Board of Trustees
Editorial Projects in Education
Sarita E. Brown
Sarita E. Brown is the President of Excelencia in Education, a national not-for-profit organization working to accelerate Latino success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice to serve Latino students. A thought-leader in higher education, she has spent more than two decades at prominent national educational institutions and at the highest levels of government, working to implement effective strategies to raise academic achievement and opportunity for low-income and minority students.
Ms. Brown started her career at the University of Texas at Austin by building a national model promoting minority success in graduate education. Coming to the nation’s capitol in 1993 to work for educational associations, she was appointed the Executive Director of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, under President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Ms. Brown later applied her talents and experience to the not-for-profit sector and, in 2004, she co-founded Excelencia in Education.
Ms. Brown is active in national educational organizations and currently serves on the board of directors for ACT Inc. and the National College Access Network. An effective public speaker, Ms Brown travels throughout the country to advocate for Latino success in higher education. Her writing on the potential for Latino college-going talent includes a chapter (“Making the Next Generation Our Greatest Resource”) in Latinos in the Nation’s Future (2009), edited by Henry Cisneros and published by Arte Público Press.
Recognized with numerous awards, Ms. Brown was honored in 2009 with the Harold G. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education, for her “innovative thinking, strong leadership, and accomplishment by example” and also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from North Carolina State University. In 2012, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in Behavioral Sciences from Carlos Albizu University. Ms. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from the University of Texas at Austin.
Knowing every student by name, strength and need is the promise of Highline Public Schools. Under the leadership of Susan Enfield, the district is delivering on this promise by implementing a bold strategic plan committed to ensuring that students graduate bilingual, biliterate with the problem-solving and critical thinking skills that will prepare them for the future they choose.
A former high school English, journalism and ELL teacher, Susan served as Chief Academic Officer and then as Interim Superintendent for Seattle Public Schools before coming to Highline in 2012. She previously held leadership positions in Evergreen Public Schools (Vancouver, WA), Portland Public Schools and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Susan is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and earned master’s degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University. She also holds a doctoral degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard’s Urban Superintendents Program.
Francesca Forzani is the Associate Director of TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan School of Education. She has spent the past seven years collaborating with colleagues to redesign the teacher education programs at the University of Michigan and studying reform initiatives in teacher education. Dr. Forzani’s research focuses on identifying instructional practices that are essential to competent beginning instruction and on the implementation of reform in teacher education. She is particularly interested in the development of a common language for studying and teaching instructional practice and on identifying resources that support practice-focused teacher training.
Before coming to the University of Michigan, Dr. Forzani taught high school English for four years in Greenville, Mississippi, where she was a Teach for America corps member. She also served as a teacher-educator for three years in Teach for America’s summer training institute and for a year in Teach First’s summer institute in London, U.K.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Smith College and a master’s degree in public policy and a Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Michigan.
John M. Geddes
John Geddes was managing editor for Bloomberg Politics, directing the news service’s 2016 election coverage. He was a Shorenstein fellow in 2014 at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Geddes retired as managing editor of the New York Times in 2013, after serving in that role for nearly a decade. Previously, he served there as deputy managing editor and as a business/financial editor.
Before joining The Times in 1994, Geddes was the chief executive officer of BIS Strategic Decisions, a market research company acquired by Friday Holdings, an investment partnership in which he was a principal.
From 1976 to 1993, Geddes worked in the newspaper industry. After starting out as a reporter at the Ansonia Evening Sentinel, Ansonia, Conn., he worked as a reporter for the AP/Dow Jones News Service in New York and later in Bonn. He joined the Times as an economics correspondent in Bonn. Later Geddes switched to the Wall Street Journal, where he held a number of positions: German bureau chief; deputy managing editor and then managing editor, Wall Street Journal/Europe; and news editor, assistant managing editor, senior editor, and national news editor for the Wall Street Journal.
Geddes has a master’s degree in business journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Rhode Island. He is married to Jyll Holzman, a former senior vice president for advertising at the New York Times. They live in New York City.
Ericka Miller, Chair
Ericka Miller is currently Vice President of the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, placing exceptional leaders in mission-driven nonprofit organizations. Before rejoining the firm, she was Chief of Membership, Governance, and Higher Education at the College Board. Previously, she was Senior Advisor to Secretary Arne Duncan at the U.S. Department of Education.
