Cassi L. Fields, PhD
Dr. Fields, who received her Ph.D. in Industrial Psychology from the George Washington University, founded Fields Consulting Group, Inc. in 1992. She serves as personal advisor to many public safety executives in the United States regarding all areas of human resource and organizational management. Dr. Fields is an active member of the professional community, recently serving in the prestigious position of President of the Personnel Testing Council (PTC) of Metropolitan Washington. She is currently the Past President and legal chair of PTC, as well as a member of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology.
Joy Hughes, PhD
Dr. Hughes holds the rank of Professor in George Mason University’s Volgenau School of Engineering. She served as Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at George Mason from 1997 until 2013. She holds the PhD in Information Systems, MS in Computer Science, and MS in Mathematics. At Mason she provided leadership for the technology organization, the libraries, IT security, and a television station that reached over 700,000 homes. Computerworld named her one of the top 100 CIOs in the country. Rider University named her to its Science Hall of Fame; and three Virginia governors have honored her information technology organization with excellence awards. She served as the chair of the EDUCAUSE/Internet2 cybersecurity task force representing over a thousand colleges and also served as the chair of the Higher Education Advisory Group to the Microsoft Corporation.
Joseph Olchefske has been a leader in the educational community for twenty years, holding significant executive positions in for-profit, non-profit and public sector educational institutions. He recently completed a two-year term as Board President of the Education Industry Association, a national association representing the interests of K-12 education entrepreneurs. Mr. Olchefske currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Flex Academies, a Washington DC based provider of afterschool programming. He previously served as President of three different companies in the K-12 learning marketplace: Calvert Education Services, which is a 107-year-old Baltimore-based curriculum company; Mosaica Online, which is the online learning division of Mosaica Education, the large charter school company; and Educate Online, which is an online tutoring company affiliated with Sylvan Learning Systems. Mr. Olchefske served as Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools from 1998 to 2003; as SPS Superintendent, he served as the chief executive officer of a public school system with 47,000 students, 100 schools, 7000 employees and an annual operating budget of $435 million. Mr. Olchefske began his career at the investment firm Piper Jaffray, where he spent 12 years as an investment banker in the firm's public finance department. He holds a BA degree from the University of Chicago and a Master’s degree from Harvard University.
Victor Reinoso is Entrepreneur in Residence at the NewSchools Venture Fund and co-founder of Decision Science Labs, a K-12 analytics and budgeting platform. A private and public sector entrepreneur, Mr. Reinoso has played many roles in K-12 and higher education. He served as Senior Advisor to the President of Georgetown University and previously was the District of Columbia's first Deputy Mayor of Education, where he led the Mayor's takeover of the public schools, oversaw the city's $1+ billion education budget. Before becoming Deputy Mayor, Victor was as an elected member of the DC Board of Education. Mr. Reinoso has also been an active investor and advisor to leading ed-tech startups including TenMarks (acquired by Amazon), LearnZillion and Ellevation Education. Victor has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School and a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University. He is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Ranjit Sidhu is President and CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP), the organization that serves the national GEAR UP program. Prior to assuming this role, Mr. Sidhu served as senior vice president for strategy and new product development at the College Board. There he was responsible for the development and integration of the organization’s comprehensive strategy and also directed new product development. His previous roles include serving as senior vice president for strategic initiatives at ACT, where he played a significant role in developing the education division’s strategic plan and future product development efforts as well as leading national efforts focused on policy development, advocacy, and partnerships in the education and workforce development arenas. Early in his career he was a high school teacher in the Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Md., public school districts. He holds master’s degrees from George Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington.
Oltac Unsal advises governments and various groups at the World Bank on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. He is a recognized global thought leader in the development community through innovative financing facilities. Mr. Unsal has also been active in
the educational technology area sitting on the boards of various end tech startups and is an adviser to George Mason University Education Design Lab in Washington DC. Mr. Unsal has been angel investor in the US and globally with over 25 investments, a semiconductor and software entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and held a variety of executive with Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse before joining the World Bank. Oltac holds an MBA from Stanford University, BA in Economics, Politics and Philosophy from Whitman College, and pursued Intellectual Property LLM at UW Law School.
