Dr. Tommy Chang brings over 25 years of education experience and leadership to this role, including significant positions in schools,…
Dr. Tommy Chang brings over 25 years of education experience and leadership to this role, including significant positions in schools, districts, and nonprofit organizations. His journey began with and continues to return to the life-changing moment he answered the call to become a teacher. Before his previous position as…
Atyani Howard oversees NTC’s program vision, innovation, and client delivery while providing collaborative leadership as part of our national Equity…
Atyani Howard oversees NTC’s program vision, innovation, and client delivery while providing collaborative leadership as part of our national Equity Commission. Before her role at NTC, Howard served as the vice president of academics for The New Teacher Project (TNTP), where she led on instructional programs, business development, program…
As Chief of Staff, Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon provides leadership in the executive office, advocates for NTC stakeholders, and aligns strategic…
As Chief of Staff, Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon provides leadership in the executive office, advocates for NTC stakeholders, and aligns strategic priorities with enterprise-level work to advance our mission. As Chief of Staff, Feliza provides leadership in the executive office, advocates for NTC stakeholders, and aligns strategic priorities with enterprise-level…
Sabrina Plassman provides leadership to our Finance, Operations, Impact and Technology Enablement teams, ensuring that NTC’s Central Teams provide excellent…
Sabrina Plassman provides leadership to our Finance, Operations, Impact and Technology Enablement teams, ensuring that NTC’s Central Teams provide excellent operational support across the organization. Prior to serving as the Acting Chief Operating Officer, Sabrina was the Senior Vice President of Program, overseeing the Innovation and Design, Delivery, Federal…
Tommy brings over 25 years of education experience and leadership to this role, including significant positions in schools, districts, and nonprofit organizations. His journey began with and continues to return to the life-changing moment he answered the call to become a teacher. Before his previous position as acting CEO and President of Families In Schools, Tommy spent three years as a consultant and coach to school system leaders and advised organizations such as Great Public Schools Now LA, FourPoint Education Partners, and Whiteboard Advisors. He has served on several nonprofit boards such as Leading Educators and Silicon Schools Fund as well as Education Leaders of Color, an organization dedicated to elevating the leadership, voices, and influence of people of color in education to lead more inclusive efforts to improve education. From 2015-2018, he served as superintendent for Boston Public Schools during which time the district saw increases in student graduation rates and decreases in school dropout rates. He also supported the development and implementation of The Essentials for Instructional Equity, an innovative framework for teaching and learning aimed at closing opportunity and achievement gaps.
Chief Program Officer
Atyani Howard oversees NTC’s program vision, innovation, and client delivery while providing collaborative leadership as part of our national Equity Commission. Before her role at NTC, Howard served as the vice president of academics for The New Teacher Project (TNTP), where she led on instructional programs, business development, program delivery, and ELL program development. For five years, she served as chief academic officer for Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (CNCA) in Los Angeles, CA. As CAO, she led the development, implementation, assessment, and improvement of educational programs for eight schools and 3500 students in grades Pre-k-12. Under her leadership, CNCA schools received several accolades for instructional program quality, including the Hart Vision Award from the California Charter Association, “Bright Spot” by the White House Initiative on Hispanic Excellence in Education, Title I Academic Achievement Award and CABE Seal of Excellence. Howard began her teaching career in the Chicago Public School System in 1997. She earned her Master’s degree in English Language and Literature from Northwestern University.
Feliza I. Ortiz-Licon
Chief of Staff
As Chief of Staff, Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon provides leadership in the executive office, advocates for NTC stakeholders, and aligns strategic priorities with enterprise-level work to advance our mission. Before joining NTC, Feliza served as the chief policy and advocacy officer at Latinos for Education and as principal of education programs at UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza). Feliza began her career as an elementary school teacher with Long Beach Unified School District. She also held positions as director of policy for Los Angeles Unified School District and director of college access for the Fulfillment Fund. Feliza holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Political Science, a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in City and Regional Planning, and a doctoral degree in Education Leadership from the University of California, Irvine. In 2015, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Feliza to the California State Board of Education, where she served 6.2 million students for five fulfilling years. She is happily married to a seasoned educator in the Long Beach Unified School District, and they have two children attending a dual language program in the same district.
