John L. Winn
An educator for 35 years, he began his career as an elementary and middle school teacher. He joined the Florida Department of Education in 1984 and was appointed to Commissioner of Education in August 2004. During his tenure as Commissioner student achievement in Reading and Mathematics reached an all time high. In February 2007 he retired as Commissioner of Education. He has joined the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in March 2007 as the Chief Program Officer of Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program and the UTeach program. NMSI is a nonprofit corporation founded to advance math and science education in the United States by expanding programs with proven results on a national scale in order to have a positive impact on America's 50 million student public school system. Throughout his career, has built a solid reputation as an authority in statewide implementation of innovative education improvements and on policy issues facing public education at every level and demonstrated commitment and compassion in improving education quality for all students.
Dr. Botman holds a BA in Psychology from Brandeis University, a BPhil in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University, and an AM in Middle Eastern Studies and a PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. A scholar of modern Middle Eastern politics and society, she has published three books and a number of scholarly articles. Dr. Botman has dedicated her career to higher education. She has held leadership positions at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Southern Maine, and The City University of New York. Under her leadership as provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, CUNY created a School of Public Health, an Institute for Demographic Research, a master's program in Middle Eastern Studies, and CUNY's first-ever online degree. As the president of the University of Southern Maine, she inspired new academic programs, raised scholarship dollars and promoted technology-assisted instruction. Along with her administrative responsibilities, Dr. Botman continues to teach undergraduates.
John R. Connolly is the co-founder and executive director of 1647, a non-profit start up that partners with schools to implement effective family engagement strategies including training teachers to conduct home visits. Prior to founding 1647, John spent six years as a Boston City Councilor where he chaired the Committee on Education and co-chaired the annual review of the Boston Public Schools’ budget. During his time as a City Councilor, John led the effort to reform the Boston teachers contract, lengthen the school day, and fully staff school-based social and emotional health services. John also led a Council investigation that exposed rampant mismanagement of the Boston Public Schools’ food services department. From 1995-1998, John taught seventh and eighth grade at the Nativity Mission School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and taught sixth grade at the Boston Renaissance Charter School. John has also worked as an attorney at Ropes & Gray and Hanify & King, P.C. from 2001 – 2007. John currently serves on the board of FUEL Education and formerly served on the board of Meridian Academy and Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD).
Chester E. Finn, Jr.
Chester E. Finn, Jr. is distinguished senior fellow and president emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute and senior editor of EducationNext. Dr. Finn is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he worked from 1995 through 1998. In his distinguished career, Dr. Finn has also served as John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, founding partner and senior scholar with the Edison Project, Professor of Education and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, and Assistant Secretary for Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. He is the author of sixteen books and hundreds of articles.
Ira Fishman is the Managing Director of the NFL Players Association, and formerly a partner and Chief Operating Officer at Patton Boggs LLP. He previously served as special counsel and director of the Task Force on Education at the Federal Communications Commission and was named the founding CEO of the Schools and Libraries Corporation, a non-profit that provides $2.25 billion annually to K-12 schools and public libraries. In his distinguished career, Mr. Fishman has also served as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs at the White House during the Clinton Administration, vice president for congressional and external affairs at the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and founding CEO of HiFusion, an innovative education and consumer media company. Mr. Fishman is currently on the Board of Education Sector.
Marti Watson Garlett
Dr. Garlett is the former Vice President, Academic Programs & Professional Licensure at Laureate Education, and was appointed as Kaplan University's first Academic Dean for its School of Education, as well as the first Dean of the School of Education at Chicago's Kendall College, which has a notable Early Childhood Education program. She served as the Founding Dean of the Teachers College at Western Governors University, where she established national programs in initial educator licensure that were approved by multiple states. Dr. Garlett's career emphasis has been centered on inventing new paradigms in teacher preparation for non-traditional candidates wishing to become P-12 teachers, especially through distance learning and online alternatives. Dr. Garlett has written three books and numerous articles and is an in-demand speaker at national conferences. In addition, she has taught on five continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America).
Henry L. Johnson
Dr. Johnson served as U.S. assistant secretary of education for elementary and secondary education from 2005-2008. He is currently a senior advisor for B&D Consulting in Washington, D.C. Before joining the U.S. Education Department, Mr. Johnson was state superintendent for education in Mississippi. He also served as the associate state superintendent for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Earlier, he was the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for both the Johnston County Schools in North Carolina and the Pleasantville School System in New Jersey. His experience also includes seven years as a science and math classroom teacher, three years as a principal and two years as the director of middle school programs for the Wake County School system in North Carolina. Johnson served for five years as the director of public policy development and research for the North Carolina School Boards Association. Johnson earned his undergraduate degree in biology at Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina and a master's degree in science education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1990 Johnson received a doctorate in school administration at North Carolina State University.
