Michelle supports the engagement with the Connecticut State Department of Education, in her home state. She also supports the STG’s internal functions. Previously, she had the privilege of working with Uncommon Schools, managing the enrichment program and supporting operations at Brownsville Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, NY. Michelle received a B.A. from Princeton University and won a Project 55 Fellowship through Princeton AlumniCorps upon graduation.
Davin manages the ongoing engagements with the Syracuse City School District and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and also leads internal professional development to support the continual capacity-deepening of STG staff. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Davin served as Director of Turnaround Coaching for the educational management organization AUSL (Academy for Urban School Leadership), lead turnaround partner for Chicago Public Schools. She holds a B.S. from Northwestern University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and earned her teaching credentials at Concordia as part of the alternative-certification "Teachers for Chicago" program. Davin is grateful and proud to have spent seven years teaching middle school students in high-poverty schools on the south and west sides of Chicago.
Director of Growth Strategy
As the Director of Growth Strategy, Matt is responsible for creating and executing plans for the growth of the Partnership Zone Initiative, the College Success Clusters Initiative, and other new initiatives. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Matt was the Deputy Director of the Department on Disability Services in Washington, DC and the Chief of Staff for the Office of Special Education in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Prior to his tenure in DC, Matt spent seven rewarding years teaching secondary English in the Baltimore City, MD and New Haven, CT School systems. He has a BA in English and Japanese from the University of Kansas, an MAT from Johns Hopkins University, and an MPA from The Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
President of Mass Insight Education
Justin C. Cohen is president of Mass Insight Education. Mass Insight Education works with state education agencies, school districts, and partner organizations to develop the organizational strategies and capacity necessary to turnaround our nation’s lowest performing schools. Prior to launching the School Turnaround Group, Justin was director of the office of portfolio management, and senior advisor to the Chancellor at the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). While at DCPS, Justin led the district’s work in creating long-term strategies for fostering quality, innovation, and growth in the schools portfolio. His office managed a diverse selection of school reform models, and upon his departure, almost half of the district’s schools had adopted at least one of those models. Before that Justin was director of industry support and development for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and spent time at Edison Schools. Justin has served on the national boards of the Yale Alumni Fund and Students for Education Reform, and he is a trustee of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC. His writing on school turnaround has appeared in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the NationalJournal.com. Justin has a B.A. in cognitive science from Yale.
Senior Field Consultant
Michael Contompasis recently retired after two years as Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools. Previously he served as the district's Chief Operating Officer from 1998 through 2005. Before moving to a district leadership role, Mr. Contompasis was the Head Master of Boston Latin School, the state's top performing 7-12 secondary school, where he was honored as a Milken Educator in 1997. From 1996 to 1998, he also served as a cluster leader overseeing and mentoring the principals of ten K-12 schools in the district. He began his career in education as a Biology teacher in 1966. He was presented with a Distinguished Service Award by the Council of Great City Schools in 2006. Mr. Contompasis currently serves as an unpaid advisor to the Mayor of the City of Boston in addition to his role as Senior Field Consultant for the School Turnaround Group.
Pete manages the turnaround work in the Jefferson Parish Public School System in Louisiana. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Pete developed and implemented teacher performance management systems for The New Teacher Project. Pete began his career as a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans Public Schools and has been a math and science teacher and middle school administrator. He is a graduate of Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
Jennifer Cunningham is responsible for research and outreach relating to both the Great Schools Network and the Turnaround Challenge initiatives, and has previously been a lead investigator and writer for Mass Insight's Building Blocks project. Prior to joining Mass Insight, she was the Site Director at the Project for School Innovation, where she coauthored nine publications helping Boston-area teachers share effective practices. Jennifer is a graduate of Yale University and of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University.
Karen Daniels manages the development of the Grove Hall Community Schools into a College Success Cluster as well as supporting the development of further Boston clusters. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Karen served as Executive Director for Step UP, a multi-university collaboration with Boston Public Schools and the mayor’s office. Prior to this in 2004, she worked in Chicago as Mid-South Regional Director for Ren2010. She has served as a school principal for grades K-12 in Boston and Brookline, Mass. She counts her proudest moments as an English teacher in Boston where she taught middle and high school students. Karen holds a B.A. in English from Boston College, a M.A. in English, and is presently pursuing her doctorate degree in Education Leadership from UMass/Boston.
