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.
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 NCSECS, 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).
Stephanie Lancet, Program Specialist
Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy from Boston College, and her master’s degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to joining NCSECS, Stephanie spent several years in the field of higher education, working first in a service-learning program at Boston College and then in student support services at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Shaini Kothari, Data Specialist
Shaini leads NCSECS' 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 NCSECS is collaborating with local organizations to build capacity to educate students with disabilities. Shaini comes to NCSECS 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.
Mark Rynone, Founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Special Education Collaborative (NJSEC)
Mark joins our team as the Founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Special Education Collaborative (NJSEC); a project incubated under NCSECS. Growing up in a family of teachers, Mark has a wealth of experience in the educational space. He became an educator in New Jersey public schools, serving the needs of his students using best practices around co-teaching and inclusive supports. He then transitioned to the private sector working as a consultant to school districts throughout the state, including Newark, assisting with special education administration, compliance audits, and school-based Medicaid reimbursement. Mark is excited to work with all member schools and help to continue to make a difference in the lives of children in New Jersey.
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.
Chanelle Figueroa, Senior Director of Communications
The transformative impact that a high quality education had on her life, compels Chanelle to advocate for equity and access for all students. For eleven years, Chanelle led strategic communications efforts in three school districts - the NYCDOE, Newark Public Schools, and YES Prep Public Schools, a charter management organization in Houston, Texas. Prior to her work in education, she worked to remove barriers to health services for inmates on Rikers Island and to reduce chronic homelessness among families with children. She earned her B.A. in Government and American Studies from Wesleyan University and her M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from New York University.
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 NCSECS 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 special needs, 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.