2018 speaker list

Welcome and Keynote Address

Stacey Kole

Dean's Welcome

Stacey R. Kole is Deputy Dean for Alumni, Corporate Relations and the Full-Time MBA Program and Clinical Professor of Economics. Her research interests cover policies and practices that dictate behavior within organizations and its relation to firm performance. Her publications include "Workforce Integration and the Dissipation of Value in Mergers: The Case of USAir's Acquisition of Piedmont Aviation," with Kenneth Lehn, in Mergers and Productivity, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in 2000; "Deregulation and the Adaptation of Governance Structure: The Case of U.S. Airlines Industry," with Kenneth Lehn published in the Journal of Financial Economics in 1999; and "The Complexity of Compensation Contracts" in the 1997 Journal of Financial Economics.

She previously served as a member of the faculty associate dean for MBA Programs at the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business. Prior to her career in academics, Kole was a financial economist in the Office of Economic Analysis, at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Kole received a bachelor's degree in history and economics from the University of Rochester in 1982. She received her PhD in economics in 1992 from the University of Chicago.

Timothy Knowles

Keynote Address

Timothy Knowles serves as Founder and Managing Partner of the Academy Group. The Academy Group is a new enterprise designed to prepare extraordinary young people from under-resourced communities to own and operate successful companies nationwide; reduce economic disparities and; serve as a human capital engine, built on a sustainable business model, to unlock human potential at scale. Knowles also holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago.

Previously Knowles served as the Pritzker Director of the University of Chicago Urban Labs. Urban Labs focus on five dimensions of urban life – education, crime, health, poverty and energy and the environment – and works globally to design, test and scale policies and programs that are effective, humane and cost-efficient. At the University of Chicago Knowles also established, directed and served as Chairman of the Urban Education Institute, influencing educational policy and practice nationwide. He also served as the John Dewey Clinical Professor.

Before moving to Chicago Knowles was the Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools and co-directed the Boston Annenberg Challenge, a nationally regarded effort to improve literacy instruction at scale. Prior to his work in Boston, he was director of a full-service K–8 school in New York City, founding director of Teach for America in New York, and a teacher of African history in Botswana.

He has started a wide range of social sector organizations, is a nationally recognized speaker and recipient of multiple awards. He received his doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College.

Breakout Session 1

Early Childhood education and the chicago landscape


Executive Director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth

Christina Hachikian is the executive director of the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She leads the center’s global work as the hub for people solving complex social and environmental problems. In particular, she is responsible for strategy and direction, as well as resource development and partnerships. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Booth, and teaches courses on scaling social innovation and on social enterprise strategy, as well as serving as a coach for the school’s Social New Venture Challenge.

Prior to joining Booth, she was vice president and head of investor relations and corporate development for Cole Taylor Bank. In this role, Hachikian was responsible for building relationships within the investment community and crafting financial communications, as well as managing projects such as corporate capital actions and strategic planning. Prior to Cole Taylor, Hachikian was an assistant vice president at ShoreBank (now Urban Partnership Bank), a triple-bottom line community development bank. There she was responsible for managing projects including growth strategy, capital raising initiatives, and operational efficiencies. She held several other related positions at ShoreBank during her seven year tenure. Hachikian also has served as a research and planning analyst for Raytheon Company, directing research projects. Hachikian holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with a focus on strategic management and managerial & organizational behavior. She also earned an AB in public policy from the University of Chicago. In her spare time, she works with a Westside early education center, VOCEL, and is passionate about early childhood education access. She is inspired every day by her two children to support this issue.

Phyllis Glink

Executive Director of the Irving Harris Foundation

Phyllis Glink is the Executive Director of the Irving Harris Foundation. In her over two decades with the Foundation she has led, developed and implemented its grantmaking and field leadership work in the areas of early childhood development and child and family welfare, reproductive health and justice, Jewish values and social justice. Glink works closely with the Foundation’s partners in the non-profit, advocacy, philanthropy and government communities to leverage shared investment and maximize the impact of Foundation grants in Illinois and across the country.

She leads the Foundation’s partnerships with national replication and public policy efforts such as BUILD, the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative, First Five Years Fund, the Alliance for Early Success, the Educare Learning Network, and the Harris Foundation’s Early Childhood Professional Development Network, a group of 18 infant mental health and child trauma institutions across the United States and Israel.

