Tom Nida is the Executive Vice President/Market Executive at City First Bank. Prior to joining City First Bank, he served as a Regional Executive for John Marshall Bank and as an Executive Vice President & Managing Director – Community Development/Non-Profit Banking for United Bank for Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Mr. Nida has been very active in the charter school movement in Washington, DC, serving as a board member and treasurer of the Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School, for which he helped obtain DC Revenue Bond, tax-exempt financing. He was appointed to the DC Public Charter School Board by Mayor Anthony Williams in 2003, and was elected Chairman of the Board in 2004, and served in that capacity until February 2010. He also has real estate development experience, having founded and managed several land trusts focused on renovation of historic commercial properties over the past twenty-four years. Mr. Nida is recognized nationally for his expertise in charter school financing, having written two articles published in the RMA Journal.
Mr. Nida graduated from the University of Wisconsin and completed an Executive Program at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Ember Reichgott Junge
Ember Reichgott Junge
Former Minnesota State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge is author of Minnesota’s 1991 first-in-nation charter school law, a winner of the 2000 Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. The 18-year legislator served as Senate Assistant Majority Leader before stepping down from public service in 2000.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of chartering, Reichgott Junge wrote Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story, a candid memoir of her challenging journey of pioneering the first charter school law from idea to national movement. The book has won multiple national awards, including 2013 Grand Prize Winner of Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, and Third Grand Prize Winner for Nonfiction Books in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (www.embercommunications.com).
Reichgott Junge is an international education policy leader and spokesperson for charter public schools, having presented in 34 states, Guam, Canada and India. She consults with K-12 education, chartering, and business entities around the U.S. She is past founding board member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and current board vice chair of Maryland-based Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), copublisher of Zero Chance of Passage. She was inducted into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame in 2008, and received the Brian Bennett Education Warrior Award from Democrats for Education Reform in 2012. She served as founding board chair of Level Up Academy, a Minnesota charter school that opened in fall, 2015.
In addition to public service, Reichgott Junge draws on over thirty-five years of experience in business and nonprofit law, five years as nonprofit executive for a large human services organization, twenty years of media messaging as frequent television political analyst, former radio host, and editorial writer, and lifetime of board service, including Citizens Independent Bank, Twin Cities United Way, and Minneapolis Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Ember received her BA from St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota), JD from Duke University Law School (Durham, North Carolina), and MBA from University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). She is an avid ballroom dancer and co-founder of the nonprofit that is bringing Dancing Classrooms of Mad Hot Ballroom fame to Minnesota fifth and eighth graders. She most enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael Junge.
Michael J. Curran
Michael J. Curran
Michael J. Curran blends his legal, teaching, leadership, and management experience in order to help individuals and organizations reach their full potential. He is able to leverage his extensive background in growing, improving and leading companies and business units by working with people who desire to realize higher levels of satisfaction and potential.
Michael practiced law for seven years at the beginning of his career and then spent the past three decades working for public and private companies in the commercial real estate investment management industry. He has served as President, CEO, Partner, COO, and Senior Managing Director transforming organizations and motivating the people with whom he worked to learn and achieve far more than they thought possible.
Jim Goenner serves as President & CEO of the National Charter Schools Institute, a mission driven organization dedicated to transforming education through the relentless pursuit of excellence.
Jim joined the charter schools movement in 1995, and has played an influential role in its evolution ever since. In 2010, his pioneering efforts earned him an induction into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the Institute, Jim served as the Executive Director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University, where he led the first and largest university authorizer of charter public schools in the nation. Under his leadership, CMU became known as the “gold standard” for charter school authorizing, earning recognition from both the U.S. and Michigan Departments of Education.
Jim helped found and chaired the board of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (2007-2010) and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers (2002-2010). He also helped found and served as the first President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (1996-1998), which serves as the unified voice of Michigan’s charter schools movement. Jim currently serves on the board of The Center for Education Reform, the leading voice and advocate for lasting, substantive and structural education reform in the U.S., on the board of the Charter Schools Development Corporation which specializes in helping charter schools with facility and financing needs, and on the National Advisory Board for Pathways in Education, Opportunities for Learning and Options for Youth.
Jim has testified before numerous policymaking bodies, including the United States Congress, and was invited by the U.S. Department of Education to serve on the advisory board of the National Charter Schools Resource Center. He has received gubernatorial appointments from Governors John Engler and Jennifer Granholm. He earned his doctorate in educational administration from Michigan State University and has authored numerous articles, including “Charter Schools: Revitalizing Public Education,” which appeared in Phi Delta Kappan and “Michigan’s Chartering Strategy,” which appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Education Next.
Jim and his wife, Theresa, have seven children and two grandchildren.
