National Advisory Council
Chair, National Advisory Council
Political Bridge Builder and Education Advocate
Jeff Weissglass is an advocate and advisor dedicated to political bridge-building and learner-centered education. He serves on the board of trustees of the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution and on the advisory board of Convergence’s Education Reimagined initiative. He is former president of the board of education at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill., and served on the board of the Collaboration for Early Childhood in Oak Park. He also served as board chair on both the Project on Civic Reflection and More Than Money. Jeff had prior careers as a corporate lawyer in New York and as a community development consultant with South Shore Bank in Chicago. Jeff has a master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Organization and Management, a JD from New York University School of Law and a bachelor’s from Johns Hopkins University.
Lisa Egbuonu-Davis was co-founder and director of ROI Squared, a start-up focused on commercializing low cost “disruptive” medical devices. She also serves as managing director of LED Enterprise and advises life-science clients on business and research strategies to address evidence needs of patients, providers, payers and policy-makers. She is an experienced life-science executive, with clinical research and public health expertise. Lisa has over 20 years of leadership experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, including line management of large multidisciplinary global research staff and budgets, merger and acquisition management and public/private/academic partnership development. She worked for 13 years at Pfizer as a vice president of global outcomes research and vice president of U.S. medical operation. She holds a B.S. in biology from M.I.T., an MBA in health care management from Wharton, and M.D. and M.P.H. (epidemiology) degrees from Johns Hopkins. She is board-certified in pediatrics.
Chairman, Retirement Living Television
Erickson Retirement Communities
John Erickson, chairman of Retirement Living Television, rejected the traditional concept of retirement living and in 1983 struck out on his own to create Erickson Retirement Communities for people over 62 years of age. The company has 19 full-service, campus-style communities in 10 states that are home to more than 23,000 people. The Erickson Foundation has invested millions in research to improve the lives of people around the world. In addition, the foundation works to develop inner-city children into leaders. The Foundation’s NorthBay camp, located on the Chesapeake Bay, is a unique educational retreat with a state-of-the-art environmental education center, focused on teaching and experiencing environmental science. In April 2004, he helped establish the Erickson School of Aging, Management and Policy, which is located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. John holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Bernard’s College and a master’s degree from Catholic University.
Charles (Chuck) Fleischman
Charles Fleischman brings over 25 years of experience in healthcare technology and diagnostics, including leadership of public and private companies. He served as president, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and director for Digene Corporation (now Qiagen), where he was responsible for building state-of-the-art R&D and bio-manufacturing facilities and helping change medical practice and standards of care in cervical cancer screening and prevention. He has also served on the boards of Cord Blood Registry (now AMAG Pharmaceuticals), Assurex Health (now Myriad Genetics), One Lambda (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) and Dako A/S (now Agilent Technologies). He is a director on the boards of the American Alpine Club and St. John’s Hospital Foundation. Chuck holds an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Board Member and Immediate Past President of the
Los Angeles County Board of Education
Leslie Gilbert-Lurie is a writer, lawyer and philanthropist, whose highly acclaimed memoir, Bending Toward the Sun, was published by Harper Perennial in 2009. She spent much of her early career at NBC, where she oversaw NBC Productions and the comedy division, co-wrote television episodes and co-founded an in-house production company, Lurie-Horwits productions. She has consulted for USA Network and Disney Television. Prior to her work in television, Leslie was a member of the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney, and served as a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Law Clerk.
She currently co-chairs Human Rights Watch’s Los Angeles committee, and was recently elected to its international board of directors. She is a founding board member, acting board co-chair and past board chair of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, a legal rights organization for abused, neglected and foster youth. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of the Skirball Cultural Center and Fostering Media Connections. She also is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. She recently served as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Welfare, which led to widespread child welfare reform. From 1997 to 2011, she was on the Los Angeles County Board of Education, where she served three terms as board president.
National Medical Director
Sheldon Glass holds an M.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University and taught in the Department of Education for 12 years, introducing five courses. He is a founding and current member of the National Advisory Council. He has been on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry since 1968, is on the board of directors for Friends Research Institute and is president of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry. He is the national medical director of MedMark. Sheldon has been board-certified in pediatrics, adult psychiatry, adolescent psychiatry and addiction medicine.