Glink holds many leadership roles in the public and philanthropic sectors including serving as co-chair of the Governor’s Early Learning Council, the Advisory Board of the National Center of Excellence in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, the Steering Committee for the Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative, and co-chairs BUILD’s Advisory Board. She holds a MPP from the University of Chicago and BA in English from the University of Michigan.


Executive Director and Co-Founder of VOCEL

Kelly Lambrinatos is Co-Founder and Executive Director of VOCEL. Founded in 2013 in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, VOCEL jump starts brain development through top-notch teaching and innovative, family-centered programming to ensure all children are prepared for success in school and life. Lambrinatos graduated from SMU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and began her career as an elementary school teacher in St. Louis with Teach For America (TFA). Lambrinatos then worked for TFA Chicago for five years, most recently as Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development. During Lambrinatos time at TFA, she led the region’s overhaul of training and development for all early childhood corps members. Lambrinatos’ time teaching and coaching led her to co-found VOCEL with fellow TFA alumna Jesse Ilhardt. Today at VOCEL Lambrinatos oversees private development, growth & strategy, and VOCEL’s Board of Directors. VOCEL began its first phase of expansion in 2017 and forecasts the organization will quadruple its impact through expanded services and the relocation to a larger facility in the next three years. Currently, Lambrinatos is an MBA Candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and is part of the inaugural Neubauer Civic Scholars cohort at Booth.

Elliot Regenstein

Partner at Foresight Law + Policy Advisors, Former SVP at Ounce of Prevention Fund

Elliot Regenstein is a partner at Foresight Law + Policy. He is a frequent author and speaker on topics including accountability, state data systems, and the connections between early learning and K-12. He has extensive experience in state-level policy and advocacy, with a particular focus on early learning; he has also consulted with more than two dozen states on a wide range of education policy topics. Regenstein was one of the chief architects of Illinois' 2006 Preschool for All program while serving in the governor's office as director of education reform, and co-chaired the Illinois Early Learning Council from 2004 until April 2009. In 2015 he was appointed co-chair of the Illinois Longitudinal Data System Governing Board, and has served as chair of the Illinois Early Learning Council’s Data, Research, and Evaluation Sub-Committee since its creation in 2009. He holds a bachelor of arts in history from Columbia University and a law degree from the University of Michigan, and after law school served as a clerk to the Hon. Kenneth F. Ripple on the United State Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Funding Change: Cross-Sector Perspectives on Education Funding

Caroline Grossman (Moderator)

Director of Programs at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at Chicago Booth

Caroline Grossman is Director of Programs at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Grossman leads the Rustandy Center’s set of programs for students and alumni designed to help them make an impact. In addition to teaching Booth’s Global Social Impact Practicum, supported by Tata Trusts, Grossman has worked with Booth students in a variety of coaching capacities--as Senior Coach in the Management Laboratories, as a Project Mentor in the Consumer Behavior Course, and as a Career Coach. She has also coached a select group of Chicago’s civic leaders at the University of Chicago’s Civic Leadership Academy. Grossman has also served as adjunct faculty in the Department of Marketing at DePaul University, where she taught Consumer Behavior, and was on the faculty of the Chinese University of Hong Kong as a Yale-China Teaching Fellow.

Prior to her work at Booth and at DePaul, Grossman was a Brand Manager at Kraft Foods, where she led customer marketing for the $3 billion Grocery Business Unit, which included all of the Kraft condiments, Jell-O, and Cool Whip. She held multiple marketing roles at Kraft during her five-year tenure, during which she was the key architect of a new packaging strategy across multiple condiments brands and led a turnaround on Bull’s-Eye Barbecue Sauce. Grossman is a Board Member Emeritus and past Board President of the Board of Barrel of Monkeys, an arts education theater company that brings creative writing and drama programs to underserved Chicago Public Schools. Grossman has also served on the Board of Directors at the North Lawndale College Preparatory School where she supported marketing and branding efforts. Grossman has a BA in History from Yale University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Ginger Ostro

Executive Director, Advance Illinois

Ginger Ostro has been Executive Director of Advance Illinois since January 2016. Ostro is in charge of the organization’s efforts to advocate for a healthy public education system that helps all students achieve success in college, career and civic life. She oversaw the development and execution of the strategy for the organization’s push for the historic fix to the state’s school funding formula that passed in 2017.

Ostro joined Advance Illinois after serving as Chief Financial Officer of Chicago Public Schools, where she helped usher in a more equitable, student-based school funding model while responsible for financial operations of the third largest district in the country and a nearly $6 billion annual budget. Her career has been devoted to addressing inequities in education, human services and juvenile justice.

