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Uncommon Schools Board

Norman Atkins, Board Chair

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

Norman Atkins is the Co-Founder of Relay GSE and served as President in its first decade; he becomes the Board Chair on January 1. During his tenure, Relay GSE grew from a small teacher preparation program serving 300 teachers in New York City to an accredited, independent, non-profit graduate school of education serving 3,500 current and aspiring teachers in 18 cities and 1,200 school leaders nationwide. Atkins currently serves as CEO of Together Education, a nonprofit that incubates and supports innovative education organizations, including Relay Lab Schools, which recently launched a turnaround network in partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District. He is also the Founder, Board Chair, and former CEO of Uncommon Schools, one of the nation’s highest-performing nonprofit charter management organizations with 53 schools serving over 19,000 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. Atkins has supported a number of global education projects and 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.


Allison Blitzer

Allison Blitzer, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 with a degree in American History. She also holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 1994. Mrs. Blitzer was a litigation associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher from 1994-2001, where she practiced general corporate litigation as well as pro bono work representing Women In Need. In 2002, she and David moved to London where they had five children, currently ages 9 to 16. While in London, Mrs. Blitzer served as Co-Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Annual Giving Committee in the United Kingdom and Penn’s United Kingdom Leadership Committee. In 2011, she and her family moved back to New York City. Currently, she is a member of Penn’s Trustee’s Council for Penn Women and was on the Penn Fund Executive Board from 2012-2016. She is on the Board of Directors of Project Morry, a not-for-profit year-round youth development organization. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Sixers Youth Foundation which over the last two years has helped coach and mentor more than 3,500 students on the skills and positive behaviors they need for school and for life. Through the Blitzer Family Foundation, Allison and David are also generous benefactors and fundraisers to numerous charitable.


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.


Gaurav Kapadia

Founder, XN

Gaurav Kapadia is the Founder of XN, a private investment organization. From 2010 to 2018 Gaurav was the Co-Founder & Co-Managing Partner of Soroban Capital Partners, an investment firm that managed over $10 billion. Prior to founding Soroban, Gaurav served as a Partner at TPG-Axon Capital. Gaurav began 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. Gaurav is involved in numerous philanthropic and civic causes, and serves on the Boards of Trustees of The Whitney Museum of American Art, Uncommon Schools, Friends of Hudson River Park, and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law. He lives in Tribeca with his wife and 3 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, Together Education, Uncommon Schools, Generation Teach, 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 two sons 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, (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’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.


William M. Lewis, Jr.

Lazard, Ltd., Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Investment Banking

William M. Lewis, Jr. is a Managing Director and Co-Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard Ltd. Mr. Lewis also chairs the Firm’s Global Investment Banking Managing Director Promotion Committee. Mr. Lewis was born in Richmond, VA. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, MA in 1974 and received the Academy’s highest award, the Aurelian Honor Society Award. Lewis graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1978. Mr. Lewis received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982. Mr. Lewis was elected a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley in 1989, becoming the firm’s first African-American Managing Director. Between 1994 and 2004, Mr. Lewis was head or co-head of the Global Banking Department, the Global Mergers & Acquisitions Department and Morgan Stanley Realty. Mr. Lewis was also chairman of Morgan Stanley’s charitable foundation, chairman of its diversity task force, member of the firm’s Political Action Committee, and member or chairman of numerous other internal committees including recruiting, mentoring, promotion, evaluation and compensation. Mr. Lewis is a member of the Economic Club of New York and currently serves on the boards of a number of not-for-profit organizations including the Partnership for New York City, the NYPD Foundation, and the Institute for Sports Medicine Research. In addition to his not-for-profit activities, Mr. Lewis serves on the board of Ariel Investment Trust and formerly served on the boards of Freddie Mac and Darden Restaurants.


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.


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


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.