Board of Directors
America Succeeds’ Board of Directors is a prominent group of business, civic, and education leaders passionate about improving public education.
America Succeeds’ Board of Directors is a prominent group of business, civic, and education leaders passionate about improving public education.
Jamie Candee leads Edmentum’s strategic vision and long-term growth as President, CEO, and Board Director. She has served as CEO of Edmentum since 2017, and has extensive experience in education technology, private equity, and policy. Edmentum is a global education leader, delivering research-based digital curriculum, assessments for learning, and quality educational consulting. With over 60 years of experience, Edmentum is both a pioneer in online teaching and learning solutions and is continually committed to making it easier for educators to individualize learning for every student.
As CEO, Jamie is focused on ensuring that Edmentum programs and services empower teachers with the digital curriculum and assessments for learning they need to personalize instruction and create equitable learning opportunities for all students. Her vision is to ensure Edmentum programs are aligned to every teacher’s instructional strategies and demonstrate evidence of growth and learning. Leading with an educator first approach, Jamie ensures that teachers and students are always top-of-mind – from development through implementation of their Edmentum programs.
Jamie lives by the credo of doing well by doing good. In 2018, Jamie founded Edmentum’s We Can Learn foundation. We Can Learn is committed to making a meaningful impact in education through philanthropic giving and service, that supports equitable and innovative learning opportunities. Since its inception, We Can Learn has supported the development of a school in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, partnered with multiple local and national organizations, and provided support to over 10,000 children.
Jamie is an active member of her community, providing mentorship, speaking, and leading through a variety of volunteer opportunities and board memberships. Jamie has spoken or been quoted on leadership, education, technology, finance, and professional development in The New York Times, Forbes, Today, ASU+GSV, and AASA. Jamie is on the Board of Trustees for Visitation School, and she sits on the board of directors for Project Success and Learning Tree International. Additionally, Jamie has been recognized by various industry-leading organizations for her leadership including the Minnesota Business Magazine, Ernst & Young, The Software Report, and EdTech Digest. Jamie holds a Master of Business Administration from Bethel University and a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Wisconsin.
Casey Cortese is an entrepreneurial leader with an extensive background in philanthropy, experiential marketing and event management. As the Managing Director for Charles Schwab Community Services and Charles Schwab Foundation, she champions the firm’s philanthropic efforts, overseeing the day to day operations of the Foundation as well as their deep employee community engagement initiatives.
Prior to this, Ms. Cortese led her own brand engagement firm, The Sweet Spot Agency, LLC, where she helped both businesses and nonprofit organizations create deeper and more effective customer engagement and brand activation strategies.
Earlier Ms. Cortese acted as Vice President of Marketing for Transamerica’s Active Lifestyle unit. In this capacity she developed and implemented integrated marketing plans and strategic partnerships for advancing a new direct to consumer business.
Casey also spent 15 years with Janus Capital Group. As Vice President of Experiential Marketing, Ms. Cortese set the strategic direction for the firm’s national sponsorship and community relations initiatives, as well as client events. In support of the firm’s growth strategies she constructed and activated a diverse portfolio of partnerships with iconic brands such as IRONMAN®, Life Time Fitness, Competitor Group, Warren Miller Films, Jazz Aspen, Cherry Creek Arts Festival, and more. As part of her duties she held the prestigious role as president of The Janus Foundation, guiding the firm’s philanthropic efforts centered on advancing public education.
Throughout her career Casey has worked with a diverse range of community organizations, and currently sits on the national board of directors of Jump$tart Coalition, and the advisory committee for Women for Tri. Her past board involvement includes a mayoral appointment to the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, and board roles with B:CIVIC, Colorado Succeeds, Junior Achievement of the Rocky Mountain Region, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Curious Theatre Company, and the Colorado Festivals and Events Association.
Ms. Cortese is responsible for the creation of many award-winning sponsorship and community programs, most notably the Janus Charity Challenge, which raised nearly $55 million for hundreds of charities through the sport of triathlon.
In her free time, Casey is passionate about travel, running and dance. Casey’s biggest personal accomplishment is the Triple 7 Quest, where in 2015 she completed seven half-marathons and one full marathon on seven continents in 11 consecutive days to benefit Girls on the Run of the Rockies.
