Michael Rothman, Executive Director & Senior School Developer |

Michael Rothman has been working with public schools since 1998, holding various roles in the Massachusetts Department of Education, the New York City Department of Education, and various nonprofit organizations. Over the years, his key areas of interest have been in pushing education reform by empowering educators and working with educators who serve the hardest to reach adolescents in urban public high schools. From 2000 to 2006, Michael served as the Executive Director of the Project for School Innovation, a nonprofit organization he helped found in Boston, Massachusetts, whose mission was to serve as a grassroots network for public school educators to share their success and drive school change. As the director of PSI, he presented at various national conferences including those of the National Staff Development Council, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the US Department of Education Charter Schools Office. After leaving PSI to join the Empowerment Schools effort in New York, Michael went on to found Eskolta School Research and Design, Inc., where he currently serves as Executive Director. Michael has edited 15 books on effective practices in public education and produced 8 videos on effective schools. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University, a M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School, and served as a Jane Addams Fellow at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. Michael currently serves as the chair of the Rutgers Early College Humanities Program (REaCH) advisory committee.

Jessica Furer, Associate Director & Senior School Developer |

Jessica Furer has worked in the field of education for the past 11 years. She began her career as a high school social studies teacher at private schools in Philadelphia and New York City. Since then, she has held positions at the New York Community Trust and the New York City Department of Education. Most recently, Jessica worked as a Senior Program Officer for Transfer Schools at New Visions for Public Schools. While at New Visions, she provided guidance and support to teams of educators to create and launch six transfer schools and co-led the implementation of a data management system at 12 transfer schools. Jessica holds a B.A. in History from Yale University and a M.P.A. from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.

Aaron Boyle, Senior School Developer |

Aaron Boyle has worked in NYC transfer schools for the past decade.  He was part of the founding team which opened Bushwick Community High School out of the former Outreach Center system and worked there for nine years in the roles of science teacher, data specialist, and lead teacher.  Most recently, Aaron worked as a consultant to multiple schools in the design and implementation of innovative initiatives as well as in research and analysis to inform school, network, and district-level planning.  Prior to working in NYC schools, he was a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching science and organizing HIV/AIDS programs for two years in Kenya.  Aaron holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan, a M.A. in Science Education from Teachers College, and a M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the SAM Leadership Program at the Baruch School of Public Affairs.

Alicia Wolcott, Senior School Developer |

Alicia Wolcott has worked in the field of education for over 7 years. Her background is in literacy and English Language Learning: she taught English in Hungary and in Rwanda, where she also facilitated teacher-trainings and co-directed a small non-profit providing creative-writing workshops for Rwandan youth. In addition, Alicia has worked with New York City transfer schools in the former Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation at the Department of Education. Before joining Eskolta in 2011, she developed and published a case study for UNICEF in India, and performed a qualitative assessment for the United Nations Country Team in Ghana. Alicia earned her B.A. from Brown University in Theatre Arts and Architectural Studies. She also holds an M.P.A. from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service in International Policy and Management.

Amanda Crowell, PhD, Research Analyst |

Amanda has significant experience executing both quantitative and qualitative research in public schools. She has published extensively on metacognitive and argumentative skill development in adolescents.  Her dissertation, an assessment of a 3-year argument skill development curriculum used with middle school students, focused on providing opportunities to inner-city students to engage in argument around issues of social importance. Amanda has served as research and teaching faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, Montclair State University, and Brooklyn College as well as worked with Lexia Learning Systems, an educational software developer. As Senior Researcher at Eskolta, Amanda leads various quantitative, qualitative, mixed method and action research projects and supports the development of Eskolta’s expertise in education research.  She holds a B.A. from the University of Dayton, an M.A. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College and an M.Phil and Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies in Education from Columbia University Teachers College.In her spare time Amanda likes to travel, read historic novels and paint.

Emily Kleinman, Project Associate |

Emily has worked in and studied education for the past seven years.  She began her career as a high school History teacher in a progressive independent school in Washington D.C. After four years of teaching and coaching, Emily earned an M.A. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, but then returned to serve as the History Department Chair for two additional years.  While in that role, she focused on two of her primary educational interests: curriculum design and instructional coaching. Emily earned her B.A. in History from Columbia University in 2006. 

