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Scott Noppe-Brandon (Scott Marshall Brandon), Chair, is known internationally as speaker and author on the role of imagination, creativity and innovation (ICI) in education, culture and commerce. From 1987-2012 he served with distinction as the executive director of Lincoln Center Institute. Upon leaving Lincoln Center he started Squiggle Consulting LLC with Susan McCalmont. Squiggle clients (Current and Prospective) include National Museum of Women in the Arts, World Peace Orchestra, Possibility’s Place (Scott is co-producer/writer of this new children’s TV show), GEMS Education, Government of Rwanda, among others and he heads an ambitious effort to develop an Imagination Index for use in business and educational settings. His work is credited as having a deep impact on education and culture. Prior to Lincoln Center, Scott was K-18 educator, modern dancer, and consultant. Scott recently served as panelist for NEA, NASA, and The Nation at Risk Review and his recent keynote talks include international locations such as GEMS Education (Dubai), Federation Councils Competitiveness (Seoul), A.N.D. (London), UNESCO Conference on Arts Education (Seoul), Third Worldwide Meeting on Human Values (Mexico City), and in U.S. for National Network Educational Renewal, Arts Schools Network, WNET Celebration and MetSchools. He is Co-Author of Imagination First with Eric Liu (top 1% business books by EBSCO), Co-Editor of Community in the Making; and he has chapters in books such as Breaking Mold of School Instruction; Dear Maxine: Letters; Variations on a Blue Guitar; Dawn of the Akashic Age; and currently is writing new book tentatively titled Imagination and New Marketplace. He wrote and placed 150+ articles and blogs for Education Update, Beliefnet.com and Imagination Now. Over past few years Scott has been interviewed by Rotman School Management, Internet Radio (6 times), Harvard Business Case Study, PBS NewsHour (twice), Munhwa Broadcasting Co. and Changemakers (Ashoka). He is Board member of Compass Charter School (Vice-Chair), KITU, National Creativity Network, and he serves as Senior Advisor to Council on Competitiveness; and he is a Producer/Author for Newswire.FM. Recent key career moments: start up of 12 public schools; directing 5 year national research project; and he designed and conducted 60 Imagination Conversations (forums of thought leaders) networked via social media to millions worldwide. Scott graduated with undergraduate and graduate degrees in education/art from Ohio State University and completed all course work for PhD. In 1975 Scott was awarded an Honorable Discharge from the Air National Guard. He lives in NewYork City and is the proud father of three amazing sons, Zach, Jesse and Geordy.
Jason Horowitz, Vice-Chair, is the Founder and CEO of Skedj, an online and mobile social scheduling application. Previously, he served as lead transactions and operations attorney, and was responsible for implementing and overseeing the internal and external governance functions, including management of the board governance process, for CKX, Inc. For ten years, Jason has served on the advisory committee for SteppingStone Day School, a not-for-profit school for special needs babies and preschoolers.
Malini Nayar, Treasurer, is a Senior Loan Officer with Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Inc. (“Enterprise”) where she is responsible for originating, underwriting and closing loans to developers of affordable housing, charter schools, community health centers and community development projects nationally. Prior to joining Enterprise in October 2013, Malini worked at the Nonprofit Finance Fund as Associate Director, Financial Services, structuring and closing loans to charter schools and health centers and consulting with nonprofit organizations on a range of capital, financial and project-related issues. In addition to her experience in community development finance, Malini has a diverse professional background having worked as a strategy and business development consultant at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and as a financial auditor, consultant and manager in the private sector in the U.S. and in India. Malini has a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh and a BA in Finance from Bangalore University in India. Malini moved to the United States from India in 2001 and currently lives in Maplewood NJ with her husband and two children.
Josh Gordon, Secretary, is currently on the Business Development team at Knewton, the world’s leading adaptive education technology company. Prior to joining Knewton, Josh taught History and Current Events at a high school in the St. Louis Public School system through Teach for America. During his teaching career, Josh coached JV basketball, ran the drum line, started a Parent Teacher Association and received the Best New Teacher award. As a product of a progressive education, Josh took care to incorporate its tenets into his own teaching. From constant Socratic Seminars in lieu of exams, to a focus on the role of emotional intelligence in collaborative work, Josh’s students knew that their time in his class would never be spent passively. Over the past seven years, Josh has been involved in several nonprofit organizations including Squash Haven and Tickled Pink. He led an educational and humanitarian trip of college students to Rwanda where they worked with the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. Josh attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City, holds a B.A. from Yale and a Masters in Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.
