Chris, Cadence’s board president, was superintendent of the Newark, New Jersey public schools, where he drove dramatic increases in reading and math performance. Graduation rates rose 20 percentage points and the city was recognized as having the most “beat the odds” schools in the country. Newark also developed one of the largest and most successful charter school sectors; Newark charter schools now serve 31 percent of the city’s students and 50 percent of its African American students. Previously, Chris was New Jersey’s commissioner of education and deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. Chris holds a B.A. from Amherst College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
For twenty years Edward has consulted to school districts, charter management organizations, education nonprofits, and foundations to turn their ideas into sustainable policies, processes, and programs. He has served in senior management roles in Newark Public Schools, Teach for America, City Year, and the NYC Department of Education, leading projects ranging from financial strategy and educational technology to school turnaround and school choice. Edward began his career teaching fourth grade in Lynwood, California. He holds an MBA from Yale, a M.A. in elementary education from Loyola Marymount, and a B.A. degree from Brown.
Ian is an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Charter School Growth Fund and founder of Vertex Partnership Academies, a planned network of character-based, International Baccalaureate public charter high schools. Ian served as the CEO of Public Prep, the nation’s oldest non-profit network developing single-sex public charter schools, today educating more than 2,000 students in New York City. Ian’s forthcoming book, Agency, seeks to inspire young people of all races to overcome the victimhood narrative and discover their pathway to power. He is a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Woodson Center, and a member of the 1776 Unites Campaign.
Steven is a senior fellow at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. He founded and led Ascend Learning, a charter school network in Brooklyn which offers a tuition-free liberal arts education in a warm and supportive setting to 5,500 students. Funded entirely at district spending levels, Ascend reversed the achievement gap on Common Core assessments. As special assistant for strategic planning for Massachusetts Governor William Weld, Steven helped shape the state’s landmark 1993 Education Reform Act that made Massachusetts schools the highest performing in the country and gave rise to the Boston charter school sector.
De’Shawn is interim CEO at Network Alliance, a nonprofit consulting firm focused on the economic revitalization of Newark. Previously, he was senior manager for public policy at Uber Technologies. De’Shawn was deputy secretary for education under Governor Cuomo and deputy mayor for education in Washington, DC, where he created a citywide birth-to-24 education and workforce development strategy. De’Shawn served as the chief policy advisor to Newark Mayor Booker and as a policy analyst under Mayor Bloomberg. He was a founding partner of the Newark Charter School Fund. De’Shawn holds a B.S. from James Madison University and a MPA from New York University.