Ostro’s experience in education includes roles in K-12 and higher education. Prior to joining Chicago Public Schools, she worked in state government in a number of roles including Deputy Executive Director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, where she helped strengthen the Commission’s work toward helping low-income students access and complete college. Immediately prior, she was the Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. In addition, Ostro has worked in the nonprofit sector with Chicago Metropolis 2020 and in higher education at Governors State University.

Ostro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Economics, Rhetoric and Law from The University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Anna Piepmeyer

Manager of Program Investments, The Chicago Public Education Fund

As Manager, Program Investments, Anna combines her passion for serving students with her zeal for supporting high-level school reform. In her role, Anna supports The Fund’s work around the Principal Quality Initiative, helping to identify, support and scale opportunities to bring excellent leaders into Chicago Public Schools.

Anna joined The Fund after six years as Director of Education at literacy nonprofit Open Books, where she helped build the organization’s program suite, and managed a team that brought innovative literacy programs to thousands of high-need students across the city.

Anna supports her neighborhood school, Nettelhorst, as a Local School Council member. A native resident of Utah, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from The University of Utah and a Master’s Degree in the Humanities from The University of Chicago.

In her free time, Anna is an avid home cook, reader and writer. She is married to Ben Haley, a Doctoral candidate in Biology at Northwestern University and a Data Scientist at the Khan Academy.

Adnan Nisar

Partner, The Vistria Group

Adnan A. Nisar is a Partner at The Vistria Group where he focuses primarily on investments in the education sector and serves as a member of the firm’s investment committee. Prior to Vistria, Mr. Nisar was with the Mubadala Investment Company in Abu Dhabi. Mr. Nisar began his career at M3 Capital Partners focused on principal investments, capital raising transactions and M&A advisory in the real estate sector. Mr. Nisar received a B.A. in Economics and Finance from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.B.A. with honors from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Lightning Talks: Leadership Lessons from Innovative School Models

Lisa Rosen (Moderator)

Executive Director, Science of Learning Center at the University of Chicago

Lisa Rosen is the Executive Director of the UChicago Science of Learning Center and the Research Program Director for its initiative, Successful Pathways from School to Work. She is particularly interested in fostering collaboration between researchers and practitioners to translate research on learning into interventions that can improve learning in both home and school settings. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California at San Diego. She recently completed a book with Stephen W. Raudenbush and Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick, The Ambitious Elementary School: Its Conception, Design, and Contribution to Educational Equality (University of Chicago Press, 2017). The book draws on her prior work at the Urban Education Institute, where her research examined the social and cultural dimensions of urban school effectiveness and improvement. Her work has appeared in several volumes on the anthropology of education and education policy, including in the American Educational Research Association’s 2009 Handbook of Education Policy Research. She has been at the University of Chicago since 2000.

Tim King

Founder, President, & CEO of Urban Prep Academies

Tim King is founder, President and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit organization operating a network of public college-prep boys’ schools in Chicago (including the nation’s first all-male charter high school) and related programs aimed at promoting college success. 100% of Urban Prep graduates—all African-American males and mostly from low-income families—have been admitted to four-year colleges/universities. Tim also serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern University and has published in the Journal of Negro Education, Chronicle of Higher Education, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Huffington Post and New York Times. King was honored at the BET Awards as a recipient of the “Shine A Light” award and has also been: named ABC World News “Person of the Week,” Chicago Magazine’s “Chicagoan of the Year,” People Magazine’s “Hero of the Year,” and to Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100” list; featured on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Moth/USA Networks’ Characters Unite series; highlighted in Discovery Channel’s “Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper,” the documentary film “All the Difference,” and the major motion picture “Barbershop 3: The Next Cut”; and recognized by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton for his work with youth. Tim has completed post graduate work in Kenya and Italy; holds the Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Adler School; and has received the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and Juris Doctor Degrees from Georgetown University. Tim, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., serves on several boards including the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners and is the Co-Chair of Chicago’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Tim became the guardian of a former student orphaned when his mother died. That student was once homeless and now has graduated from college. Having a positive impact on this young man’s life is the achievement of which Tim is the proudest.