Chief Operating Officer
Sabrina Plassman provides leadership to our Finance, Operations, Impact and Technology Enablement teams, ensuring that NTC’s Central Teams provide excellent operational support across the organization. Prior to serving as the Acting Chief Operating Officer, Sabrina was the Senior Vice President of Program, overseeing the Innovation and Design, Delivery, Federal Grants, Internal Learning, Impact and Professional Learning Systems teams. Sabrina began her career as a 6th grade teacher in Charlotte, NC. She earned a Bachelors degree in Economics from Boston College, a Masters degree in Policy Organization and Leadership from Stanford University’s School of Education and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
NTC Equity Commission
NTC is committed to our mission: to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students by accelerating educator effectiveness.
It’s a tall order that we can’t do alone.
We want to push the paradigm on what we know to be true. To do so, we need help identifying what’s hidden from view. So we’ve built a community of perspectives to ensure NTC is serving students experiencing poverty, BIPOC students, multilingual learners, students with learning differences, and immigrant students. The Equity Commission (EC) is a partnership, shining a spotlight on the roots of systemic problems that harm our most vulnerable kids.
Dr. Dawn Brooks-DeCostaDeputy Superintendent, NYDOE Community School District 5
Anne ChildersTeacher, Educator, and Instructional Designer
Nancy DomeCo-founder and CEO, Epoch Education
Sharif El-MekkiFounder & CEO, Center for Black Educator Development
Brandon FrameSenior Director of Social Emotional Learning, The Urban Assembly
Lisa FultonLICSW, Four Directions Behavioral Health
Laleña GarciaKindergarten Teacher & Early Childhood Specialist, Rooted Kids
Danica Goyens-WardPrincipal, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School
Lindsay KruseProgram Design, All Means All School Leader Program (Cambiar)
Veronica LaneChief Data Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs
Magaly LavadenzDistinguished Professor and founding Executive Director of the Center for Equity for English Learners in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University
Shannon LeonardDirector of Teaching & Learning, KIPP SoCal
Cary MatsuokaRetired Superintendent, Santa Barbara USD
Alejandra MezaRising Senior, Pacific Collegiate School
Dr. Gholdy MuhammadAssociate Professor of Language and Literacy, Georgia State
Carola Oliva-OlsonExecutive Director, Institute For Racial Equity and Excellence
Norka PadillaInstructional Specialist, Montgomery County Schools
Karen PittmanCo-founder and former CEO of Forum for Youth Investment, Partner in Knowledge to Power Catalysts
Lisa QuayExecutive Director, Student Experience Research Network
Tanji Reed MarshallAuthor and Director of P-12 Practice, The Education Trust
Zanthee SchwarzmannRecent Graduate, Pacific Collegiate School
Dr. Aida WalquiSenior Research Scientist, West Ed
Thoughts from Our Equity Commission
“All children are equally, immensely talented and have a tremendous potential to grow. It is the responsibility of educators to develop that potential. NTC works to give educators the supports they need to do that.”
Dr. Aída Walqui Senior Research Scientist West Ed
We use language for our kids around self-awareness, being able to access external supports, and also being able to understand their needs and emotions. NTC’s instructional coaching process develops similar competencies in teachers themselves. And when teachers experience high-quality relationships and trust, they can reflect that into their classroom.
David Adams Chief Executive Officer The Urban Assembly
NTC’s professional learning series was a great way to make me really think about my practice. Before, I understood the idea of being nonjudgmental when working with new teachers, but it was hard because I didn’t have the tools or guides to keep me focused. The support I got from the series keeps me grounded.
Sujata Bhatt is the founder and CEO of Incubate Learning, bringing over twenty years of experience in strategy and design to support redesigning formal learning to make it human, humane, and joyous. She also serves as the Capstone Director for the world’s first Education Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where she supports entrepreneurs to define and develop ventures in ed-tech, K to Gray learning, and social justice. Sujata was a former Senior Fellow at Transcend, served as Managing Partner of Innovation for the Boston Public Schools, and founded a middle-high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District that centered on real-world impact projects—including launching startups in 8th grade—supported by blended and social-emotional learning. Sujata serves on the board of the Mastery Transcript Consortium and Red Bridge, is a frequent contributor to national publications and conferences, and is currently co-authoring a book on mastery-based learning with Tony Wagner and Ulrik Christensen. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. from the University of Michigan, and she was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard.
