ANNE JONES Co-Founder
Anne grew up on a farm in Nebraska before attending Dartmouth College. She pursued her love of science and education, which led to a formative five years as a middle school science teacher. After earning a Doctor of Education degree in Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Anne worked as a consultant for Harvard's Data Wise project where she helped schools around the country implement data-based improvement practices. From there, Anne became Chief Program Officer at Project Lead The Way, a national nonprofit and leading provider of STEM curriculum. She helped expand access to hands-on STEM curriculum and professional development to over 8,000 schools across the US.
DAN GONZALEZ Co-Founder
Dan studied engineering at Dartmouth College before becoming a high school physics teacher. After teaching for 2 years, Dan joined Manhattan Prep, a global leader in test preparation. He became president of the company in 2011 shortly after it was acquired by Kaplan. Over the next 4+ years, Dan led the company through its post-acquisition period, working with the broader team to find a successful balance between financial success, program quality, and company culture. After Manhattan Prep, Dan joined Kaplan Test Prep’s leadership team where he oversaw an operations division that worked to deliver education services at scale.
KAT JACKSON Director of Partnerships
A lifelong Tar Heel and graduate of UNC and NC State, Kat has dedicated her career to building community engagement programs in higher and secondary education and philanthropy. As Director of Engagement at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, Kat worked with local entrepreneurs and social impact organizations to design curricula modeling empowered leadership for the school’s all-female student population. Before Saint Mary’s, she developed alumni initiatives at the Morehead-Cain Foundation and the UNC Chapel Hill General Alumni Association, including three programs which have grown into successful, annual alumni events for the greater University. At District C, she is doing the work that she loves most: connecting coaches and students to business partnerships through real-work learning experiences.
Board of Directors
JESS EKSTROM Founder & CEO, Headbands of Hope
Jess is the founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, a company she started as a junior in college in 2012. For every headband sold, a headband is given to a child with cancer. The company has been featured on the TODAY Show, Vanity Fair, Seventeen, Good Morning America and more. But more importantly, they've donated over 200,000 headbands to every children's hospital in the United States and 15 countries. Jess is also a professional speaker, author, and writer for Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post.
REY FERNANDEZ Chief Programs Officer, Pursuit
A native of the Bronx, Rey Fernandez earned a computer science degree at Harvard and then promptly rejected any career path that involved computers or science in favor of the noble teaching profession. He's taught at several schools and non-profits since 1992, and in 2001 founded an educational program in Northern California. That experience encouraged him to pursue an MBA at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. After earning his MBA, Rey became Vice President and General Manager at Manhattan Prep, the nation's largest provider of GMAT test prep. Today, Rey is Chief Programs Officer at Pursuit, a New York-based nonprofit that teaches coding and professional skills to talented adults from low-income backgrounds.
DANYA PERRY Director of Equitable Economic Development, Wake County Economic Development & Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce
Danya is native to North Carolina, hailing from New Bern before earning a BA in Political Science and MA in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. Danya currently leads equity and inclusion efforts for Wake County Economic Development. In this role, Danya is charged with mobilizing the community and building partnerships to galvanize efforts to ensure opportunities for inclusive economic growth for all Wake County residents. Prior to this, Danya served as the Vice President of Youth Development for Communities In Schools of North Carolina.