Katie Thaeder

Director of Operations, Leadership Prep Canarsie Middle School Academy - Uncommon Schools

Katie Thaeder has served as the Director of Operations of Leadership Prep Canarsie Middle Academy since January 2016. Prior to this role, Ms. Thaeder was an Operations Fellow with Uncommon Schools. In addition, Ms. Thaeder has worked in Philadelphia as a consultant with Spencer Stuart, a search and leadership consulting firm, served as an Education Pioneer at the Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago, and worked in the charter school accountability office for Chicago Public Schools. Ms. Thaeder earned her B.A. in History from Princeton University and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. While at Chicago Booth, Katie was a co-chair of BoothEd and oversaw the education consulting program.

Tim Ligue

Co-Principal, Intrinsic Schools

Tim Ligue (‘06) is currently the Co-Principal of Intrinsic Schools. In his current role he is responsible for shaping the culture at Intrinsic, working with teachers on instructional practices, and general administration. Before joining Intrinsic, Ligue worked at Chicago Public Schools as an instructional support leader to help principals develop and actualize performance and growth strategies. Before transitioning to education, he worked in operations at McMaster-Carr and finance at Morgan Stanley. He is a graduate of Princeton University, and received his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He was also a Broad Resident part of the 2010-12 cohort. Ligue is a south side native, and proud parent of three.

Workshop in The Art of Making

Charles Abelmann (Moderator)

Director of The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Charlie Abelmann was appointed Director of the Laboratory Schools in July of 2017. From 2010–2017, Abelmann served as head of school at Barrie School in Silver Spring, Md., an independent school for students 18 months through grade 12. He strengthened academic programs at Barrie, in part by ensuring coordination among divisions and promoting pedagogical innovation. He developed a teaching fellow and intern program, and formed partnerships that attracted guest artists and visiting teachers from other countries. Under his leadership, the school became a convener on important topics in education, and formed local and global partnerships that provided new opportunities for students and faculty to build community and support social responsibility.

Louis Coronel

Technology Coordinator at The Laboratory Schools

Louis Coronel previously worked as a freelance graphic designer and school technology coordinator with the Chicago Public Schools for 13 years. Coronel has now been with the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools for seven years, the past four as Primary School (grades NK-2) technology coordinator. A catalyst in the creation of the PS makerspace, he oversees and manages its ongoing development and implementation. He is presently working and coordinating with the committee responsible for designing the Middle School and high school makerspaces.

Thomas Kearns

Founder of Bit Space

Thomas Kearns is the Founder and Director of Bit Space, Chicagoland's premier maker lab for kids and teens. Thomas Kearns has brought his unique mixture of professional practice to the classrooms and design studios of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology where he is the Director of the Design Communications curriculum. As Director at Bit Space, Thomas operates as a Maker-in-Residence, bringing his unique approach to design and years of experience in education to bear on the formation of a next-gen curriculum for our next generation of makers.

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford

Visual Artist, Adjunct Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford is a visual artist and Co-Director of the art and design collective Floating Museum. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Contemporary Practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been shown at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the UCSD Art Gallery, the Glass Curtain Gallery and the Hyde Park Art Center, among other spaces. He has held fellowships at the Sculpture Space, the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, the Brown Foundation Program at the Dora Maar House, and the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting. His work has been supported by grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Harpo Foundation, the Propeller Fund, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, the Field Foundation, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship in Sicily and a British Council Social Practice Fellowship.

breakout session 2

To & Through Project Workshop: Using Data to Drive Student Outcomes

Alex Seeskin

Director of University of Chicago's To & Through Project

Alex Seeskin is the Chief Strategy Officer at the Urban Education Institute where he is responsible for guiding strategy for the organization and leading high priority work across and within UEI’s units. Seeskin also the leads To&Through Project (toandthrough.uchicago.edu), which aims to empower educators and families with research, data, and resources they need to move more students to and through high school and college. Previously, he served as the Director of Strategy of UChicago Charter, and as a resident at UChicago Impact.

Prior to coming to UEI, Seeskin taught high school English in Chicago Public Schools for seven years, serving as the English Department Chair at Lake View High School from 2008-2012. Seeskin earned a BS in communications from Northwestern University and an EdLD from Harvard University.

Creating Cultural Capital Through Arts Education

Karen Gahl-Mills (Moderator)

CEO & Executive Director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in Cleveland, Ohio

Karen Gahl-Mills is the CEO + executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the local public funder of arts and culture activities in Cleveland, Ohio. Since 2007, CAC has invested more than $158 million into 350 organizations who serve millions of area residents.

A former orchestra manager turned grantmaker and teacher, she has worked passionately throughout her 25-year career to connect the talents of arts and culture organizations with the needs of the community.