Chong-Hao Fu is CEO of Leading Educators, a leading nonprofit working with school systems to build and sustain the conditions, teaching, and leadership to ensure that the students furthest from opportunity succeed in school and life. Chong-Hao Fu is a nationally recognized thought leader on teacher leadership and professional learning, equitable instructional practice, teacher diversity and pathways, and sustainable systems change. He is actively engaged in efforts to shape the future of teaching and learning as the co-chair of the Research Partnership for Professional Learning (NTC is an affiliate organization), an advisory board member for the ASU Next Education Workforce, and a steering committee member for the Coalition to Reimagine the Teaching Role (NTC serves on the steering committee). He is a member of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC) and the Pahara Institute Fellowship. Before his time at Leading Educators, Chong-Hao was the founding principal at KIPP Sharpstown in Houston, Texas. He began teaching middle and high school math in Greenville, Mississippi. In 2016, Chong-Hao was a finalist for the Teach for America Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership. He holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from National Louis University.
Dr. Paul Goren serves as the Director of the Center for Education Efficacy, Excellence and Equity at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. Working with an on-line education tech provider (who touches over 8-10 million kids daily in predominantly urban schools), the Center aims to harvest data for studies on student success (across racial, gender and economic groups), learning and learning loss during the pandemic, and pathways students take in acquiring knowledge and skills in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
From 2014 to 2019, Paul served as superintendent in Evanston/Skokie School District 65. Located just north of Chicago, the district serves nearly 8,000 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.A champion for social emotional learning, Paul held the position of Senior Vice President for Program at The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) prior to his superintendent appointment. He has held several senior advisory roles focused on educational practice, policy, and research with large public school systems, including Minneapolis Public Schools, San Diego City Schools, and Chicago Public Schools. Paul also directed the education policy studies division of the National Governors’ Association (NGA) in Washington, DC and served as the Director of Child and Youth Development for the MacArthur Foundation and as the Senior Vice President at The Spencer Foundation.
Paul received a BA from Williams College, a Masters of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas, and a PhD from Stanford University.
Nithin Iyengar is a partner in Bridgespan’s San Francisco office. Since joining the organization in 2010, Nithin has been a leader in developing Bridgespan’s Education Practice. Nithin has worked with a range of foundations, organizations, and government agencies pursuing large-scale initiatives focused on educator growth and development and school turnaround and transformation. Additionally, he has supported multiple efforts to develop high-quality, equitable career pathways to enable students to complete high school, graduate with a post-secondary credential, and enter a family-sustaining, personally relevant career. Stemming from his work with districts and charter organizations in particular, he has co-authored a number of papers including, “School District Innovation Zones,” “Should Donors Invest in School Districts,” and “Rethinking High School Turnarounds.”
Nithin has always been committed to building a high-quality and diverse team at Bridgespan. He has championed and led multiple efforts to reshape how Bridgespan recruits and retains all staff and particularly staff of color. Since 2017, Nithin has led recruitment and hiring of incoming staff for the San Francisco office.
Nithin joined Bridgespan after seven years as an educator and district leader working in prior roles in the Oakland Unified School District as coordinator of Portfolio Management and the School District of Philadelphia as chief of staff to the School Reform Commission. His career began in the classroom teaching high school math and later working as an instructional coach supporting new math and science teachers.
In addition to his work at Bridgespan, Nithin serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Creativity Museum – one of the leading creativity-focused museums in the United States. Nithin earned a BA in Computer Science for Harvard University; an MA in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University; and an Ed.M in Educational Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor and founding Executive Director of the Center for Equity for English Learners in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University. Her research addresses the intersections and impact of policies and practices for culturally and linguistically diverse students, their teachers and school leaders.
She has held various leadership positions as President of Californians Together, California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), the California Association for Bilingual Teacher Education and the California Council on Teacher Education. Her published work includes Questioning our Practices: Bilingual Teacher-Researchers and Transformative Inquiry and Latino Civil Rights in Education: La Lucha Sigue.
