Leading Through Uncertainty
Doug Austin, President and CEO of UPD Consulting, has over 25 years experience in both the public and private sectors, and he is an expert in performance management, organizational design, and transformation processes stemming from his senior and executive leadership roles in Baltimore, MD and Oakland, CA. His engagements have included large-scale management reform projects for the public school districts of Detroit, Miami-Dade, Baltimore, Washington, Dallas, and Sarasota, among others. Doug served as Chief of Staff for the Baltimore City Public Schools from 2005 to 2006, a school district with 86,000 students and 11,000 employees. He holds a BA in Politics from Princeton University and a Master of Public Policy from UC-Berkeley.
Nithya Rajan recently joined the KIPP Foundation in New York after nearly 8 years at Green Dot Public Schools in Los Angeles. At KIPP, she serves as a senior advisor to the Programs and Impact team doing strategic planning for the academic team in service to KIPP regions. At Green Dot, she served as the Vice President of Strategic Planning. In this role she assessed organizational growth opportunities, collaboratively designed the organizational strategic plan and facilitated implementation of this strategy across departments at Green Dot.
Before joining Green Dot, Nithya served as the Interim Executive Director at the College-Ready Promise (one of the four Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Effectiveness and College-Readiness Intensive Partnership Sites) facilitating collaboration across four charter management networks in Los Angeles as they jointly designed a multi-measure teacher evaluation system. Prior to entering education via the Broad Residency, Nithya worked as a management consultant at Booz & Company in Chicago. Earlier in her career, Nithya worked as a mergers and acquisitions analyst at Wasserstein Perella and a Manager of Advertising Operations at internet advertising company WhenU.com. Nithya received her BA from Dartmouth College in Economics and Spanish Literature and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
David Hay is Deputy Chief of Staff to New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. David currently leads policy and strategy to advance the Chancellor’s vision of equity and excellence for 1.1 million students. Hay has led a strategic evolution of the city’s turnaround approach, known as Renewal Schools. He joined the New York City Department of Education in 2016 and received his doctorate in education leadership from Harvard University in 2017.
David previously served as high school principal in his home state of Wisconsin, leading one school to achieve top 3% rankings nationwide, serving as founding principal of two innovative charter high schools, and later as a turnaround principal leading a district school on the path to close a 17-percentage point gap with the state average in three years.
Julie is an Advisor to the Commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education in Massachusetts where she supports the development of new initiatives, including those related to under-performing districts and schools. Prior to her work at the state, she served as the Co-Executive Director of Strategy & Systems for the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP), a zone of 11 turnaround schools within the Springfield, Massachusetts public school system. As Co-ED, Julie led the design and execution of the Zone’s strategic plan and systems for zone-wide operations, school support, and performance management. Before her work in Springfield, Julie was the Chief Redesign Officer of the Lawrence Public Schools, a district that was placed under state receivership in Massachusetts in 2011. In this role, Julie worked closely with the Superintendent to develop and implement the district’s “open architecture” model. This model – which also informed the Springfield Empowerment Zone strategy – gave significant autonomy and flexibility to individual schools within the district, while engaging the community, non-profits, and the local teachers’ union as partners in the turnaround process. Julie previously began her career as a management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. She holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics from Yale College.
Margo is the Principal of Innovative Systems and Schools at Education First, a national consulting organization, where she supports education organizations in the areas of strategic planning, district and school improvement, and all things portfolio creation, management, and execution to drive student excellence, equity, and innovation. Prior to this role, she was a founder and leader at the Tennessee Achievement School District (ASD), a portfolio school district designed to turn around the state's lowest performing schools using a school autonomy + accountability model, where she served as the Deputy Superintendent. Prior to her work at the ASD, Margo was a teacher and school leader in pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans, while also working with several nonprofits to create the right ecosystem to rebuild and reform New Orleans' public education system.