Cara Candal is an experienced educator, curriculum and assessment specialist, and policy analyst. She began her career in education as an English literature and English as a second language teacher, working in classrooms both in the United States and abroad. In 2002 she became a lead test and curriculum development specialist in English language arts at the Riverside Publishing Company. In this capacity, she worked closely with teachers, school districts, and state departments of education to create large-scale assessment items, evaluate standardized assessments for bias and sensitivity issues, and provide professional development around data driven instruction methods. Cara continues to consult in the areas of large-scale assessment and teacher professional development and maintains a relationship with Boston University, where she conducts educational research and teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in domestic and international education policy. Cara is the editor of two books about education policy and the author of several academic articles on topics such as No Child Left Behind, charter schools, and other education policies for disadvantaged students. Cara holds a doctorate in education policy and administration from the Boston University School of Education, an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in English literature from Indiana University. Cara serves on the Board of Trustees for City on a Hill Charter Public School in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Shana Dinner de Vaca
Shana served as the principal of STRIVE Prep - Westwood, a Denver public charter middle school. During her tenure, the school moved from green (Meets Expectations) to blue (Distinguished), the highest rating on Denver Public School’s School Performance Framework. Prior to that rewarding endeavor, she was STRIVE Prep's (then West Denver Prep) founding sixth grade writing teacher and later served as the Chief Curriculum Officer for the growing school network.
At the beginning of her career, Mrs. Dinner de Vaca taught at Denver Summerbridge for three summers and then spent two years in Quito, Ecuador, where she helped start an elementary school. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a B.A. in both Spanish and French (language and literature) and an M.A. in Education from the University of Denver. She enjoys running and, as a result of her love of languages, has now begun studying Italian.
Jason Griffiths was the founding head master of The Brooklyn Latin School (TBLS), a selective, public school on the border of the Bushwick and Williamsburg neighborhoods of Brooklyn. TBLS offers a liberal arts curriculum combined with an emphasis on the classics. All students take four years of Latin and are enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. One hundred percent of TBLS graduates have been accepted into a post-secondary program. In 2013, TBLS was ranked as the #1 high school in New York City and New York State by the US News and World Report. Mr. Griffiths also briefly served as the principal of the Harlem Village Academy High School in the Fall of 2013. Before starting TBLS, Mr. Griffiths was a teacher at Delaware Valley High School, in Milford, PA. He earned a bachelor's in history from Princeton University and a master's in educational administration from Temple University. He was a member of the fifth cohort of New Leaders, a national principal leadership program.
Tony Klemmer received his Ph.D. in Humanities from Salve Regina University. His doctoral work focuses on Moral Coherence in the Modern World. He graduated from the Harvard Business School and has a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the U. of Penn. Tony taught Production and Operations Management in the MBA program at Babson College, while helping develop entrepreneurship course materials there. He is a cum laude graduate of Portsmouth Abbey School, Portsmouth, RI. Tony is the Founder and President of The Center for Better Schools and the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education currently focused on developing new programs of advanced teacher education for high performing K-12 classroom teachers. He served as the Assistant Headmaster of Portsmouth Abbey School. Tony has participated in the start up and board level activities of a number of social enterprises. He helped found several high tech companies in the medical device, advanced materials and industrial automation industries. He developed distraction networks in Europe and ran Asian sales offices, serving as the Chief Marketing Officer of a $1.5 Billion public, multi-national technology company. Tony managed a successful marketing, strategic planning and investment consultancy and led the healthcare and life science practice at a Boston-based boutique investment bank. In 2010, Tony and The Center for Better Schools were named one of 47 Finalists from a field of over 500 applicants by the Kauffman Foundation as a Kauffman Education Venture Fellow. In 2011 Tony was named to the inaugural cohort of Aspen Institute Teacher Leader Fellows.
Deborah Levitzky has extensive experience in the field of education. Prior to joining NAATE Deborah was the Chief Content Officer for the Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC), an initiative of New Leaders for New Schools. She built a web-based professional development platform for teachers and school leaders that highlighted the work of educators making improvements in student and school achievement. Prior to New leaders, Deborah served as Director of the Office of New and Small Schools in Region 3 in the Bronx and an Associate Director in the Office of New Schools in the NYC Department of Education helping to create new small schools as part of Chancellor Joel Klein's Children First initiative. Deborah has served as an educational consultant to clients including Teach for America, Green Dot Public Schools, Leeds Global Partners and several independent charter schools. Deborah was a School Designer with Expeditionary Learning where she helped to develop and support Expeditionary Learning schools. She was also a founder of the Public Service Corps, a service learning and career tech internship model. Deborah currently serves on the board of salt youth, an internship and educational program for court-involved youth as well as the Green Dot NYC Charter School for which she authored the charter application. Deborah holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, a MSA of Education Administration from Trinity College, and a BA from Barnard College. She was also a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.
