Board of Directors
Rachael Beard (Co-Founder)
Project Manager, International Rescue Committee
Rachael has more than six years of experience working in technology across a wide variety of roles including database management, project management and web design. Previously, Rachael worked at Teach For America as a Training and Support Specialist. She then left Teach For America to start LinkEducation while doing financial and web development consultant work on the side. She now manages the collaborative systems program at the International Rescue Committee to help employees communicate around the world. She is also the Founding Board Chair of Global Community Charter School which will open in the Fall of 2012.
Rachael graduated from Skidmore College with a BA in Psychology and Studio Art.
Rachel Brill (Director of Marketing, Secretary)
Product Specialist, AppNexus
Rachel has more than seven years of experience working in the education sector across a wide variety of roles including operations, event planning, marketing, student recruitment, and data management. Previously, Rachel worked at Teach For America where she planned corps member and alumni events and communications. She then worked at Achievement First where she worked in student recruitment, school operations, and managed student information databases.
Rachel graduated from Pomona College with a BA in Asian Studies.
Eric Cipra (Director of Operations)
Consultant, Wireless Generation
Since 2012, Eric has been a Consultant with Wireless Generation and has worked in partnership with a variety of school districts, LEAs, and SEAs in order to develop innovative educational applications.
Previously, Eric served as a Senior Consultant at IBM Global Business Services providing business analysis expertise for various public sector (federal/state/local government, healthcare, education) clients. His work at IBM has ranged from aiding several large, urban school districts with curriculum logistics, professional development / employee evaluation, and data integration to supporting the federal government during its 2010 Census undertaking.
Eric also spent one year as a Recruitment Associate at Teach For America where he managed campaigns at an array of Pennsylvania schools and recruited 50+ individuals to teach in under-served school districts across the nation.
Eric graduated summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio with a BS in Marketing and a BA in Spanish.
Bio coming soon
Walter DaLuz (Treasurer)
Bio coming soon
Founder & President, Innovation Teaching
A native of the south Bronx, Steven Francisco returned to his home community to teach third grade English language learners in 2003. At the close of his first year teaching, Steven refused to recycle his notes on student performance. Instead he brought the notes home: analyzing, coding and recording each note. Recognizing patterns in his student data and bottlenecks in his work-flow, he developed Jeven: a system that collects and reports on real-time student performance data without the need for testing or typing. Steven founded Innovation Teaching to help schools take advantage of Jeven's time savings. Innovation Teaching's current products include MyJeven.com, a connected student information and reporting platform, and their Google APPS for Education products EduARC.com and Leveled Library.com.
Steven holds degrees from Columbia University (BA) and Syracuse University (MPA).
Partner, Educate LLC
Frank Hardart has been a Partner with at Educate LLC since 2001. Frank's experience with technology goes back to his days as an Account Manager with Compuserve from 1988-1993. Compuserve was the predecessor of the Internet as we know it today and Frank worked with many companies in the Northeast to help them use online technology to communicate all over the world using technologies like email and online bulletin boards. Frank took this experience to both Viacom and then to NBC in his role as Director of Business Development. He helped to plot out the strategy to integrate the Internet into properties like Nickelodeon, MTV, and CNBC. Frank then started to focus more on children and education during his subsequent role as Vice President of Business Development with MaMaMedia. Spun out of the MIT Media Lab, MaMaMedia quickly became the largest independent children’s website in the country. Based on constructionist learning principles, the website offers learning activities for children. Though on the business side, Frank became acutely more aware of the power of technology and the Internet to engage children and to be a powerful tool in their education. This experience combined with his role on the advisory board of an inner city school drove Frank to work with Bob Flanigan to bring educational technology to schools in New York with Educate LLC.
Frank has a BS in Engineering and a BA in English from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the JL Kellogg School of Business.
Anna Markowitz (Executive Director)
Anna graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in Business. While in college, she founded and successfully ran a nonprofit vintage clothing store called Better Than Toast Inc. which was going strong for four years until it closed in 2007.
