Board of Trustees
Editorial Projects in Education
Susan Enfield serves as the Superintendent of Highline Public Schools in Burien Wash. Knowing every student by name, strength, and need is the promise of Highline Public Schools. Under Dr. Enfield’s leadership, 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 English-Language Learner (ELL) teacher, Enfield 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, Wash.), Portland Public Schools, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Enfield 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.
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, John 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 moved 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.
Kavitha Mediratta is founding Executive Director of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, one of several interconnected Atlantic Fellows programs working to create a global community to advance fairer, healthier, and moreinclusive societies. AFRE’s mission is to build an enduring transnational network of leaders across issues, approaches, and geographies to challenge anti-Black racism and build the policies, institutions, and narratives needed for a more equitable future.
Mediratta previously served as Chief Strategy Advisor for Equity Initiatives and Human Capital Development at The Atlantic Philanthropies, where she led the foundation’s racial equity programmes. Previously, she led the education program at the New York Community Trust and directed school reform programs at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and the Institute for Education and Social Policy at New York University.
Dr. Mediratta has written on race and educational opportunity in the U.S., including a focus on inequalities in school discipline and community organizing to strengthen public schools. Her commentary on race and education has appeared in The Huffington Post, Education Week, Time Magazine, and other media outlets. She has taught in elementary and middle schools in New Jersey, Chicago, and India, and served on the boards of several local and national organizations. Mediratta holds a B.A. from Amherst College, a Ed.M. from Columbia University’s Teachers College and,a Ph.D. from New York University.
Before retiring after nearly three decades as an education leader, Aida Molina was the Director of Education for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE). There, she and her team planned and executed 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.
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, and was also served a three year term on the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. 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 a work entitled, “Grade Level Teams: Key to Equity and Excellence." Molina holds a Ph. D. 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.
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, 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, 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, O’Connell represented private equity and venture capital companies in connection with fund formation and investments in the education, media, communications, and Internet industries.
O’Connell 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). A member of the Songwriters Association of Washington, O’Connell is also an award-winning songwriter.
Harriet Sanford, Chair
After 14 years leading the NEA Foundation, Harriet Sanford is taking a gap year to reflect on life, focus on fitness, engage in her favorite past times, be of service in the education, arts and urban farming worlds and prepare for her third chapter.
As the former President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. Sanford led the work of the Foundation from 2005 until 2019. The NEA Foundation’s mission is to advance student achievement by investing in public education. Its programs raise the voice, experience, and expertise of educators in a variety of settings: as individuals, as collaborative teams, and as union leaders. During her 14 year tenure at the NEA Foundation, Sanford transformed the depth and breadth of its programs by investing in educators to improve their instructional practice so they are better equipped to meet the needs of changing student populations.
A recognized specialist in the field of charitable fundraising, Sanford has led initiatives that raised more than $80 million to support the mission of various nonprofit organizations and has managed annual budgets of more than $18 million and capital funds of $200 million. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of some 15 nonprofit organizations, having contributed her vision and managerial expertise to institutions including a merger of The National Association of Local Arts Agencies and The American Council for the Arts that created the major arts advocacy organization, Americans for The Arts.
Sanford began her career as a public school classroom teacher, which led to a senior executive career that spans more than 35 years, with 30 years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of nonprofit/public organizations including the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, N.C., and the Fulton County Arts Council in Georgia. 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.
Sanford holds a BA in Education from New England College, a MPA from the University of Connecticut, and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education in 2015.
Joseph Tovares, Secretary
Joseph Tovares is the Chief Content and Engagement Officer at WMHT Telecommunications in New York’s Hudson Valley. He oversees programming, broadcast and digital production, and production services.
Tovares is an award-winning producer and executive producer of non-fiction media. His latest work is titled Legal Lens, a project that teamed Harvard Law Students and filmmaker to produce five short films on human rights. The project’s co-executive producer, Martha Minow, is former dean of the Harvard Law School. The films were published by the Boston Globe in November of 2019 and screened as part of the GlobeDocs film series.
Previously, he served as the Sr. Vice President & Chief Content Officer at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At CPB, Tovares oversaw a portfolio valued at more than 100 million dollars per year and comprised of television, radio, and journalism content projects. Prior to CPB he 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.
