his role with NewSchools, Jim currently serves on the board of directors for Achievement First, Success Charter Network, and Uncommon Schools. He is also a member of the Board of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and the Massachusetts Center for Charter Public School Excellence. Jim holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School (Tufts University) and a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University.
- Strong standards, political air cover, and talent: Exporting the success of Boston’s charter school sector
- NewSchools Invests $1.6m In Three Boston-Area Charter Schools: Organization’s Boston Fund Supports Growing CMOs in Mass.
- NewSchools Announces $3 Million in Grants for Expansion of Four High-Performing Boston Charter Schools
- Statement by Jim Peyser on the Mathematica Study of Charter Management Organizations
- Charter Operators Face Challenges in ‘Scaling Up’
- Unlocking the Secrets of High-Performing Charters
- NewSchools Venture Fund Managing Partner Jim Peyser Named to National Charter Schools Hall of Fame
- Jim Peyser inducted into National Charter School Hall of Fame
Venture Board Seats
Kristi Ransick is a principal in NewSchools Venture Fund’s Oakland office, where she supports the firm’s Academic Systems Initiative.
Kristi has extensive experience in project management, product development, instructional design, and teaching and learning. Kristi began her career teaching at The Children’s Museum, Boston and then worked on several science and technology curriculum development projects at Education Development Center. She created and led staff development programs at both Teachers College and at Columbia University focusing on science education and integrating technology into science curriculum. This led to a position developing and leading several aspects of the Seminars on Science online courses for the American Museum of Natural History. These courses won two Codie awards for Best Post-Secondary Education Instructional Solution and Best Lifelong Learning product or Service. Most recently Kristi spent more than seven years at Teachscape, a professional services company serving classroom teachers and instructional leaders. There, she held several positions, including Vice President, Product Design and Development, where she oversaw the development of all online courses and print materials.
Kristi received her undergraduate degree from Middlebury College and her master’s degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Benjamin Riley is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at NewSchools Venture Fund, and is responsible for leading NewSchools’ work in developing and advocating for a policy agenda that creates opportunities for education entrepreneurs. Ben is currently on leave from NewSchools in order to work with the New Zealand government on digital-learning policy issues.
Immediately prior to joining the NewSchools team, Ben worked as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice. In that role, he closely advised Attorney General Jerry Brown on California’s first Race to the Top application and other education policy issues, and he helped draft Race to the Top-related legislation. Ben also represented and advocated on behalf of the California State Board of Education in a variety of capacities, including serving as the Board’s interim chief counsel. In 2009, he was named one of two “Rising Stars” in education law by a Northern California legal periodical.
Ben’s previous work experience includes four years in private practice, a brief stint on Wall Street, and a summer clerking for the Land Claims Court of South Africa. He holds a BA from the University of Washington and a JD from Yale Law School.
- Seems like only last year @claychristensen said MOOCs = higher-ed disruption. http://t.co/455SUXUp8W Now? https://t.co/kd0OVINzPJ - 4 hours ago
- @PPTA_PIU @NZEInfo I don't argue for training. I suggest willing schools invite MOE employees inside & let them listen and learn. - 7 hours ago
- I ask @PPTA_PIU and @NZEInfo: what might you do to help rebuild trust in system? I believe inviting MOE "wallahs" might be a start. - 8 hours ago
- @Boz23 Oh, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. Just wouldn't want sector stewards from Ministry parachuting in with an agenda. - 15 hours ago
Beth Sears is Director of Investor Relations at NewSchools. She raises philanthropic dollars from donors who share our belief that entrepreneurs can change public education.
For many years, Beth worked in the for-profit sector as a management consultant at Price Waterhouse and as a Vice President at JPMorgan Chase.
In 2004, Beth and her family moved to Canberra, Australia where she developed a passion for working with nonprofits in the education sector, initially working for Room to Read and setting up a volunteer chapter for them in Canberra. Back in the Bay Area, Beth was an Advisor to the Strategic Partnerships group at Raising A Reader where she connected with foundations, corporations and individual donors to raise funding on behalf of this national early childhood literacy non-profit that bridges achievement gaps and increases school success of some of the country’s most vulnerable children.
Beth serves on the boards of the Gunn Foundation, a need-based scholarship program for Gunn High School students in Palo Alto and as President of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Club of the Peninsula. Beth earned a B.A. in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College and a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Canberra.