Jay Hromatka is a Managing Director in the public financing and investment banking group at Piper Sandler. Prior to that, he was an Executive Vice President with HJ Sims, a privately held investment bank and one of the country’s oldest underwriters of tax-exempt and taxable bonds. He has more than 30 years of experience as a public finance professional providing investment banking services to governmental entities throughout the country. For the past 19 years, Mr. Hromatka worked extensively as a senior banker specializing in structuring and underwriting more than 100 charter school transactions that financed over $1 billion in facility projects.
Throughout his career, Mr. Hromatka has acted as lead banker on financings across the country and has developed a significant base of experience and relationships with diverse clients ranging from charter schools to state and local governments, school districts and not-for-profit agencies.
Mr. Hromatka holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Minnesota. He is active in many civic and not-for-profit organizations.
A fourth-generation Washingtonian, Angel Rich was raised in a life insurance sales family with a passion for financial literacy. Rich graduated from Hampton University with six honors and studied at the U. of Int’l Business and Economics in Beijing, China. In 2009, Forbes recognized Rich for winning Prudential’s national case competition and selling her groundbreaking Generation Y marketing plan.
Becoming a Global Market Research Analyst for Prudential, Rich conducted over 70 financial behavior modification studies. In 2010, Prudential’s CEO requested Rich to lead Obama’s Veterans Initiative Research Study and her recommendations were announced in the State of the Union.
In 2011, Rich conceived the first African American Financial Experience Study which now serves as the benchmark across the financial services industry for marketing to Blacks. In 2012, Rich was recognized with a Presidential Achievement Award for Exceptional Research and Innovation for helping Prudential save $6 Billion, rising from #16 to #4 in Service in one year.
As Community Outreach Advisor, she helped create NJ financial literacy curriculums and managed Junior Achievement. Separately, Rich completed missionaries in Kenya and Uganda. Accomplishing her goals, Rich resigned to found The Wealth Factory in 2013.
The Wealth Factory designs financial literacy and workforce development education technology games. The program walk users from birth to retirement in 12 interactive modules to exceed the Personal Finance Common Core Standards. The Wealth Factory is the official financial literacy tech partner for Bank on DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking serving 15,000 youth annually, an Obama Connect Home Content Partner for 28 states, and was named the top 9 edtech company of 2015 by the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools.
In 2015, Rich was honored to speak at the Congressional Black Caucus, win Industrial Bank Small Business Competition, become an advisor to the District’s Financial Literacy Council, get featured in a Dell Commercial and announced as DC Spokeswoman for Wells Fargo.
In 2016, Rich was inducted into Hampton University’s 40 under 40, named #11 on HBCU 30 and 30, won JP Morgan Chase Global Financial Inclusion Competition, and launched the only credit game app in the world, CreditStacker. It has been featured in 30+ magazines including Black Enterprise, recognized by The White House as the best financial literacy product in the country and listed as Top 10 Startup in the world by Codefi. CreditStacker is trending in 40 countries.
The Wealth Factory also won People Choices award and 9th place at State of NY’s 43North world’s largest business competition. They were also accepted into Accelerate Baltimore and won Best Learning Game at the Department of Education EdGames Expo!
Angel Rich In the News:
• Could The Next Steve Jobs Be A Black Woman? Not If She Only Gets Funding Crumbs, Forbes, May 3, 2017
• Revolutionizing Financial Literacy Education, The Millennial Report, NASDAQ, May 15, 2017.
Lanette Dailey-Reese is currently serving as the founding executive Director of the Capital Experience Lab. She and a dynamic group of educators are committed to launching an innovative school model that immerses students in place-based learning experiences within the robust museum, research and cultural centers of DC.
Prior to this she served as the Executive Director of City Arts and Prep Public Charter School. For more than 15 years she has personally and professionally committed to increasing the quality of education by facing the diverse challenges schools face to improve student learning and achievement. Prior to working for City Arts and Prep, Lanette served as Executive Director for International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). During her time with she worked in partnership with school leaders across the Mid-Atlantic region focused on improving student outcomes through high quality professional learning for the leaders and teachers. Her varied career includes corporate, public, charter, post-secondary, and non-profit education experiences.
Lanette has a dynamic set of strengths as a visionary thinker with a systemic understanding of the optimal educational environment that is needed for teachers and students to be successful.
Upon moving her family to Washington D.C., Lanette pursed volunteer opportunities within the educational community. Through a partnership with Education Board Partners she selected City Arts & Prep Public Charter School where she has served as Academic Chair for two years. Lanette is a sports enthusiast with a passion for golf, cooking and family travel.
Lanette holds two graduate degrees one in Higher Education Leadership and Management from Drexel and a Community and Regional Planning degree from Temple University.
