Global Education Design Committee

Global Education Design Committee

  • Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D.

    Vice Chairman/Chancellor

    Nicholas Dirks is a professor of history and of anthropology at the, University of California, Berkeley, where he served as the 10th chancellor until mid-2017. An internationally renowned historian and anthropologist, he is a leader in higher education and well-known for his commitment to and advocacy for accessible, high-quality undergraduate…

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  • Dennis Bisgaard

    Head of School, DC Campus

    For the past 30 years, Dennis has worked at top U.S. schools, most recently as head of school at Kingswood Oxford. Dennis served on the board of the National Association of Independent Schools and previously held positions at Bryn Mawr College, Shady Hill School, Collegiate, and Vejlefjord Højere Skole. Born in Germany, Dennis has also lived, studied, and worked in Denmark and Canada. He holds…

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  • Greg Carlson

    Education Design Team, N.Y.C. HQ

    Greg Carlson has led the design and implementation of transformative learning experiences for students in K–12 schools in China and the U.S. At Fudan International School in Shanghai, Greg served as deputy director and taught history. Greg subsequently headed innovative American charter schools as assistant principal at Manara Academy and director of instruction at Codman Academy. Greg earned…

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  • Jules L. Coleman, Ph.D.

    Senior academic adviser and director of research, N.Y.C. HQ

    A Brooklyn native, Jules Coleman earned a B.A., magna cum laude, at Brooklyn College of CUNY, a Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University, and a graduate degree in law from the Yale Law School. The author of a dozen books and more than 100 articles and peer-reviewed essays, Jules spent nearly 30 years as the Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of Philosophy at Yale…

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  • Jim Hawkins

    Global Head of School Heads & Vice Chancellor

    Prior to taking on this role, Jim Hawkins was Head Master of Harrow School in London, one of the world’s great learning institutions and boarding schools, with over four hundred years of history. Before beginning his teaching career, Jim read Mathematics at Brasenose College, Oxford University, where he also completed his teaching qualification. He then taught at Radley College before being…

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  • Manuel J. Rivera, Ph.D.

    Global Head of Faculty Recruitment, N.Y.C. HQ

    Manny earned both his doctorate in education and his master’s degree in education from Harvard University. He also holds a B.A. in urban studies from Brandeis University. Manny’s 40-year career in education as a teacher, principal, school superintendent, chief executive officer, and senior policy adviser to two New York State governors has been recognized nationally in the field of education.…

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  • Li Jing

    Global Head of Enrollment, Marketing, and Communications, Beijing & N.Y.C. HQ

    Li Jing has extensive senior leadership experience in education, helping connect schools in China and to those in the rest of the world. Prior to joining Whittle, she was secretary-general at YK Pao School, China’s top independent school, where she headed external affairs, enrollment, and strategic development; before that, she served as assistant principal at RDFZ, a top Chinese school,…

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  • Peter Merrill, Ph.D.

    Co-Chair of the Education Design Team, N.Y.C. HQ

    After attending Phillips Exeter Academy, Peter earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Russian at the University of Pennsylvania, and then an M.A. in linguistics and a Ph.D. in Slavic languages, both at U.C.L.A. He spent nearly 30 years teaching Russian and German at Phillips Academy, Andover, where he led the division of world languages and spearheaded new initiatives in global programming in China,…

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  • Andrew Meyers

    Co-Chair of the Education Design Team, N.Y.C. HQ

    Andy Meyers is the proud son of two prominent psychoanalysts, the father of two amazing women, and a native of the Bronx. He received his A.B. in architecture from Princeton University, his M.A. in architectural and planning history from Yale University, and his M.Phil. in American urban history from Columbia University. He has taught at Connecticut College, Yale University, Empire State…

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  • Lindsey Nelson

    Associate Director of Product Development, N.Y.C. HQ

    Born in Dallas, Lindsey spent most of her childhood in the South before moving to Manhattan to attend New York University, receiving her B.A. with honors in architecture and urban design and environmental science. Following three years in the publishing industry, she attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she obtained her M.L.A. Lindsey was drawn to Whittle by the holistic…

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  • Vriti Saraf

    Deputy Head, Centers of Excellence, N.Y.C. HQ

    Born in India and raised in New York, Vriti earned her B.A. from Macaulay Honors College and went on to serve as a Teach for America corps member in Brownsville, Brooklyn, at Ascend Public Charter Schools. At Ascend, Vriti was a founding teacher and dean of instruction while also earning her M.A. in early-childhood education and teaching as an adjunct professor at Relay Graduate School. Most…

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  • Elizabeth (Betsey) Hun Schmidt, Ph.D.

