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Uncommon Schools Board

Norman Atkins, Board Chair

Relay Graduate School of Education, Co-Founder and President; Uncommon Schools, Founder and Board Chair

Norman Atkins is the Co-Founder and President of Relay GSE, a path-breaking institution of higher education that trains more than 3,500 public school teachers and principals nationwide.  Atkins is also the Founder, Board Chair, and former CEO of Uncommon Schools, one of the nation’s highest-performing nonprofit charter management organizations with 50 schools serving 18,000 students.  In 1997, Atkins co-founded and co-led North Star Academy of Newark, one of New Jersey’s first and most celebrated charter schools.  From 1989 to 1994, he was the Co-Executive Director of the Robin Hood Foundation in New York City.  In recent years, Atkins has helped found several other education organizations, including Zearn, which produces comprehensive digital math lessons serving close to two million K-5 students.   Atkins is a board member of The One World Network of Schools and served on the board of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.  He is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, an Ashoka Fellow, and a Wexner Heritage Alum.  He has been recognized as a technology innovator by Forbes and has been inducted into the Charter School Hall of Fame. Atkins began his career as a journalist, writing about education, poverty, politics, culture, and social issues for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. He earned an A.B. in History from Brown University and an M.A. in Educational Administration from Columbia University Teachers College. Atkins and his wife, Angie, live in New York City and are the parents of three adult children.

 

 

Laura Blankfein

Association to Benefit Children, Development Specialist

Laura Blankfein is a Development Specialist at the Association to Benefit Children in New York. She is an Honorary Lifetime Trustee of the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School, where she served on the Board for 19 years, including a term as Co-Chair, and also serves on the board of the New York City School of the Arts.  Previously, she worked as a litigator at two large New York City law firms and as an attorney for the New York City Corporation Counsel, where she was responsible for litigating social policy and revenue-generating actions on behalf of the City.  Ms. Blankfein has previously served on the boards of the Medicare Rights Center, Prep for Prep, and Barnard College.  Ms. Blankfein holds a B.A. in Economics and Urban Studies from Barnard College and a J.D. from Georgetown Law School.

 

Cecily M. Carson

Carson Family Charitable Trust, President

Cecily M. Carson is president of the Carson Family Charitable Trust, a trustee of the Fisher House Foundation; the vice chair of the Robin Hood Foundation's Board of Trustees, as well as co-chair of the Robin Hood Foundation's Leadership Council, Uncommon Schools, and The New York City Charter School Center; and a member of the President’s Leadership Council at Dartmouth College, the Advisory Board for Columbia School of Business’s Social Enterprise Program and the NY Public Library’s Library Council.

 

David Cooper

Bain & Co. Consulting, Vice President and Director of Bain’s Consumer Product’s Practice

David Cooper joined the Bain & Co. Consulting firm in 1997 and made partner in 2005. David was promoted to Director in 2012. David focuses on the consumer products and retail sectors. Prior to joining Bain, David completed the joint JD-MBA program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School, where he received the Faculty Award for Academic Distinction. David is also a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Before working at Bain, David worked for MasterCard International and also worked at the Washington, D.C. law firms of Jackson & Campbell and McDermott, Will & Emery. In his spare time, David enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and exercising. He and his wife Charis have three children – Max, Henry and Ruby – and reside in Westport, CT.

 

Charles Harris

Blue Meridian Partners, Managing Director

Charles “Chuck” Harris became a Managing Director of Blue Meridian Partners in 2016. He oversees partner relations and provides general strategic leadership and support to the initiative. In his previous role as an EMCF Portfolio Manager and its Director of Capital Aggregation, Harris managed relationships with various grantees and oversaw the Foundation’s capital aggregation activities, notably the True North Fund. Before joining the Foundation in 2011, Harris co-founded and served for five years as Executive Partner of SeaChange Capital Partners, a financial intermediary designed to enhance the flows of capital to outstanding nonprofits serving children and youth in low-income communities in the United States. Harris spent 23 years in the banking business before retiring in 2002 from his position as a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he served as co-head of the East Coast High Technology Group in the firm’s Investment Banking Division and as co-head of Corporate Finance in the Americas. He sits on the boards of several nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and has served extensively on the boards of both private and public for-profit corporations.  Harris has spoken broadly on the role of capital formation in advancing social change. He is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a master’s degree in finance from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

