MEET THE LEADERSHIP TEAM

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Lynne Munson

LYNNE MUNSON

CEO & Founder
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John White, Chief Success Officer-1

JOHN WHITE

Chief Success Officer
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Julie Huston

JULIE HUSTON

Chief Revenue Officer
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Rodney Whitmore

RODNEY WHITMORE

Chief Human Resources Officer
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Andrea Persily

ANDREA PERSILY

Chief Financial Officer
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Jill Diniz

JILL DINIZ

Chief Academic Officer - Math
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Rachel Stack

RACHEL STACK

Chief Academic Officer - Humanities
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Pam Goodner

PAM GOODNER

Chief Academic Officer - Science
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Richesh Ruchir

RICHESH RUCHIR

Chief Technology Officer
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Sydney Norton

SYDNEY NORTON

Chief Marketing Officer
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Sean Mulcahy

SEAN MULCAHY

General Counsel
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David Blair

DAVID BLAIR

Chief Business Operations Officer
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Chad Colby

CHAD COLBY

Senior Director – Communications

LYNNE MUNSON

CEO & Founder

Lynne has served as CEO, president, and executive director since its founding in 2007. In nine years Lynne has made Great Minds an influential advocate for the liberal arts and sciences and a noted provider of CCSS-based curriculum tools. Research at Great Minds has launched widespread public discussions over the narrowing of the curriculum.

Lynne was deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from 2001–2005, overseeing all agency operations. NEH is an independent agency of the federal government that funds scholarly and public projects in the humanities. Lynne was the architect of “Picturing America,” the most successful public humanities project in NEH history. The project put more than 75,000 sets of fine art images and teaching guides into libraries, K-12 classrooms, and Head Start centers. In 2005 Lynne led the first post-conflict United States government delegation to Afghanistan to deal with issues of cultural reconstruction. In 2004, she represented the United States at UNESCO meetings in Australia and Japan, where she helped to negotiate guidelines for cross-border higher education.

From 1993–2001 Lynne was a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute where she wrote Exhibitionism: Art in an Era of Intolerance (Ivan R. Dee, 2000), a book examining the evolution of art institutions and art education. Lynne served as a research assistant to NEH Chairman Lynne Cheney from 1990-1993. Lynne has written on contemporary cultural and educational issues for numerous national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Inside Higher Education, and NRO.com’s The Corner. She has appeared on CNN, FoxNews, CNBC, C-SPAN, and NPR and speaks to scholarly and public audiences. She serves on the advisory board for the Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform. Her degree in art history is from Northwestern University.

JOHN WHITE

Chief Success Officer

White served as Louisiana State Superintendent of Education from January 2012 to March 2020. In that role, he developed nationally recognized efforts to unify the state’s fragmented early childhood system, to modernize curriculum, to professionalize the preparation of educations, and to provide pathways to prosperity for all high school graduates.

Today Louisiana is a better educated state than at any point in the state’s history. Louisiana’s class of 2018 included 5,000 more graduates than did the class of 2012. Five thousand more students in that class earned the state’s TOPS college scholarship, and 5,000 more enrolled in college after graduating high school. In that time, the number of Louisiana students earning Advanced Placement early college credits increased by 167 percent, and Louisiana now ranks number one in the nation in the percentage of high school seniors completing an application for higher education financial aid.

In 2019, Louisiana students ranked first in the nation for improvement in 8th grade mathematics on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Over the decade spanning John’s tenure, Louisiana ranked in the top 10 states for improvement on every one of the four main NAEP tests.

Prior to being named State Superintendent, John served as Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District, leading the reformation of public schools in New Orleans in the years after Hurricane Katrina. He previously served under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein as Deputy Chancellor for the New York City Department of Education and served as Executive Director of Teach For America – Chicago and Teach For America – New Jersey. He began his career as an English teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.

John currently serves as managing principal for Watershed Advisors, a new venture building the capacity of governments to implement transformative ideas at a scale, and as a fellow at the Walton Family Foundation. He is co-founder and chairman of Propel America, a non-profit start-up connecting recent high school graduates with good first jobs. John is a a senior advisor to the global consultancy Alvarez and Marsal, and chairman of the advisory board for Navigate360. He holds faculty appointments to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the University of Virginia’s School of Education and Human Development. John earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University.

JULIE HUSTON

Chief Revenue Officer

Julie leads a dynamic sales team that is fulfilling the growing demand from districts nationwide for Eureka Math® and Wit & Wisdom®. With more than 15 years of experience serving K-12 educators, Julie will ensure schools have the materials, professional development resources and support they need to be successful. Prior to joining Great Minds®, Julie was Head of Sales for Motion Math. She also led the sales team at Archipelago Learning (now Edmentum) for more than 10 years and was instrumental in rolling out Study Island, Archipelago’s core product line, to more than 22,000 schools across the U.S. and Canada. Julie’s deep knowledge and understanding of schools and districts provides important expertise as the organization continues to grow. She received an English degree from the University of Michigan.

