Terry Ryan is CEO of the Boise-based education nonprofit Bluum and Board Chair of the Idaho Charter School Network. Ryan is responsible for leading Idaho’s effort to double the number of students in Idaho high-performing public charter schools. Ryan leads Idaho’s federal Charter School Program (CSP) grant of $22 million.
Ryan was Vice-President for Ohio Programs and Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute from 2001 to 2013. He 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 on education policy and civic education. In the 1990s, he served as research director for the UK-based 21st Century Learning Initiative.
Ryan serves on Idaho Governor Brad Little’s “Our Kids, Idaho’s Future” education task force. He is a member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Policy Advisory Council, and served as a Commissioner for the CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance. 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, bringing a blend of corporate and non-profit experience in finance, accounting, information systems and management. His career started in 1993 as a CPA at Grant Thornton LLP, where he spent seven years auditing non-profit and for-profit entities. Before joining Bluum in late 2014, Marc spent fourteen years as a hands-on finance, information systems and operations manager for several manufacturing companies. At Bluum, Marc oversees accounting, financial reporting, grant management and school back office support. Marc earned is BA in business management from California State University, Fullerton.
Greg Richmond is the founder of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Under his leadership, the association established the nation’s professional standards for authorizing, worked with dozens of cities and states to implement authorizing policies and practices that lead to quality schools for children and taxpayers, and successfully implemented its One Million Lives campaign to approve 2000 high-quality charter schools and close 1000 failing charter schools across the country.
Richmond also worked within the Chicago Public Schools for ten years, leading the district’s innovative strategies for creating new schools. From 2011 to 2015, he served as the founding chairman of the Illinois State Charter School Commission.
He was a founding board member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Equitable Facility Fund, and the Facilities Investment Fund and is a member of the National Charter School Hall of Fame. He is a Senior Fellow at the Future Ed think tank at Georgetown University, a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and has advised public officials in the United Kingdom, Abu Dhabi, Chile, and Turkey on the development of their country’s new school strategies.
Amy is the Director of Federal Grants and Support 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.
Darren is assistant CFO at Bluum. He has a broad range of governmental experience including governmental audits, school finance and management. His career started as an auditor for the Legislative Services Office and then continued as the Director of Finance and Operations for the Middleton School District for the past 11 years. He was recognized in 2018 as the Idaho School Business Official of the Year. He earned a bachelor’s in accounting from the College of Idaho in 2003 and then his Masters of Business Administration in 2006 from Northwest Nazarene University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Kim is the Finance and Operations Manager of Bluum. She brings a diverse accounting background, with a strong discipline in school business administration. She began her career in public accounting with KPMG, before transitioning into the pharmaceutical sector with Johnson & Johnson. Kim then accepted her first role in education as a staff accountant with Franklin Township Public Schools in New Jersey. She served in the district for fourteen years, earning her certification as a school business administrator, and overseeing the operations of the Transportation, Maintenance and Food Service departments. Kim continues to serve as the district’s Treasurer of School Monies.
Multiple relocations provided Kim the opportunity to expand her accounting background into the manufacturing and retail industries, where she assisted in the implementation of a resource planning system, as well as developed and strengthened internal controls at her various employers.
Kim is excited to be part of the Bluum team and return to education, where she can once again pursue her passion of improving education for students through her support as a financial leader.
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.
Nancy joined our team in 2015. Her professional experience includes information systems & technology, website development, business administration, project management and accounting. This combination of experience and skill has allowed her to transition into school finance and operations with ease. Previously, Nancy managed the client relations department of an Idaho-based company, providing project management services to over 40 professional and collegiate sports commemorative campaigns all over North America. For over a decade, Nancy provided clients, many of which were nonprofits, full service – including campaign logistics, bookkeeping, communications, and personalized client support. Nancy also worked for the State of Idaho for seven years, developing a good understanding of the detailed, complicated compliance requirements and Idaho law.
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.
Melody Davis provides support to Bluum’s Finance team and Partner Schools as the Payroll and Accounting Specialist. She was born and raised in Southern Idaho and has been a native of the Pacific Northwest for most of her life. Melody earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from Western Governor’s University and has applied her knowledge of business and human resources to help a wide variety of organizations, including the Boise National Forest Service, the Idaho State Library, and the Idaho Fish & Game Department. She most recently served as Curriculum & Administrative Services Coordinator at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and as HR Data Analyst for Edmonds School District in Lynnwood, Washington.
Pratika works with Bluum as a Payroll and Accounting clerk. She was born in Butwal, Nepal. Her life journey has been interesting, and it led her to Kathmandu, Nepal to pursue her undergraduate degree. She completed her undergraduate with honors in Business Administration with a major in Banking & Finance from Tribhuvan University. She has a broad range of professional experiences that include an Internship in the Loan and Online Department at Nabil Bank Limited headquarters, Chief Overseas Education Consultant at Royal Educational Foundation, a Finance Assistant for the nonprofit organization Campaign for Human Rights and Social Transformation Nepal (CAHURAST-Nepal), and as a Graduate Research Assistant at Boise State University. Currently, she is pursuing her MBA in General Management at Boise State University. She believes humility & honesty are the greatest qualities to live a successful life, as what goes around comes around.
Emily McClure, McClure Policy | Blake Youde, Idaho Charter School Network | Max Koltuv, Soar Education Partners | Josh McCarty, Good Points Communications
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.
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.
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.