Our Team

The NewSchools team draws on extensive experience from across the education, business, policy and nonprofit sectors to help build high-quality education organizations.

Our Mission

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.

Team Members

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Stacey Childress

Chief Executive Officer

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.

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Meghan Amrofell

Chief Operating Officer

Meghan Amrofell is our Chief Operating Officer, leading our operations, HR and financial teams, and communications.

Prior to joining NewSchools, Meghan served as the Portfolio Manager of the Next Generation Learning team at the Gates Foundation.  She coordinated the investment strategy and execution of $75 million in annual grantmaking and led the execution of complex investment initiatives.  Before that, Meghan was a management consultant with Point B for 7 years, where she led strategy development, product development, operations, partner engagement, and technology implementation in the education, non-profit, financial services, healthcare, and retail industries.  Earlier in her career, Meghan was a product manager with Charles Schwab & Co, Razorfish, and a variety of tech startups.

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Liz Arney

Partner

Liz Arney is a Partner with the NewSchools Venture Fund on the Innovative Schools team.

Prior to joining NewSchools, Liz was the Director of Innovative Learning at Aspire Public Schools, where she created Aspire’s blended learning model and led the transformation of 12 Aspire schools to the model.  While at Aspire, Liz raised more than $2.8M to support blended learning initiatives. Prior to doing blended learning, Liz worked as a humanities instructional coach, providing professional development, instructional and content support, and induction coaching to grades 6-12 humanities teachers across Aspire.  She also led the development of curriculum toolkits for English, social studies, science and math courses in grades 9-12. 

Before working at Aspire, Liz taught high school English in public and independent schools in Boston, Seattle, and Taipei, Taiwan, and provided history content coaching to teachers across New England. 

Liz recently wrote and published Go Blended!:  A Handbook for Blending Technology in Schools (Jossey-Bass, February 2015).  She is also a founding member of the Community of Innovative Practice, a group of blended learning leaders in school districts and charter organizations who have led the transition to blended learning in some of the most innovative schools in the United States.  

Liz earned her BA in English from UC Berkeley, her Ed.M from Harvard University, and her MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago.  

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Scott Benson

Managing Partner

Scott Benson is the Managing Partner of the Innovative Schools team.

Most recently Scott served as Sr. Program Officer at the Gates Foundation where he led its personalized and blended school strategy from 2010 to early 2015. Scott’s portfolio directly supported 50,000 seats and included the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), Charter School Growth Fund and over 50 direct grants to charter and district schools. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, Scott was Director of Strategic Academic Initiatives and a Broad Resident at D.C. Public Schools. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BSBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Alex Caram

Associate Director

Alex Caram is an Associate Partner in the NewSchools Oakland office and focuses on investment strategy, due diligence and management assistance for ventures in the Learning to Teach Fund.

Prior to joining NewSchools, Alex was an Induction Coach with New Teacher Center, where she worked with first and second years teachers in Chicago Public Schools to develop the practices and mindsets that are required for effective teaching. Alex began her career teaching high school science in both Northern California and in Chicago. During graduate school, Alex was an Education Pioneer Fellow at Leadership for Educational Equity, a leadership development organization catalyzing leaders who have classroom experience to impact polices, priorities and resources, so we can achieve educational equality.

Alex earned a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University, an MA in Education from Stanford University and an MBA from University of California, Los Angeles.

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Tonika Cheek Clayton

Managing Partner

Tonika Cheek Clayton is the Managing Partner of the Tools & Services team at NewSchools.

Prior to joining NewSchools, Tonika spent 8 years at Amplify and Wireless Generation where she led teams to develop, sell and deliver digital products and services to the K-12 education market.  Throughout her tenure at Amplify, Tonika consistently strived to provide high-quality and high-value products, services and support to help educators improve teaching and learning for students.  Most recently, she served as Vice President of Solutions Management, guiding Amplify’s core assessment product management and development teams.  She also led sales and account management teams to manage and execute complex engagements with multi-state, state, and school district accounts, representing over 600 customer accounts.

Before Amplify, Tonika worked as a researcher on Harvard University’s Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) where she consulted the first cohort of urban public school district leaders and co-authored several case studies seeking to identify more effective ways to drive student achievement by strengthening school district management and leadership.  Her case study on the New York City Department of Education and case series on Race, Accountability and the Achievement Gap, in particular, are among some of the popular PELP case studies requested by educators.

Tonika started her career in marketing and public relations at the National Basketball Association (NBA) where she successfully promoted the NBA Store and NBA All-Star events.  She later transitioned to business development and worked to launch the NBA’s Development League in eight cities for the inaugural season.

Tonika graduated from Harvard College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Melissa Estrada

Operations Manager

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.

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Thea Fennira

Executive Assistant

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.

Photography for HGSE annual report and other publications.

Jamal Fields

Resident

Jamal is a Harvard Ed.L.D. Program resident working with the Oakland Fund team on investment strategy, due diligence and management assistance for Oakland Fund ventures.

Jamal began his career in education as a snowboard instructor at Squaw Valley, CA where he taught kids of all ages how to ski and snowboard. That experience provided the spark that ignited his passion for teaching which has continued to this day. He taught Kindergarten through fifth grades in San Francisco’s Hunters Point and Western Addition neighborhoods and then went on to become a site administrator. He served as the principal for several turnaround schools in Modesto and Livermore which all made significant gains in student performance under his leadership. As a school principal Jamal joined the National League of Democratic Schools and then became a national Five Freedoms Fellow furthering his commitment to creating schools in which democratic practice is an explicit part of the curriculum. In his time at Harvard, Jamal represented his classmates as the Ed.L.D. Senator on the student council where he helped organize events and advise administration on policies concerning the student body. Jamal holds a BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Sociology, and an MA from the University of California at Berkeley in Education as part of the inaugural cohort of the Principal Leadership Institute. He is currently completing a Doctor of Education Leadership degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to be conferred in May 2015.

