Board of Trustees
The Creative Minds Board of Trustees comprises 11 volunteers from within and outside the school community. The board holds Creative Minds and its mission and future in trust as it creates policy, exercises fiduciary responsibility to the school, and delegates the operational and educational functions of the school to the executive director.
To contact members of the board, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board meetings take place on Mondays, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and are open to the public; see the schedule below. While capacity limits and other safety measures are in effect, board meetings are happening remotely. We share a registration link with our community the week before each meeting.
This is the board of trustees meeting schedule for 2021–22:
- August 9, 2021
- October 18, 2021
- November 22, 2021
- December 13, 2021
- February 28, 2022
- April 18, 2022
- June 20, 2022
Dr. Neal Brown
Member of Academic Excellence Committee
Dr. Neal Brown has served as the head of school at Green Acres School since 2008. Green Acres is a progressive independent school, serving prekindergarten through 8th-grade students, in North Bethesda, Maryland. During Neal’s tenure, Green Acres has developed service-learning partnerships with local nonprofits; become a certified MAEOE Green School; launched a pre-K program; extended diversity and inclusion initiatives; and integrated technology, including a one-to-one laptop program and middle school classes in engineering and robotics. Bringing Green Acres to prominence as a model progressive school, Neal had Green Acres host a national conference of the Progressive Education Network for 500 educators in 2009. Neal also worked to form a local consortium of progressive schools, and he has published articles for Independent School magazine and writes regularly about progressive education and school leadership for school publications. Neal earned his BA and MAT from Brown University. He taught at Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and at the Kokrobitey School in Accra, Ghana. Neal facilitated a network of independent schools and consulted with public schools across the country while working for the Coalition of Essential Schools and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform—organizations dedicated to progressive educational philosophy. Neal’s doctoral work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education focused on the professional culture of schools and the induction of beginning teachers.
Michael J. Curran
Chair of Governance Committee and Member of Finance Committee
Michael J. Curran blends his legal, teaching, leadership, and management experience to help individuals and organizations reach their full potential. He leverages his extensive background in growing, improving, and leading companies and business units by working with people who desire to realize higher levels of satisfaction and potential.
Michael’s work includes coaching and consulting for individuals and organizations, helping them develop personal, organizational-strategy, business-solution, and overall goals. Through his teaching, consulting, and facilitation, he helps people find new insights into how each person and organization can find more personal satisfaction and organizational success through changes in how people think and work together.
Michael earned his MPA at Harvard University, his JD at the University of Louisville, and his BA at Bellarmine University and holds a certification in leadership coaching from Georgetown University. He is also an adjunct professor in the Masters of Real Estate Development program at George Mason University. He is on the board, governance committee and is chair of the finance and audit committee of the Charter School Development Corporation and is a member of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Federal City Council, Economic Club of Washington, and the Urban Land Institute.
Michael is an avid distance runner. He collects contemporary art and photography, plays the guitar, and is a photographer.
Member of Academic Excellence Committee
Imani Davis has more than 20 years’ experience in the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors. She has worked in more than 17 “developing” countries, leading grassroots initiatives and managing budgeting, HR matters, and intercultural-diversity and inclusion initiatives. Imani was a founding member and co-president of Sankofa, a federal-employee resource group, and recently served as director of management and operations for the US Peace Corps program in Belize. After returning to the US, Imani shifted gears and dedicated two years to homeschooling her three children.
Imani is currently a Shriver Peaceworker Fellow at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, pursuing an MSW. She works for the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services in Baltimore.
During her free time, Imani enjoys spending time outdoors, practicing yoga, and traveling. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and three children.
Dionne Tyus Garvin
Dionne Tyus Garvin has had an extensive advisory and management consulting career. With a portfolio of clients spanning both public and private sector organizations, Dionne has more than 12 years of experience creating human capital strategies and solutions for talent management, change management, and workforce strategy and planning. In addition to her management career, Dionne has spent more than 20 years serving as a passionate advocate for children, K–12 education, and student achievement. As a Broad resident, Dionne spent three years supporting Prince George’s County Public Schools building human capital solutions and creating business partnerships for innovative career pathways for high school students. She holds a BS in business administration from Florida A&M University, an MA in communication & culture from Howard University, and an MS in educational leadership from the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. Dionne’s wealth of experience brings exciting insights to support CMI’s goals. She is also a passionate supporter and patron of the performing arts, particularly ballet, opera, and theater arts for children. Dionne joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in 2016.