Prior to her service in the presidential administration of President Barack Obama, Ericka was Vice President for Operations and Strategic Leadership at the Education Trust, a nationally recognized research and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting high academic achievement of all students, kindergarten through college.
Ericka was also President and Chief Operating Officer of the McKenzie Group (now part of American Institutes for Research), a comprehensive education consulting firm with a 20-year history of providing evaluation and technical assistance services to school districts, institutions of higher education, federal agencies, foundations, and other public and private organizations.
From 1997 through 2000, Ericka served as Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, of Nebraska, advising the senator on all elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education policy issues. Before her time on the Hill, Ericka was Assistant Professor of English Literature at Mills College, in Oakland, California. Prior to launching her career in education, she was an editor at the Washingtonian magazine.
Ericka holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Georgetown University and master’s and doctoral degrees in English Literature from Stanford University. She is a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s class of 2004, and she serves on a number of nonprofit boards.
Aida Molina is currently serving as the Director of Education for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE) where, along with the team, she will plan and execute the massive project of vetting all technical assistance providers to support key actions in governing local control in California, partnering with county offices and districts across the state.
Dr. Molina has served over 20 years in the public education system and she is passionate about extending educational equity and access for all students. In her previous role, Dr. Molina was appointed as a member of the California State Board of Education for five years while also serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Academic Improvement and Accountability for the Bakersfield City School District. She held the positions of bilingual classroom teacher, Vice Principal, Principal, and District Administrator across various districts in California. She was also appointed to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and served a three-year term. Her work as an educator and student advocate is centered on improving the conditions in which all children can succeed. She is driven by issues of social justice and is committed to creating systemic changes that prepare students for college and career readiness.
Molina's passion for student learning is based on the premise that all children are entitled to the finest public education. She has led various districts in the professional development of teachers and administrators on strategies for closing the academic achievement gap. In 2002, she published her work entitled, “Grade Level Teams: Key to Equity and Excellence." Dr. Molina holds a doctorate of philosophy in education from Claremont Graduate University, a Master of Arts degree in educational administration from California State University, Sacramento, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies from California State University, Sacramento.
CalTravel is the umbrella trade organization for California's travel and tourism industry. As the President and CEO, Newton is responsible for leading the organization to protect and enhance travel and tourism's interests through advocacy, collaboration, and education.
Before joining CalTravel, she was President of Sunset Publishing, a diversified publishing company based on the leading media brand in the West. Under her leadership, Sunset launched and grew award-winning California events, an international wine competition, new digital travel tools, and partnerships with many California travel and tourism organizations and businesses.
She came to Sunset from Milwaukee, where she was the President of Reiman Media Group, a Midwestern lifestyle media company that included an international tours company and travel magazine. She began her career at Rodale, where she rose to SVP Managing Director of Women's Health Worldwide. Newton has also consulted on strategic-planning and business-development efforts for such clients as National Geographic, AAA, General Mills, Time Inc., Rodale, and Reader's Digest.
Newton serves on the board of U.S. Travel and the Cal Poly RPTA Advisory Board, and has a BA and MA from Lehigh University. She and her husband, Jeff, and two children live in Woodside, Calif., with their two beach-loving border collies.
Edward J. O'Connell
Edward O’Connell is a retired partner of Cooley LLP, where he was a member of the firm’s M&A department from 2014 to 2017. Previously, Mr. O’Connell had been a partner at Dow Lohnes LLP (which merged with Cooley in 2014), where he had practiced since 1983 and served on the firm’s Board of Directors and as head of the business transactions/M&A group.
During his 35 years as a business lawyer, Mr. O’Connell’s practice covered a wide variety of M&A, transactional, corporate, financing and securities law matters, with a special focus on higher education institutions and media, communications and entertainment companies. He also worked on innovative joint ventures between non-profit and for-profit entities in the postsecondary education sector. In addition to representing public and private companies, higher education institutions, and investment banks, Mr. O’Connell represented private equity and venture capital companies in connection with fund formation and investments in the education, media, communications and Internet industries.
He is a graduate of Yale College (B.A. 1977) and the Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., cum laude, 1983). He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Tax Court and the other primary federal courts in the District of Columbia. He is a long-time member of the American Bar Association and the Federal Communications Bar Association, and he is a former member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). He is also a member of the Songwriters Association of Washington and an award-winning songwriter.