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Sosanna Folz

Venture Assistant

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.

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Rachel Garcia James

Executive Assistant

Rachel Garcia James is an Executive Assistant supporting the work of the Chief of Staff, the Oakland Fund team and the Innovative Schools team.

Rachel’s experience is in the non-profit and higher education sector. Rachel spent 10 years organizing high school and middle school youth around educational equity and justice issues in South Los Angeles with the Community Coalition. She also spent two years at the University of San Francisco as an Operations Manager for the Division of Student Life and the Executive Assistant to the Dean of Student Life.

Rachel is a Los Angeles native with family roots up and down the West coast. She earned a BA at Loyola Marymount University and spent time living and traveling in Mexico to study Spanish and the social and economic history of the region.

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Eva Gonda Green

Director of Portfolio Development

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.

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Vanessa Gonzalez

Associate Partner

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.

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Simin Hailu

Development Operations Coordinator

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.

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Jessica Henry

Senior Analyst

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.

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Melissa Kim

Director of Instructional Practice

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.

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Arielle Rittvo Kinder

Partner

Arielle Rittvo Kinder is a Partner with NewSchools Venture Fund on the Innovative Schools Team.

Prior to joining NewSchools, Arielle was the Principal and Founder of Blueprint Education, a consulting firm that supports, schools, non-profit organizations, and foundations across the country interested in implementing blended and personalized learning initiatives and models.  Before founding Blueprint, Arielle worked to establish and grow a number of charter schools and charter management organizations, serving as the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Rocketship Education from 2011-2013 and the Managing Director of Operations and Planning at KIPP LA Schools from 2006-2011.  She has an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and a BA from Columbia University.

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Lauren Kushman

Principal

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.

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Gloria Lee

President & COO

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.

Recent news:

  1. What Three Big EdTech Investments Say About The Future Of Education
  2. NewSchools Venture Fund leads $1.1 Million funding round for MasteryConnect
  3. Veteran Education Entrepreneur Gloria Lee Joins NewSchools Venture Fund

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Tiffany Lee

Senior Development Associate
Tiffany Lee is the Senior Development Associate at NewSchools Venture Fund, working with the development team to raise funds to support high-impact education entrepreneurs. She also leads the work on NewSchools’ annual reports and other visual communications projects.
 
Prior to joining NewSchools, Tiffany worked at Housing Development Fund, Inc., a nonprofit that provides low- and moderate-income families with access to affordable housing and financial counseling in the high-cost state of Connecticut. While at Housing Development Fund, she redesigned the website, managed development operations, improved public relations strategy, and assisted in the planning of state program and philanthropic activities.
 
Tiffany graduated with a B.A. in Architecture from Princeton University. She is also a freelance graphic designer.
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Maura Marino

Managing Director, DC Schools Fund

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.

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Jay Martinez

Analyst

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

Deborah McGriff

Managing Director

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 joinEdisonLearning (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 Beyond 12. She serves on the executive committee of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 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 Games and Learning Publishing Council, Hechinger Report, 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.

Recent news:

  1. PIE Network Welcomes Three Leading Education Reformers to Board of Directors
  2. Charter Operators Face Challenges in ‘Scaling Up’
  3. Future schools: Blending face-to-face and online learning

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Frances Messano

Chief of Staff

Frances Messano is NewSchools Venture Fund’s Chief of Staff, managing critical external partnerships, ensuring strong organizational culture and leading strategic initiatives to ensure NewSchools’ success.

Most recently, Frances served as Vice President of Strategy on Teach for America’s Strategy, Innovation and Organization Development Team.  In this role, she led TFA through its long-range strategic planning process. Before that, Frances was an Associate Partner at Monitor Institute, the social impact practice within Monitor Deloitte’s strategy consulting arm, where she focused her practice on helping education organizations scale their impact through strategy development, organizational design, leadership development, and program design. Additional experiences include working at Morgan Stanley for four years in equity sales and structuring.  Frances has an MBA from Harvard Business School and BA from Harvard College. Frances is a first-generation college graduate and an alum of Prep for Prep, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, organizations that she credits with helping her gain access to educational and professional opportunity.

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Clare Middleton-Detzner

Development Manager

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.

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Taylor Miller-Freutel

Program Assistant

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.

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Amy Omand

Controller

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.

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Beth Sears

Director of Investor Relations

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. 

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Anne Soto

Associate Partner

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.

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Esther Tricoche

Associate Partner

Esther Tricoche is an Associate Partner on NewSchools’ Tools & Services team.  Prior to joining NewSchools Venture Fund, Esther was a founding team member, Program Manager and Acting Vice President at the Laura & John Arnold Foundation, where she led the Foundation’s education team and directed over $130 million in grants to sustainable, scalable, and transformative initiatives in K-12 Public Education.  Prior to that, Esther worked as a policy researcher for a Fortune 500 company focusing on international human rights and corporate sustainable development. She also served as a cultural affairs policy researcher through a partnership with the Houston Mayor’s Office and is a former member of a Rice University research team that focused on memory and cognition in relation to learning. As an inaugural Pahara Institute NextGen Fellow, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans National Scholar, and community volunteer, Esther brings deep passion to the NewSchools Venture Fund to transform the United States’ public education system. Esther holds a degree in Cognitive Science from Rice University, with a concentration in Neuroscience.

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Graham VanderZanden

Associate Partner

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.

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Cameron White

Associate Director, co.lab

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.

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