MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

GREAT MINDS PBC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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NELL MCANELLY

NELL MCANELLY

Chairman
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LYNNE MUNSON

LYNNE MUNSON

CEO & Founder
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SERENA MCCALLA, Ph.D.

SERENA MCCALLA, Ph.D.

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Christopher Sprigman

CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN

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Maria Neira

MARIA NEIRA

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Tom Kuo

TOM KUO

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Marc Sternberg

MARC STERNBERG

NELL MCANELLY

Chairman

Co-Director Emeritus of the Gordon A. Cain Center for STEM Literacy at Louisiana State University

Nell McAnelly has taught mathematics at the high school and university level for more than thirty years. As an active member of the educational community, Nell has been a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences, is an author of the “Pre-service Point of View” in the Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics Journal, and has been recognized with numerous teaching awards, including the BP Amoco for Outstanding Teaching and the George H. Deer Distinguished Teaching Award. Her achievements include a central role in establishing the Elementary Math Specialist certification and Instructional Coaching Leadership Endorsement in Louisiana and developing the Pilot Professional Development Program funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Nell’s professional role also includes serving as a director of high-profile, complex projects, requiring expertise in the design and implementation of standards-based professional development and curriculum instruction for K-12 teachers. She has provided leadership to more than 25 state-wide and district initiatives funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Louisiana Systemic Initiative Program, the National Math and Science Initiative, the Quality Science and Mathematics Program, and the State Math Science Partnership. Most recently, Nell was Great Minds’s Project Director for the New York State Mathematics Curriculum Development Project (EngageNY) now known as Eureka Math®.

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.

SERENA MCCALLA, Ph.D.

Serena has dedicated her life to the advancement of science and to science education with the nation’s most promising youth. Dr. Serena McCalla was raised in New York City and fell in love with science as an elementary school student. She earned her bachelor’s degree, as a double major, in Biological Science and African American & African Studies from the State University of New York at Binghamton University with the intention of becoming an ER physician. However, she quickly realized she was more inspired by research than medicine. To satisfy her craving for deeper scientific understandings, Dr. Serena McCalla earned an MS degree in Hematology/Microbiology, a Ph.D. that explored the use of diagnostic tests to improve the comprehension of genetics, photosynthesis, and respiration in secondary and collegiate courses.

Dr. McCalla began teaching science shortly after earning her BS degree and a remarkable thing happened. In the classroom, her appreciation for the sciences became more profound as the students exposed her to nuances of various scientific disciplines including material science, nanotechnology, computer science, computational biology, and physics. Dr. McCalla is currently the Founding Manager for iResearch Corporation while working as the Science Research Coordinator for Jericho UFSD, Jericho, NY. She founded iResearch Corporation, the parent company of iResearch Foundation, iResearch Institute, iResearch Academy, and iResearch Science where she shares her research practices with educators and students from around the globe. The iResearch Foundation supports underrepresented and underprivileged students’ participation in iResearch Institute and iResearch Academy. These programs promote science research method training and review of fundamental and advanced sciences by conducting laboratory experimentation and data science/bioinformatics data analysis and research to test novel hypotheses. The iResearch Institute promotes research science learning and educational prowess of all students but has increased its focus to support underserved students. Additionally, the iResearch Institute provides a review of the scientific method and research method practices through its international summer research program. The scientific training of these students encourages them to a) systematically address limitations in their processing of the scientific method, b) allows for completion of novel experimentation, and c) promotes expertise in presenting and writing journal-worthy papers. Secondarily, after Dr. McCalla assumed the position of Science Research Coordinator for Jericho Union Free School District (UFSD) she has designed the curriculum to foster excellence in scientific research and has become one of the preeminent science research programs in the United States. Under Dr. McCalla’s tutelage the school is lauded annually for its continued success in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and Regeneron (formally Intel) Science Talent Search (STS) competitions with 87 semifinalists and 14 finalists.

Dr. McCalla had the unique experience of participating as a principal subject in the National Geographic documentary Science Fair. The immensely likable film chronicles the importance of science fairs in the high school learning experience and highlights the trials, tribulations, and successes of Jericho High School students in a variety of science competitions (the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), Junior Science and Humanities (JSHS) Competition, Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS), etc.). The documentary was selected for and premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and was honored by winning the festival’s first-ever overall Festival Favorite Award. The film was subsequently awarded by many other outlets and earned an Academy Emmy Award.

A natural competitor, Dr. Serena McCalla is not only a science research professional and enthusiast she also considers herself a science geek and competition supporter. She is the President of the New York State Science and Engineering Fair (NYSSEF) because she believes in the necessity of promoting student excellence and encouraging accompanied recognition in science. iResearch Corporation parallels the environment Dr. McCalla built at Jericho High School and UFSD, the culture of her classroom and lab brings forth copious avenues to help students excel in science, math, bioinformatics, data science, and engineering research. She enjoys that each day provides a new opportunity to encourage students to explore and impact the future of science and society. Her pivotal goal is to have student learning and works extend past successes in their universities and ultimately manifest themselves in the global arena. Dr. McCalla believes these works will propel this generation of students to improve life on this planet as we know it.

