Diego Arambula

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Diego Arambula is a Partner with Transcend Education, working with district-run and charter schools in LA, the Bay Area and across the country to explore how to best reimagine learning environments to best prepare all children to thrive.  Prior to joining Transcend in the fall of 2018, Diego Arambula spent nearly 15 years working to build, lead and unlock demand for innovative schools.

Diego began his work in public education in 2005 at Summit Public Schools, a leading network of public charter schools headquartered in California.  At Summit, Diego was a classroom teacher at Summit Prep, a founding principal of Summit Public School Rainier and the Chief Growth & Innovation Officer for the network.  Through his ten years as a team member - and his years since serving on the Summit Public Schools board - Diego has supported Summit’s move toward personalization and a refined and scalable school model.  

Diego has also served as the founder and Executive Director of GO Public Schools Fresno, an education advocacy non-profit focused on unlocking demand for radically re-envisioned school models in his hometown of Fresno, CA.  Under his leadership, GO Fresno engaged nearly 1,000 parents, educators and community allies in advocating for transformational change in Fresno Unified through their Choosing Our Future report.

He began his career in politics, serving as the Communications Director for U.S. Representative Cal Dooley after serving as Rep. Dooley’s Deputy Campaign Manager.  Diego received his A.B. in government from Harvard University and a Master’s in Education from Stanford University. He currently serves on the board of Summit Public Schools, Voices College-Bound Language Academies, GO Public Schools and the Downtown Fresno Foundation.  He lives in Fresno with his wife, Chandelle, and their two school-aged daughters.


Lavada Berger

Lavada is a Partner at Transcend. She has devoted her career to the movement for educational excellence and equity. Her investment and interest in new school models was sparked during her time as a third grade teacher with UnCommon Schools in Newark, New Jersey and enhanced over the last few years. Prior to joining Transcend, she was the Chief of Staff on the Org-Wide Strategy team at Teach For America and the Deputy Director at the Right Question Institute. She started her career in management consulting focused on nonprofit organizational development and effectiveness. She holds an AB in Sociology from Harvard University and lives in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

Sujata Bhatt

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Sujata Bhatt joins Transcend Education as a Senior Fellow. She works with school partners across Transcend's national portfolio of R&D projects and develops strategic avenues for Transcend's future evolution. She also serves on the board of the Mastery Transcript Consortium and is an instructor and mentor in the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Education Entrepreneurship Program. Her mission is to create equitable access to innovation to enable all young people to thrive in a changing world.

Prior to Transcend, she served as Managing Partner of Innovation for the Boston Public Schools, where she developed and implemented innovation strategy for the nation's oldest school district. Her work included fostering a district- and ecosystem-wide culture of innovation, empowering innovation networks, launching a secondary schools innovation incubator, school redesign and personalized learning pilots, new school/program models, and connecting BPS with national innovation communities in academia, education, and tech. She also founded of The Incubator School, which, during its four-year tenure, was one of the most diverse, high performing schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. A middle-high school focused on equity and entrepreneurship, The Incubator School model centered on real world impact projects—including launching startups in 8th grade—supported by blended and social emotional learning. Her work draws upon her 14 years' teaching experience, including National Board certification, and 21 years’ parenting experience. She has advised numerous edtech companies, as well as been on the founding teams of two. In addition, she has served on the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Games and Learning Publishing Council, and written and spoken extensively on educational transformation.

She received her B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Medieval History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard. She lives in Oakland, California.


Anirban Bhattacharyya

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Anirban Bhattacharyya joined Transcend to work with and learn from some of the most innovative educators and schools in the country.  Before joining Transcend, Anirban spent eleven years at the KIPP charter school network, first as a teacher and Director of Instructional Technology at KIPP Chicago and then as the national Digital Learning Director at KIPP Foundation. Some highlighted experiences from these roles include teaching middle school math and special education, helping build KIPP’s first regional blended learning model, and supporting the scaling of educational technology, blended learning, and personalized learning across the KIPP network. Anirban began his career as a high school science and special education teacher in St. Louis Public Schools with Teach For America.

Throughout his career, Anirban has had the opportunity to work as a consultant and contractor with innovative organizations like CA Group, the Relay Graduate School of Education, 2Revolutions, LEAP Innovations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Leading Educators. He is also a steering committee member of the Community of Innovative Practice, a group of education leaders that were supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Christensen Institute, and NewSchools Venture Fund to collaborate on educational technology, blended learning, and personalized learning.