Jim Mylen is a senior advisor at the Emerson Collective, investing in people, tools, and models with a focus on high school as the fulcrum of change in the lives of individual students and across the education system. Jim is an ed-tech executive and investor with a 30-year track record of scaling, growing, and transforming educational businesses. He began his career in education during the rise of Apple II and IBM PC. Jim has worked with classroom teachers, school principals, and district leaders to support their curriculum, technology assessment, and professional development initiatives. He continues to be a trusted advisor to many district administrators as they work tirelessly to improve education, equity, and access in their communities. He previously served as Senior Vice President and President of Amplify (formerly Wireless Generation), where he led the sales team through one of the largest growth cycles the company experienced. Jim received his B.A. from Fairfield University.
Board Vice Chair
Kelly Pope is co-founder and President of the SpecialRelativity Education Foundation, a small family foundation that provides grants to innovative education initiatives that encourage curiosity and love of learning. She is an active Partner and Executive Board Member at Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2), a venture philanthropy organization. Kelly also serves on the board of Teen Success, Inc. and is an active participant on KQED’s Education Taskforce. Formerly, Kelly was Advisory Board Chair to Citizen Schools California and was a Trustee at Montalvo Arts Center.
Prior to Kelly’s involvement in the non-profit sector, she worked for 25 years as a software professional, focusing on interactive media and educational technology products for both teachers and students. She led technology teams at Sun Microsystems and Electronic Arts and was an early executive at Tenth Planet and Classroom Connect. She was the founding COO at Interschola, voted in 2012 as one of Bloomberg Business Week’s Top 5 most promising social enterprises. Today, she advises numerous young educational technology start-ups and augments her philanthropic work with impact investing in the education sector.
Kelly holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering/signal processing from U.C. Davis and was one of the first women to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. She is an American Leadership Forum (ALF) Senior Fellow and has served as a board member and community advocate for other Bay Area organizations focused on early childhood development, personalized learning, and youth access to education, including The Big Lift, Montalvo Arts Center, Declara, The Girls Middle School, and Science is Elementary. Kelly lives in the Bay Area with her husband and 2 dogs. Interests: Tennis (seriously!), physical fitness (as a job), piano (when time permits), education (always!).
Shruti, who currently serves as NTC Board Chair, is a Partner at New Profit, where she leads one of New Profit’s domains – a collaborative of social entrepreneurs and funders aligning actions to integrate the concept of investing in individual learners through personalized learning and social emotional development into mainstream public education. Prior to that, Shruti led New Profit’s portfolio management practice, ensuring organizations were receiving the support and resources they needed both from New Profit and from Monitor Group through pro-bono strategic engagements. She also led efforts to measure, evaluate, and report aggregate and organization-specific performance. In addition to domain management responsibilities, Shruti currently serves on the boards of BUILD, New Teacher Center, and Peace First, supporting their efforts to create and execute against aggressive plans to accelerate their impact.
Shruti’s family has a history of giving back to communities in different ways with courage and perseverance. Her grandmother was the ad-hoc matriarch of the neighborhood in India where Shruti’s mother grew up. Among other things, Shruti’s grandmother enlisted a local gynecologist to work with the domestic worker community to provide education and assistance with family planning, and to help break the cycle of poverty perpetuated by high fertility rates and overpopulation. Shruti’s father was born in Multan, a region of South Asia known for producing people with courage in the face of all kinds of danger. She feels that this combined background necessarily led her to New Profit where she now has the opportunity to work daily to boldly forge new paths to drive poverty alleviation and social justice.
Shruti joined New Profit in 2006 while finishing a joint M.B.A./M.P.A. Prior to graduate school, she managed a campaign for State Assembly in California while starting up a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping critically ill workers. Before that, she spent seven years working in the private sector, initially as an engineer at Honeywell, an aerospace engine manufacturer, and later in a series of quality management positions at Howmet Castings, an aerospace casting manufacturer, and Jabil Circuit, an electronics manufacturing services company. Shruti holds an S.B. in chemistry from MIT, an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and an M.P.A. from Harvard Kennedy School.
When not rigorously pursuing social change, Shruti meditates, loves cooking-especially trying out new dishes-and works hard to spoil her nieces.
David Spiller is a member of the Portfolio Group at Bain Capital Private Equity, where he partners with portfolio companies to drive operating performance improvement. Prior to Bain Capital, David was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, working primarily with global consumer packaged goods companies on growth strategy. Earlier in his career, David worked with Latin American financial institutions clients at Citibank.
David received a B.S. from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was an Editor of the Columbia Law Review.
David lives in New York City with his wife Candice and daughter Marielle.
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