Board of Directors

Chris Cerf

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.

Jackson Collins

Jackson is executive director of Prep for Prep. A member of Prep's Contingent XII, Jackson served as director of counseling before assuming his current role. Prior to Prep, Jackson served as the upper school dean of students and associate head of the upper school at the Shipley School. Earlier, he served as upper school form dean, history teacher, and basketball coach at The Episcopal Academy. Jackson holds a B.A. from Amherst College, a M.Ed. from Columbia University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Jackson serves on the board of managers for the Oakwood Friends School and on the board of directors of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. Jackson founded and operates Nine Nickels, a nonprofit organization to promote socioeconomic progress through education and opportunity.

Edward Hui

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.

Kristi Kimball

Kristi is executive director of the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, which focuses on improving the quality of public K-12 education in California and nationwide, with emphasis on charter schools, teacher and principal preparation, and parent empowerment. Previously, as a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kristi made investments in exemplary deeper learning schools, in the California Collaborative on District Reform, and in advocacy that led to the landmark school finance reform law in place today in California. Kristi also served in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, in the Education Policy Research Center at the Urban Institute, and in the Education Office of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Kristi holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Ian Rowe

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 Wilson

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 Wright

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.

© Cadence Learning 2021