Jason Mandell, Account Director at Larson Communications, provides strategic communications guidance to education organizations across California and the nation. Mr. Mandell has served as a communications director at numerous nonprofit organizations that advocate for education reform and for ensuring an equitable and high-quality education for under-served students. A former journalist, Mr. Mandell has reported on a wide range of political, economic and social issues for L.A. Weekly, L.A. Downtown News and other publications. Reporting on efforts to transform struggling schools led Mr. Mandell to seek out a role in education advocacy. He has also mentored and tutored elementary school students as a volunteer with School on Wheels and Young Storytellers. Raised in New York, Mr. Mandell received a Bachelor's degree in English from Pomona College.
Leigh is an interdisciplinary project manager, evaluator, and grant writer who has engaged in a variety of research and teaching experiences over her career. She is a passionate advocate for education reform, currently working with the California Charter Schools Association as their Director of Grants. Prior to her work with CCSA, she was a researcher in science education and was the Assistant Director of the Nashville site of the NASA-sponsored Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) from 2006 until 2009. In her spare time, she serves on the board of Resolute Academy Charter School in South Los Angeles as well as volunteering with the Santa Monica-based nonprofit Beautify Earth, previously serving as a longtime moderator of reddit's AskScience site and spending several years as a NASA Solar System Ambassador. Leigh received her Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and her M.S. in the Biological Sciences both from Tennessee State University, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University with a minor in Art History. She currently lives in Santa Monica with her husband, teenage son, and three dogs.
Amy Spade Silverman, Education Program Officer at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, works to improve educational equity and access in public schools for poor students and students of color. She oversees middle school and high school programmatic initiatives to raise graduation rates and to ensure that students graduate college and career ready. Ms. Silverman herself grew up poor in Detroit, was a first generation college graduate, and became a career independent schools educator. She taught and served in administrative roles at high schools in Houston, Detroit, New York City, and Palo Alto before settling in Los Angeles with her family. Ms. Silverman holds a BA from University of Michigan and an MFA from University of Houston.
Mark Narain is a Director of International Digital Distribution in Fox's Filmed Entertainment Group. He specializes in developing solutions to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency as well as stimulate consumer demand in the context of digital media. Mark has spent the last ten years creating strategies and providing financial analysis for several media companies. At Fox, Mark developed financial reporting standards for his distribution team, enhanced internal processes, conducted market research for emerging markets, and developed strategies to distribute Fox film and television properties throughout the world. Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics with a minor in Accounting and specialization in Computing from the University of California at Los Angles and a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School. Mark has had a passion to serve his community since his teenage years. He has been involved with community service organizations since high school. He is currently a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. An organization that develops leaders, promotes brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for local communities. In addition, he has recently volunteered with Defy Ventures to help individuals in prison to develop business plans, helping them prepare for success on the outside and improve life on the inside. He also helps high school students navigate the college application process by providing advice on study habits, school choice, essays, and financial aid. In addition, he assists graduate school applicants with test prep resources and essay review. During his free time, Mark enjoys taking his five-year old daughter on adventures throughout Southern California.