Saralynn Glass is a retired social worker. She and her husband, Sheldon, endowed the Sheldon and Saralynn Glass Counseling Scholarship at Johns Hopkins University. She is a volunteer for the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, as well as a volunteer for Pets on Wheels where she and her mini-Goldendoodle “Mozart” regularly visit nursing homes, hospitals, universities and schools. She is a past officer and board member of Beth El Congregation, as well as a member of their Sisterhood board where she is liaison to the Beth El Schools. At Beth El, she also serves on the committee for the Rabbi Mark G. Loeb Center for Lifelong Learning. She also is a vice president of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Saralynn holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University.
Center for Innovation and Leadership in Special Education, Kennedy Krieger Institute
Nancy Grasmick served as the first female state superintendent of top-ranked Maryland Public Schools for 20 years. Expectations and performance for adults, schools and children significantly improved under her leadership and have received national attention. For five years in a row, Maryland was ranked number one in the country by Education Week. In a 2012, Harvard Kennedy School researchers published the report, “Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance”, that cited: “Maryland won the gold medal by having the steepest overall growth trend” in student performance among U.S. states between 1992 and 2009, the years examined in the study.
In 2012, Nancy was appointed Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation at Towson University. Her focus on teacher and leadership preparation is transforming the way that teachers deliver classroom instruction and engage students in learning. Using the most relevant research and knowledge about motivation, technology and what children must know and be able to do in the 21st century, a new wave of reform is underway. In addition to her work at Towson University, she is a faculty member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute co-directing an innovative fellowship program to prepare administrators as leaders in special education.
As one of her final acts as state superintendent, Nancy secured a coveted $250 million Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education. She holds a doctorate from John’s Hopkins University, master’s degree from Gallaudet University and bachelor’s degree from Towson University.
Hill Harper is the author of three New York Times bestsellers: Letters to a Young Brother (named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association), Letters to a Young Sister, and The Conversation. The recipient of five NAACP Image Awards for literary achievement and acting, Harper starred on the hit television drama CSI:NY as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes. He has also appeared in numerous prime-time television shows and feature films, including The Sopranos; ER; The Game; Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Lackawanna Blues; He Got Game; The Skulls; In Too Deep; The Nephew; and The Visit. He is the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering, encouraging and inspiring under-served youth to succeed through mentoring, scholarship and grant programs. Hill holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University (and was valedictorian of his department) and a JD from Harvard Law School. He also holds a master’s degree with honors from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Howard Mandel, MD, FACOG, is a practicing obstetrician gynecologist who has dedicated his life to the practice of high-quality health care and assuring access to such care. He has held positions on and chaired boards of directors of several not-for-profit and educational institutions, served on numerous advisory panels and councils, and has received recognition for his leadership locally, statewide and nationally. He currently serves on the National Physician’s Council for Health Care Policy, served on the “Obama for America Health Policy Advisory Committee,” was an advisor to Senator Biden on health care issues during his presidential campaign and is an adviser to Senator Mark Warner.
Born in Brooklyn, Howard holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and New York University School of Medicine. His exposure early on to the medical care of the indigent at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Bellevue Hospital inspired him to defend those who could not help themselves. As a volunteer at the Saban Free Clinic in Los Angeles for three decades, he has advocated for equal access to health care for women, children, the homeless and the working poor. In addition to teaching and lecturing on topics such as ob/gyn emergencies, umbilical cord blood banking, menopause, women’s health and health care economics, he has been recognized for his leadership and public service by the State of California, County and City of Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University (Distinguished Alumnus Award 2015), Jhpiego (The Elyse Bila Ouedraogo Award 2015) and Oakwood School (Charles Haas Award 2011), among many others. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Dr. Susan Mandel, and has two children, Spencer and Mallory.