Senior Program Manager
As a senior program manager, Vanessa supports district-level fieldwork in the Syracuse City School District. Prior to joining Mass Insight as an Education Pioneer Fellow, Vanessa held multiple roles in business and program management in the defense industry. Vanessa is currently completing a M.S. in Engineering Management from Tufts University, holds a Certificate in Supply Chain Management from Northeastern University, a B.A. in Business Economics from Providence College, and is a graduate of a Fortune 500 Company Financial Leadership Development Program.
Dipa supports fieldwork in Connecticut. Dipa also plays an integral role supporting our research and internal functions. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Dipa interned in the Guidance and Counseling Office at Classical High School in Providence, RI. Dipa also served as a Research Assistant at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Dipa recently earned her M.Ed. in School Counseling from Providence College.
LesLeigh serves as a Program Manager, directly supporting the national team in its Great Lakes engagements: Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Syracuse City School District. A native Detroiter, LesLeigh worked in her hometown as a kindergarten, first grade, and middle school teacher for six years after completing undergraduate and graduate studies at The University of Michigan. She also worked as a Program Coordinator for the GEAR UP program, an outreach program for low income, minority high school students at the University of Michigan. LesLeigh is a recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a degree in Education Policy and Management.
Senior Program Manager
Nick is the Senior Program Manager of Teaching and Learning, focused on direct, school level work in Evansville, IN. Before joining Mass Insight Education, he was a member of the turnaround team of Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury, MA, where he was the Director of Partnerships and taught 6th grade Ancient Civilizations and 8th grade. A 2008 Teach for America Corps member, Nick taught AP US History, AP US Government, and US History at KIPP Houston High School in Houston, TX. Nick received his Bachelors from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and his Masters of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
William H. Guenther
CEO and Founder of Mass Insight Education
Bill is CEO and Founder of Mass Insight Education, an independent not-for-profit organization based in Boston, MA. Founded in 1997, Mass Insight Education has been a statewide leader in Massachusetts’ education reform drive and national leader for school turnaround strategy. Mass Insight Education organizes partnerships of states, districts, schools, business, and universities and has two divisions: the Massachusetts Math & Science Initiative implementing a $30m program using Advanced Placement as a lever to attain excellence in math and science and to transform school culture, and the School Turnaround Group organized to support state and district strategies to successfully turnaround failing schools. Bill is a graduate of Harvard College and the New York University Law School.
Nora directly supports field work in the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation and Providence Public School District. She has been working in schools since 2003 in a variety of positions including English teacher at St. Andrew’s School, a boarding school in Delaware; middle and high school admissions at a Quaker School in Philadelphia; guidance counseling at Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey; and college counseling at Harlem Village Academy High School. Nora recently completed a M.S. in Statistics, Measurement, Assessment and Research Technologies from the University of Pennsylvania. She also has a M.S.Ed. in School and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. in English and American Literature and Languages from Harvard College.
Ryan supports district-level fieldwork with one of Mass Insight's engagements. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Ryan served as Program Manager at The New Teacher Project on a talent management engagement with New Visions for Public Schools in New York City. In his role on the talent management team, Ryan led a teacher recruitment initiative for 80 NYC public schools and supported administrators in teacher recruitment, retention and development. Ryan has a B.A. from Yale University.
Project Coordinator - Field Engagements
In his role as Project Coordinator - Field Engagements, Mike supports all national fieldwork at Mass Insight Education. After graduating and passing certification for highly qualified status, Mike was given a full-time high school social studies position, where he taught Modern World History, Honors World Backgrounds, Elective Psychology and Advanced Placement Psychology. In addition to his teaching duties, Mike was the head coach for the 7th/8th grade boys soccer team and the head coach for the varsity wrestling team. Mike received both his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.