Member of Academic Excellence Committee
Corey Gordon is a founding principal of DeliverEd, an organization that supports education leaders in effectively planning for and managing change. In this role, she manages many of DeliverEd’s partnerships with charter schools, district superintendents, and nonprofit leaders. She is an expert at building relationships and a master facilitator, having taught the delivery approach to hundreds of educators across the country. Additionally, she serves as CFO, overseeing DeliverEd’s contracting and financials.
Prior to starting DeliverEd, Corey worked for five years with the Education Delivery Institute, managing engagements with partners at all levels of the US education sector. She started her career as a special-education teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Corey holds a BS in special education from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in public policy from Georgetown University. She lives in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC, with her husband, Peter; four-year-old daughter, Alex; and one-year-old son, Taylor. Corey joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in October of 2021.
Manny Hernandez was born in El Salvador and migrated to Washington, DC, at the age of 11. His family supported five children by cleaning houses for minimum wage, so Manny always felt that he had the responsibility to keep studying and to give back to his community. After graduating from Bell Multicultural High School, he attended the University of the District of Columbia, earning a bachelor of music in music education in 2012 and a master of arts in early childhood education two years later. While going to school, Manny became a local musician, performing with Latin bands in venues across the DC area. He’s still an active performer and is also a doctoral student in education leadership at the American College of Education.
Lynn C. Jennings
Chair of Academic Excellence Committee
Dr. Lynn C. Jennings directs strategy and advocacy initiatives as senior director of national and state partnerships for the Education Trust, a leading national organization committed to eliminating education inequities, in P–12 and higher education, that disproportionately impact students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. In this role she has led the organization’s growth into states by building and sustaining advocacy networks in 10 states, including establishing two Ed Trust state-based education hubs. Under her leadership, the Ed Trust has worked with communities, educators, policymakers, experts, and other key stakeholders on issues such as funding equity, educator diversity, college affordability, and accountability. Lynn developed her expertise in federal and state education policy as an education lobbyist and senior program manager at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Currently, Lynn serves as president of the PTO at John Burroughs Elementary School. She joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in 2018 and currently serves as chair of the Academic Excellence Committee and on the Executive, Executive Director Search, and Strategic Planning Committees. Prior to entering the education policy space, Lynn taught American literature, African American studies, and women’s studies courses at varied institutions of higher education, including Spelman College, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a BA in English from Spelman College and her PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lynn lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two sons.
Member of Development Committee and Finance Committee
Mike Liddell has two decades of experience at the intersection of technology and nonprofit communications. He currently serves as the general manager, digital, for EveryAction, which provides SaaS solutions to nonprofits. As GM, Mike oversees the Digital business line, which includes EveryAction’s award-winning digital marketing products, services, and payments functionality. Before joining EveryAction in 2011, Mike ran the digital team for the Treasury Department in the Obama Administration for two years and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee for four years. He also worked at CTSG as a project manager, serving nonprofits like the Alzheimer’s Association, Community Foundations of America, and Hillel International. Mike has worked for numerous nonprofits and campaigns and is a proud University of Texas Longhorn. He joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in 2021.
Board Chair / Member of Governance Committee
Navin Nayak has more than 15 years of experience in advocacy and elections with several organizations. Currently, he serves as the president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. In that capacity, he oversees day-to-day management of the organization and helps create new programs and projects that will help the organization fulfill its mission. Previously, Navin served as the director of opinion research for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, where he oversaw all of the campaign’s message research. He worked for eight years at the League of Conservation Voters, where, among several roles, he served as senior vice president for campaigns, overseeing all of the organization’s electoral work. In addition to his advocacy experience, Navin worked as a donor advisor at Corridor Partners, where he provided strategic guidance to donors on their advocacy and electoral investments. He has a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal and a master’s in environmental studies from York University in Toronto. Navin joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in 2019.