Thomas Lasley is Executive Director of Learn to Earn Dayton, a collaborative dedicated to ensuring that "every student will be ready to learn when entering kindergarten, ready to learn when graduating from high school, and ready to earn a living when graduating with a post-secondary credential." He was most recently dean of the School of Education and Allied Professions at the University of Dayton. He has published more than 70 articles in professional journals and has authored or co-authored 11 books, including Teaching Peace and Strategies for Teaching in a Diverse Society. Dr. Lasley has served on a variety of regional and state education commissions and boards, including the Governor's Commission on Teaching Success and the Ohio Board of Regents' Planning and Accountability Committee. He co-founded the Dayton Early College Academy, a unique educational partnership between the University of Dayton and the Dayton Public Schools, and is co-chair of the Teacher Quality Partnership. Dr. Lasley received his Ph.D. in education from Ohio State University.
F. Mike Miles
Mike Miles has served the public interest as a soldier, statesman and educator. A former officer in the Army Ranger Battalion, Miles' military experience includes leading counter terrorism training operations. Miles later served in the U.S. State Department as a Soviet analyst and member of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He then served as a Diplomat to Poland and Russia at the end of the Cold War, finishing his State Department work as the Special Assistant to the Ambassador to Russia. Miles continued his commitment to public service as a teacher and principal. He served as the Superintendent of Schools in one of the most challenging public school districts in the state, the Harrison School District in Colorado Springs, before becoming Superintendent of Dallas Independent School District, where he remained until June 2015. As an instructional leader and professional developer, he has also helped teachers and administrators statewide and in school districts nationally to improve instruction and raise student achievement. Miles holds degrees from the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University.
Hugh has been in and around the education industry as a professor, administrator, marketer and serial entrepreneur since 1995, with successful tenures at Emerson College, Lesley University and Laureate Education, Inc. (home of Walden University, Kendall College, National Technological and others). In 2007, he formed Trinity Education Group, Inc., as a Maryland S-Corps, and has served as its President and General Manager since. Hugh is a frequent presenter at professional education conferences such as NAGAP, AACRAO SEM, SXSW Interactive, SXSWedu and Connexions. He has held several board positions for corporations, including his current role as Board Chairman for InSync Education. He is a founding board member of SXSWedu and held a board position on Rice University’s OpenStaxx OER Center until 2013. Hugh received his BA summa cum laude from Moravian College (1990) and his Master of Fine Arts/Creative Writing from Emerson College (1995).
Carol G. Peck
Carol G. Peck is the former President and CEO of the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona. She was selected as National Superintendent of the Year during her 16 years as Superintendent in Alhambra School District in Arizona. During her tenure, Dr. Peck created, developed and implemented a variety of winning programs that significantly raised student achievement in a large urban district. Her business partnership program brought in $1.3 million each year for programs to help ensure the success of Alhambra students. As a business leader, Dr. Peck collaborated with key government, business and education officials to encourage, support and facilitate systemic educational changes statewide. As a noted co-author, she stresses the importance of "high, yet realistic goals" in her book, The Best Kept Secret to Achieving Successful School Management. Additionally, Dr. Peck has authored many journal articles and presented on "Raising Student Achievement by Raising Expectations" throughout the United States, China, Australia, and South Africa. She also writes a regular column for the Arizona Republic, highlighting successful education programs throughout the state.
Kate Walsh has served as the president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) since 2002. Before coming to NCTQ, she worked for The Abell Foundation in Baltimore, the Baltimore City Public Schools, and the Core Knowledge Foundation. Her work has tackled a broad spectrum of educational issues, with a primary focus on the needs of children who are disadvantaged by poverty and race. Among her accomplishments, she started and ran a boarding school in Kenya, East Africa, to educate at-risk boys from Baltimore and also developed one of the nation's premier programs in mathematics and science for middle and secondary public school students, a program that has yielded numerous Intel Talent Search winners. A long-time resident of Baltimore, she also started the first alternative certification program for teachers in Maryland, a project which led to her strong interest in teacher quality. Walsh has since authored many papers on teacher quality, with a particular interest in the impact of the policies and practices of institutions, including states, unions, districts and teacher preparation programs, on the teaching profession.