Terry Ryan is CEO of Bluum and a member of the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho (ROCI) task force. Before moving to Idaho in August of 2013, Terry served as Vice-President for Ohio Programs and Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute for twelve years. Terry began his career in education as a teacher in Poland and worked with the Polish Ministry of Education and the Foundation for Education for Democracy. In the 1990s, he served as research director for the UK-based 21st Century Learning Initiative. He is a member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Policy Advisory Council. Terry has co-authored two books on education. Ohio’s Education Reform Challenges: Lessons from the Frontlines with Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Michael Lafferty of (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), and The Unfinished Revolution with John Abbott (ASCD Press, 2000).
Marc is CFO of Bluum and has a unique blend of corporate and non-profit experience in finance, accounting, information systems, internal controls and management. His career started in 1993 at Grant Thornton LLP. Marc worked with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to streamline financial data gathering, reconciliation and reporting for its 330 parishes, 220 elementary schools, 30 high schools and a dozen other Diocesan sub-entities. From 1998 to 2006, Marc served on the advisory board for Cal State Fullerton’s “Certificate in Financial Planning and Management for Nonprofit Organizations” offered through their extended education department. The advisory board created the program, developed all curriculum, and taught classes targeting non-profit employees and board members. Marc specialized in teaching about non-profit tax, accounting and reporting topics. Before joining Bluum in late 2014, Marc spent fourteen years as a hands-on finance, information systems and operations manager in California.
As Director of Partner Services at Bluum Suzanne works on multiple program areas, communications and operations. She spends a significant amount of time creating community outreach opportunities, developing school support programs and establishing leadership development and trainings. Suzanne has a proven track record managing people and programs in Fortune 100 and small businesses as well as non-profits. She ran the Worldwide Marketing Operations and National Reseller Marketing departments for Ingram Micro, the world’s largest technology distributor. Prior to joining Bluum, she was the Business Manager at Meshwork Marketing. Suzanne earned her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of La Verne. Suzanne is passionate about improving education in Idaho and uses her skills and experience to advance the success of Idaho’s schools and their students both on and off the job.
Amy is the Learning and Grants Specialist with Bluum. Her experience in the education sector began as a low-income student, in a district fostering integration of students and promoting gifted and talented youth in specialized learning environments. The Neptune Township Launch (Honors) Program set Amy up for a lifelong love of learning, with amazing teachers as role models, for herself and eventually her family.
As a parent of parochial, public, and Monmouth County charter school students, Amy has added teaching in rural school districts to her experience. She was most recently a middle school teacher in Idaho, following her Teach for America corps experience on the Big Island of Hawai’i, with a focus on ensuring the academic success of all students. Her teaching experience includes special education for grades 4-12, as well as science, math, and English.
She is a proud graduate of the local county Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ, followed by a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration Management and a Master’s of Science in Professional Security Studies from New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ. After working in the for-profit world while raising her family, she is happiest working for education nonprofits that resonate with her own academic and career path.
Kristen McCarver oversees the activity of telling the Bluum story. Her responsibilities include managing the website, social media, monthly newsletter, press releases, and all other things related to innovative education. She is a sharer!
Kristen’s primary education is in Web Design and Development from College of Western Idaho and she began her career as web manager for a small business in Boise. Her lifelong passion for people and the legacy of her father inspired her to apply her skills in the nonprofit sector. Prior to Bluum, she served as Operations Manager for a local cancer support organization.
A lifelong Idaho native, Kristen has had the unique opportunity to attend both a large district public school and a tiny rural school, which led her to appreciate the true diversity of education throughout the state. She is always eager to apply her skills to further the message about educational choices in Idaho and values growth as an integral quality to success in all aspects of life.
Kurt has always been passionate about education and in 2013, he began his career in education as a Teach for America Houston corps member. Soon after, he worked as an investment associate in the DC area. His passion for education lead him back to the education sector as an Education Pioneers fellow where he worked for an education non-profit that invests in ideas and organizations that deliver excellent schools to students and families. Kurt is excited to be a part of the Idaho community and he is eager to help all students in the State gain access to a high-quality education. Kurt has experience in school innovation, school investments, and the finance sector and is excited to be a School Finance Fellow at Bluum. Kurt graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston.
Colleen is new to Idaho by way of New Orleans, and she will be using her vast experience in school support and leadership to help Bluum increase its capacity to identify, nurture, and develop new school leadership talent. Colleen holds M.A.s in both Special and Elementary Education from American University in Washington DC, and a C.A.S. in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University in Chicago. Her experience includes serving as a Special Education teacher, Assistant Principal, Program Director, and Chief Executive Officer. During her time as Director of KIPP’s School Leadership Program, she managed a year-long leadership training program for aspiring KIPP school leaders, which included design of program curriculum, support and coaching, and performance evaluation to ensure quality of skill development and knowledge attainment. As CEO of ReNEW Schools, a charter management organization based in New Orleans, she led a turnaround organization with a portfolio of 6 charter schools serving 4,200 students with 600 employees. Under her leadership, schools which were defined as failing by the state’s accountability system, attained significant academic growth in math and reading as measured by Louisiana state and national assessments.
