Carrie brings a unique combination of skills and experience to this new initiative. Carrie began her teaching career with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as a volunteer teacher in a school serving one of the largest housing projects on the East Coast. She then helped transform an existing Boston high school into a Cristo Rey model as a teacher leader and was the ED of an early childhood learning center. These years focused on students who have been traditionally underserved cemented her commitment to ensure that every child, regardless of background or zip code, has the opportunity to attend a public school that will prepare them for college or a career.
After completing her MBA, Carrie joined the Broad Residency in Urban Education and led the HR and talent departments at Aspire Public Schools for five years, during a period of growth from 16 to 34 schools. While at Aspire, Carrie led the development of innovative strategies for teacher and leader recruiting, evaluation, compensation and career development. She then served as the Senior Director of Strategy and Innovation at the Rogers Family Foundation in Oakland where she developed one of the nation’s leading personalized learning pilots and managed $5 million in annual giving towards a high-quality seats plan.
Carrie has been a Managing Partner at Education Cities for the past five years, splitting her time between leading internal organizational strategy, operations and finance and external leadership of areas including convening design, innovative schools and data and accountability.
In May 2017, Carrie was elected to the School Board for Bend-La Pine Schools in Oregon - a district with nearly 20,000 students, putting it in the top 2% largest districts in the country. Bend-La Pine Schools spans three cities, from the thriving urban core of Bend to the economically depressed rural community of La Pine. Bend-La Pine Schools is growing at the rate of one elementary school per year and is grappling with changing demographics and demands from the community. As Vice Chair, Carrie is currently providing leadership in the areas of school design, innovation, budgeting transparency, and Board planning and process.
Carrie is also the co-founder and co-owner of an industry-leading running race management company based in Bend, Oregon called Cascade Relays. Carrie graduated with a BA in education from the University of Portland and holds an MBA from Boston University. In addition to School Board, Carrie currently sits on the boards of EdFuel, Cascade Relays Foundation, and TEDxBend.
Kevin Leslie provides finance and operations support to Education Cities and its two new initiatives: Community Engagement Partners and School Board Partners. Before joining Education Cities, Kevin worked as an Information Services Librarian at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, and as Student Activities Director at The College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA. Kevin also worked as a Reference Librarian at Dominican University of CA, and as a Research Associate at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Kevin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and earned a master’s degree in library and information science from San Jose State University.
Kevin currently live in Memphis, TN with his wife and two children.
Nathaniel Easley, Ph.D., is Founding Chief Executive Officer of Blue School Partners, a 501(c)(3) public charity focused on increasing the availability of high quality public schools in Denver through quarterback investments in educator/leader talent, high performing schools, and a supportive policy environment. Prior to joining Blue School Partners, Dr. Easley served as CEO of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c) (3) public charity whose mission is to inspire and empower Denver Public School (DPS) students to achieve their postsecondary education goals by providing the tools, knowledge and financial resources essential for success.
Dr. Easley served as President and Secretary of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education from 2009 to 2013. He also worked as Vice President for National and International Programs for the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, DC. COE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the expansion of educational opportunities in postsecondary education for low-income and disabled youth and adults. He is a current member of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Education Compact, the National College Access Network Board, the Colorado Education Initiative Board, and co-chairs the Denver Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. He previously served as a member of the Community College of Denver Advisory Council, the Colorado School of Public Health Advisory Council, the Denver School of Science and Technology Public Charter School Board, the Denver Public Schools’ Roots Public Charter School Board, and Colorado Latinos for Education Reform. He is also a past member of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council and the National Advisory Council for Texas Guaranteed Inc. (the third largest student loan guarantee organization in the United States).
Dr. Easley has extensive experience helping disadvantaged students realize their dream of a college education and securing grant funding to sustain student programs. His master’s and doctorate focused on how higher education can better support the academic success and college completion of Black and Latino/a students. Dr. Easley has nearly 30 years of experiencing working at the state, national and international levels to create opportunities for first-generation, low-income and ethnic minority students. He is a proud graduate of Denver Public Schools’ Montbello High School.
Carrie Irvin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Charter Board Partners (CBP), the leading national organization helping public charter schools build strong, diverse, and strategic boards. Carrie’s deep commitment to equity and quality in public education is backed by extensive experience in education policy and reform, especially for traditionally underserved students. Her experience includes analyzing federal education policy, shaping innovative school design programs, and teaching 8th-grade social studies. She has delivered a TEDx talk about CBP’s innovative work to improve the quality of public education, and her work has been featured in Education Week, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, and Education Next. In addition to her participation on the School Board Partners founding board, Carrie chaired the Board of Trustees of the National Child Research Center and currently serves on the Georgetown University Child and Adolescent Mental Health Advisory Council. She graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School and Brown University, and is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow. An avid runner and amateur baker, Carrie lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband, two teenage daughters, and one high-strung dog.
Theresa Peña is an accomplished education leader and is well known throughout Colorado as a strong voice for student-centered school improvements and as an outspoken advocate for educational equity. She was twice elected as an at-large representative on the Denver Board of Education. She served from 2003 to 2011 and was the Board President from 2005 to 2009.
Currently she is working as a Breakfast Partner with Hunger Free Colorado to assist the Denver Public Schools with the Breakfast After the Bell initiative. Prior to that, she was at the Colorado Children’s Campaign as a Senior Education Fellow, working with statewide education organizations on the Integration Project, which supports higher learning standards for Colorado. Theresa also served the City of Denver as the Executive Director of the Denver Education Compact, a cradle-to-career initiative launched by Mayor Michael Hancock to bring together many different agencies to focus on accelerating educational improvements—from preschool through college—for children in Denver. She is a board member of the Denver Preschool Program, the Denver Community Health Services and the Colorado Community College System.
A Denver native, Theresa has a B.A. in sociology from Pomona College in California and a master’s in business administration from Cornell University in New York state. She has two children, one who graduated from the Denver Public Schools and one who is still in DPS, and her husband is a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Carl Zaragoza is Senior Director of Elected Leadership at Leadership for Educational Equity where he leads the strategy and a team that inspires and develops diverse educators as political candidates at every level of government across the country. Carl served his community as a school board member and community organizer spanning close to a decade. He was elected twice to the Creighton Elementary School District Governing Board in Phoenix and led two terms as President. Carl has always been passionate about service and is a proud United States Army veteran. His commitment to educational equity was borne out of his experience teaching middle school civics in a Title 1 district school in central Phoenix. Carl earned a BA in Political Science and is currently studying for an Executive MBA at W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Carl is a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Fellow, member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and avid Ironman triathlete. Carl lives in Phoenix with his wife, daughter, and two rescue dogs.