Board of Directors

America Succeeds’ Board of Directors is a prominent group of business, civic, and education leaders passionate about improving public education.

Jamie Candee

Edmentum - Board Chair

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.

Lisa Dughi


After starting pre-med and changing her major three times at Cornell University, Lisa graduated with a major in Marketing and a minor in Fashion. Fittingly, her career began in the fashion industry at Chanel developing marketing strategies using customer data. Lisa went on to receive her MBA at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she developed strategic, marketing, and analytical skills that she applied to management consulting, with projects spanning a range of industries and functions often with a data-driven solution. This gave her a great deal of experience affecting change within organizations large and small, but also made her realize that she wanted to use her experience to help make a difference.

In 2012 she applied these skills to the nonprofit world by coming to NAF as a consultant to help use student data to tell the NAF story. Lisa then served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications and led a full rebranding of the national organization and was responsible for planning, executing, delivering, and evaluating all aspects of marketing & communications. She moved through different functions in the organization COO and then President.

In her current role as CEO, she oversees all functions responsible for supporting a network of over 600 college preparatory, career-themed academies serving over 117,000 students in 34 states, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Jason Gaulden

Oak Rose Group

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.

Elaine Hungenberg


Elaine Hungenberg is a distinguished leader in developing and executing impactful strategies to drive positive change in education and communities globally. With a proven track record in go-to-market strategies and impact evaluation for foundations and nonprofits, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role as a trustee at America Succeeds. 

Currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Partnerships and Impact at the XPRIZE Foundation, Elaine is recognized for her ability to harness the power of innovative partnerships to create global impact. XPRIZE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and incentivizing breakthroughs that tackle humanity’s most critical challenges. Boasting over 15 years of experience in strategy and research, Elaine is at the forefront of overseeing XPRIZE’s partnerships and impact initiatives. She leads the charge in measuring and quantifying the foundation’s profound influence on the world and its beneficiaries. In her strategic leadership role, she shapes and executes XPRIZE’s engagement with diverse ecosystems that contribute to and support its transformative work. 

In her previous role as Executive Vice President at Operation HOPE, Elaine led the HOPE Research and Impact Institute, focusing on evaluating cutting-edge solutions to financial inequities and systemic economic challenges. During her decade-long tenure, she collaborated with world-renowned organizations to equip them to function as a force for good and build a future where all people can thrive. 

Elaine’s career began in the nonprofit sector in 2007 with the Colorado Children’s Campaign, followed by Invest in Kids in Denver, Colorado. Her early work involved analyzing statewide data and creating publications to inform legislative programs for at-risk youth, contributing significantly to positive public policy and closing educational attainment gaps. 

Recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Colorado in 2022, Elaine earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English from St. Michael’s College in Burlington, Vermont, and a master’s degree from the University of Colorado in Political Science with a focus on research methodology and statistics. 

Residing in Windsor, Colorado, with her husband and three children, Elaine is driven by an unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.

Tami Bio pic

Tami McNairy


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 experiences 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.

Ahva Sadeghi


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.

Gretchen Zech

Arrow Electronics

Gretchen Zech is senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Arrow Electronics, a global Fortune 120 technology solutions provider. A member of Arrow’s executive committee, she leads the company’s HR strategies, operations, technologies and business partnerships around the world.

Gretchen joined Arrow in 2011 from Dex One, having served as their senior vice president and chief human resources officer since 2006. Before joining Dex, she was the HR group vice president at Gartner, responsible for several of the organization’s global businesses and corporate groups. Her previous roles also include HR leadership positions with Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea, Bloomingdale’s, Best Buy and Johnson Controls.

A Society for Human Resource Management senior certified professional (SHRM-SCP), Gretchen holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource management from The University of Michigan. She serves as a member of the SHRM board of directors and sits on the advisory board of the University of Colorado-Denver Business School.

Brandon Zeigler

Brandon Zeigler

Global Endowment Management

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.

Jacqueline Burgos


Jacqueline Burgos is a Sales Leader for Google’s U.S. Procter & Gamble team.  In her time with the team she co-hosted the 2023, 500+ kick off to the Upfronts, established the Search strategy for the team, launched the U.S. Hispanic go to market, all while growing her book of business.  Before joining the P&G sales team, she worked in Google’s Agency Go To Market team supporting senior leaders in the strategy and relationship management with the biggest advertising holding companies (Omnicom, Publicis, WPP).  

Prior to joining Google, Jacqueline worked in traditional media with roles at Viacom, WB, and HBO.  In her last role at Viacom she was the Chief of Staff to the head of Sales, supporting in the creation and implementation of business and communications strategy for the organization.  At Warner Bros., she was instrumental in the launch of the company’s first multicultural digital content production company which opened new doors to diverse talent at the acclaimed studio.  

She was a member of the NAF (National Academy Foundation) board for three years (2016-2019), supporting high school education across the United States and has recently joined America Succeeds’ national board of directors.  As a member of HBS’ Latino Alumni Association she helped them launch Latinas in media and entertainment initiatives, celebrating the accomplishments of Latinas in Hollywood and creating awareness for this market opportunity.  

She is passionate about improving education and opportunities for youth across the country. Outside of work and philanthropy, she is an improv performer having completed all Improv courses at Magnet Theater and performed ~ 30+ shows.

Jacqueline Burgos grew up in Brooklyn, New York and received a BBA from Pace University’s Pforzheimer’s Honors College with a concentration in Accounting and minors in Economics and Latin American Studies. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Tony Lewis

Donnell Kay Foundation

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.

Zachary Neumeyer

Sage Hospitality - Cofounder

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.

America Succeeds Team Values

We mean business.

Work hard. Play hard. Change the world.

Be in service.

Act like an owner.

Be a great problem solver.


Tim Taylor

Co-founder and President

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.

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Violet Chazkel Headshot

Violet Chazkel

Communications and Development Coordinator

Violet Chazkel is the Communications and Development Coordinator at America Succeeds, responsible for implementing communication strategies and tactics to support America Succeeds’ portfolio of work and fundraising efforts.

Violet graduated from Skidmore College, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Education. Violet also received a master’s degree from the University of Denver in International Human Rights, with a specialization in Global Health Affairs. Her academic background has allowed her to approach complex issues with a holistic, research-informed perspective.

With professional experience in child advocacy nonprofits, she has deepened her appreciation for using effective communication strategies to mobilize resources and action for positive change. Violet enjoys seeing live music, playing tennis, and exploring the food scene in Denver.

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Lauren Cole

Vice President of Strategy and Operations

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.

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Eric Lerum

Senior Advisor

Eric Lerum is the Senior Advisor at America Succeeds and 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.

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Aidan Schief

Project and Operations Coordinator

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).

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Michael Crawford

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

Michael Crawford is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at America Succeeds, responsible for leading, developing, and expanding the Durable Skills Advantage work with a focus on research and impactful, quality implementations of this tool. 

Prior to joining America Succeeds, Michael served as Director of Community Research for VELA Education Fund, a non-profit that catalyzes alternatives to conventional schooling), and as Strategic Partnerships Manager for Western Governors University,  (an innovative non-profit, competency-based, online university. He’s been an invited mentor, advisor, speaker, and facilitator for work related to human development, entrepreneurship, and education, and he’s been a guest on wide-ranging podcasts and panels about technology and the future of learning and work. 

Michael earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan, an MS in Sport Psychology from Michigan State University, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Kansas. When he’s not working, you can find him embracing life with his family and friends, exploring new-to-him places and activities, and reading whatever he can get his hands on.