Over the last 30 years, Toby has co-founded over a dozen companies in a wide variety of industries, including commercial real estate, energy production and specialty finance. A number of the specialty finance companies pioneered new asset classes in the asset-back securitization market. During the 2008 financial crisis, Mr. Prehn and his partners assisted the Senate Finance Committee, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, on a pro-bono basis, regarding the TARP and EESA programs. He also serves on the Board of Directors of several companies including AgriBeef, the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation, and A10 Capital. Mr. Prehn attended the University of California at Berkeley, BS Business Administration, graduating in 1983.
Joe Bruno oversees and directs all aspects of Building Hope’s operations. He is a certified public accountant with 35 years of accounting, finance, business and management experience, was a partner in two of the “Big 4″ international accounting firms and the CFO of a public company. As president of Building Hope, Joe has expanded the company’s operations from Washington, D.C. to as far south as Florida and as far west as California. His financial acumen and skillfull management at the helm is evidenced in the load portfolio which has never suffered a default from its operations in thirteen states and the District of Columbia. Joe’s executive expertise has also been recognized with election to the board of a public company in addition to many other board positions. He is active with charities, charter schools, and other non-profit organizations.
Dr. Bill Russell serves as Vice President and Regional Director for Transacction Partners, an organization which provides outsourced cloud-based back-office functions for small and medium-sized organizations. He was formerly Executive Director for Community Relations and General Counsel for Northwest Nazarene University and also served as a professor of Business Law and Business Ethics. He has also consulted on management and business practices with K-12 schools across the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, Bill was named the International Award for Teaching Excellence winner by the Accreditation Association for Business Schools and Programs. In receiving the award, he competed as one of nine Regional award winners against professors from India, Paraguay, Indiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Bill is an avid reader and has published one book, Let Fly Thy Arrow, available on Kindle. He is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of North Star Charter School in Eagle, Idaho.
Marybeth has deep experience supporting education leaders. She serves as Senior Advisor for Education Northwest and provides technical assistance to schools, districts, and states to build capacity for literacy and school improvement. Prior to joining Education Northwest, she served as president and CEO of Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, Texas, a non-profit think tank for literacy solutions. Marybeth served as Deputy Superintendent at ISDE, taught at BSU, and directed Idaho’s Reading First Program. She holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Boise State University, a master’s in special education from Fairfield University, is a certified academic language therapist, and dyslexia specialist.
Renita Thukral is the Senior National Advisor for Legal Affairs for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, where she leads and grows the Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys; addresses civil rights, fiscal equity, and labor/employment issues confronting charter schools; assists with federal legal questions challenging the charter school community; provides legal technical assistance to state partners considering litigation; and offers support to state partners seeking to improve their regulatory and authorizing environments. Prior to her work with the National Alliance, she was the policy director at the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools and, prior to that, the director of policy and advocacy at New Schools for New Orleans. Renita was an adjunct professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and has been invited to speak at Harvard Law School, Columbia University Teachers College, and Johns Hopkins School of Education. In 2010, she published a law review article in the Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law titled “The Unique System of Charter Schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Distinctive Structure, Familiar Challenges,” which examined the New Orleans charter school community. In 2013, she published a law review article in the ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law titled “Federal Regulations of State Pension Plans: The Governmental Plan Revisited,” which explored the impact of federal rulemaking on the eligibility of quasi-public entities to offer state pension benefits to their employees. Before entering the charter school world, Renita was a public defender in New York City, practicing at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts. She clerked for the Honorable Robert W. Sweet in federal district court in the Southern District of New York. She earned her juris doctorate from Yale Law School and her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa during her junior year. She taught junior high school math in Los Altos, California, before attending law school. Renita proudly serves on three nonprofit boards. She is a founding board member of Harmony School of Excellence-DC, a charter school based in Washington, D.C. She serves on the board of Charter Board Partners, a national nonprofit that designs and drives high-quality governance for charter school operators around the country. And she is the vice president of the board of Global Charity Foundation, a United States-based nonprofit that provides health care and education services to women and children in India.
Marta is founder and CEO of Reyes-Newberry & Associates, a consulting firm creating sustainable, smart educational learning systems. Marta has been active in the school reform effort for over 20 years. From 2003 through 2007, she was the first state director of the Charter Schools Division for California. Within three years, the Division was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national leader for its work to support, promote and oversee the creation of high-quality charter schools throughout California. Marta was founder and executive director of the first county-sponsored charter school for the El Dorado County Office of Education in California. She also served as a board member and president of the board of the California Network of Charter Schools. Reyes received her Bachelor of Science degree from California State Polytechnic University and received a fellowship to pursue a federally funded Masters in Educational Leadership for Entrepreneurs at Arizona State University.
Will Hughes, Associate Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, joined Boise State University in 2008. In 2010, he joined St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho as an affiliate faculty and research council member. He is a member of the university’s interdisciplinary Nanoscale Materials and Device Research Group, where his team engineers biomolecular tools made from DNA. Dr. Hughes has received recognition and funding for science, teaching, and civic engagement. Primary support comes from the W.M. Keck Foundation, the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Dr. Hughes holds four patents in nanoscience, seven fellowships, and seven awards.