Anirban graduated with a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently pursuing an MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Learning Technologies at the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Ellen, and sons, Will and Charlie, and enjoys listening to and playing music, cooking, and making his family laugh.

Katie Bowen

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Katie is passionate about supporting individuals and equity-driven organizations to be at their best, and brings over 15 years experience building and leading top-performing teams. At Transcend, she has the honor of working with visionary school teams to reimagine, build, and spread learning environments that best prepare all children to thrive.

Katie began her career as a 7th - 9th grade mathematics teacher and teacher coach in district-run and charter schools in Chicago and Washington, DC. She was an analyst at the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent and spent nearly a decade leading national teacher preparation design teams at Teach For America. In this role, her team led the organization’s efforts to build a content-specific training model and reshaped the role and strategy of a national design team to align with a research- and experience-based understanding of how adults learn and develop. In her role as an independent consultant, Katie has enjoyed one-on-one coaching to help leaders focus their energy on their essential work; build skills, habits and systems to lead inclusive, high-performing teams; and develop and operationalize strategy to maximize impact.

Katie was an Education Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership and holds a Masters Degree in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from National-Louis University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics and History from St. Olaf College. Katie lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and her two sons.


Jane Bryson

Jane comes to Transcend with 15 years of experience in classrooms, school leadership, and rethinking school models to personalize learning.  She began her career as a teacher-in-residence at an innovative private middle school, and then broadened her experience teaching in a charter school serving low income students.  In her school leadership roles, she acted as a lead teacher and ran both a service-learning and early college program. Prior to working at Transcend, Jane spent four years building and leading the consulting team at Education Elements, a personalized learning consulting firm, where she had the pleasure of partnering with some of the earliest innovators around blended and personalized learning.  Jane has also worked at NewSchools Venture Fund and the Federal Department of Education, on Race to the Top.  Jane has an Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Education and Bachelor's degree in History from Stanford University.  Jane lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area where she can be found chasing after her two young children, exploring the area’s hiking trails, and finding new restaurants.

Jenn Charlot

Jenn joins Transcend leading research and development. She is responsible for helping school designers apply pertinent science and best in-field practices to innovative school models. Over the last decade, Jenn has held several leadership positions. Most recently, she served as the director of implementation at Character Lab, where she partnered with educators and researchers to develop, test, and iterate on strategies that support character development. Jenn has also worked for New York City Public Schools Alternative School District 79. There, she spearheaded student support services, increased access to college and career services for over 4000 disconnected youth, and also designed and co-led a small school to reduce college remediation rates for high school students. Jenn has also worked for Turnaround for Children, Newark Public Schools, and co-founded a nonprofit in Haiti called Konbit Pou Edikasyon. She has taught at Columbia School of Social Work and Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Jenn holds a Doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard's Graduate School of Education, a Masters of Science in Social Administration from Columbia and a B.A. from Boston College. She loves Bikram Yoga and is excited about starting a Haitian Creole children’s book series to support bilingual literacy development in the Haitian community.

 

 

Kirsten Dargis

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Kirsten joins Transcend leading operations for the Collaborative. She began her career in education as a member of the founding team of School of One – now the organization New Classrooms – which was one of the first blended learning models in the country. Kirsten then spent five years in the classroom as a 1st grade bilingual teacher in Richmond, California and as a K-4 reading interventionist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During summers, she worked as a coach and a School Director for Teach For America’s training Institutes. Most recently, Kirsten worked for the Success For All Foundation, where she coached teachers and principals at schools across the country. Kirsten graduated from Barnard College with a BA in Political Science and Human Rights, and received her MA in Reading Instruction from Loyola Marymount University. Originally from Vermont, Kirsten now lives in Portland, Maine, where you’ll find her hiking, kayaking, skiing, or enjoying Portland’s outstanding food scene.