P.J. Podesta, Project Associate |

P.J. Podesta, a former teacher, is supporting Eskolta's work developing materials through the Academic Behaviors Pilot with the New York City Department of Education, and is supporting organization of the 2014 Transfer School Conference.

Savanna Honerkamp-Smith, Communications Associate |

Savanna has experience developing curricula and teaching K-12 students in rural and urban communities in Honduras. As a Peace Corps Volunteer there, she worked in protected areas management and environmental education. Her professional interests are in education, project management, and program evaluation, both in the U.S. and Latin America. Savanna earned her B.A. in International Studies and Spanish at the University of Oregon. In 2013, she graduated with an M.P.A. in Development Practice from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She has spent five years studying and working in Central America.

Mike Davis, Office Manager |

Mike joined the Eskolta team in 2011.  He provides administrative support to the Eskolta staff.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Management and also a graduate of University of Kentucky College of Law.  While in Kentucky he worked in the UK Legal Clinic providing legal services to needy families.

Damian Bendersky, Data Designer |

Damian has extensive experience in the web development field.  His goals are to make complex data very simple and easy to use, and to create intuitive tools that offer more efficient and simpler ways of doing things.  He has interests in education and interactive data visualization.  Originally from Cordoba, Argentina; Damian earned his Bachelor's Degree in Web Design from Tennessee Technological University in 2008.  He has worked as an interactive developer for various education-related organizations.

Mary Balash, Project Intern |

Mary Balash is a 2nd year Masters student at New York University. She is studying Sociology of Education, with a concentration in education policy. Her research at NYU involves working on a resolution agreement between the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and White Plains, N.Y., Public Schools. Mary has worked with youth in various settings, including SES tutoring, mentoring at-risk youth in gangs, and coaching youth sports. She will be helping Eskolta with projects in several schools. 

Kathy Deng, Research Intern |

Kathy joined Eskolta in October, 2013 as the Research Intern.  Her primary research interests involve organizational effectiveness and work motivation, which developed through previous work experiences in corporate partnerships, psychiatric and substance abuse treatment, and leadership coaching.  Her background also includes research in the fields of environmental engineering, clinical psychology, and work psychology.  Kathy holds a B.A. in Cognitive Sciences from Rice University and is currently working towards her master's degree at New York University.

Leslie Horwitz, Newsletter Intern

Leslie is an undergraduate student who will be graduating with a B.A. in Public Policy from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in 2014.

Monete Johnson, Project Intern |

Monete Johnson is a 2nd year Masters of Public Policy student with a concentration in community development and research methods at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. She will graduate from Rutgers May 2014. She graduated Trinity College (CT) in 2011 with a bachelors in Sociology and Economics. After graduation Monete served as a Leadership Fellow at SquashBusters, a youth development program sports-based program in her hometown of Boston, MA. Her time as a fellow motivated her to pursue an education in community development.

Simon Sandh, Office Intern |

Simon is an undergraduate student who will be graduating from Hunter College in 2014.

Alisa Algava, Project Consultant |

Alisa Algava, a former elementary school principal and doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, is conducting research to develop case studies and policy briefs for Eskolta's work with the NYC Department of Education.

Sharon Grunfeld, Project Consultant

Sharon Grunfeld, a former special education coordinator, is providing coaching on special education and literacy at Brooklyn Frontiers High School, a transfer school serving students entering ninth grade years behind.

Thomas McKenna, Project Consultant

Thomas McKenna, a former transfer school principal, is providing coaching to Mott Haven Community High School, a transfer school in the Bronx, and to Newark Public Schools on the formation of new options for off-track youth.

Dov Rokeach, Project Consultant

Dov Rokeach, a former district superintendent and special education teacher, is providing data analysis and interpretation to assist various New York City schools in understanding the impact of accountability.

Jean Thomases, Project Consultant

Jean Thomases, who formerly served as Associate Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services and currently acts as a consultant on community and youth development, is providing support on Eskolta's project with Newark Public Schools as they seek to form new options for off-track youth.