Furman Brown, MS Special Education, CEO and Lead Designer
A specialist in whole-school design thinking and transformational scheduling, Furman is often described as an organizational puzzle builder. He helps public schools (district and charter) find uncommon yet practical solutions for organizing their talent, time, technology and space. He began his career in education as a member of the first group of Teach For America over 25 years ago.
In 2004, he won a prestigious Echoing Green Prize for his concepts on school innovation. The global competition helped him to found the nonprofit organization, Generation Schools and demonstrate that schools can innovate within their existing contracts and context. Since 2012, he has focused on supporting existing schools nationwide as they develop sustainable whole-school solutions that make sense for their community.
Karen Derrick-Davis, MS Social Work, Professional Learning Director
With over three decades of experience, Karen's work has spanned the non-profit sector, from social entrepreneur to employee, from development and fundraising to face-to-face service delivery. Karen also brings 15 years of experience home-educating her children, which she refers to as "extreme personalized learning." As part of that home education journey, she co-founded a homeschool education cooperative which continues today, fifteen years later.
Throughout her children's primary and secondary education years, her family engaged with the local school districts in a variety of ways, participating in homeschool support programming, part-time schooling, on-line schooling, and full-time brick-and-mortar schooling.
OddBird, Software Development Team
Ben Kutylo, Executive Director, ForwARd Arkansas
(Co-Founder & Former President, Fremont Street Fund)
Ben spent 10 years working for private sector technology companies before making an intentional transition into education. Since then he has worked for venture philanthropies, consultancies and edtech companies focused on improving K-12 education. In 2017, Ben launched Fremont Street, a national nonprofit philanthropy focused on catalyzing ground-up, educator-led innovation in public schools across the country. In 2020, Ben joined ForwARd Arkansas, a public-private partnership established in 2014 by the Arkansas State Board of Education, the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to increase equity and achieve increases in student achievement and economic prosperity for Arkansas.
Scott Frauenheim, CEO, Distinctive Schools
Scott Frauenheim has dedicated his career to building positive learning environments for students and educators, and is a recognized leader of transformational work in charter schools.
Dr. Megan-Brette Hamilton, Assistant Professor, Auburn University
Dr. Megan-Brette Hamilton is an assistant professor of Communication Disorders at Auburn University and an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist. Her groundbreaking research addresses the challenges faced, particularly for students and families, when teachers work with communities who speak a dialect of English that is different than their own. Her blog Honeybee Connection supports teachers, families, speech experts, policy makers and students throughout the country. She brings decades of experience working with students of all ages and teachers in New York City, Chicago, and other districts.
Gretchen Morgan, Education Consultant
Gretchen Morgan has spent the past 20 years as an innovative educator; as an elementary teacher, middle and high school principal, K-12 program developer for Expeditionary Learning, and now Executive Director of Choice and Innovation for the Colorado Department of Education. Her best job, however, is being a mom to two wonderful kids who fill her up with imaginary friends, lacrosse, stories, bikes, ideas for businesses, and THE best hugs.
Sheree Speakman, Founder & CEO, CIE Learning
Sheree Speakman, founder and CEO of CIE Learning, a company focused on developing new learning pathways for neighborhoods and communities. Speakman is dedicated to working on public and private education projects that support the common goals of social justice and deeper learning.
Becky Thoennes, Operations & Logistics Specialist
Becky has worked in the business and non-profit sectors, focusing on compliance, finance, logistics, managing client relationships and more. Becky is one of those remarkable people who has sustained friendships from every stage of her life. It is because she works hard to build and then maintain relationships.