Brittany Erickson

Brittany joined Transcend to partner with school and system leaders to imagine and build innovative learning environments. Previously, she worked at Denver Public Schools where she launched and ran an incubator for principals engaged in innovative and community-based school redesign efforts. In that role, Brittany partnered with other district leaders to build an eco-system that is supportive of holistic and sustaining student outcomes. Her work was informed by prior experiences in and outside of education. She worked previously as the Director of 21st Century Learning at Teach For America, as a Management Consultant at Oliver Wyman, and she began her career as a 6th grade English teacher in San Francisco, CA. Brittany has been on the front lines of numerous school design and redesign projects, including as the lead designer and researcher for The New School of San Francisco – an inquiry-based elementary school that opened in Fall 2015 in partnership with the Exploratorium Museum. Brittany holds a doctorate degree in Education Leadership from Harvard University, and Masters and Bachelors degrees from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied Public Policy and Music.

 

Rob Strain

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Rob leads and contributes to innovation projects with Transcend’s school partners. Prior to his work with Transcend, he served as the Chief Program Officer at Teach For America, Bay Area. Here Rob worked alongside his team to redesign the local leadership development program to better support teachers and principals in creating proof points of next generation learning environments. Prior to that, he held a variety of roles at Teach For America from instructional coach to leading the San Francisco community team. He began his education career teaching first grade in San Francisco Unified School District where he continues to live and work. He holds a degree in Political Science from University of Pennsylvania.



Ryan Hall

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Ryan is an experienced school-based leader and classroom teacher. Most recently, he was the Director of Operations and Co-Leader of Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School, part of the Uncommon Schools network and one of the highest-performing middle schools in NYC.  Before serving as a school leader, Ryan taught 8th grade mathematics, first as a 2007 TFA Corps Member in NYC and then with Uncommon Schools.  In 2012, he was a finalist for TNTP's Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice. 

Ryan has a Masters in Teaching from Pace University and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he worked as a researcher for Jim Collins, a leading business thinker and author of Good to Great

Ryan lives with his wife and daughter in Madison, Wisconsin and enjoys soccer, fly fishing, and volunteering with youth development programs.

Christina Jenkins

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Christina is a learning and product designer: She supports educators who are designing or redesigning schools by leading adult learning experiences that jumpstart innovation. She comes to Transcend from Project H Design, a non-profit that teaches young people how to use design and architecture to transform their communities. At Project H, she helped to launch a dedicated space for after-school and summer programming – Girls Garage – and founded a teacher creativity project called Unprofessional Development that sparks creative pedagogy through joyful PD. Previously, she worked for nearly a decade in NYC public schools as an award-winning teacher (feminism, cartography, anthropology) and coach.

Christina earned an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons, a Masters in Teaching from Pace University, and a BA in History and Urban Studies from UCLA. She lives in Los Angeles, where she recently retired from rowing and currently practices printmaking.

Shari Lawrence

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Shari joins Transcend as the School Design Partner on the Dream + Discover team. She will be supporting partners in the early stages of the innovation journey to create bold new visions of school.

She began her career in education almost 10 years ago as a NYC Teaching Fellow and taught special education, science, and math for six years at various public high schools. During her tenure as a teacher, Shari coached new teachers, served as the math department coordinator, and piloted initiatives in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Most recently, Shari worked as the founding Academic Affairs Director for College Track Watts where she created and implemented after school programming to support students’ high academic achievement and college eligibility.

In addition to her professional work, Shari has also participated in various new school founders incubator programs with 4.0 Schools and Education Pioneers to develop her own vision for an innovative school model.

Shari holds a Masters of Arts in Education and Politics from Teachers College, Columbia University, a Masters of Science in Teaching Urban Adolescents with Disabilities from Long Island University, and a Bachelor of Arts  in Political Science from New York University.

Shari currently lives in Los Angeles, California where she enjoys yoga, hiking, and basking in the LA sun.


Cynthia Leck

Cynthia began her career in education as an English language arts teacher in New York City. She taught in traditional and charter public schools as well as designed curriculum for college preparatory programs before transitioning to work as an education researcher and consultant at Columbia University through the Center for Public Research and Leadership. While there, her work focused on continuous improvement, network and systems theory, and personalized learning implementation. As part of Transcend’s Build Knowledge team, Cynthia translates what is known about effective teaching and learning, scaling transformational practices, and more into actionable insights for Transcend's partners and the field, while also helping partners learn from and improve on the creative practices they already employ each day. Cynthia holds a BA from Colgate University in Sociology and Media studies, an MS in Childhood Education from Pace University, and an MA in Sociology and Education from Teachers College Columbia University. She continues to live in and love New York City.

