Leading Through Uncertainty
Emmy Liss is Chief of Staff for the Division of Early Childhood Education and Student Enrollment at the NYC Department of Education. In this capacity, Emmy oversees day-to-day operations and leads several key initiatives for the Division. She also serves as the primary staff liaison to the School Diversity Advisory Group. Emmy previously served as the Senior Advisor for Strategic Projects in the NYCDOE Chancellor's Office. Before joining the DOE, Emmy worked at McKinsey and Company where she served school systems, universities, and foundations as a member of the firm’s Education Practice. She previously served as a research assistant on the book, “How Children Succeed.” Emmy holds a B.A. in Political Science from Brown University.
Thomas Toch is director of FutureEd, an independent think tank at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. He is a former senior partner at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and director of the foundation’s Washington office. Toch is a founder and former co-director of the think tank Education Sector, a former guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Toch helped launch Education Week, as a writer and co-managing editor. He spent a decade as an education correspondent and editor at U.S. News and World Report and has contributed to The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The Wilson Quarterly, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Monthly. He is the author of two books on American education, In the Name of Excellence and High Schools on a Human Scale.
Mohammed Choudhury is the Chief Innovation Officer at the San Antonio Independent School District. In this capacity he is entrusted with incubating and scaling high-leverage school design and turnaround initiatives, that will have the greatest impact on moving the needle on student achievement during an exciting inflection point for the city of San Antonio. Recently, Mohammed served as the interim chief and founding director of the Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District. He spearheaded the district’s Public School Choice initiative to redesign existing neighborhood campuses and launch new, startup open enrollment school models to expand high quality options for all students, regardless of their academic abilities or geographic constraints.
Previously, Mohammed served in teacher leadership roles developing and operationalizing successful school turnaround and change-management initiatives within the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has also served as a Teach Plus Teaching Policy and Education Pioneers fellow.
Mohammed began his career in education as a middle school English as a Second Language, social studies, and intervention teacher in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Central Los Angeles. He is a NextGen Network leader at the Pahara-Aspen Institute. Mohammed holds a master’s in urban schooling from the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Matt Gonzales is an educator, an advocate, and a policy analyst. He is Director of the School Diversity Project for New York Appleseed, a non-profit social justice center that advocates for integrated schools and communities in New York City and State. He coordinates a citywide coalition of advocates called the NYC Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation (ASID). He is the Policy Coach for the youth advocacy group IntegrateNYC, and works directly with NYC school and district leaders supporting their efforts towards integration. Matt sits on Mayor de Bill Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group, a group tasked with making recommendations on citywide integration. He is a former special education teacher at Bancroft Middle School in Los Angeles, and earned his Masters in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2016. He earned his Bachelor's in Urban Education and a Special Education Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles.
Kayla M. Morrow is the Executive Director of the Advanced Placement for All (AP for All) initiative which is part of the NYC Department of Education's (NYCDOE) Equity and Excellence agenda. AP for All is a citywide program that aims to ensure that by fall 2021, students at all high schools will have access to a full slate of at least five Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Kayla partners with District teams, school communities, and leading educational organizations to ensure that all NYCDOE students, regardless of their background, are prepared with the skills and content knowledge necessary to ensure access to, participation in, and performance in AP classes. Before joining the AP for All team, Kayla worked as a white collar litigation associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Prior to this, Kayla started her career in education as a Teach for America corps member and social studies teacher for Baltimore City Public Schools. During this time, she launched her school's AP and honors programs and led these programs for over three years. She was recognized as a Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) Outstanding Teacher in 2011 and received the Reginald F. Lewis Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010.
Kayla holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, a Certificate in Management from the Wharton School, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.