DAVID AYALA, Senior Director of Program
David found incredible purpose and joy teaching middle school English and being part of the journey for so many wonderful scholars. After twelve years in school leadership, he misses seeing students on a daily basis but gets new energy from supporting fabulous leaders in our partner schools. As a Senior Director of Program, David designs and manages the School Leader Collective in Kansas City, drives our instructional leadership work, leads school projects, and coaches. When he is not working with school leaders or spending time with his family, you will find him at the gym or engaged in a new book.
ERICA BEAL, Senior Director of Program
Erica began her career in education after volunteer tutoring in DC schools while a student at Georgetown University. After seeing first hand the ramifications of centuries of systematic oppression and racialized neglect within the school system, Erica joined TFA NYC. Now, as a mom, Erica remains committed to educational equity because her moral compass tells her to do everything in her power to create the schools that she wants for her own kids. If it’s not good enough for them, it’s not good enough for anyone. As a Senior Director of Program, Erica designs leader programs, leads training and coaches. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, Netflix, playing with her three toddlers, laughing with my inspiring husband and alternating between beach vacations and exploring new cultures each year. She’s inspired by Rachel Cargle’s ability to protect her own peace while speaking her bold and vulnerable truth, a feat for black women everyday and especially now.
AMANDA KRAMER BORDEN, Co-founder, Executive Director
Amanda co-founded School Leader Lab in 2016 with the brilliant Tatiana Epanchin to meet a need for robust and research-based instructional leader development in her hometown of Washington, DC. Her path to this work includes being raised as a third generation Washingtonian, a turn through the corporate finance and strategy worlds in New York, back to DC schools and the chance to bring her project management and operations skills to the sector she’s most passionate about as she works towards a socially just future for our country. Outside of SLL (and a health pandemic), Amanda is constantly searching out new experiences (places, foods, people and hikes), doing her best to raise two little humans to let their lives speak and sharing laughs with her husband. She is inspired by Michelle Obama’s optimism and brilliant sense of humor (check out her podcasts!).
MELISSA MARTIN, Senior Director of Program
Melissa knew from a young age that education was where she wanted to focus her life’s work and is honored and humbled to support incredible school leaders. She finds joy in helping each leader lean into their unique superpower so that they are to create school communities where students feel seen, heard, and are challenged to live their brilliance. Melissa has called DC home for over forty years. At School Leader Lab Melissa designs and leads our coaching model and the Dual Language Practice Exchange. In her spare time, you can find Melissa hiking or camping with her family, watching home improvement shows, and laughing about the wins (and fails!) as she tries to parent her preschooler. Melissa is inspired by the leaders she coaches. As Maya Angelou says, “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Each and every one of the leaders she’s gotten to know has been a rainbow - inspiring her to be brave, do what is right, and to give herself permission to be who she is and the grace to know she is enough.
STEPHEN JACKSON, Operations Associate
Stephen joined the amazing School Leader Lab in the fall of 2019, after discovering his passion for education during his time with Teach For America both as an intern in college and corps member teaching middle school math in Boston. At SLL, Stephen supports our team with data, operations, logistics, and recruitment for all of our programs, as well as external communications. When not working, you can find him somewhere in D.C. trying a new restaurant, biking, or watching a bad action movie. He is inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s incredible storytelling and dedication to researching and sharing the history of our Black ancestors.
MIRI WEXLER, Chief of Program
Miri joined School Leader Lab in 2019 to lead the organization’s program design and execution. After many years teaching children, Miri realized that she was most fired up teaching adults. She has taught, coached and led cohorts of adults ranging from teacher leaders to principal managers. Miri brings a love of building community and an integrated stance to instructional leadership development. She leads program design and the development of our team, as well as working directly with leaders as a coach. When she is not spending time with the SLL team, she is relaxing in the “blue house” (as her kids refer to it) with her family. Miri is inspired by Ella Baker’s timely definition of leadership.