Harriet Sanford, Vice Chair
Harriet Sanford is the President and CEO of the NEA Foundation and has led the Foundation’s work since 2005. The Foundation supports the collaborative efforts of public school educators, their unions, school districts, and communities to focus on learning conditions that improve student performance.
Ms. Sanford began her career as a public school teacher, which led to a senior executive career that spans more than 28 years, with 22 years as the President and CEO of nonprofit/public organizations that include the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, NC, and the Fulton County Arts Council in GA. Before joining the NEA Foundation, Ms. Sanford served as the conceptual lead and manager of “South by South Africa: Crafting Cultural Understanding,” a project that built economic links and cultural understanding between South Africa and U.S. partner cities. Her career is bound together by an unwavering commitment to strengthening community by building on the skills, talents, and aspirations of each of its members.
Ms. Sanford has managed annual budgets of more than $18 million and capital funds of $200 million. A recognized specialist in the field of fund-raising, Ms. Sanford has led several initiatives that have raised more than $58 million to support the mission of various nonprofit organizations. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of some 10 nonprofit organizations.
Ms. Sanford’s contributions to the advancement of arts education, culture, and cultural understanding have been recognized by numerous nonprofit organizations, including the North Carolina Arts Education Association, Americans for the Arts, National Black Arts Festival, the National Association of Counties, and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Sanford also served as a United States Information Agency fellow to South Africa in the late 1990s. She currently serves on the Board of The NAMES Project Foundation, Hispanic College Fund, Caversham Centre (South Africa), and the DC Jazz Festival, and she is an advisor to the Communities for the Public Education Reform.
Ms. Sanford holds an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree and a BA in Education from New England College, as well as an MPA from the University of Connecticut.
Jim Sexton has worked in digital media for the past 14 years. He specializes in content development, monetizing content via advertising, and building websites, mobile apps, and social media products that attract audiences.
Mr. Sexton is the Chief Digital Officer for B.A.S.S., the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, where he manages Bassmaster.com and other digital products. B.A.S.S. also has two magazines, TV shows on ESPN and Outdoor Channel, fishing tournaments throughout the U.S., and more than 500,000 members.
Prior to B.A.S.S., Mr. Sexton served as Senior Vice President of Edit & Product for Time Inc. Lifestyle Digital, where he led the relaunch and growth of eight websites, including MyRecipes.com, MyHomeIdeas.com, CookingLight.com, SouthernLiving.com, Sunset.com, CoastalLiving.com, RealSimple.com, and AllYou.com.
Previously, Mr. Sexton was Senior Vice President of Interactive Brands for Scripps Networks where he managed HGTV.com and DIYnetwork.com. During his tenure, the sites won three prestigious Webby Awards. Earlier in his career, Sexton worked in magazine editorial roles, including USA Weekend and several Whittle Communications publications. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. Mr. Sexton serves on the Board of Visitors for the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information.
Joseph Tovares is an award-winning producer and executive producer of non-fiction media. He currently is a consultant to the Boston Globe where he explores the intersection of journalism, media, and philanthropy. Joseph is currently developing a media project on the Jewish diaspora in Latin America, multimedia projects on American Public Education, and a memoir on growing up Mexican in the United States.
He most recently served as the Sr. Vice President & Chief Content Officer at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At CPB he oversaw a portfolio valued at more than 100 million dollars per year and comprised of television, radio, journalism content projects.
Prior to CPB Tovares worked as a producer and executive producer on dozens of media projects. Among his long-form documentaries is Zoot Suit Riots, a film on the youth culture of 1940s Los Angeles and the anti-Mexican riots of the same period. The film is considered part of the Latino documentary canon.
He is a frequent speaker at industry events and has presented at conferences and meetings in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. He is a native of San Antonio. He lives in the Boston area.
Jerry D. Weast, Treasurer
Jerry D. Weast is a 35-year veteran of education leadership. Dr. Weast led Montgomery County Public Schools—16th largest school district in the nation—to achieve both the highest graduation rate among the nation’s largest school districts for four consecutive years and the highest academic performance ever in MCPS at a time when the non-English-speaking student population more than doubled and enrollment tipped toward low socioeconomic demographics.