 

Pearl Rock Kane

Klingenstein Family Chair for the Advancement of Independent School Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Pearl Rock Kane, professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, holds the Klingenstein Family Chair for the Advancement of Independent School Education. She earned a Master of Arts degree from Smith College and a doctorate from Columbia University. Professor Kane serves as the director of the Klingenstein Center where she oversees five programs and is the advisor for master's degree programs. Professor Kane taught and served as an administrator in public and private schools in Michigan, Massachusetts and New York. She is a member of two boards, UncommonSchools and Brooklyn Prospect Charter School in Brooklyn, NY where she is a founding board member. She has published three books and numerous articles on issues of leadership, governance, diversity and the attraction and retention of teachers.

 

Gaurav Kapadia

Co-Founder & Co-Managing Partner of Soroban Capital

Gaurav Kapadia is the Co-Founder & Co-Managing Partner of Soroban Capital Partners, a $10 billion investment firm based in New York. Prior to forming Soroban Capital, Gaurav was a Partner at TPG-Axon Capital, a multi-billion dollar global investment firm. Gaurav started his career at the Boston Consulting Group as a strategy consultant. He graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a BSC in Economics with concentrations in Finance and Management. Gaurav serves on the Board of Trustees of The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Board of Uncommon Schools, the Board of Friends of Hudson River Park and a Term Member on the Council of Foreign Relations. Gaurav lives in Tribeca with his wife and three children.

 

Robert Karr

Joho Capital, LLC Principal and Hollyhock Foundation, Founder

Robert Karr was principal of Joho Capital from 1996 to 2014, and now manages investments for the Joho family office. Prior to founding Joho, he ran Tiger Management in Tokyo. Bob is the co-founder and director of the Hollyhock Foundation since 2003. Hollyhock is a seed funder to the Stanford Hollyhock Fellows program, Zearn, Generation Teach, and Harvard Teaching Fellows.  Bob is on the boards of The Japan Society, UKA, Uncommon Schools, Generation Teach, Horizons at St. David’s School, and Zearn, and is a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Education Advisory Council and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Campaign Executive Committee.  Bob has a B.A. in economics from Stanford University (1984) and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (1990) and grew up on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He is married to Suzanne Karr and has one son in high school and another in college.

 

Donald R. Katz

Audible, Inc., Founder and CEO; Newark Venture Partners, Founder

Donald Katz is founder and CEO of Audible, Inc., the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment. Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Newark, NJ since 2007, audible.com (US) serves millions of listeners and offers over 375,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals, and other programs.  The company commercialized the first portable digital audio player in 1997, four years before the introduction of the iPod.  Named one of NJ.com’s “25 Most Influential People in New Jersey” in 2016, Donald Katz was also recognized as one of America’s Top 25 Disruptive Leaders by Living Cities for his work on behalf of urban transformation in Newark. Prior to founding Audible, Katz was a successful author and journalist for twenty years. He is the author of Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award; The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears, winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction; and Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World. Katz also served as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Men's Journal, and Worth. A two-volume collection of Katz's magazine stories, King of the Ferret Leggers and Other True Stories and Valley of the Fallen and Other Places, was published in 2001; Home Fires was re-released in 2014. Katz graduated from New York University in 1974, and also attended The University of Chicago as well as The London School of Economics, from which he holds an MSc Economics. He served as a member of the public library board in Montclair, New Jersey for nine years. He also served as both a member and chairman of Newark’s economic development corporation, and he is the founder of Newark Venture Partners, an early-stage investment fund and ultra-bandwidth accelerator that seeks to connect Newark – Audible’s global headquarters – to the early-stage technology start-up innovation economy. Mr. Katz is married, the father of three children, and an avid ice hockey player.

