Shafeen Charania is a successful and proven leader, marketer, business strategist and entrepreneur. He has more than 20 years experience in a variety of US and international roles with companies like Microsoft and IBM, where he excelled by exhibiting creativity, customer and market savvy, leadership, and by achieving high impact results.
Shafeen’s strength is solving complex problems, really understanding the nature of a situation, and then finding creative answers that are attainable, sustainable, and transformational.
A passionate entrepreneur, Shafeen is a partner/founder of several hightech/ education/media startups based in Seattle, Washington. Shafeen also consults to corporations, educational institutions, governments and nonprofits on new market entry, global business execution, strategy, vision, mission, and marketing/business execution.
He is a noted public speaker and lecturer, and has spoken at a number of business schools across the United States and Canada, including Foster School of Business at University of Washington, Harvard Business School, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Ross School of Business at University of Michigan, Sauder School of Business at University of British Columbia, and Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Francisco Escobedo has been in education the better part of 29 years. He currently
serves as Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD),
where he started in 2010. Located in southern San Diego County, the District’s 46
schools serve more than 29,600 students. CVESD was 1 of 7 Districts identified as a
“Positive Outlier” by LPI from 1000 comparative districts for its superior academic
scores. Dr. Escobedo is past president of the Board of Directors for the Chula Vista
Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors member for the YMCA and Classroom of
the Future and a Rotary member. He is the current Superintendent of the Year for the
ACSA Region 18 Area. Dr. Escobedo’s experience includes working as Assistant
Superintendent for Educational Leadership in the South Bay Union School District and
Principal Research Analyst for the American Institutes for Research. Since 2001, Dr.
Escobedo has been an adjunct professor of Educational Administration at San Diego
State University and is currently a member of the doctoral faculty. He earned his
undergraduate degree from Yale University, M.A. degree from San Diego State
University, and Ed.D. from the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State
Mr. Gary Jacobs is the Managing Director of Jacobs Investment Company LLC (JIC). JIC was created in 1997 to participate in real estate development throughout the United States. In partnership with several developers, JIC has invested over sixty million dollars in projects ranging from government services to residential to commercial. Mr. Jacobs serves as Chairman of the Board of DermTech International, Ora Bio Ltd. and Nutrinia Ltd. Mr. Jacobs is also a director of Next Generation Technologies, GEO2 Technologies Inc., Flourinex Active Ltd. and Fallbrook Technologies.
In the community, Mr. Jacobs serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of High Tech High charter high schools, Graduate School of Education and is active in the national high school reform movement. HTH is founded on three design principles: personalization, adult-world connection, and a common intellectual mission. He also serves as Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Social Sciences at University of California at San Diego UCSD. He and his wife, Jerri-Ann, created the Gary and Jerri-Ann Graduate Fellowship in Social Sciences Endowment and the Jerri-Ann and Gary Jacobs Chair in Social Sciences.
In addition, Mr. Jacobs is a past president of the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County. He and Jerri-Ann have endowed the Jerri-Ann and Gary Jacobs Teen Director position and created an endowment for the senior department at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus. Mr. Jacobs is also a board member of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture, Jewish Community Foundation, The San Diego Foundation and the UCSD Board of Overseers.
In the summer of 2000, Mr. Jacobs created and funded the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute. The institute brings together ten Jewish teenagers from San Diego, ten Jewish teenagers from the Shaar HarNegev region in Israel, ten Israeli Bedouin teenagers from Segev Shalom and ten Palestinian teenagers from Gaza for a year long program during which participants and staff travel together to San Diego, study historical Muslim/Jewish relations in Spain for a week and then in Israel for a week to study with a modern perspective.
Mr. Jacobs graduated in 1979 from the University of California at San Diego with a B.A. in Management Science. He worked as a Software Programmer and Engineer at Linkabit Inc. and QUALCOMM from 1979 through 1996, then as a Senior Education Specialist until 2000 working with K-12 educational institutions to enhance science and math studies.
Michelle Kim is a VP of Strategic Partnerships at TGR Foundation (TGRF), a Tiger Woods Charity. For the past 16 years, she has been spearheading the public & private partnerships on behalf of the Foundation as well as emerging initiatives including TGRF’s international expansion plan. Prior to joining TGRF, she was a Global HR Director at Accenture. Michelle has served as an advisor to Johns Hopkins University, KPCC-Southern California Public Radio and several Silicon Valley social impact firms. When Michelle is not traveling to remote parts of the world, she can be found on a tennis court working on her backhand.
Carl Maida is a professor at UCLA, where he teaches medical anthropology, global health, and scientific research ethics in the Graduate Program in Oral Biology. He has a joint appointment in the Institute of the Environment in the UCLA College of Letters and Science, where he teaches courses on action research methods and conducts community-based research on natural hazards, community toxics, environmental disease, and urban sustainability. He co-directs Howard Hughes Medical Institute Pre-College Science Education program at UCLA School of Dentistry. At UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, he conducts studies of the impact of natural disaster on children, adolescents and their families as a member of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, and as a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, among persons living with HIV. He is a member of the UCLA Campus Sustainability Committee, and chairs its Academic Subcommittee. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Anthropological Association, and the Society for Applied Anthropology.