Dr. Weast’s approaches to early childhood education, differentiation of resources, professional growth systems, predictive analytics, and relationship strategies for both unions and business involvement are the subjects of numerous Harvard Business School case studies, and of the book Leading for Equity (Harvard Education Press, 2009). Montgomery County Public Schools was a 2010 winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for management excellence and a 2010 finalist for the Broad Prize in Urban Education. Dr. Weast’s leadership is analyzed in the book Team Turnarounds: A Playbook for Transforming Underperforming Teams (Frontiera and Leidl, 2012); and the success Montgomery County Public Schools achieved during Dr. Weast’s tenure is held as a model in the book Renewal: Remaking America’s Schools for the 21st Century (Kwalwasser, 2012).
Dr. Weast was named superintendent of the year in two states. He has twice been awarded North Carolina’s highest honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, for his work on behalf of the state’s children, received an award from the Yale School of Child Development for his support of initiatives in early learning, the C. Jackson Grayson Award for managerial excellence, has been named a Washingtonian of the Year, and received awards from the Schott Foundation and the American Educational Research Association acknowledging his leadership in developing strategies leading to improved student achievement across all racial and socioeconomic groups.
Dr. Weast has served on the boards of various policy, educational, business, and community organizations, including the Peabody College (Vanderbilt University) National Ed.D. Advisory Board and Junior Achievement Worldwide Education Group and is a current trustee of the Committee for Economic Development, board member for the Institute for Educational Leadership, and member of the National Education Foundation Senior Fellows Advisory Group. In furtherance of his work in educational leadership development, he is founder and president of the Partnership for Deliberate Excellence, LLC, through which he is working with school districts across the United States to improve the quality of public education.
Dr. Weast has presented extensively across the United States and internationally including at the European Council of International Schools and through Fulbright-funded travel to Northern Ireland to consult on school integration. He has twice been invited to the People’s Republic of China, has spoken to professional educators in Near and Middle Eastern countries, and has been invited by Japan’s Ministry of Education to speak in Japan on the topic of school reform. He holds an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Oklahoma State University, where he was named to the Hall of Fame in the College of Education.
Christine O. Willig
Christine Willig has more than 30 years of education-focused executive leadership, management, product development, sales, and marketing experience. She is currently president of McGraw-Hill Education, School PreK-12 Segment. She previously led all product development for PreK-12 curriculum and instructional materials across all disciplines.
Prior to joining McGraw-Hill, Chris served as president and chief executive officer of Math Solutions, based in Northern California, the leading provider of mathematics teacher professional development in the U.S. In her time with Math Solutions she improved the technology offerings from the company to drive the highest quality professional support in mathematics with partner states, districts, and schools. She led Math Solutions through a successful acquisition to Scholastic, Inc.
Chris joined Math Solutions from netTrekker (now Knovation), a leader in the digital delivery of K-12 educational content. As president of this start-up, Chris was responsible for sales, marketing, and product development, and she contributed to the major success of the award-winning netTrekker, the country's leading K-12 educational search protocol.
Prior to this, Chris spent 18 years at Thomson Learning (now Cengage) in a variety of senior roles. Chris has said, "My entire career has been focused on education because I believe it is a human right for all children to be educated, and educated well. Through education, a child has the freedom to create a life of economic prosperity and success. I also believe it is through the influence of great teachers and creative learning environments that education flourishes. My goal is to empower the teacher/student relationship in creating meaningful learning connections."
Chris graduated from the University of Notre Dame and was a member of the 1996 Executive Education Program at Columbia University. She resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband John. She is the proud parent of a blended family of seven children.
Ron Wolk, Chair Emeritus
Ron Wolk was the former chairman and editor of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that established The Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, Teacher Magazine, and Quality Counts.
Throughout his career, Mr. Wolk kept one foot in journalism and the other in education. He spent 20 years in higher education at Johns Hopkins and Brown universities in charge of external affairs. He worked with Clark Kerr on the Carnegie Commission on the Future of Higher Education, and with Milton S. Eisenhower on the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, established after the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
After more than two decades of work in the school reform trenches, Mr. Wolk retired in 1997 and moved to Rhode Island, where he continued to remain active in trying to improve public education. He was chairman of Big Picture Learning, an organization devoted to creating small, innovative schools, and influencing education policy. He served as founding chairman of What Kids Can Do, an organization that promotes and publicizes the accomplishments of young people across the nation. Mr. Wolk was also an adjunct member of the faculty of the department of education at Brown, and a member of the advisory committee of The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown.
The Education Commission of the States presented him with the James B. Conant Award in 2008.