She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from DePaul University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and she still makes music, singing regularly in the community choir at Oberlin College.

Gabrielle Lyon

Vice President of Education & Experiences at the Chicago Architecture Foundation

Gabrielle Lyon is Vice President for Education & Experience at the Chicago Architecture Foundation where she leads programs serving more than 30,000 youth, families and professionals annually that serve as an international models in architecture, design and the built environment.

Lyon is a nationally-recognized non-profit leader, educator, and public speaker with a background that includes launching and leading award-winning organizations and initiatives focused on leveling the playing field of educational opportunity for underserved youth. She synthesizes data-driven social-justice work with education, championing the belief that high-quality educational opportunity can and should be accessible to everyone, especially those to whom it has historically been closed.

In 1999 Lyon founded Project Exploration, a high-impact nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the face of science for underserved minority youth and girls and established its nationally-recognized model for recruiting and retaining minority youth and girls to science.

Lyon earned Bachelor’s & Master’s degrees in History from the University of Chicago, a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she has taught Social Entrepreneurship.

She was named a “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2011, recognized as a National After School Champion in 2012 and was awarded a leadership Fellowship from the Chicago Community Trust. Lyon has served as a Senior Advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative America on STEM Education and Co-Chaired Mayor Emanuel's Technology Diversity Council.

Paul Sznewajs

Founding Executive Director of Ingenuity

Paul Sznewajs is founding Executive Director of Ingenuity, a public-private strategy and advocacy company that ensures the arts are a component of every public school student’s education. Ingenuity received the 2013 Chicago Innovation Award as one of the city’s ten most innovative companies. Mr. Sznewajs also received Boeing’s 2013 Game Changer Award, given to those effecting the greatest change in their sector each year.

Mr. Sznewajs was the founder of Snow City Arts—an organization that uses the arts as a learning conduit for pediatric patients—which was recognized by the White House and the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities as one of the 15 best programs in the nation. With nearly two decades of senior leadership experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector, he has a track record of building, launching, and evaluating complex social sector initiatives. As a chief fundraiser, nonprofit strategist, and systems thinker, Mr. Sznewajs is a leader in Chicago’s arts, culture, public education, and cultural philanthropy sectors.

Jacqueline Terrassa

Women’s Board Endowed Chair of Museum Education at The Art Institute of Chicago

Jacqueline Terrassa is the Woman’s Board Endowed Chair of Learning and Public Engagement at the Art Institute of Chicago. A nationally-recognized art educator and an advocate for the value of the arts and museums in society, she is passionate about the importance of nurturing creative minds and the potential that lies in the encounter between people, institutions, and works of art. She previously served as Managing Museum Educator for Gallery and Studio Programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and held positions in leadership and education at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian, the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Hyde Park Art Center, also in Chicago. She holds a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA from the University of Chicago.

EdTech: Tools and Best Practices for Teachers and Learners

Tim Carnahan (Moderator)

Director of Programs at LEAP Innovations

A decade into helping Chicago educators better serve students and their communities, Tim Carnahan is the Director of Programs at LEAP, where he oversees programs and manages staff that support schools and educators with piloting practice and edtech innovations, research and whole-school redesigns anchored on personalized learning. Tim leads the design and execution of programming, school professional development and support, as well as evaluation of school transformation plans. Prior to joining LEAP, Tim served as the Managing Director of Program for New Leaders in Chicago. In that capacity he managed local program staff who led three school leadership training programs for one of the biggest providers of new principal talent to Chicago Public Schools. Tim holds an M.A. in Journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism (University of Missouri).

Abby Ross

Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, ThinkCERCA

Abby is Co-Founder and Chief of Partnerships at ThinkCERCA, where she manages growth of all district partnerships and strategic partners. Before joining ThinkCERCA, Abby served as the Managing Partner of Blueye Creative, a leading Chicago web agency specializing in social app development, and as Vice President of Business Development at Where I’ve Been, a startup which grew to an active base of 10 million users in two years leading to its acquisition by TripAdvisor/Expedia. A graduate of Marquette University, Abby has spent nearly a decade managing the successful inception and growth of digital products and businesses.

