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Kim Sweet

Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York

There’s no mystery about the mission of Kim Sweet’s nonprofit: it advocates for the children of New York, with an emphasis on providing high-quality education for low-income students. Sweet, who has run the organization since 2007, achieves its goals through legal representation and advice, litigation, advocacy training and pushing for policy changes. Her organization recently warned of a rising population of homeless students and children with developmental disabilities falling through the cracks during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Rick Timbs

Executive Director of Statewide School Finance Consortium

Dr. Timbs is a frequent presenter at workshops and conferences and has written numerous articles and/or professionally presented statewide and nationally on the topics of educational development, use of data to improve instruction, a myriad of educational finance issues and strategies, leadership  and governance. A major focus has been on school district finance, maximization of state aid, capital project finance strategies and related finance projects aimed at increased efficiency, economies of scale metrics and efficiency issues. Dr. Timbs is the President and Chief Executive Officers of R. G. Timbs, Inc. (Municipal Advisors registered with the SEC and MSRB), R.G. Timbs Advisory Group, Inc., and serves as the Executive Director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium that specializes in public school finance and state aid issues with 400 school district members.



Mark Treyger

New York City Council Member and Chair of the Education Committee

Mark Treyger, the second child of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants and the first member of his family born in the United States, is the New York City Council Member for the 47th District. Council Member Treyger spent eight years teaching civics and history at New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn before he launched his campaign for City Council. Since his election to the City Council in 2013, Council Member Treyger has led the fight to make our city more resilient and environmentally sustainable in the face of climate change by securing millions in funding to rebuild public housing, city hospitals, and infrastructure impacted by Superstorm Sandy. In 2018, Council Member Treyger was appointed to serve as Chair of the Committee on Education. He has proudly championed many causes to provide better educational opportunities for all students in New York City. As a steadfast advocate for students and educators, he has worked to improve school communities by allocating essential funding and resources for our public school system.



Natasha Trivers

Chief Executive Officer of Democracy Prep

Natasha Trivers joined the multistate high-performing charter school network Democracy Prep Public Schools in 2011 as an assistant principal. In 2013, she became Principal and she continued to ascend in the organization, to Superintendent in 2017 and finally to Chief Executive Officer in 2019. As CEO, she oversees the network’s schools in New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas and Louisiana. Natasha is deeply committed to race equity and strong academic and civics outcomes for students from historically disadvantaged communities. Under her leadership, students have completed college on a 6 year timeline at a high rate, 90% of NYC students are Advanced Regents diploma earners, and an Advisory Board was established that makes recommendations to the national board annually and is 70% Democracy Prep alumni, and 100% people of color.



Alan van Capelle

President and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Alliance

Alan van Capelle is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Educational Alliance, an organization that unites diverse communities to promote universal access to education. Mr. van Capelle first gained experience working in the labor movement and fighting for legislation to protect the rights of LGBTQ individuals. He has also served as deputy comptroller for New York City and currently acts as treasurer of the Board for the Association for a Better New York.



Eric Vaughan

Program Director for Community Tampa Bay

Eric Vaughan (He/Him/His) is a Harlem native with a love of social justice and storytelling. He currently serves as Program Director at Community Tampa Bay, an organization dedicated to eradicating all forms of discrimination through cross-cultural dialogue. Eric has worked as the Director of LGBTQ+ Programs and Policies in NYC’s Department of Education creating safe and affirming schools for all LGBTQ+ youth. Despite not being with the Department of Education anymore, Eric still volunteers and creates programs for LGBTQ youth throughout the 5 boroughs, most recently teaming up with the New York Yankees and The Stonewall Inn to provide 5 LGBTQ+ students across the city with 10 thousand dollar scholarships. In his spare time, Eric also teaches community journalism and food writing courses at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg. Eric believes storytelling and dialogue is the key to bridge gaps – no matter how big they may seem.


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