Ms. Shiels proudly serves as the Superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD). SVUSD serves the city of Sonoma and the unincorporated Valley area between Glen Ellen and the Napa County border. She works alongside the proud and hardworking staff over 600 employees who educate and nurture nearly 4000 students across five elementary schools, two middle schools, and both a comprehensive and continuation high school. The school district is excited to be moving forward several key bond projects, including improvements to classrooms, greater technology, and pool and athletic fields. The first year of her tenure, new board members and staff met to update the district mission, vision and core beliefs. This work, once through the final vetting and after final board approval, will serve as the North Star for decisions in the district regarding student success. District work will begin to focus on using data to problem-solve together, having the best instruction in every classroom and strengthening the system to meet every student where they are.
Previously, Ms. Shiels served a statewide organization as the Director of Education for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), where she worked closely with districts. As a Sonoma County resident, she traveled the state to support and champion districts seeking to improve outcomes for those historically underserved. Post-fire, it was clear it was time to reinvest personal effort and attention to the local community she values so much. She feels privileged to be able to serve students and families of the Valley.
She has over 20 years of public education experience at the administrative and classroom level. She also had the opportunity to serve as the Superintendent of Santa Rosa City School (SRCS) District for four years. Her proudest career highlights include empowering district culture shift to restorative justice for the entire school community and intentionally creating inclusive community and organizational cultures.
As a Santa Rosa resident for nearly a decade, she has been a strong supporter and partner of a community working together. She believes that public-private partnerships across the county to ensure community health, economic vitality, and educational attainment at all organizational levels. She is a proud member of the Valley community and looks forward to working together on behalf of each and every student. The future of the Valley is in SVUSD classrooms right now.
Dr. Yong Zhao is an internationally known scholar, author, and speaker. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has designed schools that cultivate global competence, developed computer games for language learning, and founded research and development institutions to explore innovative education models. He has published over 100 articles and 20 books, includingWho’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. He is a recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association and was named one of the 2012 10 most influential people in educational technology by the Tech & Learn Magazine. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy for Education. His latest book World Class Learners has won several awards including the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2013), Association of Education Publishers’ (AEP) Judges’ Award and Distinguished Achievement Award in Education Leadership(2013).
He currently serves as the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership.
Until December, 2010, Yong Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology, executive director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence.
Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, China in 1986. After teaching English in China for six years, he came to Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. He then began his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He received his A.M. in Education in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1996. He joined the faculty at MSU in 1996 after working as the Language Center Coordinator at Willamette University and a language specialist at Hamilton College.
Richard C. Atkinson served from 1995-2003 as the seventeenth president of the University of California system. His eight-year tenure was marked by innovative approaches to admissions and outreach, research initiatives to accelerate the university’s contributions to the state’s economy, and a challenge to the country’s most widely used admissions examination the SAT 1 that initiated major changes in the way millions of America’s youth will be tested for college admissions. Before becoming president of the UC System, he served for fifteen years as chancellor of UC San Diego, leading its emergence as one of the top research universities in the nation. His own research in cognitive science and psychology addresses problems of memory and cognition. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a former director of the National Science Foundation, a past president of the American Association of Universities, and was a long-term member of the faculty at Stanford University. A mountain in Antarctica is named is his honor.
Libia Gil is a senior fellow for the American Institutes for Research (AIR), where she assists in leadership development initiatives and collaborates with states and districts to develop strategies for improving student achievement. Libia was Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District for over nine years. Under her leadership, which began in 1993, the district experienced continuous growth and is currently serving more than 27,000 students in 43 schools. Libia also fostered the successful implementation of numerous partnerships and school change models, resulting in the creation of six charter schools that have shown continual gains in student achievement and customer satisfaction. In 2002, she received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education for her outstanding leadership in Chula Vista. She is nationally recognized for her work in redesigning central office roles and functions to serve and support teaching and learning. Libia began her teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District and, with her colleagues, created a successful K-12 alternative school and numerous alternative classroom programs. She has held a variety of administrative positions including school principal, Area Administrator (supervisor of K-12 principals), and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Libia holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on bilingual and multicultural education from the University of Washington.
Gary Hoachlander is president of ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Beginning his career in 1966 as a brakeman for the Western Maryland Railroad, Gary has devoted most of his professional life to helping young people learn by doing connecting education to the opportunities, challenges, and many different rewards to be found through work. Widely known for his expertise in career and technical education and many other aspects of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, Gary has consulted extensively for the U.S. Department of Education, state departments of education, local school districts, foundations, and a variety of other clients. Gary is the president of MPR Associates, Inc., an educational research and development organization closely affiliated with ConnectEd. He is also one of the country’s leading policy analysts for the U.S. Department of Education, including the National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Both MPR Associates and ConnectEd are headquartered in Berkeley, California. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley.