Tovares is a frequent speaker at industry events and has presented at conferences and meetings in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. A a native of San Antonio, he lives in the Boston area.
Jerry Weast, Vice Chair
Jerry D. Weast is a 35-year veteran of education leadership. Dr. Weast led Maryland’s 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. He achieved this at a time when the non-English speaking student population more than doubled and enrollment tipped toward low socioeconomic demographics.
During Dr. Weast’s tenure, 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. His groundbreaking approaches to improving public education are the subjects of case studies by the Harvard Business School, The Pew Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Panasonic Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Weast has published in professional journals including Phi Delta Kappan and has authored a chapter on the Achievement Gap for the book Improving the Odds for America’s Children: Future Directions for Policy and Practice, acknowledging the 40th anniversary of the Children’s Defense Fund.
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. He was recognized by the Yale School of Child Development for his support of initiatives in early learning and has received the C. Jackson Grayson Award for managerial excellence, as well as awards from the Schott Foundation and the American Educational Research Association for leadership in developing strategies leading to improved student achievement across all racial and socioeconomic groups. Weast has been named a Washingtonian of the Year and is a recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of School Administrators, the organization’s highest honor.
Weast has served on the boards of policy, educational, business, and community organizations including the Peabody College (Vanderbilt University) National Ed.D. Advisory Board and the Junior Achievement Worldwide Education Group; and as a trustee of the Committee for Economic Development. Currently he is a board member of the Institute for Educational Leadership, and he also serves on the National Education Foundation Senior Fellows Advisory Group, the Opportunity to Learn Advisory Board (Schott Foundation for Public Education), the National Advisory Board of the P3 Leadership Institute at the University of Washington, and advisory boards of America Achieves, TeachersConnect, and the Principal’s Exchange through its partnership with THINK Together.
In furtherance of his work in educational leadership development, Dr. Weast is founder and president of the Partnership for Deliberate Excellence, LLC, through which he is working with school districts and foundations across the country to improve the quality of public education. He has presented extensively in the U.S. 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 educators in Near and Middle Eastern countries, and was a guest of Japan’s Ministry of Education, speaking on the topic of school reform. Weast holds an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Oklahoma State University, where he was named to the College of Education Hall of Fame.
Christine Willig, Treasurer
Christine Willig serves as CEO of Illuminate Education, the leading provider of formative assessment, analytics, and data visualization solutions for K-12 education. Serving more than 12 million students around the country, Illuminate Education is committed to increasing the power of teaching and the delight of learning. Willig was appointed CEO of Illuminate after serving as CEO of Key Data Systems (KDS), one of five leading companies in K-12 education that merged to form the all new Illuminate Education in 2018. While at Key Data Systems, she was responsible for the company’s strategic direction and operations, helping position it as a leading assessment content and services provider in K-12.
Prior to KDS, Willig served as President of McGraw-Hill Education K-12, where she was responsible for transforming the company’s business during one of the most significant market shifts in all of education. Her appointment to President stemmed from her success in serving as Senior Vice President of Product, leading all product development and managing an extensive portfolio of PreK-12 curriculum and instructional materials—print and digital. Previously, Christine held several executive positions in education technology, including CEO of Math Solutions, which she led through a successful acquisition by Scholastic, and President of the company that launched CODIE-awarding winning netTrekker.
Throughout her career, the products and services under Willig’s leadership have earned numerous awards and recognitions, but most importantly have earned the respect of educators around the country. Widely recognized as one of the leading minds across education technology, content, and services, she is a frequent keynote speaker and author, and was bestowed the Lamplighter Visionary Award from the Association of American Publishers in 2015. A lifelong learner dedicated to education, Willig earned her degree from the University of Notre Dame.
James D. Zielinski was CEO of Zielinski Financial Advisors, LLC before retiring in 2019. He founded this consultancy 14 years ago to serve privately owned business to business media companies.
Prior to that, Zielinski was Chief Financial Officer of Hanley Wood, LLC, a media firm providing critical information to the residential and commercial construction industries. In addition, he had a long career in commercial and investment banking with Chase Manhattan Bank, and Bankers Trust Company in New York.
A graduate of The Ohio State University, Zielinski earned a master’s degree from Columbia Business School. He is also a US Army veteran.