New Cohort of Leaders Announced to Reinvent Approach to Talent in School Systems

February 15, 2017

Kirsten Searer
Senior Director of Communications
(702) 236-1498


New Cohort of Leaders Announced to Reinvent Approach to Talent in School Systems

National nonprofit Education Pioneers, in partnership with the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy, announces third cohort of program for emerging leaders in talent management

Oakland, Calif. — As the nation faces a growing challenge in recruiting and retaining excellent teachers, an innovative partnership is developing promising leaders in education to change the way schools recruit, connect, and advance talent such as teachers, principals, and central office administrators.

National nonprofits Education Pioneers and the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy announced today a third cohort of the Emerging Human Capital Leaders Initiative (EHCLI).

The 30 talented professionals chosen to participate in the selective program are rising leaders who aspire to oversee  human capital in school districts, charter management organizations, state education agencies, and other major organizations working in public education on behalf of our nation’s highest-need students. EHCLI provides participants with the skills, resources, and network to accelerate their work to ensure that every student has great teachers and principals, as well as the teams who support them.  

“Research tells us that school systems produce better outcomes for students when they shift from compliance-based human resources practices to strategic human capital management,” said Gianna Shepard Bruno, director of career advancement at Education Pioneers.

“EHCLI is designed to advance the careers of professionals who are poised to lead talent management for major school districts, charter management organizations, and state education agencies in the future,” she said. “These leaders can transform the way we leverage public education’s most valuable resource -- its people.”

“After just two years since the program’s inception, urban school districts and charter management organizations are already turning to EHCLI alumni when they need talented leaders in their organizations,” said Danielle Pickens, chief program officer for the Urban Schools Human Capital Academy.

“No other program creates a network of human capital leaders in education to discuss key trends and solve pressing challenges in such a deep and meaningful way,” Pickens said. “People are the most important factor in the success of all organizations -- as well as any strategy to improve schools, individually and at scale.”

EHCLI is a 10-month program designed to prepare leaders who are one or two roles away from holding top human capital positions in large school systems to take on the toughest human capital challenges in public education.

Participants learn from experts and from one another to collectively enhance their effectiveness in their current roles, and to strengthen the pipeline of talented leaders ready and interested in taking on human capital leadership roles in public school systems. The first two cohorts total 54 human capital professionals, who now benefit from access to the EP network of 3,500+ leaders and managers, as well as best practices shared by USHCA, providing them with sustained access to the knowledge and resources they will need to continue to advance as human capital executives.

One 2016 EHCLI participant said her experience gave her more information about district management and human resources to help her work with major urban school districts.

“Professionally, I was in a place where I knew I could benefit from additional networking opportunities that would help propel me forward in my career,” said Victoria Lautsch, director of selection and staffing for the UP Education Network, a nonprofit school management organization that oversees in-district school turnaround in Massachusetts.

“In my transition from director of recruitment to director of selection and staffing, I became more involved in working and partnering with our partner districts,” she said. “The learning I did with EHCLI helped me better understand the work our partners do at scale.”  

The 30 emerging human capital leaders who have been selected to begin the program in February 2017 are:

  • Alexandra Arroyo, Senior Director - Talent Development, YES Prep Public Schools

  • Alicia De La Rosa, Co-Vice President, Recruitment, Achievement First

  • Anne Williams, Senior Director, New York City Department of Education

  • Benjamin Crosby, Director, Teammate Effectiveness, Aspire Public Schools

  • Candice Frazier, Talent Manager, KIPP New Orleans Schools

  • Celeste Williams, Chief of Talent, Jersey City Public Schools

  • Darin Simmons, Deputy Chief, Employee Services, DC Public Schools

  • Elizabeth Bento, Director of Human Capital Strategy and School Support, Salem Public Schools

  • Elizabeth Bleier, Director of Talent Acquisition, KIPP St. Louis

  • Emily Ganyo, Human Capital and Human Resources Manager, Green Dot Public Schools Washington

  • Grace Pun, Manager, Administrative Staffing and Credentials, San Francisco Unified School District

  • Jason Kennedy, Director, Talent Acquisition, Wake County Public School System

  • Kathryn Clymer, Director, Talent Acquisition, Denver Public Schools

  • Lakesha DeJarnett, Director of Talent Improvement, Tennessee Department of Education

  • Laura Henderson, Senior Director of Talent, Summit Public Schools

  • Leslyn Jones-Petitt, Employment Services Manager, Seattle Public Schools

  • Lindsey Osborne, Talent Acquisition Manager, Shelby County Schools

  • Lisa Friscia, Vice President, Talent Development, Democracy Prep Public Schools

  • Logan Hall, Educator Evaluation Supervisor, Salt Lake City School District

  • Margaret Robinson-Li, Senior Director, Talent, Rocketship Education

  • Mary Claire Brown, Director of Talent Management, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools

  • Pamela Awbrey, Regional Director of Staffing, IDEA Public Schools

  • Paul Hughes, Director of Recruitment and Hiring, Noble Network of Charter Schools

  • Quiyana Hall, Director, HR and Labor Relations, OSSE

  • Randall Fowler, Director of Talent and Organization Management, KIPP Dallas - Fort Worth

  • Robert Kelsey, Manager of Strategic Staffing, Boston Public Schools

  • Sarah Cuff Koegler, Senior Managing Director of Human Assets, Teach for America

  • Sean McDonald, Director, Office of Talent Acquisition and Management, Fairfax County Public Schools

  • Taylor Brown, Director of Talent Strategy, Indianapolis Public Schools

  • Valerie Evans, Chief Talent Officer, Achievement Prep

For more information about Education Pioneers, the Emerging Human Capital Leaders Initiative, or to access names and photos of the emerging human capital leaders, click here.


About Education Pioneers

Since 2003, Education Pioneers has recruited our nation’s most extraordinary people to enter into education leadership and help transform our school systems. Education Pioneers has recruited and trained more than 3,500 leaders in partnership with more than 200 education organizations in 20 cities nationwide.

Of the organization’s alumni in the workforce, more than 70 percent serve in education and lead or contribute to work that impacts more than 3.5 million public school students – most of whom are students of color and come from underserved areas. Find out more about where Education Pioneers’ leaders work and their impact here (

More information about Education Pioneers can be found at


About The Urban Schools Human Capital Academy

The Urban Schools Human Capital Academy (USHCA) is a national nonprofit helping urban districts become great managers of teacher and principal talent. Established in 2011, USHCA offers a sustainable method for addressing the unique human capital needs of urban school districts by building the capacity of district staff to better recruit, deploy, and retain highly effective teachers and principals. USHCA currently works in over 16 districts across the U.S.

For more information, go to




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