RODNEY WHITMORE

Chief Human Resources Officer

Rodney brings extensive experience in leading human resources departments across multiple industries. Before joining the team in 2020, he served as Chief Human Resources Officer for the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) where he developed and executed the human capital strategy for the largest physician practice in the Metropolitan Washington DC area. During his tenure with the MFA, Rodney spearheaded the organization’s culture transformation initiative which is embedded in its patient-centered values framework. Prior to his tenure with the MFA, Rodney served in senior leadership roles at The Economist Group, Cardinal Health and PepsiCo. Rodney is an adjunct professor in the School of Professional and Extended Studies at American University, he is a member of the Career Readiness Advisory Board for K12 Inc., and he is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. 

ANDREA PERSILY

Chief Financial Officer

Andrea comes to us from FLG Partners, a financial consulting and advisory practice of experienced CFOs based out of San Francisco. She has more than 15 years of senior management experience as a CFO. In her roles working for a media company and a Fintech company in the health and wellness space, Andrea has had finance, accounting, IT, operations, and customer service teams report to her. She has a strong focus in strategy and finance as well as significant transactional experience.

Andrea resides in the Bay Area with her family. She earned an AB in economics from Cornell University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

JILL DINIZ

Chief Academic Officer - Math

Jill directs the continued development of Great Minds’ Eureka Math® curriculum and all its supporting products and services. From live professional development to digital resources, Jill leads teacher-writers and other professionals as they work to support implementation and extend the curricular offerings. Before joining Great Minds in 2012, Jill spent 10 years teaching in grades 6-12 and in junior college, in fields such as mathematics, AP statistics, and AP computer science. Jill spent time as Mathematics Department Chair and as a high school math teacher at Saint Edward’s School in Vero Beach, FL. Jill has also spent time developing software applications for the NASA Space Shuttle program. She earned her B.S. and her M.S. in Mathematics from West Texas A&M University.

RACHEL STACK

Chief Academic Officer - Humanities

Rachel oversees all aspects of the Great Minds Humanities curriculum and professional development. She leads a team of teacher–writers who craft coherent, knowledge-rich content. Rachel joined Great Minds in 2015 after serving as vice president, Literacy Content and Instruction, for Scholastic Education. She has more than decade of experience as a teacher. Rachel began her career teaching third and eighth grade in New York City. She then taught high school world and American literature in Pittsburgh. Rachel received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Vassar College as well as a master’s degree in secondary education from Hunter College, City University of New York.

PAM GOODNER

Chief Academic Officer - Science

Pam leads a team of teacher-writers in developing PhD Science®, Great Minds’ latest curriculum offering. She joined Great Minds in 2012 as a writer for Eureka Math® after spending 25 years in the classroom. Pam taught math and science in grades 6—12, serving as the Mathematics Department Chair and receiving the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics for the state of Louisiana in 2009. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and taught online college calculus for the University of California Irvine and the Louisiana Virtual School. Pam is a Chemical Engineer and spent 5 years working in the chemical industry, leading safety, health, environmental, and quality teams. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University and an M.A.T. in math and chemistry from Rice University. 

RICHESH RUCHIR

Chief Technology Officer

Richesh is leading Great Minds’ efforts to make our exemplary curricula and resources widely accessible to teachers and students across digital platforms. He brings to Great Minds nearly two decades of leadership in technology with 13 of those years devoted specifically to technology within the education industry. Richesh was most recently at Weld North where he led Strategic Technology Initiatives, and was Head of Technology at Generation Ready, a Weld North company. Prior to that, as a Senior Architect at Blackboard, he was responsible for the company’s largest K-12 implementation. And, during his tenure at Kaplan, Richesh led a team developing an adaptive learning platform used for the K-12 market and later to power SAT On-Demand. Richesh started his career at AT&T as a Software Engineer. Later he transitioned to the world of management consulting working for Accenture. Richesh graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from University of Maryland at College Park.

SYDNEY NORTON

Chief Marketing Officer

Sydney comes to us from The Martin Agency where she accumulated 25 years of diverse marketing experience across brand strategy, direct marketing, public relations, social, digital, and print/broadcast advertising. She is a champion of unified ideas and holistic thinking and did so for a wide range of B2B and B2C clients. She has led campaigns for some of America’s greatest brands, including Hanes, UPS, Discover Financial Services and Walmart. Prior to The Martin Agency, Sydney spent four years as director of marketing for a professional nonprofit theater. She is a Midwesterner originally and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

SEAN MULCAHY

General Counsel

Sean is responsible for all Great Minds’ legal affairs. Sean joined the company in September 2019 as Great Minds’ first General Counsel. He has more than 20 years of legal experience and expertise in business and education. Before joining Great Minds, Sean served as VP, Assistant General Counsel at Laureate Education, Inc. Previously, he was Assistant General Counsel at Arbitron Inc. and an attorney with WilmerHale and Morrison & Foerster. Sean earned his B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and his Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore. 

DAVID BLAIR

Chief Business Operations Officer

David leads initiatives aimed at achieving operational excellence across the enterprise. He guides the work of Vendor, Fulfillment and Inventory Management, Sales Operations, and Production Services teams to ensure our school, district and educator partners’ implementation experience with Great Minds’ curricula is successful. He has more than 20 years of experience leading operations, sales, and marketing teams. Most recently, he was Vice President, Professional Services at Basys, Inc. He spent many years in the education sector which included senior management roles at Johns Hopkins Center for Technology in Education, Educate Online, Prometric and Meteor Learning. He holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia.

CHAD COLBY

Senior Director – Communications

Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, DC, Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.