Lauren Morando Rhim is Executive Director and Co-Founder of the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools. A researcher, consultant, and advocate, she has spent the last 25 years striving to identify strategies to create and sustain high quality public schools for all students. She has published extensively about school reform and regularly consults with federal, state and local policy leaders as well as practitioners. Read More.
Paul O'Neill is an education attorney, professor and author with extensive experience in guiding education organizations through challenges and growth. He advises schools, authorizers, networks, non-profits, government agencies and philanthropies on the rules and complexities that apply to educational organizations as well as on effective board governance. Read More.
Lindsay Coker, Chief of Staff
Lindsay is an attorney and non-profit management professional who has spent much of her career focusing on human rights and diversity. Lindsay practiced federal litigation at the New York office of Weil Gotshal & Manges, LLP, then clerked for the Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Following the active practice of law, she spent four years living in Guatemala where she worked with non-profit organizations centered on education and healthcare. Read More.
Megan Ohlssen, Managing Director of Programs
Megan works to close the opportunity gaps and disrupt the status quo in education. With a vision of equity and inclusion, she focuses on the multiple identities of students and educators to dismantle the silo of special education. Megan was a special education teacher and leader in both district and charter schools in Brooklyn. Prior to joining the the Center’s team, she was the Director of the NYC Special Education Collaborative where she supported schools in building inclusive educational environments that ensured access and equity for all. As an undergraduate student at Lewis & Clark College she studied psychology and sociology. She then moved to Brooklyn to join the NYC Teaching Fellows where she earned her Masters in Education and Special Education from Brooklyn College.
Wendy Tucker, Senior Director of Policy
Wendy is an attorney, advocate and education policy expert. She has extensive experience as a trial lawyer, first as an assistant public defender and later in private practice. In 2005, inspired by her own daughter’s journey as a student with a disability, Wendy began representing families of students with disabilities in special education matters. She has worked extensively at the state and local level in Nashville, Tennessee to advocate for education policies, especially those that benefit students with disabilities. She has held leadership roles in several non-profit organizations focused on education and special education issues, including serving as the founding board chair of Nashville’s Diverse Learners Cooperative.
Tracey Saunders, Development and Outreach Manager
Tracey is a non-profit professional who has spent her career focusing on event management, development and education. Tracey received her bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies from the University of New Hampshire, a certificate in Non-Profit Management from Marlboro College in Brattleboro, VT, and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Liberal Arts program at Dartmouth College with a concentration in creative writing. Prior to joining the Center, Tracey spent several years managing high-profile donor and alumni relations events at both Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. She is passionate about volunteer work and has been actively engaged locally with several non-profit boards including the Upper Valley Haven, the Montshire Museum of Science, and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD).
Laura Jean Gilloux, Operations Manager
Laura Jean leads the Center’s operational efforts to ensure smooth business practices and organizational efficiency. Prior to joining the Center, Laura Jean spent over eight years providing strategic event planning support for annual giving and capital campaign efforts in higher education. She was an integral part of the planning team that launched Dartmouth College’s $3 billion Call to Lead Campaign, its largest fundraising effort to date. LJ has a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri and a Masters of Liberal Arts from Dartmouth College where her studies focused on Creative Writing with an emphasis in Poetry. She is happy to have found a home at the Center as Operations Manager, supporting colleagues who challenge and inspire her.
Simone Hall, Policy Specialist
As an integral member of the Center’s policy team, Simone monitors and analyzes legislative and regulatory developments at multiple levels of government related to students with disabilities in charter schools. Prior to joining the Center, Simone worked in the policy shop of a small business advocacy organization in Washington, DC. In this role, she helped build the organization’s federal and state policy agendas. Before that, she worked in her university’s Office for Students with Disabilities as a Notetaker and aided students in their classes by taking notes that provided them with helpful study tools. Simone received her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Political Science from Florida Atlantic University and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy (MPP) at the George Washington University.
Stephanie Lancet, Program Specialist
Stephanie supports the Center’s qualitative research and field-level projects that bring the organization to work with schools, districts, and key stakeholders across the country. During her time with The Center, her areas of interest have centered around the intersection of inclusion, equity, and diversity. Stephanie spent several years in the field of higher education prior to joining The Center, last working in student support services at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy from Boston College, and her master’s degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University with a research focus on the impact of mental health on learning.
Shaini Kothari, Data Specialist
Shaini leads the Center's data work including examining the Civil Rights Data Collection, tracking enrollment and service provision trends in Washington DC charter schools, and collecting and analyzing data in cities including Camden, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Newark, where the Center is collaborating with local organizations to build capacity to educate students with disabilities. Shaini comes to the Center from Explore Schools, a Brooklyn charter school network, where she worked as a Data and Operations Associate. Prior to Explore, Shaini worked as a program assistant at several Harlem-area non-profits. While getting her master’s degree in Population Health from University of Wisconsin, Madison, Shaini taught an undergraduate biology lab and tutored at Madison-area primary and secondary schools for several years. Shaini received her bachelor’s degree in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from UW, Madison as well.
Lauren Krempecki, Program Coordinator for Special Populations for the New Jersey Special Education Collaborative (NJSEC)
Prior to her work with NJSEC, Lauren provided training and support in the area of special education and school-based Medicaid billing, as well as state-level student data collection. She has also worked as a project manager for a large district implementation of a special education management system, as a special education liaison and teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, and as a paraprofessional in New Jersey. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary and Special Education from Temple University.