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Team

Lavada Berger

Lavada 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.

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.

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.

 

Jackie Fisher

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Jackie joins Transcend as a Partner of Research, Measurement, and Evaluation. In this role she advises school teams on research design, implementation, and data analysis. This year her primary focus is on strengthening our processes for rapid cycle testing, and managing Transcend’s data collection, analysis and synthesis efforts.

Jackie’s prior experience includes research and evaluation to assess the effectiveness of school-based interventions focused on social-emotional learning and technology-based education in K-12 classrooms and comprehensive college and career readiness training for young adults.

Jackie has her doctorate in Applied Developmental Psychology from Fordham University, a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College, and her BA in Psychology from Boston College. She did her postdoctoral training at John Jay College’s Development Through the Life Cycle laboratory and at the Center for Advanced Study in Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. From there she worked as a Research Scientist at the Center on Addiction, where she conducted research focused on improving behavioral health treatment and treatment-school partnerships for adolescents, and taught in the Psychology Department at John Jay College. She lives with her husband and two curious and photogenic dogs in the exurbs of New York City, where she enjoys BBQing and hiking in the warm weather and reading by the woodstove in the cold weather!

 

Anna Hall

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Anna is a partner at Transcend.  She has spent the better part of her career as an educator designing, launching, and growing new schools – including, very many years ago, a small, innovative secondary school in the South Bronx, where she served as a founding teacher, assistant principal, and, ultimately, principal; and more recently, in her role as Senior Director at Springpoint, as an advisor to partners and design teams across the country who were charged with developing and launching new secondary school concepts.  Before becoming an educator, Anna spent nearly a decade working as a writer, researcher, and project manager in policy, politics, and technology firms. She holds a B.A. from the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina, and an M.S. in teaching from Fordham University. She is a graduate of the New York City Teaching Fellows Program and the New York City Leadership Academy.  These days, she lives in view of the Hudson, just outside New York City, with her partner John, three impressively opinionated children, and an exceptionally old cat.

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 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.

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.

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.

Emily Rummo

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Emily leads finance, operations, and development for the Transcend team. Prior to joining Transcend, Emily was the founding Chief Operating Officer at KIPP Bay Area Schools and served in the role from 2008 - 2014. As COO, Emily oversaw finance, human resources, talent recruitment, real estate, technology, operations, and the KIPP Through College alumni program for the 11 school charter network, serving over 2,100 students. Emily now serves on the KIPP Bay Area Schools' Board.  Emily began her career in management consulting, and spent two years on the venture team with NewSchools Venture Fund (2004-2006). She holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College, and an MBA and Masters in Education from Stanford. Emily lives in San Francisco with her husband and two young sons.

Sarah Spadaccini

Sarah is passionate about supporting educators in their work to ensure all children have the opportunity to thrive and meet their full potential. With a knack for translating big visions into actionable strategy, she is thrilled to join the Transcend team to support innovators in building learning environments that better prepare children to transform the 21st century. After graduating from Florida State University, she began her career in education as an ELA and theatre teacher. She received her Masters in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and has contributed on and led teams at the New York City Department of Education, Teach For America, and Duval County Public Schools. She brings almost 15 years of experience in education policy, assessment and curricular resources, teacher coaching and development, and project management. Sarah lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and young son who inspires her daily with his curiosity, wild imagination, and sense of humor.

Rob Strain

Rob joined Transcend to work with leaders across the country to imagine and realize new, innovative models.  His conviction in the power of education was fortified as a first grade teacher in San Francisco Unified School District. He spent the six years prior to joining Transcend on Teach For America's Bay Area team in a variety of roles: He began as an instructional coach supporting elementary, bilingual, and early childhood educators. He was the founding lead of the San Francisco community team, charged with  building a team to connect and mobilize the 800+ TFA alumni base in the city.  Most recently, Rob served as the Chief Program Officer where he worked alongside his team to redesign the leadership development program to better support teachers and principals in forging next generation learning environments. He holds a degree in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from University of Pennsylvania. Rob continues to live and work in San Francisco, where you can find him taking advantage of the city's beaches, running trails, and restaurants. 

Tyler Thigpen

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Dr. Tyler S. Thigpen has worked in innovative district, private, and charter schools in Georgia, as well as national and regional nonprofits. Tyler is co-founder of The Forest School: An Acton Academy in south metro Atlanta, co-founder of MENTOR Georgia, and co-founder of Transforming Teaching at Harvard. Tyler is the former head of the upper school at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta, a co-founder and former board member of Chattahoochee Hills Charter School in southwest Atlanta, and a former Spanish teacher in Gwinnett County, Ga., public schools. Earlier, Tyler worked as minister at the Grace family of churches and led international development in Peru in areas of healthcare, education, poverty reduction, infrastructure, and human rights.

At Transcend, Tyler has worked closely on projects such as nXu, WhittleThe Academy Group, The Forest School, Art in Motion, Hebrew Public, and Teton Science's Place Network.

Tyler holds a doctoral degree in education leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master of public administration from Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a master of theological studies from Regent College of the University of British Columbia. Tyler lives with his wife, Joy, and four children in a new town in GeorgiaPinewood Forest—of which Joy is Creative Director.

Sara Vaz

Sara left a previous career in oil and gas procurement to explore the world of non-profit work at Transcend.  She is constantly delighted and amazed at the work her team does and the passion they do it with.  Sara handles team logistics and anything else that is sent her way.  Sara has a BA in Rhetoric from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.  These days, she calls Houston, Texas home.  She spends her time practicing her crane pose, digging in the garden and trying to convince her child to go to sleep.

Stacey Wang

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Prior to joining Transcend, Stacey Wang served as the Advisor of the Superintendent and Director of Personalized Learning for Oakland Unified School District where she collaborated with system leaders, school leaders, teachers, parents, students, and the broader community to transform schools from traditional models to personalized learning schools impacting over 7,000 students. Before that, Stacey worked at Monitor Deloitte in the strategy practice where she helped Fortune 100 companies and education nonprofits design strategies for large scale organizational change. As part of her work in innovation, she ran a team at the Center for the Edge developing pragmatic frameworks for systemic innovation  (more about the work can be found at DU Press).

Stacey's interest in education sparked over a decade ago when she helped a San Francisco school in the Tenderloin develop a ten-year growth strategy. From there, Stacey joined the Board of Trustees for Leadership High School, a high-achieving public school and became an Education Pioneer fellow developing quality community pilot schools for Oakland Unified. Stacey pursued an MBA at Columbia Business School with a focus on social entrepreneurship and nonprofit management and has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business. Most recently, Stacey completed the Broad Residency and received her Masters in Education Leadership. Stacey has consulted numerous education organizations such as Education Pioneers, SF Ed Fund, and the NYC DOE. She was also a runner up at SF Start Up Weekend 2013: Next Gen Schools. 

Stacey lives in the Bay Area with her partner who constantly inspires her to increase innovation and optimism in education.