Jenny supports district-level fieldwork in our engagements. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Jenny was a fifth grade special education teacher at a turnaround school in the Boston Public School District through the Teach For America program. Serving on a variety of school leadership teams, she developed initiatives for school improvement, trained colleagues on analysis of student achievement data, and planned professional development activities. Jenny received a B.A. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in urban studies and education policy and an Ed.M. from Boston University with a concentration in curriculum and teaching.
Valencia directly supports our field work in Providence, Rhode Island. Valencia recently completed her M.A. in Education Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from NYU Steinhardt. During her graduate studies, Valencia worked on projects which involved investigating curriculum reformation techniques and teacher professionalism in South Africa. She also worked as an academic mediator for the Liberty Partnerships Program- Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, facilitating two school sites in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to this, Valencia was a high school English teacher. She graduated magna cum laude from South Carolina State University with a B.A. in English Education.
Senior Program Manager
Hilary directly supports our work in Connecticut. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Hilary was the Senior Project Manager at BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), a nonprofit that partners with schools and districts to provide extended learning time for low income, academically challenged students. She went to BELL from the classroom, as she was a mid-career changer who sought firsthand experience as an elementary teacher. Prior to teaching, Hilary worked on the development and evaluation of education and youth workforce development initiatives for less advantaged youth with MDRC, Jobs for the Future, and the Commonwealth Corporation. Hilary holds a M.P.A. from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a M.A. of Education from Salem State University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Colgate University.
Ami serves as an Engagement Director, directly responsible for managing fieldwork with one of Mass Insight's engagements. Ami began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Baltimore, MD. After teaching elementary students for 4 years, Ami broadened her education reform efforts in Baltimore City by working for The New Teacher Project to manage the district’s alternative teaching program. She later joined the district leadership team serving as both the Special Assistant to the Chief Human Capital Officer and Manager of School-Based Recruitment and Staffing in 2010. Ami received her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in business administration and later received her M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University in Teaching.
Senior Vice President of Field Engagements
Chris Maher is the Vice President of Field Engagements for the School Turnaround Group at Mass Insight Education. In addition to experience as a nonprofit and school district executive, Chris has served as a principal, teacher and public school advocate. Prior to joining the STG, Chris was the Deputy Chief Academic Officer of Friendship Schools in Baltimore, Maryland. Chris has a M.P.A from New York University, and a Graduate Certificate in Supervision and Administration from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. He received his B.A. from the College of Wooster.
Emily managed district fieldwork with Providence Public School District to establish a Partnership Zone and launch a joint labor-management Lead Partner organization. She also supports key internal functions for the STG, and leads the Connecticut team. Prior to joining the STG, Emily was a research associate at New Visions for Public Schools, an exemplary provider of school support and turnaround services in New York City. Emily holds a M.P.A./P.N.P. from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a B.A. in Public Policy from Hamilton College.
Anu supports district-level fieldwork at Jefferson Parish Public Schools. Prior to joining STG, Anu was a tutor with Revolution Prep, a provider of SAT test prep and other academic services. She also served as a regional manager for Revolution Prep’s Ivy Program, managing the development of summer branches in Northern Virginia. In addition, she supported a coalition of local healthcare coalitions and foundations serving low-income populations in the Washington, DC area, with a particular focus on research around patient engagement in healthcare. Anu holds a BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University.
Melinda’s experience includes teaching fourth grade in Guatemala, K-8 ESL in South Korea, and working as a resource and inclusion specialist at Title I schools in both Texas and Massachusetts. Her work as an educator has exposed Melinda to a breadth of approaches for enhancing student achievement. In addition to her teaching background, Melinda has also supported a variety of mentoring programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters and has written curricula for WorldTeach. She received a B.A. in English from Grinnell College and an Ed.M. in Learning & Teaching from Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Alison supports communications, the college success community design team, and the State Development Network at Mass Insight Education. Prior to joining MIE, she worked as a preschool teacher in the Greater Boston area, at Rhode Island Kids Count, where she helped to develop their 2012 FactBook, and as a graduate research assistant to Dr. Kenneth Wong at Brown University. Alison received a B.A. in Human Development & Family Studies from UConn, and a Master's of Public Policy with a concentration on education policy at Brown University.