Priya Mathew

Vice President of Product and Design at eSpark Learning

Priya is the VP of Product & Design at eSpark Learning. eSpark is an educational technology company providing learning software in math, reading and writing for students in grades PK-8. For the past two years, Priya has led the product and design teams at eSpark to bring more creativity and critical thinking in the classroom using the power of technology. eSpark's two products, eSpark and Frontier, now serve over 100,000 students across the country. Prior to eSpark, Priya worked at Google on the Google Apps team which focused on making creativity and collaboration easy to do at work. A glutton for learning, she graduated from Dev Bootcamp and received a dual degree an MBA and Masters in Engineering Management from Northwestern with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and design.


Founding Director of Personalized Learning at Chicago Public Schools

Kevin Connors’ career is an intersection of business, policy, and education. A former management consultant, he previously served as a High School English teacher and Department Chair through Teach For America in St. Louis. He has also written for Education Week, covering education policy, educational technology, and venture capital. After earning a master's degree in Education Policy & Management from Harvard University, he joined Chicago Public Schools as an Education Pioneer Fellow and now serves as the Founding Director of Personalized Learning.

Christopher Shelton

High School Teacher, Chicago Public Schools

Christopher is a 5th year Physics teacher as Harlan Community High School. As science department chair and Instructional Leadership Team lead, Christopher has played an integral role in incorporating ThinkCERCA and Personalized learning into the school's curricula to enhance student achievement.

The Economics of Education with Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy

George L. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, UChicago Booth School of Business

Kevin M. Murphy is the first professor at a business school to be chosen as a MacArthur Fellow. He was selected for "revealing economic forces shaping vital social phenomena such as wage inequality, unemployment, addiction, medical research, and economic growth." The foundation felt his work "challenges preconceived notions and attacks seemingly intractable economic questions, placing them on a sound empirical and theoretical footing." In addition to his position at the University of Chicago, Murphy works as a faculty research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research. He primarily studies the empirical analysis of inequality, unemployment, and relative wages as well as the economics of growth and development and the economic value of improvements in health and longevity.

In 2007, Murphy and fellow Chicago Booth faculty member Robert Topel won the Kenneth J. Arrow Award for the best research paper in health economics for "The Value of Health and Longevity," published in the Journal of Political Economy. The award is given annually by the International Health Economics Association.

A fellow of the Econometric Society and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Murphy was a John Bates Clark Medalist in 1997. He has received fellowships from the Earhart Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Friedman Fund.

Murphy is also the author of two books and many academic articles. His writing also has been published in numerous mainstream publications including the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and two Wall Street Journal articles coauthored by Nobel laureate Gary Becker.

He earned his PhD in 1986 from the University of Chicago after graduating from the University of California at Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1981. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1984.

breakout session 3

leading college access

Chris Broughton (Moderator)

Executive Director of Bottom Line Chicago

Chris joins Bottom line as the founding Executive Director for the Chicago office. Previously he served as a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the Cristo Rey Network as the Senior Director of College Initiatives. In this role, Chris launched and directed Cristo Rey's national college completion strategy by leveraging alumni data systems, best practice research, and partnerships with almost 50 universities.

In addition, Chris has significant leadership experience from managing complex, next generation projects to increase college completion rates for low-income, first-generation students through grants from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Prior to his role, Chris managed the selection, training, and support of new teachers as the Assistance Director for the ACE Service Through Teaching Program. He began his career as an AmeriCorps Volunteer and Middle School teacher as a participant in the same program. Chris holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and a Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame. He sits on the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center's Data Access Advisory Board. Chris received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2017.

Sarah Berghorst

Executive Director of One Goal Chicago

Sarah is the Chicago Executive Director of OneGoal, an innovative, three-year college persistence program that identifies, trains and supports our nation’s most effective teachers to lead underperforming high school students to reach their full potential and graduate from college. Under her leadership, OneGoal – Chicago is partnering with over 80 non-selective high schools to serve 6,500 Fellows in 2017-2018. Prior to joining OneGoal, Sarah consulted at Bain and Company, led Ashoka’s Global Development team, and worked at DAI. Sarah began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management where she serves on the Alumni Council. She is an associate of the Prison Creative Arts Project, a partner with Social Venture Partners, a member of the Board of Directors of Braven and of the Erie Elementary Charter School. Sarah is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.

Matt Niksch

Chief College Officer at Noble Charter School Network

Matt is responsible for supporting all work at Noble connected to college access and completion for 2,300 high school seniors and over 10,000 alumni. In addition to his work at Noble, Matt was recently named an Uptake Data Fellow and has shared the tools he's developed with dozens of other school systems around the country, reaching hundreds of thousands of students and alumni.