 

Robert Marcus

Time Warner Cable, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Robert D. Marcus served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Time Warner Cable from January 2014 until the completion of the company’s merger with Charter Communications in May 2016. He had served as Time Warner Cable’s President and Chief Operating Officer since December 2010 and as TWC’s Chief Financial Officer from 2008 through mid-2011. He was named to the company’s Board of Directors in July 2013. Mr. Marcus joined Time Warner Cable in August 2005 as Senior Executive Vice President, overseeing corporate groups including mergers and acquisitions, law, business affairs, programming and human resources. From 1998 until he joined Time Warner Cable, Mr. Marcus held various positions at Time Warner Inc., including Senior Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions. From 1990 to 1997, he practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Mr. Marcus serves on the board of directors of Equifax Inc. and Ocelot Partners Limited. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including New Alternatives for Children (NAC), which provides support of birth, foster and adoptive families caring for children with special medical needs; Newark Academy, one of New Jersey's oldest and most prestigious independent schools; and Saint Barnabas Medical Center, New Jersey's oldest and largest non-profit, non-sectarian hospital. Mr. Marcus received a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1990, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and an editor of the Columbia Law Review. He earned a B.A., magna cum laude, from Brown University in 1987.

 

Rondo Moses

Stratex Management Consulting, Managing Partner, Strategy Execution and Performance Management

Mr. Moses is Managing Partner at Stratex Management Consulting, where he works with clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare industry.  Specifically, Mr. Moses helps clients to implement adaptive strategy management systems that clarify and translate strategy, align actions and behaviors and monitor and report on performance.  Prior to Stratex, Mr. Moses worked at Palladium where he held a variety of senior management roles—senior vice president, executive committee member, chief administrative officer, Global Business Unit Head and Human Capital Practice Lead—and helped transform the company from three newly merged, independent entities to a single, highly integrated global strategy management firm.  Before Palladium, Mr. Moses worked in strategy management for Renaissance Solutions and Balanced Scorecard Collaborative, where he led numerous strategy and performance management engagements for large, global clients in the US, the Americas and Europe.  Prior to Renaissance Solutions, Mr. Moses held positions of increasing responsibility in sales, sales training, and national accounts management at GlaxoSmithKline (formerly SmithKline Beecham). Mr. Moses holds an A.B. from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and events on the topics of linking strategy to operations and aligning human capital to strategy.

 

Neal Moszkowski

TowerBrook Capital Partners, Founder and Co-CEO

Mr. Moszkowski is founder and Co-CEO of TowerBrook, Co-Chair of the Management Committee and Co-Chair of the Investment Committee. Mr. Moszkowski was previously Co-Head of Soros Private Equity Partners, a division of Soros Fund Management LLC. He was a member of the Management Committee of Soros Fund Management LLC. Mr. Moszkowski was a member of the Principal Investment Area of Goldman Sachs in London and New York from 1993 to 1998. Mr. Moszkowski earned his B.A. from Amherst College and received his M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

 

Brett Peiser

Uncommon Schools, Chief Executive Officer

Prior to becoming CEO in July 2012, Brett Peiser served as founding Managing Director of Uncommon Schools New York City. As Managing Director, he oversaw a network of 14 schools in Brooklyn, serving over 3,000 elementary, middle, and high school students. The network’s first middle school – Williamsburg Collegiate – is the highest scoring school in New York City on the NYC Department of Education Progress Reports since the DOE began issuing reports in 2006. Mr. Peiser is the Founder and former Principal and Executive Director of Boston Collegiate Charter School, one of Massachusetts’ highest performing public schools. Over Mr. Peiser’s last four years, Boston Collegiate was the only public school in Boston with 100% of 10th graders passing both the Math and English MCAS exams, a statewide graduation requirement. Mr. Peiser is a graduate of New York City Public Schools and a former History Teacher at Midwood High School in Brooklyn. Mr. Peiser received a BA from Brown University and a MPP degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is a recipient of the Broad Fellowship for Education Leaders.

 

Brooke Reid

BEAMR GROUP, Founder

Brooke Reid is a consultant and advisor to small businesses primarily founded, owned, and/or operated by women and minorities. Prior to this, she was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley based in New York where, during her 15-plus-year tenure at the firm, she worked in various roles across investment banking, wealth management, and firm management. Brooke graduated from Howard University with a BBA in International Business with a concentration in Finance. She also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Brooke lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.