Sara supports district-level fieldwork in Cleveland and Syracuse. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Sara taught in Milwaukee, WI, first as a high school Spanish teacher with Teach For America and then as an elementary school Spanish and Title I English teacher. While teaching, she developed school-wide accountability systems, supported novice foreign language teachers, and designed a character education program. Sara received an AB in Comparative Literature with a certificate in Translation and Intercultural Communication from Princeton University and an MA in Education from Marquette University.
Stephen is staffed on the Evansville engagement. Prior to joining Mass Insight, he worked as a Field Organizer for Organizing For America in Aurora, CO during the 2012 Presidential Election. Before working on the campaign, he completed internships with the District of Columbia Public Schools, the U.S. Department of Education, and KIPP: DC. He holds a B.A. in Communication and Culture from Howard University.
Senior Field Consultant
Larry leads our State Development Network and supports strategic planning efforts in our Partnership Zone districts. Larry served as Strategy and Planning Officer for the Chicago Public Schools from 2003-2008 with responsibility for developing, managing and communicating the district improvement strategy. Since 2008 he has been an independent consultant helping clients in education and workforce development to develop and implement strategies for change. His clients included school districts, state departments of education, charter school networks, teachers unions, nonprofit organizations and foundations. From 2010 to 2012 Larry co-chaired the Illinois committee charged with developing new teacher and principal evaluation systems. He has also served as vice chancellor for administrative services of the City Colleges of Chicago. He began his career as a high school English teacher and tennis coach. Larry has a M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School, a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
Daniel currently supports the Great Lake engagements. As a founding member of one of the first Pilot schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Daniel has significant experience working to support low-income, minority, immigrant, and English Language Learner populations since opening the school as lead chemistry teacher in 2007. Since that time he has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Acting Administrative Designee, Categorical Programs Advisor, and Coordinator of various programs including principal evaluation, school accreditation, and online/linked learning. Daniel is currently completing a M.A. in Educational Administration from the California State University, Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. in Music and a B.S. in Chemical Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Senior Program Manager
Becca currently supports district-level work in Jefferson Parish Public Schools, and previously supported work with the Louisiana State Department of Education. Becca recently earned a Master’s in Education Policy from Brown University and also holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Vassar College. She stayed on at Vassar after graduating to manage a variety of community and academic support programs, and then most recently has worked at both local and state educational agencies. At the STG, Becca plays an integral role in shaping our collective bargaining function as well as supporting a variety of other research and materials development needs.
Andrea plays an integral role supporting district-level work in Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to joining the STG, Andrea taught bilingual 4th grade at some of the most under-performing schools in Austin, Texas--she received AISD’s Teacher of Promise award for an outstanding first year teacher, and ensured 100% of her students met or exceeded grade level expectations on state tests. After three years in the classroom, Andrea joined TNTP as the Training & Resource Manager for the Chicago Teaching Fellows program managing new teacher training and support in Chicago Public Schools . Most recently, Andrea worked with several TNTP programs across the country to improve recruitment strategies, coaching and new teacher effectiveness. Andrea received her BA from the University of Notre Dame.
Lilly serves as the Special Assistant to STG President Justin Cohen. Lilly manages Justin’s calendar and play a logistical role within MIE while also helping to broaden field operations by supporting the unique writing and research priorities. Most recently Lilly served as a Program Assistant at Education Pioneers, a national non-profit that identifies, trains, connects, and inspires leaders to transform the education sector. During her time at Education Pioneers, Lilly supported the Graduate School Fellowship and Analyst Fellowship workshops focusing on issues in education at the national and local levels. She has a B.A. in International Development and Social Change with a specialization in Education from Clark University.
Bob supports Mass Insight’s engagement with the Connecticut State Department of Education. Prior to joining Mass Insight, Bob was an Education Pioneers Fellow at the New York City Department of Education, where he managed school turnaround human resource data and developed programming to improve cross-divisional strategic planning and performance management. Bob has also managed a college savings research initiative called SEED for Oklahoma Kids, and advocated on Capitol Hill on behalf of students, teachers, and administrators for the Association for Career and Technical Education. Bob earned a B.S. from Washington University in St. Louis, an M.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management. While completing his M.B.A., Bob co-chaired the Yale SOM Education Leadership Conference.