    Global Head, Centers of Excellence, and Vice President, Studios, N.Y.C. HQ

    Born in Washington, D.C., Betsey has lived in New York for most of her life and has taught at every grade level from elementary school through graduate school. She earned her B.A. from Wesleyan University, where she now serves as a trustee, and her Ph.D. in American literature from New York University. Most recently, Betsey worked for seven years for Ascend Public Charter Schools in Brooklyn,…

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  • Xianzhang Shen

    Executive Chairman, Shenzhen Campus

    As the former vice principal of RDFZ, founding principal of RDFZ Chaoyang Campus, Xianzhang Shen is a distinguished educator in China. He has more than four decades of experience as a teacher, administrator, and principal. He formerly served as an expert lecturer at the National Training Institute for Chinese Teachers at the Ministry of Education, as a member at China Entrance Examination…

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  • Morgan Silver-Greenberg

    Chief Product Development Officer, N.Y.C. HQ

    As chief product development officer at Whittle School & Studios, Morgan is responsible for developing an innovative and holistic experience for the students, teachers, and stakeholders of our network. His career spans innovation and technology, global branding, and product development. He was previously the U.S. director of innovation at Omnicom Media, where he worked closely with G.E.,…

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  • Rebecca Upham

    Executive Chairwoman & Vice Chancellor, DC Campus

    Born in Washington, D.C., Rebecca Upham comes to Whittle School & Studios after leading Buckingham Browne and Nichols School for 17 years. She has also held senior leadership posts at the Ellis School and the Harvard-Westlake School. In addition to earning a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.A. from Columbia University, Rebecca has a background in molecular biology, which led to a…

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  • Yin (Lily) Li

    Senior Consultant

    Li Yin was the founding headmistress of Wuhan Experimental Foreign Languages school and also worked as a consultant at Stoke College in the U.K. Previously, she served for a decade as a representative of China’s National People’s Congress and was named a National Woman Leader. During her 10 years as an N.P.C. representative, she played a role in the revision of China’s Compulsory Education Law…

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  • Rhiannon Wilkinson

    Head of School, Shenzhen Campus

    Rhiannon Wilkinson is currently Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey School in Buckinghamshire, England, one of the world’s leading girls’ boarding schools. She will take up her position in Shenzhen in April 2019. She read History at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and completed her teaching qualification, with distinction, at the University of Bath. She also gained an M.Ed. degree in…

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  • Laura Coleman

    Education Design Team, N.Y.C. HQ

    Laura Coleman grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, where she studied dance and cultivated a passion for the performing arts. She moved to New York City to dance professionally and study at N.Y.U.’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she designed an interdisciplinary curriculum in psychology and the arts. After graduating, she toured the country, playing drums in a band and dancing…

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  • Chen (Brian) Yang, Ph.D.

    Director of Center of Excellence, Shenzhen Campus

    A native of Hunan, China, Brian Yang received his bachelor’s degree from Peking University and a Ph.D. from Yale University. Brian then went on to work for McKinsey & Co., first in Chicago and later as the founding member of McKinsey’s office in Shenzhen. Having experienced the best of what both China and the U.S. have to offer in education, Brian is attracted to Whittle by the vision of a…

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Washington, D.C. Division Heads

  • Stephanie Fitzgerald

    Head of Early Learning Center, DC Campus

    Stephanie Clark Fitzgerald brings over 25 years of experience in PreK-12 education leadership to this role. Beginning as a teacher in Chicago, she founded and led three schools, including two early childhood programs. Most recently, she served as director of a nationally recognized project-based early childhood program in New Jersey. Previously, she prepared principals through New Leaders and…

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  • Susanna Stossel

    Head of Lower School, DC Campus

    Susanna joins Whittle School & Studios from Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School in Washington, D.C., where she taught both math and science before taking on her most recent role as Director of Early Childhood Teaching and Learning. She received both her B.A. in Child Study and M.A. in teaching from Tufts University. Prior to joining Beauvoir, Susanna taught at Belmont Day…

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  • Marek Beck, Ph.D.

    Head of Middle School, DC Campus

    Marek brings almost 25 years of experience in education working at some of the nation’s finest schools including the Greenwich Country Day School and Harvard University. He has taught students at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college levels. Marek holds five degrees, including a Ph.D. from Fordham University and an M.S. from Columbia University. With over a dozen…

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  • Ara Brown, Ed.D.

    Head of Upper School, DC Campus

    Over the past two decades, Ara has held numerous leadership and teaching positions within K-12 and higher education, including his most recent role as Upper School Dean of Boys at Cranbrook Kingswood School, which he has held since 2010. Before joining Cranbrook Kingswood, Ara co-founded and developed the curriculum for a summer Chinese language program for children ages 5-12. He received his…

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