BUTCH TRUSTY, Board Chair
Butch Trusty is a manager with Bridgespan. Since joining the organization in 2008, Butch has led client engagements with a range of nonprofit clients and foundations. Past clients have included a local funder collaborative making investments in talent pipelines for an urban school district, a national African American mentoring program, a startup national education reform advocacy organization, a national teacher development organization exploring the launch of a new competency-based teacher preparation graduate program, and an urban school district serving disconnected youth. Recently, Butch was the Managing Partner at Education Cities, where he oversaw all of the activities to accelerate the impact of the network’s members, including providing strategic advising services to local leaders and developing a human capital investment community of Practice. Butch also previously served as the Education Program Director at The Joyce Foundation, investing $10 million per year to improve the quality of teachers and charter schools in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and nationally. Prior to Bridgespan, Butch held positions at the Alliance for Excellent Education, as an Education Pioneers Fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and at Edison Schools. Butch is a founding board member and Vice Chair of Great Lakes Academy Charter School, the Vice Chair and Treasurer of Equality Illinois and an overseer at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Butch holds MBA and MPP degrees from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.
David is a Los Angeles native and current DC resident. He founded Foreston Trends in 1983, and over a thirty-year period built the company into one of the largest home textile suppliers in the U.S. selling to every big-box retailer including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's.
David was responsible for every facet of Foreston Trends including finance, marketing, sales, design and HR for over 300 employees. David sold the company in 2014 to be able to spend more time with his son who had just been born. For the past 12 years, David has served as co-chair of the board of PATH (People Assisting The Homeless), California's largest provider of permanent housing and services to the homeless. During his tenure PATH has grown from an organization with a $3 million operating budget to a budget of $80 million today. David also serves on the board of The Ritz Carlton Residences in Washington DC. He's passionate about high-quality public education for all students.
As Chief Executive Officer and President of the Bainum Family Foundtion, Jacquelyn Davis leads the Foundation’s philanthropic investments in programs and services that align with its mission, while increasing internal organizational effectiveness in the areas of strategic planning, finance and administration. Prior to joining Bainum, Jacquelyn co-founded Education Forward DC, a grant-making nonprofit focused on fostering a city of equitable and high-quality schools, and currently serves as Partner overseeing the Human Capital investment portfolio. She has worked with entrepreneurs and national philanthropies on strategy, new initiative design, growth and start-up, and management. Jacquelyn has worked as a subject expert in the areas of human capital, school turnaround, charter management, and state and city education redesign. Previously, Jacquelyn served as an Education Fellow to the George W. Bush Institute and launched New Leaders DC, a national nonprofit that attracts, prepares, and supports outstanding school leaders. She co-founded Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School and Hands on DC. Prior to her work in education, she served as a Congressional Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, Legislative Assistant, and a Congressional campaign manager. Jacquelyn earned a J.D. with honors from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Brown University. She has been named a “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian Magazine.
TATIANA EPANCHIN, Co-founder
Tatiana is the co-founder of Catalyst Public Schools in Bremerton, WA. Before starting School Leader Lab, Tatiana was Senior Vice President of Regional Operations at Teach for America where she supported eight regions across the country. She moved to TFA after leading eleven schools in the Bay Area as Regional Superintendent of Aspire Public Schools. Tatiana started as a lead teacher for Aspire and grew to be founding principal of ERES Academy and principal of Monarch Academy, both in East Oakland. Under Tatiana’s leadership, Monarch was recognized with a National Title I award for the most progress in closing the achievement gap in California. Tatiana practiced social work with Families First as an intensive family preservation therapist and started her career as a TFA Corps member in New Orleans. She is a co-founder of Catalyst Public Schools in Bremerton, WA. Tatiana has a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, an MSW from California State University, Sacramento and an MEd in Educational Leadership from California State University, East Bay in partnership with New Leaders for New Schools. Tatiana was selected to be a Leverage Leadership Institute Fellow with Relay GSE in 2016-17 and was a Leading for Equity Fellow with the National Equity Project.
Maya is the principal of DC International Middle School and an alumna of School Leader Cohort 2017.
Joaquin is currently the Senior Policy Advisor at Education Counsel. He previously served as the National Director of the Kind Schools Project at Stand for Children. He is a native of Los Angeles and his mother is a veteran middle school teacher in LAUSD. He started his career in education as a high school teacher, was in the fourth class of New Leaders principals, and then served as the founding principal of the Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law high school in New York. He then served as Assistant Director of the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program and subsequently went to work for the Obama Administration, where he served on the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force and, ultimately, as Director of Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education. It was in this role that he led a school climate initiative which, combined with his many other experiences, make Joaquin the ideal person to help Stand launch an initiative to improve school climates and reduce suspensions. Joaquin graduated from Columbia University and has a Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University.
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