Matt is a 2004 Booth graduate who also holds a master’s in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech, and bachelor's degrees in Electrical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering from Purdue University. Matt transitioned to work in education after first spending 5 years at McKinsey post-Booth. Prior to joining Noble in 2012, he spent 3 years at the KIPP Foundation as Director, College Completion Initiative, joining via the Broad Residency in Urban Education. Prior to Booth, Matt worked at Lockheed Martin as an aerospace and systems engineer.

Abel Ochoa

Director of The University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program

Abel Ochoa is responsible for the University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program (CSP). CSP is a three-year program that aims to prepare high achieving and underrepresented Chicago Public Schools students in grades 10-12 for admission and success at the nation’s top colleges and universities. He manages the development, implementation and evaluation of all programs. Previously, Abel served as an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admission for Northwestern University. For the past 10 years, Abel has worked with youth and coached them and their families in the college admission and financial aid process. A native of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Abel knows firsthand how challenging it can be to prepare for college. His personal and professional experiences fuel his desire to empower young people to realize their full potential. Abel holds a B.A in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. Abel recently completed the Latino Policy Forum’s inaugural 2016 -2017 Multicultural Leadership Academy.

Envisioning the Future Classroom

Andrew Johnson (Moderator)

Associate Professor of Computer Science at University of Illinois Chicago

Dr. Andrew Johnson is Director of Research at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Johnson started working on virtual reality and visualization applications in evl’s original room-scale VR display, the CAVE, in 1993. He has helped design, build, and commercialize a variety of visualization displays, and was co-inventor of evl’s CAVE2 in 2012. He has taught with an evolving array of advanced display technologies since 2000, including 3D and high-resolution displays, HMDs, and touch walls. He has worked with educators ranging from middle school teachers through college professors, physicians, and museum staff to investigate how these displays can best be used in educational settings. His primary interest is in improving collaborative research, discovery, and learning with these displays, helping develop middleware to make them more effective, working directly with groups of scientists and researchers on specific visualization problems, and trying to move this technology out to the public in museums and businesses.

Josh Farkas

CEO of Cubicle Ninjas

Josh Farkas is the CEO of Cubicle Ninjas (https://cubicleninjas.com/), a full-service design agency. Their award-winning creative work spans fresh start-ups to innovative Fortune 1000 clients, resulting in the launch of dozens of hand-crafted virtual reality applications across nearly all industries. Pioneering the 'relaxation' genre in virtual reality, their app Guided Meditation VR (https://guidedmeditationvr.com/) is used heavily in schools and universities as a digital way of teaching stress coping techniques.

Adam Rummelhart

Microsoft Learning Consultant

Adam Rummelhart is the Microsoft Learning Consultant for the Chicagoland area. He graduated from The University of Iowa in 2013 with a degree in History. He has taught across Chicago in Chicago Public Schools, a charter school and most recently summer school at Lake Forest High School. Adam is passionate about empowering students through using technology. He has brought this passion to the Microsoft Learning Consultant program for the last three years where he has worked with school districts to achieve their technology goals. The Microsoft Learning Consultants are a group of enthusiastic educators who are experts in helping integrate technology into the classroom to help improve student achievement. If you would like to know more about the Microsoft Learning Consultants please visit our page at the Microsoft Educator Community ( https://education.microsoft.com/Status/Public?token=5YZm2Rmt).

Adam Wisniewski

CEO of EX3 Labs

Over the past decade, Adam has helped dozens of companies, from start-ups to large enterprises, design / build web and mobile applications, train internal design teams and develop digital strategies. Specializing in user experience design and product strategy, Adam has led major technology initiatives in the financial services sector, healthcare and government, including the City of Chicago.

Through his 15+ years of experience helping organizations solve major business challenges through technology, Adam found some commonalities within large enterprises: each organization was spending large sums of money and time launching new ideas and products yet still struggling to innovate. As a result, in 2016, Adam founded EX3 Labs. He made it his mission to help companies use agile and lean methodologies to test and build new software ideas with less risk and greater frequency. EX3 Labs concentrates in emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), mixed / virtual reality and artificial intelligence. In early 2017, the company gained national attention by building the first ever 3D Hologram of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech and showcased it at 1871 in Chicago.

A native Chicagoan, Adam is passionate about giving back to the community, particularly, under-represented minorities. He has been a reoccurring guest speaker and trainer at NewMe, an accelerator focused on helping minority tech startups, guest lectured at several universities on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to career development and dedicates part of his time to offering free consulting for early-stage, minority-owned startups. In 2016, Adam launched the Immersive Learning Lab Mission, where he committed to donating a percentage of EX3 Labs’ revenue to bringing virtual and augmented reality devices to Chicago Public Schools.

