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Nikolaus Namba


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


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.

Saskia Op Den Bosch


Saskia joins Transcend as Partner, Research and Development. In this role, she directly supports our school partnerships in their application of research to school design and implementation, including running research cycles, setting and accessing strong metrics, and codifying what works. She started her career collaborating on the design, measurement and codification of a school readiness intervention for preschoolers in NYC. Through this work, she gained insights into conditions necessary for applied research in schools, designing from a place of equity, and the importance of expanding learning communities to integrate family participation. Her passion and experience with translating research into practice continues to grow, most recently in her leadership role at SEO Scholars, where she led teams in the continuous development and implementation of an advisory model that focused on creating the necessary conditions to unlock students’ motivation and persistence. She enjoys collaborating on interdisciplinary teams, leveraging diverse voices and merging data with context to take productive risks.

She holds a B.S in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon and received her M.A in Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences from Columbia University. Saskia has almost lived in NYC long enough to be an honorary New Yorker and values self-reflection, curiosity and a state of perpetual beta in both her professional and personal worlds.

Meaghan Roberts


Meaghan joins Transcend as a Research Fellow on the Knowledge Base and Learning Systems team. She will support Transcend and our partners in curating educational insights demonstrated through research and practice.

Meaghan has taught for over a decade in diverse classrooms throughout NYC, Vietnam, Japan and Ireland. She was a special education teacher with a focus on literacy and social studies through individualized learning. She has held leadership positions as a department head and workshop leader. Most recently, she honed her research skills at a children’s charity where she evaluated the efficacy of educational programs designed to support families experiencing poverty, domestic abuse and learning difficulties.

Meaghan strongly believes in an individualized approach education that meets the needs of all learners, as well as explicit teaching of social-emotional skills. She has played an integral role in bringing mindfulness into the classrooms and school cultures where she has worked. Meaghan earned a BA from Penn State University in Criminal Justice, and an MA from Manhattanville University in Secondary Education. Most recently, she completed an MS from Trinity College Dublin in Applied Social Research. One day, she aspires to return to the student desk to obtain a PhD.

Meaghan is back to living in her native New York after several years abroad. Following her most recent stint in Tokyo, she has become a Japanophile and is anxiously awaiting winter to justify her ramen addiction. 

Emily Rummo


Emily is a founding Partner at Transcend. She leads Finance, Operations, Human Resources for the organization, and coaches school partners in their innovation journeys. Prior to joining Transcend, Emily was the founding Chief Operating Officer at KIPP Bay Area Schools and served in the role from 2008 - 2014, and continues as a Senior Advisor to the team. 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 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.

Tyler Thigpen


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, co-founder of Transforming Teaching at Harvard, and summer instructor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. 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, Washington Leadership Academy, WhittleThe Academy Group, Brooklyn Steam Center, The Forest School, Art in Motion, Hebrew Public, Ednovate, Intrinsic, EL Education, 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 four children in a new town in Georgia—Pinewood Forest.