After graduation, Anna joined the Teach For America Admissions team as the Budget Coordinator where she managed and tracked a two million dollar budget. She then worked as a Grant Analyst for Inwoodhouse’s Youth for REAL after school program, freelanced for a Wall Street financial company (Finance NYC) writing business plans and creating financial models, was the Program Coordinator for the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship's Public Policy department, and taught Business and Creative writing through Girls For Gender Equity's afterschool progam at MS 61. Read more about Anna and her thoughts on education on her LinkEducation profile >>
Founder & President, Red Rabbit
Rhys has always been interested in good food, good nutrition and good health. When some friends asked him to help search out healthy options for their school age child, he was surprised to find that none existed. And so in 2005, the idea for Red Rabbit was born.
Rhys is proud to be at the center of today's food revolution, at the helm of an innovative young company that is solving a critical problem facing administrators, parents and kids: how to eat healthy at school. From its kitchens in New York City, Red Rabbit delivers thousands of farm-fresh meals—breakfasts, lunches and snacks—to school children across the Greater New York Area, and also has an active educational program that brings the healthy eating message to kids and parents alike.
A 2000 graduate of MIT, with a BS in Computer Science and Engineering, Rhys was an equity trader for privately held financial services firm, Carlin Financial Group, before tapping into his entrepreneurial side and founding Red Rabbit.
Dirk Tillotson, Esq.
Founder & Director, New School Incubator for the New York State Charter School Association
Dirk is the Founder and Director of the New School Incubator for the New York State Charter School Association, a program developed to seed and grow strong and sustainable community based charter schools dedicated to educating underserved student populations. He is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in new school planning and also the development of internal systems of accountability to drive continuous improvement. Mr. Tillotson has been the lead developer or rejuvenator for several charter schools, including the National Blue Ribbon award winning American Indian Charter School in Oakland, California. During his 15 years working with charter schools, Mr. Tillotson has focused on underserved community groups, helping them develop and implement high quality and sustainable schools.
Prior to his work with NYCSA, he served as COO and interim CEO for the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, and consulted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, post-Katrina in New Orleans. He also led the school based aspects of RAND education’s largest project; reform of the education system of the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar, and the implementation of charter-like “independent schools” there. His charter school work began in Oakland, California, where he led or developed several high achieving schools and founded a charter support organization, Oakland Charters Together.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany and his law degree and master’s degree in jurisprudence and social policy from UC Berkeley.
Founder & CEO, Charter School Business Management Inc.
Raj Thakkar is the Founder & CEO of Charter School Business Management Inc. He has supported more than 60 existing and proposed charter schools in NYC, New Orleans and Chicago and charter school support organizations including the NYC Center for Charter School Excellence, New Schools for New Orleans, New Leaders for New Schools, The Renaissance Schools Fund in Chicago and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Mr. Thakkar provides guidance on how to create and maintain a strong foundation of finance, operations, human resources and compliance at each school he serves. He shares best practices, ensuring that business and operations leaders are trained and prepared to manage the non-academic responsibilities of their charter schools. These services, which are tailored to the unique culture and needs of schools, are proven techniques that allow school leaders to focus on what’s most important - student achievement. Previously, Mr. Thakkar was the Chief Financial Officer of Explore Charter School for 4 years, where he managed the areas of accounting, finance, human resources, payroll, facilities, compliance, charter renewal, and technology. His work with the school’s Executive Director led to the renewal of its charter for a full 5 years and to Explore being recognized as 1 of the Top 53 charter schools in the U.S. in May 2007. His 12 years of work experience at for-profit, start-up companies and small businesses has led to a specialization in turnaround management, operational efficiency, treasury management, expense reduction, and systems implementation.
Mr. Thakkar earned his MBA in Finance from NYU's Stern School of Business and a BS in Engineering Science from Hofstra University. He is an Advisory Board Member for 7ARTS and now a Board Member for LinkEducation. He is a native New Yorker.