Dr. David Dimmett is the President and CEO at Project Lead the Way, where he has worked in a variety of roles since 2011. In this role, David focuses on strategies and relationships that drive PLTW opportunities for more students in more communities throughout the U.S. With a focus on equity and access, David and the Impact Team support PLTW’s mission through research, government relations, policy, advancement, and strategic partnerships. David previously led PLTW’s Engagement Team in direct support of schools and school districts in all 50 States.
Prior to joining PLTW, David served as the Chief Academic Officer of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Southwest Indiana. David was instrumental in leading innovation and unprecedented improvements in student achievement. With a focus on increasing opportunities for students, David facilitated the curriculum and instruction for the district, developed strategic partnerships, and implemented several innovative school models including Early College High School and New Tech Institute using the Project Lead The Way Engineering program.
David earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies as well as an MS in Curriculum and Instruction and BA in English from Indiana University. He also earned a Master of Business Operational Excellence from Ohio State University’s Fisher College.
David’s early professional experiences were shaped by work in schools England and Germany. David and his wife, Holly, met as first year teachers. David also served several years as a building administrator. All three of their children have been PLTW students.
Jason Gaulden is a Partner at Oak Rose Group. He joined Oak Rose Group after serving as founder and principal at Gaulden Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategy, communications, and fundraising, with an emphasis on education organizations.
Prior to this role, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Untapped Potential Project—a network of career and technical high schools under development, with its first school opening in Chicago. He also served as Vice President of Partnerships for America Succeeds, where he co-authored The Age of Agility: Education Pathways for the Future of Work, which examines the rapidly changing nature of education-to-workforce pathways.
Jason draws upon 25 years of professional experience in varying roles: executive leadership, philanthropy, communications, grassroots advocacy, research and writing, fund development, and nonprofit board development.
Before his consulting practice, Jason served as Program Officer at Daniels Fund, which followed his role as Senior Fellow at El Pomar Foundation, two of the largest philanthropies in the Rocky Mountain region.
Jason is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. He also served two terms as Chair of the University’s Alumni Board.
Tony Lewis over the last decade has helped push for innovative and high performing schools, introduced healthy food for students and worked to reform the state’s school finance system. Prior to the Donnell-Kay Foundation, he was Director of Capital Planning and Director of Development with the Colorado Outward Bound School, an experience he says shaped his approach to the world. Tony sits on a number of boards and advisory boards, including the Governor-appointed Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the University of Colorado at Denver’s School of Public Affairs, and Education Cities.
He also has a passion for science and the environment; Tony has served as a Program Specialist for the Environmental Protection Agency in San Francisco, where he was in charge of policy, planning, and implementation of wetland regulations in the Central Valley and northern California. He also earned his B.S. in forest management science from Colorado State University and holds a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver.
A Colorado native, Tony lives south of Lyons, Colorado, with his family, honeybees, and chickens. He’s a climber at heart and leads a couple of foreign excursions a year, along with his personal ice, rock, and mountain climbing trips.
Tami McNairy is an Associate Director based in Dallas Texas. She has 10+ years of business process and software delivery experience with the last 6 years focused on leading large, complex transformational projects in IT Service Management leveraging the ServiceNow platform.
Tami is a technology leader leveraging innovative strategies to solve clients’ most complex business problems. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workforce and creatively expanding access and opportunity in technology for women and people of color.
Tami works with leaders to adapt their structures rapidly to deliver products or service, innovate beyond market changes and grow leaders who can effectively deliver across large and complex organizations.
Her experience are diverse and range from working with Fortune 100 companies spanning a variety of industries specializing in IT Strategy, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Asset Management, UX Design, Cloud Migrations and Risk Management. Coupling her love for people along with working alongside leaders coaching them to realize their full potential allows Tami to be well positioned for partnering with organizations and individuals in the quest for embracing transformation. She believes collaboration, communication and transparency are the keys to successful change.
Gerard Robinson is currently a Fellow of Practice at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He previously served as Commissioner of Education for the State of Florida and Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. His other leadership roles have included Executive Director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity and Director and President of the Black Alliance for Educational Options. Robinson also was a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is co-editor of Education for Liberation: The Politics of Promise and Reform Inside and Beyond America’s Prisons (2019) and Education Savings Accounts: The New Frontier in School Choice (2017). In addition, he co-hosts The Learning Curve: National Education Podcast. Robinson has been published or quoted in AEI Ideas, Gallup News, Newsweek, The Hedgehog Review, the Hill, the New York Times, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and US News & World Report. He earned a BA and EdM from Harvard University and an AA from El Camino Community College.
