• Lina Bankert (Treasurer)

    Partner, Bellwether Education Partners

    Lina Bankert is a Partner with Bellwether Education Partners in the Strategic Advising practice. Her clients have included districts, charter management organizations, research institutes, foundations, and education entrepreneurs. She works with organizations on a variety of strategic and operational issues including strategic planning, business plan development, growth and expansion strategy, human capital and organizational design, performance improvement and sustainability, and grant development and implementation. Prior to joining Bellwether, Lina was a Principal with Bain & Company, where she worked with executive teams across a broad range of industries and capabilities in both the private and public sectors, while building extensive pro bono/nonprofit advisory experience with focus on K-12 education. Prior to Bain, Lina spent several years as an investment banker, focusing mainly on mergers and acquisitions and equity placements in the Education and Knowledge Services sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Certificate in Finance from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  Lina lives in Chicago, IL.

  • Kerri Briggs, Ph.D (Chair)

    Education Program Officer, ExxonMobil

    Dr. Kerri Briggs is ExxonMobil’s Education Program Officer.  In this role, she manages the education grantmaking portfolio for the company and provides policy advice to the company on issues related to teacher quality, especially in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, the Common Core State Standards, and federal policy issues.  Formerly, Kerri was Director of Education Reform at the George W. Bush Institute, where she oversaw its education reform interests. Kerri also served as state superintendent of education for Washington, D.C.  She was a member of the team that won a federal Race to the Top grant for the city, and was instrumental in one of the nation’s most visible education reform efforts.  Kerri earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Stephen F. Austin State University.  She did her postgraduate work at the University of Southern California, where she earned a Master of Public Policy and, later, a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in policy and organizational studies.  Kerri is based in Irving, TX.

  • Michael Copland, Ph.D

    Deputy Superintendent, Bellingham Public Schools

    Dr. Michael Copland is deputy superintendent of the Bellingham Public Schools.  In this role, he manages the instructional program of the school system to ensure a high quality education for all Bellingham students.  In prior roles, Mike served as a lead senior program officer on the US Program team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  In this role, he managed a team of program officers supporting a portfolio of large, multi-year grants designed to support the improvement of teaching effectiveness in eleven urban school systems across the United States.  Mike previously served as associate professor and chair of the area of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Washington College of Education, and directed the Leadership for Learning Ed. D. program there.  Mike is a native of Bellingham, graduated from Bellingham High, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Master’s degree in School Administration, both from Western Washington University, and a Ph. D. from Stanford University.  Mike is based in Bellingham, WA.

  • Bethany Little

    Principal, EducationCounsel, LLC

    Bethany Little is a Principal at EducationCounsel, LLC.  Before joining EducationCounsel, she served as Managing Partner at America Achieves, where she led a number of the organization’s most critical priorities, including their support for state and local superintendents, the Global Learning Network and their parent engagement initiative.  Prior to America Achieves, Bethany served as Chief Education Counsel to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.  As the top staffer in the U.S. Senate responsible for education policy, Bethany led legislative efforts on early childhood programs, elementary and secondary education, higher education, and workforce training.  Bethany has a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.  Bethany is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Charmaine Mercer

    Senior Researcher, Learning Policy Institute

    Charmaine co-leads LPI’s Policy and Deeper Learning teams. Previously, Mercer worked at the Alliance for Excellent Education as the Vice President for policy and advocacy in standards, assessments, and deeper learning and as the Director of policy and research for Communities for Teaching Excellence.

    Mercer also served in the federal government, including as the special assistant to the assistant secretary of the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Education and as an analyst for the Congressional Research Service. She was a legislative staffer on the House Committee on Appropriations, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee and on the House Committee on Education and Labor’s k–12 education team.

    Mercer received a Ph.D. in Political Science and Education Policy and an M.A. in American Government from Claremont Graduate University in California and a B.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University.

  • Talia Milgrom-Elcott

    Executive Director and Co-Founder, 100kin10

    Talia Milgrom-Elcott is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of 100Kin10, a networked approach to strategically addressing the nation’s shortage of STEM teachers and improving STEM learning for all students by activating more than 100 organizations, including corporations, foundations, non-profits, school districts, and others, to train and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers over ten years.  Through 2013, Talia was a Program Officer in Urban Education and the Senior Manager of STEM Teacher Initiatives at Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Talia also worked at the New York City Department of Education as part of Chancellor Joel Klein’s team, where she supported and helped to implement system-wide reform efforts, including the creation of over 300 Empowerment Schools and the redesign of student support services.  Talia received her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she was also Phi Beta Kappa.  She returned to Harvard for her JD, which she also received magna cum laude. Talia lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Scott Palmer (Secretary)

    Managing Partner and Co-Founder, EducationCounsel, LLC

    Scott Palmer is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of EducationCounsel, LLC, an affiliate of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.   EducationCounsel is an education consulting firm that helps leading states, school districts, higher education institutions, foundations, and education associations understand how to structure their policies in ways that best drive improved student achievement while leveraging federal requirements to ensure maximum flexibility and support.  He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education and Attorney and Policy Advisor in the Clinton White House where he worked on the President’s Race Initiative on education and civil rights issues.  He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from the University of Maryland.  Scott is based in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Laura Weeldreyer

    Chief Program Officer, Talent Development Secondary, John Hopkins University School of Education

    Laura has a 20 year career in public education. She is currently working on a variety of State and District level projects and with a cohort of Turnaround schools in Virginia. 

    She has worked on several education reform projects related to Race to the Top, School Improvement Grants, and Promise Neighborhoods. She spent a year in Hawaii, embedded in the State Department of Education, leading the design and development work on Educator Evaluation, as part of the HIDOE RTTT plan. Her projects have been focused on complex, systemic reform work in school systems, state departments of education, and non-profit organizations.

    Previously Laura worked in the central office of the Baltimore City Public School System for eleven years, most recently as the Deputy Chief of Staff. She was the lead staff on the district’s stimulus planning, including the Human Capital strategy development, and the redesign of central office, which involved a move to a weighted student funding formula and the creation of school support networks, as well as new accountability measures. Laura was the principal architect of the district’s initiatives to create new public schools, leading the Office of New and Charter Schools, facilitating and supporting the opening of more than 20 new public schools. Additionally, she was a regional superintendent for 32 schools that spanned pre-k through 12thgrade.

    Laura taught elementary and middle school in New Orleans and Baltimore. She was a community organizer on school reform issues for a citywide non-profit, and a policy advocate at a statewide non-profit organization. She went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her BA and she holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. Laura is also the author of several books for children.