Chair of Development Committee
Holly Oliver is an experienced philanthropic strategist and chief development officer with a demonstrated history of engaging the community in the work of important organizations. Skilled in budgeting, organizational management, communications, team building and leadership, Holly has worked tirelessly to advance the work of local nonprofits. Currently Holly is working as a consultant with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, advising them on fundraising, organizational management, and community engagement. Previously Holly served as the chief development officer of Arena Stage, successfully leading a team of talented fundraisers to grow annual contributions and launch the capital campaign. Before her time at Arena Stage, Holly was part of the fundraising team at a number of local theaters, including the Kennedy Center and Round House Theatre, and she worked with some of the many associations in Washington, DC.
Holly earned a BA from American University and lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and two daughters.
Member of Finance Committee
Lisa Raymond has served as a leader, elected official, and advocate with a focus on under-resourced populations in the District of Columbia, with more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit and government sectors. She is currently a philanthropy consultant for MedStar Health. Lisa’s prior experiences in government include serving as president and Ward 6 member of the DC State Board of Education, chief of staff to the attorney general for the District of Columbia, and senior education advisor to the Council of the District of Columbia. In her role with the council, she led education-agency oversight and managed the legislative process for all education bills. Her nonprofit positions have included serving as deputy director for DC Action for Children and chief of staff of the See Forever Foundation. Lisa has also been a senior consultant for Collaborative Communications Group, where she provided strategic consulting to public-school superintendents and boards of education.
Lisa was one of the original leaders of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, helping to build the school from 60 students in 1998 to a charter school network. She served as the school’s first public policy director, chief of operations, and chief operating officer. Lisa received a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in psychology from Indiana University.
Board Secretary / Member of Governance Committee
Matt Walker is vice president of policy and public partnerships strategy at Teach For America. Originally from Colorado, Matt taught second and third grade for three years in Los Angeles as a TFA corps member; earned a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at night, while teaching full time during the day; and was honored by his school district with an Unsung Hero Award for extraordinary work. He was a Capitol Hill staffer for several years, worked on No Child Left Behind and the Affordable Care Act, and served as chief of staff to Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) and as labor counsel to the House Committee on Education & Labor. He also practiced employee benefit law at Sherman & Howard LLC in Denver, Colorado, and was a deputy district attorney in Aspen, Colorado. He is a board member of Buildings & Books, which works to establish children’s community libraries in sub-Saharan Africa. Matt has a BA in philosophy and political science from the University of Southern California; a master’s degree in administration, planning, and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and a law degree from Cornell Law School. He joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in 2016.
Vice Chair of Governance Committee, Member of Strategic Planning Committee, Member of Race, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Jennifer (Jenni) Wallace is deputy director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries Service. As deputy director, her role is to manage and lead fishery conservation and management activities to ensure sustainable fisheries through effective national and office-level programs and policies. She started at NOAA Fisheries in 2002, as a presidential management intern. Jenni holds a BS in marine biology from Eckerd College and a master’s of environmental management from Duke University. She lives in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC, with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Evelyn, a student at Creative Minds. Jenni served as president of the Creative Families Association during the 2018–2019 school year and currently serves as the immediate past president. She joined the Creative Minds Board of Trustees in the fall of 2019, as a parent member, and serves on the Strategic Planning Committee and the Race, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.
CMI’s Open Board Meeting Policy
The Board’s overall objective is to conduct school business in a transparent manner; many Board documents, including financial statements, are available for view online. While many Board meetings deal with personnel issues, awards, or other matters of confidential nature, we will hold a minimum of one open Board meeting in the Fall per school year. We will announce the date of this open meeting on the CMI website, and in an email to the CMI community, at least ten days in advance. This schedule complies with CMI’s bylaws, which specify there shall be at least ten meetings of the Board held each year. Members of the CMI community who wish to contact the Board are welcome to do so at any time.