Communities for learning, growth, and impact

We believe that leaders need other leaders. Having participated in many cohort groups and learning communities ourselves, we know the power of bringing together diverse talent to challenge and support each other. We're now creating spaces where people in similar roles can think in new and big ways and can have a community of people to lean on when things get tough. We are honored to be leading several cohort programs of inspirational leaders in both academics and talent.

Now Accepting Applications for the
2023-24 CAO Cohort!

Our Chief Academic Officer Cohort brings academic leaders together to learn alongside trusted colleagues in similar roles.

Chief Academic

Male teacher working with elementary school boy at his desk

Chief Talent


Addressing Learning Gaps Cohort

There is power in people coming together to solve complex problems.

Chief Academic Officer Cohort

Our Chief Academic Officer Cohort brings academic leaders together to learn alongside trusted colleagues in similar roles. Through the cohort, cohort members sharpen their vision, build their skills, exchange resources, problem solve, build relationships, and feel more fulfilled in their roles.

This cohort brings together Chief Academic Officers from high performing charter school networks, working to solve problems and and support each other through the year. Cohort participants share a desire to create more equitable opportunities for all children.

Topics are responsive to the needs of the group, including a cycle of reviewing student achievement data, discussing remediation strategies, and problem-solving specific challenges.

2022-2023 CAO Cohort


Dr. Saskia Brown, Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy


Dr. Megan Frankiewicz, Vista College Prep


Ben Johnson,
Ingenuity Prep


Jeremy Jones,
Eagle College Prep


Crystal Lane,


Nate Lowry,
Academies of Math and Science

2021-2022 CAO Cohort


Andrew McRae, Breakthrough Schools

Portraits at Ascend Learning in Brooklyn

Anjya Thomas, Ascend Learning

emily fernandez

Emily Fernandez,
Hebrew Public Schools

jonathan mcintosh

Jonathan McIntosh,
Prospect Schools

katie severn

Katie Severn,
DC Prep

leah peters

Leah Peters,
KIPP Colorado

NYC Chief Talent Officer Cohort

The NYC Chief Talent Officer Cohort functions as a collaborative cohort for senior talent leaders of high-impact school management organizations to share best practices, problem-solve and leverage community to improve outcomes for students.

Since inception in 2018, the cohort has met monthly, establishing a valued space to collaborate with others wrestling with with similar obstacles. Hendy facilitators develop agendas and activities that deepen collective understanding of challenges in the field, offering ideas and resources based on research and national best practices, and guiding the group's experience to support talent leaders in our hometown. Past session topics include Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Compensation, Succession Planning, Leadership Development, and Performance Management.

In the face of Covid-19 crisis and uncertainty, the group began meeting weekly, maximizing the value of what has become a tight-knit community and trusted soundboard to tackle new challenges together.

2018 - 2021 CTO Cohort

emilie christopher

Emilee Christopher,
Public Preparatory Network

lisa friscia

Lisa Friscia,
Democracy Public Schools

betsy goldfarb

Betsy Goldfarb,

Jennice hyde 2

Jennice Hyde,
Hebrew Public Schools

rachel modica-russell

Rachel Modica-Russell,
Explore Schools

elaine perez

Elaine Perez,
Prospect Schools

talia shaull

Talia Shaull,
Achievement First

ross thomason

Ross Thomason,
Coney Island Prep

Addressing Learning Gaps Cohort

The global pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to leaders working to make the best possible decisions for their students, families, and staff. Academic leaders are now faced with the daunting questions of understanding student learning needs and planning to address them in coming years.

We created two Spring 2021 Addressing Learning Gaps Cohorts where academic teams from seven high performing charter networks came together to create their organizational strategy to  address academic learning gaps as a result of COVID. We supported them in reviewing their data, aligning their curriculum and pacing to the priority standards, and reviewing their talent structures to support their plans. Each team left with a theory of action and a concrete plan to address learning gaps as well as a training, communications and evaluation plan. 

2021 Addressing Learning Gaps Cohort

Breakthrough Public Schools
KIPP Colorado

According to Cohort Members


of current cohort members would recommend the cohort to another talent leader


agree that the cohort has helped to strengthen their leadership and allowed them to have a greater influence on their networks


agree they have been able to raise the priority level of talent within their CMO such that organization-wide decisions are being made considering best practices in talent and adult management


report they are extremely or very likely to reach out to another cohort member for support when facing a challenging issue


report their experience was extremely or very valuable

Rachel Modica-Russell

Explore Schools

“I’ve considered myself so fortunate to be part of this brainstrust from the start of the year - but especially in this moment. Thank you for the warmth, advice, and space + resources to build and get better.”

Ross Thomason

Coney Island Prep

"Being part of the CTO cohort experience was incredibly impactful on my leadership. It was really empowering to take ideas away form our cohort sessions and go back to my Leadership Team with thoroughly-vetted, peer-reviewed ideas to offer to whatever challenge it was that we were facing. Having the CTO cohort as a resource really amplified talent work at my school broadly. Particularly for a smaller school, to be able to workshop ideas with other talent leaders is really valuable professional development learning opportunity that is not widely available."

Kim Kassnove

Hebrew Public Schools

"Leading in a small start up CMO can be particularly challenging because you are creating everything as you go. Relying on the wisdom, proven practice and resources of this group has made decision making and new program implementation infinitely easier. I know that if ever a question arises that I can't answer on my own (which happens all the time), I have a brilliant group of colleagues in the sector who can help me work it through. I have often boasted about being a member of this group to my colleagues, and they've lamented that there isn't a similar cohort for their roles. This is an incredibly unique opportunity and one for which I am extremely grateful."

Lisa Friscia

Democracy Prep

"Learning from and with other talent leaders with such diverse skill sets and experiences has been incredibly valuable, and helped to push my own thinking and creativity in my role. In the ed space- particularly in charters- there are trainings and programs to support school leaders and their coaches, but not a lot of opportunities for those in the talent space to talk."

Betsy Goldfarb


"The shifts due to COVID could've been an incredibly isolating time, as CTOs navigated so many complicated, unprecedented issues. The CTO group came together even MORE often during this time, and in addition to being able to learn from each other, it was just an amazing sense of community, where we never felt alone."

Measuring Impact:

Reflecting on 3 Years of the Cohort Approach

Stronger Leadership Skills

100% of participants agree that their cohort has helped to strengthen their leadership and allowed them to have a greater influence on their networks.

Better Decision Making

100% of participants agree that they have been able to raise the priority level of talent within their CMO such that organization-wide decisions are being made considering best practices in talent and adult management.

Professional Growth

  • Building relationships with peers in similar roles
  • Sharing resources and tools
  • Sharing and learning about best practices
  • Problem-solving around specific challenges
  • Supporting each other through the challenges of COVID

“Alone, we can do so little;
together we can do so much.”

Helen Keller