Ahva Sadeghi is a passionate social entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and CEO of Symba, an award winning and venture-backed tech startup on the future of work. Ahva is an economist and researcher focused on remote work and workforce development.
Ahva currently is a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council. Through Symba, Ahva has helped power over 5,000 new job opportunities from internships, apprenticeships, and more. Symba was named a leader in the future of work by Forbes and is proud to be a certified women-owned business.
Prior to launching Symba, Ahva worked at the US Department of State in the Human Rights Bureau and completed a civil rights fellowship with Congressman John Lewis in Atlanta. She was recently named Forbes 30 Under 30, a Tory Burch Fellow, and a Global Entrepreneur Scholar by the US Department of State.
Ahva currently serves on the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Chicago and volunteers as a mentor for Students Rising Above. Ahva completed her graduate studies at the London School of Economics and received her BA from the University of Arizona Honors College. In her spare time, Ahva enjoys playing the cello and tennis.
Brandon Zeigler is an investor, philanthropist, and Director of Impact Investments at Global Endowment Management (GEM), an outsourced Chief Investment Office (OCIO) that provides institutional investment capabilities for endowments, foundations, and other long-term investors.
Prior to joining GEM, he was a Program Officer of K-12 Education at the Walton Family Foundation. Brandon has extensive experience in education and philanthropy, having also served in roles at Church Farm School in Exton, Pennsylvania, and Uplift Education in Dallas, Texas.
He believes in authenticity and serving those who are underinvested in. He is a connector, paying it forward and pouring into others so that they develop and supersede their own beliefs. Brandon holds a B.S. in psychology from Davidson College, an Ed.M. in education policy and management from Harvard University, and is currently an MBA candidate at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc.
Zachary T. Neumeyer is a businessman and civic leader. In business, he serves as the Chairman of Sage Hospitality and Vice Chair of Mobile Accord. He is or has been an investor and board member of companies in the technology, communications, manufacturing, senior housing, banking, and service industries. He works on education reform in Colorado and nationally. Sage Hospitality has invested over $2.5 billion in hospitality assets and manages 75 hotels across America, employing over 7,500 people.
Mr. Neumeyer has focused his civic activities on education reform, working to ensure that every child in America has access to an excellent education to achieve their potential. Mr. Neumeyer is Founding Board Chair of Teach For America Colorado, serves on the TFA National Council, and is Founder and past Board Chair of Colorado Succeeds. He is Co-Founder of America Succeeds, a board member of Colorado Children’s Campaign, and an active supporter of the Charter School Growth Fund. Mr. Neumeyer has served on behalf of numerous state commissions and councils of Colorado Governor’s Hickenlooper, Ritter, and Owens. Mr. Neumeyer has been actively involved in early childhood development as a philanthropist and leader. Mr. Neumeyer was one of the founders of the Denver PreSchool Program, and was recognized by the Colorado Children’s Campaign as one of the 20 most influential Coloradans for Children’s welfare.
Mr. Neumeyer is a past trustee of the University of Denver and has taught at Cornell University, University of Colorado, Harvard University and The University of Denver. He is a graduate of Cornell University, and lives in Colorado. He is the proud parent of sons Max and Joseph.
Tim Taylor is the Co-Founder and President of America Succeeds, bringing a unique background of executive, nonprofit, and public policy experience to the organization. Prior to launching America Succeeds, he served as the founding President of Colorado Succeeds.
Tim began his career on Capitol Hill as a Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Saxby Chambliss (GA). After relocating to Colorado in 1998, he served as an independent political consultant, Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for the Colorado Health Care Association, and founder of Open Fairways—a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and underprivileged children through the game of golf and its core values of honor, etiquette, and respect.
Tim is a fellow of the 14th class of the Aspen- Pahara Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He was named one of Getting Smart’s “60 People Shaping the Future of K-12 Education”, has appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and served as a critical reader for the upcoming Good to Great and K-12 Education monograph by author Jim Collins.