Hannah Blitzer is Executive Director, Financing & Lending Strategies at the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), a quasi-City agency that issues bonds and provides low-cost loans to finance multi-family affordable housing in New York City. Prior to joining HDC, Hannah served as a Senior Advisor for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, where she focused on housing policy and was the primary liaison between City Hall and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and HDC. Before joining the staff of the Mayor’s office, Hannah held several positions at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), a nonprofit loan fund that provides capital solutions to support healthy communities. As LIIF’s Director, National Strategic Initiatives, she conducted research and led the development of new products and programs. Previously, she spent seven years as a transactional lender, as a Senior Loan Officer at LIIF and earlier as a Vice President/Relationship Manager at Citi Community Capital. In those roles, she underwrote acquisition, predevelopment, construction, and permanent loans as well as New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) investments to finance multi-family affordable housing, community facilities, and commercial properties. Hannah previously worked on the grantmaking team at the Robin Hood Foundation. Hannah has a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from Yale School of Management.
Alexandra Charters Zubko is co-founder, head of Business Development of Triptease, a star-up in the hotel industry. Alexandra was the Global Head of Strategy for IHG, one of the largest publicly-listed hotel companies. Prior to IHG, Alexandra was a consultant at McKinsey and worked in M&A for 4 years at Goldman Sachs and NBC Universal. Alexandra has a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Busienss and a BA in Economics from Columbia College. Alexandra currently lives in Bronxville NY with her husband and three children.
Eric “Wally” Gingold is the co-founder and co-owner of NES Energy, Inc., a multi-million dollar supplier of lighting energy conservation projects. He and Mr. Philip Bonsignore founded the company in 1995. Together, they have sold, surveyed, designed and installed numerous lighting efficiency retrofit projects across the United States. Before founding NES, Wally built City Electric Distributors from a small family owned distributorship into one of the largest and best-known lighting and electrical distributors in the eastern United States. He went on to provide the same services for several other electrical and lighting distribution companies in the New York City area. In a previous life, Wally was a 5th grade teacher within the NYC Department of Education.
Dorian Muller is a proud parent of a child attending a public school in Community School District 13. His daughter was a student in Michelle and Todd’s 5th grade class two years ago. Dorian is the Director of Property Management at Brooklyn Community Housing and Services. He also enjoys promoting social and comedy events throughout Brooklyn.
Jamaal Lesane graduated from Yale University in 1998 with a B.A. in Intensive Sociology and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2001. Following graduation from law school, Jamaal worked as a corporate associate at Covington and Burling in New York, NY. At Covington, he represented public and private companies in mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and public and private placements of debt and equity securities and also provided general corporate law and governance advice to public corporations facing internal investigations, corporate governance scandals, bankruptcy, takeover attempts and other crises. From 2006-2008, Jamaal worked as an Associate Counsel at Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO), where he provided legal support and counsel to HBO Sports and HBO Licensing and Retail. Since 2008, Jamaal has worked at The Madison Square Garden Company, where he is currently the Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs – Sports and Team Operations. Jamaal provides business and legal support to the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA) and the Westchester Knicks (NBADL) as well as all other sporting operations (including college basketball, boxing and wrestling) occurring at Madison Square Garden and its owned or affiliated venues (including the LA Forum, the Beacon Theater, Radio City Music Hall and the Chicago Theater). Jamaal also provides counsel to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that utilizes Madison Square Garden assets to provide memorable experiences to kids in crisis.
Jamaal serves on The Alumni Council at the Collegiate School in Manhattan, NY, where he attended junior high school and high school. Jamaal also remains very active as a donor, fundraiser and volunteer at Prep for Prep, a leadership development program that offers promising students of color access to a private school education and life changing opportunities. Prep identifies students of color in New York City public schools and prepares them for placement at independent schools in the city and boarding schools throughout the Northeast: "Without Prep, I can say without exaggeration that there would be no Collegiate, no Yale and no Harvard Law in my life. I will be forever indebted to and involved with the program."
Jamaal was born, raised and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Hope, and daughter, Mia.
Yvonne Tou is the Deputy Director of Charter School Financing at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). LISC is a community development finance institution that has provided over $1.5 billion in loans, grants, and equity in support of projects focused on economic equity, education, and housing. Since 1997, Charter School Financing at LISC has served over 300 schools and closed over $330 million in financing for high-performing charter schools nationwide. Yvonne manages Charter School Financing’s asset management, external funder reporting, and communications. She also originates and underwrites loan transactions. Yvonne previously worked as Director of Operations at a charter school in Brooklyn, NY, and as an Associate in Market Risk Management and Analysis at Goldman Sachs. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Syracuse University.