Golnar Abedin, Ph.D.
Founder/ Executive Director

Dr. Abedin is a Founder and the Executive Director at Creative Minds International PCS.  She designed the CMI education plan and curriculum components, with the goal of providing DC public school students an international, inclusive, and arts-based educational opportunity.

Dr. Abedin is a graduate of the doctoral studies program in Organizational Leadership and Education Policy at the University of Maryland. The recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, she completed her Ph.D. in May 2010. Her doctoral dissertation research was on the impact of arts-based education on student engagement in a public charter school inclusion setting, within the context of the No Child Left Behind Act and the IDEA policy frameworks. Dr. Abedin holds an M.A. in Special Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University.

During the last 20 years, Dr. Abedin has worked in the United States and abroad with students, teachers and school leadership teams in a variety of educational settings, as a teacher, an instructional coach, an inclusion specialist, special education director, academic researcher, and USAID consultant.

Dillon Clark
Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Clark is a public education manager who has been deeply involved in the education and youth development sectors throughout his career.

Mr. Clark has worked as a teacher, teacher leader, coach, administrator and social worker with the District of Columbia Public Schools, the Bellmore-Merrick Union Free School District and New York City Department of Education. He served as the Chief Financial Officer and Special Education Director for Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School.  Prior to that, Mr. Clark served as a Behavior and Educational Supports Program Specialist for the Office of Teaching and Learning’s Division of Specialized Instruction in the District of Columbia Public Schools. He advised teachers, staff, and administrators on all aspects of school administration, operations, teaching and learning, special education compliance, and service delivery.  Also in Washington, D.C., Mr. Clark held multiple direct service and case management positions with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

Beyond his work, Mr. Clark is deeply involved in his community through various organizations and volunteer experiences.  He has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of a New York-based non-profit organization in consultation with the United Nations, served on the Montgomery County Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs, and serves as a member of the OSSE State Title III Advisory Committee.

Mr. Clark received his Bachelors of Arts in Politics with a concentration in World Politics from The Catholic University of America and his Masters of Science in Social Work with a concentration in Social Enterprise Administration and a minor in Law from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Linda Kern, Ph.D.
Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Kern comes to CMI from the McLean School in Potomac, Maryland where she served as the Director of Academic Programs. She brings extensive experience with research-based teaching approaches and tools to individualize instruction, so that all students can develop their current abilities, achieve goals, and thrive.

As Math Department Chair and Math Specialist at McLean, as well as in her earlier position as Math Coordinator at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Dr. Kern worked closely with teachers to support a wide range of learners. She passionately believes that all students can achieve math success when we spark their curiosity, grow their confidence, and engage them with effective, brain-based learning opportunities.

Dr. Kern holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and a B.S from Georgetown University. She has a professional fluency in French, and completed her Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Paris as well as a postdoctoral Certificat at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. She has also lived and worked extensively in the Middle East and China. Her international living experience has given her a firsthand understanding of the importance of teaching global awareness.

Dr. Kern has also been recognized by students, families and schools for her many years of effective teaching on both the K-12 and university levels. Most recently, she received the Best of Bethesda Magazine Award for the “Best [K-8] Summer Camp You Wish You Could Attend,” as well as numerous Certificates for Distinction in Teaching from Harvard, Georgetown, and Brown Universities.

Board Members

Ornella Napolitano
Financial Consultant
Dionne Tyus Garvin
Manager, People Advisory Services
Ernst & Young, LLP
Eric Reese
Vice Chair
Senior Implementation Advisor
Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University
Matt Walker
Vice President, Policy and Public Partnerships Strategy
Teach for America
Patricia Talbert Smith
Independent School Consultant
Kelly Young
Operations Manager/IT Coordinator                   
Capitol Hill Day School
Prita Patel
Associate Vice Provost for Academic Administration
American University
Jerry Zayets
Director of Multi Family Development
Capital City Real Estate LLC
Melanie Bowen
Immediate-Past Board Chair
Executive Director
Education Advisory Board