Maia received her Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from New York University in January 2015. She was a former social studies teacher in New York City public schools. After seven years of teaching, she returned to graduate school to pursue a doctoral degree in Social Studies Education. Her dissertation explored New York City's educational history, specifically one experimental school district in the Lower East Side in the late 1960s. She conducted extensive oral histories and archival research.
Maia holds a Masters in Secondary School Education from Brooklyn College and a BA in History from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She was a New York City Teaching Fellow and the recipient of the Ruth Landes Fellowship while at NYU.
Cari was the principal of Harlem Village Academies High School. HVA is a lottery based network of schools serving students and families in Harlem. During her tenure at HVA, Cari sent several teachers to NAATE and saw the transformative experience the program had for each of them as professionals and as teacher leaders within the school. Before entering school leadership, Cari also was a teacher at The Brooklyn Latin school where she served as the history department chair. She earned a master's in the Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College at Columbia University, a master's in Art History from The Ohio State University and a bachelor's from Mount Holyoke College.
Denise De La Rosa
Denise began her career in education teaching middle school English for five years in Atlanta, Georgia through Teach for America. She is currently in her third year as Middle School Director of Uplift Williams Prep Charter School, an IB world school located in northwest Dallas. Before moving to Texas, she worked for the NYC Department of Education – resident principal at The Brooklyn Latin School, Technology Integration Coordinator, and assistant principal at a small alternative high school in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Denise has served as a TFA Corps Member Advisor for Atlanta Summer Institute and English Language Arts curriculum writer for Atlanta Public Schools. She holds a degree in Psychology and Sociology from The University of Notre Dame and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Teachers College. In the fall, she will be joining the Talent Management team at IDEA Public Schools as the Director of Leader Development for Central Texas, challenging and supporting principals-in-residence and first-year principals in Austin and San Antonio. In her free time, Denise enjoys spending time practicing yoga, running relatively short distances and cooking for her loved ones.
Malcolm Hillis a biology teacher and the Science Department Chair at The Brooklyn Latin School in New York City. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and Neuroscience & Behavior from Wesleyan University, and completed a Master's degree in Education as a New York City Teaching Fellow. Malcolm currently teaches International Baccalaureate Biology to 11th and 12th graders while continuing to pursue his own professional growth in the Math for America Master Teacher program. Malcolm is a NAATE Cohort I Alumnus and served as an instructor this July.
Marty Johnson is a writer/performer with a focus on comedy and improvisation. She freelances on many independent projects that range from live sketch comedy to serious documentaries. A few of her past projects include: political satire videos for FlackCheck.org, where her writing garnered a Telly Award, a pilot for NBC. She co-produced "The Salinas Project," an independent film coming soon to PBS nationwide. She teaches and performs for Boston's Improv Asylum Theater.
Richard Nyankori is the founder and CEO of SPEDx - a startup that explores data to attain the most extraordinary success for students with special needs - and serves on the Board of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education.
Prior to founding SPEDx, Richard was the Executive Vice President of the international education consulting firm Insight Education Group and headed its award-winning product development team. He is the former Deputy Chancellor of Special Education for the Washington, DC Public Schools and is credited for vastly improving the provision of services for students with disabilities. Prior to his work with DCPS, Richard served as The New Teacher Project’s Director for Training and Certification.
Richard is faculty to some of the sector’s top leadership development programs including NAATE, the Pahara-Aspen Fellowship, and the Surge Fellowship. He serves as an advisor to Goalbook, Curriculum Associates, and IO Education. He is a founding board member of Educational Leaders of Color (EdLoC) and NewOrg, an Atlanta-area education impact investor, and the SWIFT Center. Richard began his career in education as a teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools as a Teach For America corps member (’93). He earned his PhD from the University of Maryland, an MS from McDaniel College, and a BA from Emory University.
Maureen O'Hernis a history teacher and the History Department Chair at Boston Collegiate Charter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in History from Princeton University, and a Master's degree in Education from Harvard University. Maureen currently teaches a combination of Advanced Placement and College Prep classes to 11th and 12th graders. Maureen is a NAATE Cohort II Alumna and served as Lead Section Advisor this summer.
Dr. Joseph Zinter
Joseph is the Assistant Director at the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID), and a Lecturer and Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. In addition to teaching design-based courses within the CEID, he also lectures and conducts workshops on design thinking, design process, and rapid prototyping. Prior to joining Yale, he acted as Design Preceptor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and as a Clinical Specialist in cardiac rhythm management for Medtronic. He holds a BA (Fairfield University) in Engineering, a BS (Columbia University) and MS (Cornell University) in Applied Physics, a MHS (Yale School of Medicine), and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (Yale University).