Ross Lipstein

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Ross is thrilled to be joining Transcend after nearly four years at Summit Public Schools. Ross led several components of Summit’s R&D work over the past few years, including compiling Summit’s annual R&D Agenda, managing a team of R&D project managers and site-based continuous improvement specialists, building out a user experience research function, collaborating with external researchers and practitioner partners, and directly leading R&D projects. Before working at Summit, Ross worked in international development focused on both education and agriculture, spending time especially in Ethiopia, India, and South Africa. Ross has an MBA from Stanford, an MPA/ID from Harvard, and an M.Ed. from the Broad Center. Ross shares Transcend’s core values, and he’s especially excited to help learning engineering go from promising concept to impactful reality in how it helps communities access learning experiences that enable them to equitably thrive in the 21st century. When Ross isn’t working, he enjoys playing piano (just started learning last year!), hiking and canoeing, personal growth, and doing anything and everything with his wife Carolina and dog Tango.

Divya Mani

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Divya is excited to pursue her lifelong passion for equity and education at Transcend as Partner, Strategy, Development, and External Relations. After interning and teaching at various child-focused nonprofits, she began her career at Monitor Group, where she advised companies and nonprofits on growth and marketing and managed underrepresented minority recruiting. At Procter and Gamble, she led global digital strategy for Gillette and brand communications for The Art of Shaving. Most recently, she worked in product innovation at Liberty Mutual. Divya holds an AB in History and Literature from Harvard and an MBA from Dartmouth. She lives in Boston with her husband and two children. Outside of work, she is a Partner with Social Venture Partners Boston, a founding member of the Brooke Charter Schools’ Board of Ambassadors, and an enthusiast of all things family, food, fresh air, and fantasy.

Nikolaus Namba

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Nikolaus is a Partner at Transcend. He has spent his entire career in education as a teacher, academic coach, principal, Director of 21st Century Learning, and Chief Academic Officer, in school districts and charter organizations focused on personalizing learning using a competency-based systems approach. Nikolaus maintains a strong track record of successful and committed leadership focused on serving learners first and foremost.

Prior to Transcend, he was the Director of 21st Century Learning for Lindsay Unified School District, where he was engaged in the system-wide transformative work of building a learner-centered performance-based system. Some of the most exciting projects for Nikolaus in Lindsay were, leading the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant around defining what personalization is and increasing the capacity of staff to deliver on this definition, as well as refining Lindsay’s community WiFi project to ensure Lindsay Unified provided access, hardware, and installation free of cost to any family in their district; thus, ensuring equity of access to information for all their learners. He also lead the development and future visioning of Lindsay’s learning management system, to ensure a high-quality curriculum, tools, and data analysis was delivered to all stakeholders, learners, parents, teachers, and leaders, in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

Earlier experiences in education for Nikolaus included serving as the principal of a K-8 school in Lindsay Unified. He went to Lindsay Unified after being the Chief Academic Officer of Ingenium Schools, a charter management organization in the Los Angeles area, where he led a grassroots development of a system-wide, personalized and competency-based learning approach. Prior to this, he was an academic coach and a teacher in Westminster 50 school district in Colorado. Nikolaus holds a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from California Lutheran University. Nikolaus currently lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, son, and daughter.


David Nitkin

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Prior to coming to Transcend, David served as Interim Executive Director and Chief of Staff of Two Rivers, a network of Expeditionary Learning public charter schools in Washington, DC. David oversaw the implementation of the systems and processes that enabled Two Rivers to successfully expand from a single site to a network of three high-performing schools, resulting in a 55% reduction in the student suspension rate, a 30% decline in staff attrition, and the network’s highest staff culture survey data in four years.

David came to Two Rivers from New York City, where he spent four years helping to lead Public Prep, a network of high-performing public charter schools located in the Bronx and Manhattan. David oversaw Public Prep's assessment, data, and accountability systems, served as Interim Chief Academic Officer, and designed and led the network's inaugural summer school program. Prior to joining Public Prep, David worked at KIPP:NY, The New Teacher Project, and taught 7th and 8th grade humanities at a district school in the South Bronx.  David has also supported charter schools across the country as a faculty member at Replicating Quality Schools, a strategic planning program for growing charter networks. 

David earned a BA in History from Yale University, a PhD in Education Policy and MA in Economics of Education from Columbia University Teachers College, and an MS in Teaching of Secondary Social Studies from Fordham University. He is also a former Teach for America corps member and Education Pioneers Fellow.