Letters to My Younger Self: Reflections from Education Trailblazers

SIMONE Santiago (moderator)

Former Director of Strategic Planning for the Noble Network

Simone Santiago is the former Director of Strategic Planning for the Noble Network of Charter Schools. In this capacity, she led the design and implementation of the 5-year strategic plan which included a re-organization of the leadership structure. In 2015, Simone became the Director of Student Matriculation at Noble where she overhauled the enrollment process to remove barriers to entry for families in need and increased enrollment in a down market. Prior to her work in Chicago, Simone worked with the New York City Department of Education in analytics, identifying best practices and supporting school leaders in making data-based decisions. Before this, Simone worked for Management Leadership for Tomorrow, building the pipeline of underrepresented minorities in leadership. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an MPP from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University.

Daniel Anello

CEO, New Schools for Chicago

Daniel Anello is the Chief Executive Officer of New Schools for Chicago since January 2015. New Schools for Chicago is a small nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that every Chicago family and child has access to a high-quality school in their neighborhood. Daniel is formerly the Chief of Strategy and External Relations for Chicago International Charter School and came to CICS as a Broad Resident, where he was challenged with designing and implementing an internal and external communications plan and creating a holistic marketing and advertising strategy for the CICS network. Prior to joining CICS and The Broad Residency, Daniel was an associate brand manager for Unilever and an associate director of marketing for a medical start-up company.

In 2015, Daniel was part of the inaugural class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars, an initiative that draws upon the resources of the U.S. presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton and George W. Bush. These presidential centers have partnered to bring together a select group of leaders who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities and our country. Daniel is also a member of the Pahara-Aspen Fellowship, a group of individuals who, over a two-year period, undertake a program of advanced leadership seminars which feature discussions about leadership, diversity, and important issues in public education and social change.

Daniel grew up in the Northeast and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Williams College before relocating to Chicago and earning his MBA from Chicago Booth. Daniel and his wife reside in Oak Park, Illinois, with their two children.

Carmita Semaan

Founder & CEO, Surge Institute

Carmita Vaughan Semaan is Founder and President of The Surge Institute. The Surge Fellowship, the Institute’s signature program, is transforming education by training, supporting, connecting, and elevating emerging education leaders of color. Semaan’s commitment to empowering our country’s most underserved youth led to a decade of executive service, driving results for visionary leaders including former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Semaan holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Abigayil Joseph

Chief of Staff to the Board of Education, City of Chicago

In her position as Chief of Staff to the Chicago Board of Education, Abigayil leverages over two decades of experience in the education sector to advise on strategic, policy, and operational priorities for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). She approaches this role through the lens that equity and access to high quality educational opportunities are critical for every child, in every school and neighborhood.

She serves as a liaison for the Board with the Mayor’s Office, the Chief Executive Office of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and all external constituents including public officials, community organizations, and the business, civic and philanthropic communities. She has previously held roles at CPS such as the Executive Director for the Children First Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has brought in over $100 million dollars to CPS since its inception, and led the Office of Academic Enhancement, which oversaw the Desegregation Consent Decree, Admissions, Magnet and Selective Enrollment Schools and the Innovation Strategy for the district. Abigayil has been particularly focused on bringing new innovations to CPS such as a socio-economic based admissions plan, global competency strategies for teachers, and new school models such as Montessori, Critical Language Academies, STEM, and audition-based fine and performing arts to the district.

Previous to this commitment, Abigayil has led transformational initiatives in private sector global e-learning, museum education, national service programs, and conducted research in Kenya, England, and Scotland. Abigayil is a Leadership Fellow, Class of 2016, at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she also serves on the President's Next Generation Committee, and was one of seven leaders selected for the Council's first Next Generation Delegation to South Korea. She is the Chair of the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Alumni Council, co-chaired the Education Committee for the Harvard Club of Chicago, serves on the Community Engagement Committee for the Joffrey Ballet, mentors for the Harris School of Policy at the University of Chicago, and is a Board Member at the Wood Family Foundation. Abigayil graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emory University with a BA in psychology, and holds an Ed.M. in educational policy from Harvard University. When she's not at the intersection of research, policy and practice, she is chasing after her two young daughters, spending time with her wonderful husband, and racing Vintage Formula One cars.