- Curious about what drives and informs @nsvfSEED's investing? @jencarolan on Seeds approach http://t.co/fIp8ARx82y - 6 days ago
- NewSchools' Principal Shauntel Poulson @SLP_EDU on how foundations & startups can work together for increased impact. http://t.co/ooaWo7wc0w - 9 days ago
- Check out the gorgeous photography in @nsvf Yearbook by our very own Comms Assoc, Clay Willis! http://t.co/RgTwmSyoew - 22 days ago
- The @nsvf 2013 Yearbook is out! Celebrating 15 yrs of investing in education entrepreneurs transforming public ed! http://t.co/9L6lpVxNPX - 22 days ago
Anne Soto is an Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund’s Oakland office, where she focuses on investment strategy, due diligence, and management assistance for the organization’s portfolio ventures.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Anne worked as a member of the teacher recruitment and support team for Aspire Public Schools. During graduate school, Anne helped grow the IU Innovation Center, an incubator for student entrepreneurs. Anne started her career as a Teach For America Corps Member in Eastern North Carolina, where she founded a school-based reading intervention program which partnered community volunteers with struggling readers. She has worked for Teach For America’s teacher preparation institute as a School Director, leading a team that trained and supported over 40 new teachers.
Anne received her BA from University of Minnesota and her MBA from Indiana University.
Matt Stephenson is an Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund’s Washington, D.C. office, where he focuses on investment strategy, due diligence and management assistance for the organization’s portfolio ventures.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Matt was a high school Math Teacher and Leadership Fellow at AF Amistad High School, the flagship high school of the Achievement First charter network. Matt started his career as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs where he covered the Credit Derivatives and Mortgage-Backed Securities product lines from 2004-2006, while also co-managing the portfolio reporting efforts of the Credit Risk Management department. He later joined Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) as a Program Manager, where he managed the Sales & Trading internship program and mentored 100+ interns over two years. Matt’s thrilled to be working with ventures poised to transform public education and deliver on the promise of a high-quality education for all students.
Matt received a BS in Finance and Information Systems from the Stern School of Business at New York University and his MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
- "In this moment, we have an opportunity to be honest about how black bodies are policed in America." - @deray http://t.co/5o0KPG0bXD - 9 hours ago
- Great conversation today w/ teachers about making sure they have support they need to help students succeed http://t.co/0POFk8PVdw - 13 hours ago
- Love it! RT @chris_bostock 1st impressions count for teachers too! Posi-call party @achievement1st Amistad HS this afternoon. - 14 hours ago
- Striking polarization: those who say that this has been a "rough" week vs those glad that the convo has started. - 14 hours ago
Graham VanderZanden is an Associate Partner at NewSchools Venture Fund’s Boston office, where he focuses on the Boston City Fund.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Graham served as a Corps Member with Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta region. He led the regional foreign language professional development team, founded a nonprofit to expand cultural exchange opportunities, and led educational trips to Spain, France, and Honduras. During graduate school, Graham helped conduct a randomized controlled trial study of a new education policy in Morocco. He has also worked with Boston Public Schools, conducting a budgetary analysis of waste reduction programs that helped inform the district as it considers adopting single-stream recycling.
Graham has a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington and an MPP from Harvard University.
Cameron White is the Associate Director of co.lab, an accelerator by NewSchools Venture Fund and Zynga.org that supports startups leveraging the power of digital games to build transformative educational technologies for PK-12 students and teachers.
Previously, Cameron worked at NewSchools as a Fellow and Learning Technology Specialist. He has also worked at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, DC, where he helped to align out-of-school programming with the school’s broader missions.
Cameron graduated with a B.A. in Architecture from Princeton University, where he wrote his undergraduate thesis on the intersection between child psychology and environmental design. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Columbia University’s Teachers College, studying instructional technology and media.
- VIDEO: Ferguson teachers learn how to help students deal with trauma http://t.co/6pyqKlvQTn - 7 hours ago
- "women over 18 now represent a significantly larger portion of the U.S. game-playing population than boys under 18" http://t.co/RLzrErBza0 - 10 hours ago
- #Twitter beat cable to #ferguson story but attention then developed in tandem @paulhitlin http://t.co/6zTxwNN99t http://t.co/Ue9HALtIvn - 15 hours ago
- Interested in using #Ferguson as a teaching tool? Check out #FergusonSyllabus I'll be starting my classes with it https://t.co/C9Os7ZZeb1 - 1 day ago
Clay Willis is the Communications Associate at NewSchools Venture Fund, working on communications, digital media and NewSchools Summit to support NewSchools’ mission.
An enduring commitment to promoting and defending natural and human rights led Clay to NewSchools where he is committed to addressing systemic issues plaguing public education.
Prior to joining NewSchools, Clay worked in communications at the Oakland based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which focused on juvenile justice system reform and green job growth. He also worked on Richard Raya’s 2012 campaign for Oakland City Council. Before moving into communications, Clay worked for several years in print and digital journalism at publications including The Post Standard and Palm 2 Jupiter Media.
Clay graduated with a B.S. in journalism and anthropology from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.