Learning Accelerator

Staff

Scott Ellis, CEO

Scott-EllisScott Ellis is the CEO of The Learning Accelerator. He has more than 15 years of experience as an executive and consultant in technology and non-profits, and deep expertise in strategy, operations, finance, measurement of impact, and management coaching.

Most recently Scott served as the Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer of the New Teacher Center (NTC), a large national education non-profit that works with school districts to develop and implement intensive instructional mentoring programs for new teachers. He has also served on the board of directors for Reading Partners (an education non-profit that runs reading tutoring programs for children) and the Spondylitis Association of America (a medical organization) and provided consulting support to dozens of others.

In his career before NTC, Scott spent nearly eight years at Hewlett Packard and managed an internal analytical consulting organization whose role was to help the various HP businesses make better data-driven decisions. Before joining HP, Scott was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a strategy consulting firm. He has an MBA from Stanford and an undergraduate degree in government and economics from Harvard.

 

Joe Wolf, President

JoeWolf_mediumJoe Wolf is President of The Learning Accelerator.  He is an investor and entrepreneur focused on providing deserving kids with superior educational and life opportunities. In addition to his involvement with The Learning Accelerator, Joe is on the Leadership Council at NewSchools Venture Fund, is on the board of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Learning, is on the National Board and head of the Innovation Committee for Summer Search (a leadership development program focused on low income youth), and is on the advisory board of New Classrooms (formerly School of One).

Joe was formerly a Partner at RS Investments (formerly Robertson Stevens Asset Management) from 2001-2012. At RS, Joe co-managed a team that grew from 100MM in assets to over 12B. His responsibilities included investment and portfolio management, strategic development, sales and marketing, and business management. Prior to RS, he worked at Goldman Sachs & Company in both the equities division and the strategic consulting group. Joe holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 

 

Chris Borunda, Partner

Chris Borunda photo.JPGChris Borunda is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator.  He has more than twelve years experience in strategy, procurement, information management, and school site operations. Chris’s work for TLA currently focuses on district evaluation and selection processes for instructional, data integration, and school operations software.

In 2009 Chris transitioned from the private to the public sector when he was selected for the Broad Residency in Urban Education and began working at a 4000 student K-12 charter management organization in South Los Angeles. Over the course of four years his work focused on developing new and existing school sites, building IT capacity, and improving operational services to the organization’s fourteen schools.    

In 2013 Chris completed the IRONMAN Coeur d’ Alene through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. Chris holds a B.B.A. from the University of San Diego and an MBA from the University of Virginia. 

 

John Branam, Partner

John_Branam_150John Branam is a Partner with The Learning Accelerator.  John has spent nearly fifteen years in the field of education including having taught middle school; led the programmatic efforts of a rigorous out-of-school academic enrichment program; guided principal and teacher professional development; and served as a district-wide manager. In addition, John was most recently the Deputy Director for Grantmakers for Education, a national nonprofit whose mission is to promote excellence in education philanthropy.

John earned his B.A. in political science from Washington and Lee University and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. John is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (South Africa).

 

Crystal Brown, Partner 

Crystal-Brown_150Crystal Brown is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator. She has broad experience in the education sector spanning government, nonprofit, ed-tech, policy, philanthropy and social enterprise organizations. 

 Prior to joining TLA, Crystal co-founded an education advocacy organization, Educate Our State, which grew from six moms to more than 200,000 concerned Californians in just three years. She has worked on civic engagement projects for organizations such as Parents for Public Schools, the Parent-Teacher Association, Friends of the SF Public Library, and the Marina Community Association. Crystal is a recipient of the 2011 Women Making History Award and California Forward’s Forward Thinkers Award for her work in education and community advocacy.

Crystal holds a B.A. from Lafayette College and has more than 15 years of experience in technology and management consulting.

 

Lisa Duty, Partner

Lisa-Duty-Photo_150Lisa Duty is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator.  She has broad experience in the education sector spanning government, non-profit, philanthropic and social enterprise organizations.  Her current work at TLA includes leading state strategy and related partnerships and investments as well as leading the Reynoldsburg City Schools’ district-wide blended learning implementation.

Prior to joining TLA, Lisa was Senior Director of Innovation at KnowledgeWorks with a focus on digital learning.  In this work she led the design of a new blended education model and authored numerous pieces of legislation including that which established the Ohio Digital Learning Task Force and SB 316, a preeminent example of blended learning legislation. 

Lisa spent three years as a consultant for the Ohio Department of Education leading work on multi-district programs for secondary school transformation and urban redesign.  She was also a lecturer and adjunct faculty member at The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology and was a high school teacher for several years early in her career.  She has a Ph.D. in Global Education from The Ohio State University.

 

Kira Keane, Partner

securedownloadKira Keane is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator.  With more than 20 years of experience in communications and public affairs, Kira manages all internal and external communications for TLA.  She also develops communications tools to help school districts implement blended learning.

Kira has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, internet start-ups, education foundations, elected officials and major municipal agencies.  She has extensive experience in media, community, and government relations.  Kira is active in K-12 education issues, serving as Past-Chair of the Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation and managing communications campaigns for several public school funding measures. Kira holds an undergraduate degree in international relations from Stanford University.