For 25 years Mr. Kemerer has taught education law as a Regents Professor at the University of North Texas in Denton, where he also served as the Director of the Center for the Study of Education Reform and conducted several major studies on school choice and charter schools. Most recently, he was a Professor in Residence at the University of San Diego, teaching education law in both the School of Law and the School of Leadership and Education. He received his doctorate in educational administration and policy analysis from Stanford University in 1975 with a law minor from Stanford Law School. He has authored, coauthored, or co-edited twelve books. Among them is the legal textbook Constitutional Rights (West Publishing Company 1979); School Choice and Social Controversy: Politics, Policy and Law (Brookings Institution Press 1999); and School Choice Tradeoffs: Liberty, Equity, and Diversity (University of Texas Press 2002). He received the Scribes Certificate of Distinction in 1992 from the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects for William Wayne Justice: A Judicial Biography (University of Texas Press 1991) and the 2002 Bronze Medal Book of the Year Award in Education from Foreword Magazine for School Choice Tradeoffs. His latest book, California School Law, was published by Stanford University Press in 2005.
Deborah Meier is currently on the faculty of New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education as a senior scholar and adjunct professor. She is also a Board member and director of New Ventures at Mission Hill, director and advisor to the Forum for Democracy and Education, and on the Board of The Coalition of Essential Schools. Meier has spent more than four decades working in public education as a teacher, writer and public advocate. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten and Head Start teacher in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City schools. She was the founder and teacher-director of a network of highly successful public elementary schools in East Harlem. Between 1992 and 1996 she also served as co-director of the Coalition Campus Project that successfully redesigned the reform of two large failing city high schools, and created a dozen new small Coalition schools. She was an advisor to New York City’s Annenberg Challenge and Senior Fellow at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University from 1995-1997. From 1997 to 2005, she was the founder and principal of the Mission Hill School, a K-8 Boston Public Pilot school serving 180 children in the Roxbury community.
Meier attended Antioch College and received a Master’s in history from the University of Chicago. She has received honorary degrees from Bank Street College of Education, Brown, Bard, Clark, Teachers College of Columbia University, Dartmouth, Harvard, Hebrew Union College, Hofstra, The New School, Lesley College, SUNY Albany, UMASS Lowell, and Yale. She was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1987. Her books, The Power of Their Ideas: Lessons to America from a Small School in Harlem (1995), Will Standards Save Public Education? (2000), nbsp;In Schools We Trust (2002), Keeping School, with Ted and Nancy Sizer (2004) and Many Children Left Behind (2004) are all published by Beacon Press.
Ted Mitchell is President and CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy firm working to transform public education by supporting the creation of entrepreneurial organizations that serve the nation’s most underserved communities. Ted became the CEO of NewSchools in the fall of 2005. He began a lifetime’s work in education as a professor at Dartmouth College, moving to Stanford, then to UCLA, and most recently to Occidental College, where he served as President from 1999-2005. Ted is a national leader in the effort to provide high-quality education for all students and has long been active in California and Los Angeles educational reform initiatives. He currently chairs the Governor’s Committee on Educational Excellence, charged with making recommendations to overhaul California’s system of K-12 finance and governance. Ted received his bachelor’s degree in History and Economics, his master’s degree in History, and his doctorate in the history of American education, all from Stanford. He also served as a member of the Stanford Board of Trustees from 1985-1990.
Leslie Santee Siskin is a noted sociologist of organizations and organizational change. Her research focuses on high school structuring, restructuring, and reform. She is the author or co-author of several articles and books about high schools, including Realms of Knowledge: Academic Departments in Secondary Schools, The Subjects in Question: Departmental Organization and the High School, and The New Accountability: High Schools and High-stakes Testing. She has been a Fellow at Columbia University and Cambridge University, and was Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and at Hofstra before coming to New York University. Leslie earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University, and her bachelor’s from Middlebury College.
Nancy Faust Sizer is a career teacher who has worked in public and private high schools, including Cambridge Rindge and Latin, Phillips Academy, and the Wheeler School. With her husband, Theodore R. Sizer, she has taught at Brown University and currently teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Both Nancy and Ted recently served as acting co-principals at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School where Nancy also was Transition Counselor, helping to lead its first graduating class through the transition to postsecondary education. The Students Are Watching: Schools and the Moral Contract (Beacon Press, 1999) is her most recent book, written with her husband Ted.
Educational Leadership Coordinator and Director of the Mission Valley Regional Center Point Loma Nazarene University
Carol A. Leighty is a life long educator who has spent 40 years in public education. Starting her career as an elementary school teacher, Dr. Leighty completed her career as a superintendent. During her career, she supported the charter schools in her districts. She is a graduate of San Diego State University and the University of Southern California. She is now semi-retired while teaching part-time at Point Loma Nazarene.