Senior Vice President of Production
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Screen Gems
Eric Paquette has spent 20 years as an executive in the motion picture and television business, including the last five years as a senior vice president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Screen Gems division. Prior to joining Screen Gems, he held senior executive positions at Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Phoenix Pictures. From 1993 to 1996, he was an associate producer for CBS News, where he worked with anchors Dan Rather and Connie Chung on breaking news stories, social issue features and hourlong specials. He also has been deeply involved in working with disadvantaged children and youth through New York Cares, LA Works, Liberty Hill Foundation, and Fulfillment Fund. A former member of Senator Obama’s national finance committee, Eric currently serves on the executive committee for Human Rights Watch and on the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.
Abhay Parekh is CEO of Lytmus, founded in 2013, and since 2003 has been adjunct professor of electrical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. He has spent the bulk of his career in the Bay Area as an entrepreneur, investor and academic. He holds a B.E.S. in mathematical sciences from Johns Hopkins University and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. He spent a number of years in industry (AT&T Bell Laboratories, T.J. Watson Research Center IBM, Sun Microsystems) working on various research problems, mostly in the area of computer networking. He was co-founder, president and CEO of San Francisco-based FastForward Networks, which developed products to enable the large-scale distribution of broadcast video on the internet. He was associated with Accel Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm as a venture partner. He serves on the boards of the Meritus Fund and MIT’s Open Courseware Initiative. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Kay, and two teenage children.
E. Magruder Passano, Jr.
President and CEO
One Waverly LLC
Mac Passano is a Baltimore native who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He is the CEO of One Waverly, consulting in strategic visioning and the effective uses of corporate philanthropy. In 2001, the Association of Fund Raising Professionals honored him, his wife and three daughters as Philanthropist of the Year. He is chair of a charitable foundation that bears his name and former chair of the Combined Health Agencies of Maryland and Voluntary Council on Equal Opportunity. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Baltimore Economy and Efficiency Foundation, Pride of Baltimore, Board of Visitors of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and numerous other organizations. He also spent 16 years on the Governor’s Commission on High Blood Pressure and Related Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and over 20 years on the board of the Independent College Fund of Maryland. His dedication has earned accolades from the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Independent College Fund of Maryland, Baltimore Jaycees, Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens and Greater Baltimore Minority Purchasing Council. He also received a Mayor’s Citation for Public Service, given by former Mayor William Donald Schaefer. In 2016 Mac and his wife were honored by the United Way of Central Maryland as Volunteers of a Lifetime.
Vice President of International Business Development
Phillips Food, Inc.
Maxine is vice president of international business development of Baltimore-based Phillips Foods, an international manufacturer, retailer and restaurateur of innovative flavors and food solutions. Prior to joining Phillips Foods, she was an educator for nearly three decades, serving as a classroom teacher with extensive experience in curriculum development, teacher supervision and staff development. She taught in a variety of locales, including on a Navajo reservation boarding school and on the East Coast, with rural, suburban and urban student populations. She holds a BA in special education and an MA in educational administration. She also earned certifications as an elementary principal and special education supervisor, including the National Board Certification in Early Childhood through Young Adulthood/Exceptional Needs Specialist in 2000. The developer of a curriculum for summer accelerated learning programs targeting at-risk youth, her publication credits include articles in Exceptional Children and Teaching of Reading. She and her husband reside in Annapolis.
Co-Founder & CEO
Courtney is the co-founder and CEO of Torsh, an education technology company that seeks to drive significant gains in student success by improving instructional effectiveness. Torsh harnesses the power of video, actionable data and expert coaching to increase access to high-quality growth opportunities for all educators that are accessible at any time and from anywhere. Prior to his role at Torsh, he served in a number of senior executive roles at Interactive One, a wholly owned subsidiary of Radio One, and at AOL Time Warner. While at AOL, he was responsible for structuring and negotiating cross-brand marketing agreements with the AOL Time Warner family of brands, as well as leading AOL’s e-commerce initiatives in the financial services and insurance categories. Before joining AOL, he was an associate in the New York offices of Loeb & Loeb, an entertainment law firm. He is an active member of his community, as well as a 2010 CUP Fellow, which is awarded to business executives with a strong interest in facilitating social change through public service. Courtney is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law and Oberlin College where he received a bachelor of arts degree in politics. He resides in New Orleans with his wife and family.