Leo V. Valdez
Leo V. Valdez
Mr. Leo Valdez is a Managing Director in the New Mexico office for Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. He has over 38 years of experience in municipal finance in New Mexico, Arizona and the Southwest. He has extensive experience in industrial development authority bonds, sales tax (excise tax) revenue bonds, infrastructure finance, school districts, multi-family housing, single-family housing, hospitals, special needs revenue bonds, tribal finance, charter schools, and New Market Tax Credit transactions. Mr. Valdez also has experience with rating agency and insurance company presentations.
Prior to working in the investment banking industry, Mr. Valdez worked for the United States Department of Agriculture. At the U.S.D.A., he was a specialist loan officer under the Business & Industry Loan Note Guarantee Program in Washington D.C. and later became the Chief for the program in the State of Arizona. He still implements government programs to assist issuers and companies obtain financing in the form of government loan guarantees and grants.
Mr. Valdez holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business from New Mexico State University and a Master of Science degree in Finance from American University, Washington, D.C. He holds FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses.
Mr. Valdez currently sits on several charitable board organizations:
- The Arizona Foundation for Educational Advancement
- SER Jobs for Progress
- City of Espanola Chamber of Commerce New Mexico
- Northern New Mexico Alumni Association
List of previous accomplishments:
- Board member of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
- United Cerebral Palsy
- President of the Arizona Autism Charter School Inc.
- Board member of the Arizona Lottery Commission
- Board member of the US Border Environment Cooperation Commission
- 2008 Valle Del Sol Humanitarian award recipient
In his spare time, Mr. Valdez is dedicated to assisting children and families with special needs.
Christina Ryan DiGiulian
Christina Ryan DiGiulian
Christina Ryan is the Managing Director for the Greater Washington Market at Hartman Executive Advisors, where she has worked since 2007. As Hartman’s first employee, for nearly a decade she has diligently worked to change how many of the top executives in the nation’s capital and in the Baltimore metropolitan region perceive technology – from that of a “necessary evil” to one of the greatest underutilized sources for revenue growth, strategic insight and competitive advantage.
To Christina, collaboration is the key to success. Since technology catalyzes change at an incredibly rapid pace, she believes that Hartman’s executive level subject matter experts who deeply understand unique industry challenges are true game-changers for the C-Suite. An advocate for helping executives navigate the intersection of technology and business, her greatest satisfaction comes from connecting business leaders with Hartman advisors who can help them reach their strategic goals. Outside of the office, Christina enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with family. She is an active volunteer in her community, serves as a mentor to other young professionals, and is a member of several professional organizations.
Christina obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Marketing from Elon University.
CSDC Property Corp Board
CSDC Property Corp Board
Rudy Seikaly is founder of the MCN Group of Companies and CEO of MCN Build, where he is responsible for overall management of a portfolio of urban redevelopment projects in Washington, D.C., including public libraries, museums, schools, churches, temples, health care, retail, restaurants, and community centers. MCN Build is a recognized leader in the adaptive reuse of decommissioned DCPS facilities for use by the charter school community. Projects include the successful modernizations of Capital City PCS’ new campus at Rabaut, Perry Street Prep PCS’ new campus at Taft, Excel Academy PCS’ new campus at Birney, KIPP-DC’s new campus at Webb, Washington Latin PCS’ new campus at Rudolph, and DC Prep PCS’ campus at Benning.
After earning his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Mr. Seikaly worked with EDC, a Washington, DC-based real estate Development Company, and later founded Georgetown Builders, leading numerous construction operations and selling and delivering finished lots and custom homes throughout the Washington metropolitan area.
In September 1994, Mr. Seikaly temporarily relocated to Lebanon where he founded Hi-TecCements, S.A.L., an active participant in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Beirut Central District. Rudy currently serves on the board of trustees for Bread Inc.
CSDC Property Corp Board
CSDC Property Corp Board
Joe Keeney has over 20 years of experience in school development, finance and operations. Joe is presently the Global Chief Operating Officer at Whittle School & Studios, where he led the development, opening and operation of schools in Shenzhen, China and Washington, DC – which together comprise over one million square feet and $275 million of total development cost. He is the Founder and Chairman of 4th Sector Solutions Inc. and School Food Solutions L3C. 4th Sector Solutions is a leading provider of charter school finance, human resources, operations, and facility development services, and School Food Solutions helps charter schools comply with the National School Lunch Program. Prior to founding 4th Sector Solutions, from 1997-2005 Joe was president of Edison Charter Schools, where he helped build one of the nation’s largest networks of public charter schools -- serving 30,000 students in 15 states. His responsibilities at Edison included school operations, client development, finance, and real estate design and construction. Joe had previously been a divisional president and chief operating officer of a Fortune 1000 global manufacturer, and a corporate strategy consultant at LEK Consulting.
Joe has a BA in economics from Columbia College and an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where he was elected a Baker Scholar and received the Macy Scholarship and the Uhlmann Award. Joe also earned an EdM in education leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.