Dr. McCalla has earned numerous awards for teaching and mentoring such as the U.S Presidential Scholar Program Teacher Recognition Award (2017 & 2010), the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Harvard Club of Long Island (2016 & 2012), the Teacher of Merit award earned annually from Regeneron/Intel Science Talent Search (2021-2010), received an honorary minor planet (named serenamccalla) from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force funded Outstanding Teacher Award in association with the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). Dr. McCalla’s students have won virtually all STEM competitions that are publicly accessible regionally, nationally, and internationally. She hopes to continue to foster the brilliance and determination of future scientists. In addition, she encourages her students to follow her quote- “if you dream it, complete the work to make your dream reality”.

CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN

Sprigman is the Murray and Kathleen Bring Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law. He came to the NYU School of Law in 2013 from the University of Virginia School of Law. Sprigman teaches intellectual property law, antitrust law, torts, and comparative constitutional law. His research focuses on how legal rules affect innovation and the deployment of new technologies. He is the co-author of a free copyright textbook, Copyright Law: Cases and Materials (2019 with Jeanne Fromer), and The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation (2012, with Kal Raustiala). He has also authored and co-authored numerous articles in law reviews and other scholarly publications.

Sprigman’s widely cited works have had an influence on important aspects of copyright and trademark law, and often belie the conventional wisdom about intellectual property rights. He was an appellate counsel from 1999 to 2001 in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, where US v. Microsoft was among his cases, and later was elected partner in the Washington, DC, office of King & Spalding before becoming a residential fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

Sprigman received his BA in history magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, and a JD with honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 1993. He subsequently clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Lourens H. W. Ackermann of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. In 2015, the American Law Institute named him Reporter for the Restatement of Copyright.

MARIA NEIRA

Former Vice President, New York State United Teachers

Maria Neira, an elementary school bilingual teacher who rose through the ranks of union leadership to become a nationally recognized expert on educational issues, was a vice president of New York State United Teachers, representing more than 600,000 members.

Ms. Neira oversaw the statewide union’s initiatives involving educational policy matters. She was NYSUT’s front-line advocate to the Board of Regents and State Education Department.

She also served as a vice president on the New York State AFL-CIO Executive Council, the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO’s Workforce Development Institute and the Coalition for Labor Union Women. She was nominated by President Obama to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. She was also nominated to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Advisory Council. She is a member of the New York State Workforce Investment Board, the Greater Capital Region United Way Board of Directors, Capital District’s 100 Hispanic Women, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials Education Fund. She directs NYSUT’s fund-raising as a statewide flagship sponsor for American Cancer Society programs, including the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer annual walks.

Neira has been honored by many groups, including the United Federation of Teachers Hispanic Affairs Committee, the Hispanic Latino Cultural Center, Long Island Latino Teachers Association, the Schenectady Hispanic Heritage Committee and the Girl Scouts of Northeastern NY. Neira also received the 2005 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations and an educational leadership award from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2007.

Neira previously served as assistant to the president on education issues for the UFT, NYSUT’s affiliate in New York City public schools, where she helped develop strategic plans for education reform. She also served as director of the UFT’s Special Educator Support Program.

Neira began her teaching career in New York City in 1977 and served as a fourth-grade bilingual teacher at the Bilingual Bicultural Mini-school in Manhattan.

Neira, a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York, has served on many state committees, including the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board and the State Committee of Practitioners. She is also a member of several professional organizations. She is married to Richard Neira.

TOM KUO

Tom is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at A-Street. Prior to A-Street, Tom was a Managing Director at Berkshire Partners and an investor at General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs. Tom chairs the boards of Teach for America Massachusetts and Mighty Earth, a leading environmental advocacy group. He is an Advisor to Gratitude Railroad, an impact investment community and Climate Finance Action, an advocacy effort focused on state treasury decision makers. Tom is also a Trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and serves on the board of the Community Music Center of Boston. Tom is passionate about companies and platforms that help to achieve a more equitable, just society and a sustainable future. 

MARC STERNBERG

Marc Sternberg is Co-Founder and Managing Director of A-Street. Prior to launching A-Street, Marc served as K-12 Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation where he led the foundation’s initiatives to improve elementary and secondary education for all of our nation’s children by empowering parents with quality options. Marc previously served as Senior Deputy Chancellor at the New York City Department of Education and education advisor on policy and strategy to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. 
 
Marc founded the Bronx Lab School, an unscreened New York City public high school, and served as its principal from 2004-2009.  He was a 1995 Teach For America corps member in the Bronx. Marc holds a B.A. in politics from Princeton University, and a joint M.B.A. and Masters in Education from Harvard University. He was selected as a 2009-2010 White House Fellow.