Steve Wattenmaker serves as csMentor’s CEO. He was a successful marketing and communications professional in New York City before moving his practice to Washington, DC, in 1995. Mr. Wattenmaker’s practice has included assisting government, university, and private clients in designing and executing innovative online training and e-learning initiatives. In 2008 Mr. Wattenmaker co-founded the distance-training company Mason Mobile Media and co-founded csMentor in 2012. Mr. Wattenmaker graduated from Colgate University and, early in his career, taught in the Consortium School, one of the early experimental secondary education programs.
Steve Gladis, PhD
Steve Gladis cracked the code for freshman dropout prevention with his book and seminar series, Surviving the First Year of College. As the president and CEO of Steve Gladis Communications – a leadership development firm, focused on helping leaders achieve both success and significance through executive coaching, leadership development, and motivational speaking – Dr. Gladis’ clients include CEOs and C-level executives from a wide range of companies and organizations, including: public and private companies, nonprofits and associations, as well as the federal government. At George Mason University, he also teaches a Leadership Communication Series to
first-line and mid-level leaders. Author of 15 books, Steve is a former member of the University of Virginia’s faculty and served as an associate dean and the director of the university’s Northern Virginia Center. He is currently an executive coach for the Darden Business School’s executive MBA program. A former FBI special agent and US Marine Corps officer, he is also a committed civic and academic leader. Dr. Gladis serves on the Executive Boards of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.
Jeffrey W. Pollard, PhD
Dr. Jeffrey W. Pollard has had a long and distinguished career in college-level counseling psychology. He most recently was the
executive director of George Mason University’s Counseling and Psychological Services and professor of psychology. He earned a B.S. and M.S. at Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. at The University of Virginia after completing a clinical psychology residency at Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine. He served as a staff psychologist at Villanova University before becoming Director of Health & Counseling Services at Denison University, where he served for twenty-two years. He then went to the University of West Florida, Pensacola, and served as Director of Counseling & Health Services and Professor of Psychology. Dr. Pollard is Board Certified in Counseling Psychology and is past-president of the American Board of Counseling Psychology as well as the American Academy of Counseling Psychology. He served as a trustee of the American Board of Professional Psychology and as a Board Member of the International Association of Counseling Services. He also served on the editorial board of the Journal of College Student Psychotherapy
for eighteen years and currently serves as a board member and senior examiner on the American Board of Counseling Psychology. In 2008 he was recognized for his leadership by the American Board of Professional Psychology and in 2010 he won the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Pollard currently consults nationally with universities in the area of threat assessment.
G. William Bavin
Bill Bavin has more than two decades of financial, business, and management experience, and has founded two specialized investment banking firms in the Washington, DC area. Since 1994, he has specialized in advising education companies and investors on capital formation, mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, valuation, and strategy. His practice includes all facets of the education market across the life-long learning continuum, including content companies, education service providers, and infrastructure. In 1998, Mr. Bavin co-founded Education Capital, LLC, which provided capital market solutions, sophisticated transaction advice, and sound consulting services to
scores of emerging and middle-market education companies. Mr. Bavin co-founded and served as Managing Partner of the Washington Corporation, merging the company with Chessiecap in 2013. Prior to his concentration on the education industry, he was a generalist with significant experience in a broad range of industries and financial instruments. Mr. Bavin received his B.A. in History from the University of Virginia and his M.B.A. from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Total Education Solutions, Inc., a California-based special education company from 2000-2013, and is a director at Move This World, a non-profit addressing school violence and bullying. Additionally, he serves as a Venture Forward Mentor for UVA Innovate at the University of Virginia, advising Goha Learning, The Institute on Aging, and PALS.
Joe Dzikiewicz, PhD
Joe Dzikiewicz got his PhD in computer science from Virginia Tech in 1996. Since then, he spent ten years at AOL as systems architect and technical manager, specializing in search and social applications. More recently, he has been CTO at three startups: Mixx, a social media company, and Treater, a social gifting platform, and the travel site, Trip Tribe. In that time, his work has involved analysis of large amounts of data and data matching. The purpose of this was to recommend content to users, including documents and social media constructs, as well to improve recommendations and data matching for users. He has also had extensive experience architecting web applications, including applications for both desktop and mobile web, as well as architecting and building native mobile applications. Dr. Dzikiewicz holds three patents.