 

Saro Mohammed, Partner

Saro Mohammed 150Saro Mohammed is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator. She has a decade of experience in education research and external evaluations of programs implemented in public, private, and non-profit settings. Saro leads TLA’s work on measuring impact and evaluating implementation of blended learning initiatives. Prior to joining TLA, Saro was assistant director of two research units in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Since 2008, she has worked directly with more than 20 school districts, either in a research or program evaluation context; and one-on-one with more than 10 states in a technical assistance/capacity building role. 

Saro also volunteers at the United Way for Greater Austin, serving on their Target Graduation Strategic Advisory Council and their research working group. She holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Daniel Owens, Partner

DanielOwensDaniel Owens is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator. He has a wealth of experience in education, philanthropy, and business strategy. His work at TLA focuses on helping districts purchase EdTech devices better, faster, and cheaper, as well as leading The Partnership for LA Schools district-wide blended learning implementation. 

Daniel participated in Teach for America, where he taught underprivileged sixth graders math and science in south central Los Angeles. He joined TLA from J.P. Morgan, where he was an analyst in the Private Bank and focused on strategy and resource allocation. Daniel has served on young leadership boards for both his alma mater (William & Mary) and an education non-profit organization (Summer Search). He has an undergraduate degree in finance from William & Mary, a M.Ed. from Loyola Marymount University, and has studied economics and romance languages at the University of Buenos Aires as a Rotary Scholar.

 

Beth Rabbitt, Partner

Beth-Headshot_150Beth Rabbitt is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator. Beth has a decade of experience in education entrepreneurship, human capital, consulting, and finance. Her work at TLA focuses on human capital and helping districts build staff effectiveness to ensure blended learning transformation efforts are successful.

Beth was most recently the Director of Human Capital and Innovation at Touchstone Education, a blended learning charter management organization.  Prior to that, she worked for several years as an Associate Partner at the NewSchools Venture Fund, where she identified, supported, and helped to launch and scale innovative education ventures. She has also worked as a Summer Associate with Education Resource Strategies and a founding Doctoral Fellow at the Harvard Innovation Lab.  Beth serves as an advisor to several education organizations and is a Trustee of Scholar Academies. She earned B.A. from Dartmouth College and a Doctorate in Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) from Harvard University.

 

Luis Rodriguez, Partner

Luis-Rodriguez_150Luis Rodriguez is a Partner with The Learning Accelerator. After more than a decade of experience in management and technology consulting, Luis transitioned from the private to the public sector through the Broad Residency in Urban Education program. During his Broad residency with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Luis assisted schools with implementing an educator effectiveness framework, served as a technology advisor on many Race to the Top initiatives, and received the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Prior to joining The Learning Accelerator, Luis was the Director of the Office of Digital Learning for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he was responsible for improving digital literacy and capacity across the state.

Luis earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University and a M.S. in strategy from the University of Texas Dallas Jindal School of Management.

 

Jennifer Wolfe, Program Advisor

Jennifer WolfeJennifer Wolfe is a Program Advisor at The Learning Accelerator. Jennifer is a former CEO and experienced strategic advisor who has worked as a consultant for the last several years in the education industry, bringing more than 20 years of experience to help education reform organizations strengthen their strategic planning, program design, partnerships, marketing and communications. Jennifer’s work at TLA focuses on two areas in the blended learning ecosystem: the role of Open Education Resources and Mastery Based Learning.

Formerly Jennifer was the co-founder and CEO of Sun Busters, a leading children’s sun protection apparel company. She was a nonprofit executive with Do Something Inc., leading initiatives that inspired young people to make a difference in their communities. Jennifer began her career as an attorney with Latham & Watkins. She graduated cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and received her law degree with Honors from New York University School of Law. 

 

Michela Marini, Program Manager

MichelaMariniheadshot1Michela Marini is a Program Manager at The Learning Accelerator. With a background in the field of human-centered design for product and service offerings, she has worked in academia, non-profits, and corporate businesses. At TLA, Michela manages calendars, assists organizational management, and coordinates district-wide blended learning implementation projects.

Prior to joining TLA, Michela was a Project Manager at design firms and startups, as well as at universities and private educational institutes –Politecnico di Milano, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, and Domus Academy. Born and raised in Italy, she holds a B.S. in Industrial Design from Brunel University (UK) and a Master of Science in Design from Politecnico di Milano (Italy).

 

Cedar Mathis, Program Manager

CM_Headshot3

Cedar Mathis is a Program Manager at TLA. Cedar comes to The Learning Accelerator with 14 years of creative project and client management experience. Cedar's work with TLA is focused on the organization's fundraising efforts and the Open Education Resources initiative. Prior to joining TLA, she spent four years with Landor Associates, focused on brand awareness and corporate identity programs. She served as project director for Michael Osborne Design for 10 years, managing startup and large-scale graphic design programs for consumer packaged goods. 

On the non-profit side, Cedar served as project director for Joey's Corner, a design studio focused on providing strategic solutions to organizations in the areas of healthcare, children, and social well-being. Cedar holds a B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition from San Jose State University.