Tim is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University. He is an avid outdoorsman and live music junkie. Tim lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife Clare, son Macon, daughter Ellie and a Boykin Spaniel.
Liz Abell is the Director of Communications and Outreach at America Succeeds, responsible for developing content and implementing communication strategies and tactics to support America Succeeds’ portfolio of work.
Liz first developed her passion for student success as an outdoor educator in California, teaching sixth graders ecology while hiking in the Redwoods. From there, she went on to work as a director for a variety of nonprofit organizations focused on youth social and emotional development, including community centers and Stanford University. Most recently she served as the Manager of Communications for Bay Area Cancer Connections, an organization focused on bringing free resources and education to people impacted by cancer.
Liz is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied Communications and Environmental Studies. In her free time she can be found outside in the mountains with her dogs, Maple and Mando, but in the colder Colorado seasons she prefers to be inside on a spin bike, or under a blanket.
Lauren Cole is the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at America Succeeds, responsible for overseeing operational, administrative, programmatic, and accounting systems for the organization.
A graduate of Cornell University, Lauren majored in Development Sociology, minored in both education and business, and graduated with honors. Prior to attending Cornell, she served as a corps member with City Year Boston, where she worked to improve school attendance and literacy and developed a passion for improving outcomes and opportunities for all students.
Eric Lerum is the Chief Operating Officer at America Succeeds, responsible for ensuring the organization meets its goals and maximizes its impact as it grows the network of business-led advocacy partners.
Eric brings deep experience in strategic planning, partnership development, and policy analysis, having advised policymakers and state and organizational leaders for over 15 years. Prior to joining America Succeeds, he led the policy efforts at StudentsFirst as the VP of National Policy, building a team of policy and legislative analysts with expertise across a broad agenda, including teacher quality, school choice, and governance reform. Before StudentsFirst, Eric served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education for the District of Columbia, where he played a lead role in local school reform efforts, including the mayoral takeover of the school system and D.C.’s successful Race to the Top application. He has also held positions as the Legislative Counsel to the D.C. Council’s education committee and as a Policy Analyst for the D.C. Board of Education.
Eric is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the Washington College of Law at American University, where he developed his passion for public education and youth justice while teaching constitutional literacy to high school students in Washington, D.C.
Emilee Ramseur is the Policy and Programs Analyst at America Succeeds, responsible for policy research and analysis, as well as programming and network support.
Emilee started at America Succeeds first as a Policy and Research Fellow and then as a Communications and Development Coordinator, working on a variety of policy issues and developing her interest in strengthening the education system.
Emilee is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where she majored in Political Science and minored in business administration. She is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Colorado-Denver.
Aidan Schief is the Projects and Operations Coordinator at America Succeeds, responsible for supporting the execution of strategies and tactics to implement America Succeeds’ programs, events, and initiatives.
Aidan has developed his passion for education reform and workforce development through a combination of his secondary and post-secondary studies as well as his personal experiences in American public schools. He will seek to continue developing this interest into a career through his first position in the education policy sector at America Succeeds.
Aidan is a graduate of the University of Denver, where he majored in Political Science and minored in History and Economics. Aidan is a foodie and dedicated sports-enthusiast who enjoys spending time outside with friends and family, staying inside to watch his favorite teams play, and eating delicious meals (he still needs time to develop his cooking skills).
Stephanie Short is the Vice President of Partnerships at America Succeeds, responsible for supporting the organization’s corporate partnerships, fundraising, network growth, and national communications initiatives.
Stephanie began her career working in a variety of Colorado technology startups and as a small business marketing consultant. She has since gained extensive experience in strategic communications working for nonprofits and membership organizations. Prior to joining America Succeeds, Stephanie served as Director of Marketing for Catch It In Time, a non-profit raising awareness for the early detection of cancer, and as Staff Liaison for Economic Development and Public Policy at South Metro Denver Chamber, where she played a critical role in advancing the organization’s policy priorities, advocating on behalf of the business community, and coordinating events and conferences.
Stephanie is a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing. She is active in several community boards, including the CAPS Network Advisory Board and CompTIA’s National Career and Technical Education Advisory Council, where she helps champion the expansion of authentic, career-connected learning experiences aligned to the ever-changing future of work. Based in Denver, she enjoys spending time getting outside with her partner and basset hound.