Board of Directors Detail

Richard Tagle
The Andy Roddick Foundation
Chief Executive Officer

Richard Tagle is the chief executive officer of the Andy Roddick Foundation, based in Austin, Texas, whose mission is to work with the community to expand opportunities for young people to learn, thrive and succeed. Prior to this, Richard was the founder and managing principal at HighThink, which provided assistance to emerging nonprofit organizations in the areas of strategic planning, organization development, fundraising, and evaluation.  He was also the CEO at Higher Achievement during the period of its expansion throughout the mid-Atlantic region from 2006-2011. Prior to this, he was the chief of staff at Public Education Network managing cooperative agreements with federal government agencies and national foundations to regrant investments to local education funds to address equity issues in public education. He also served as a senior program officer at the United States Conference of Mayors where he managed grants focused on health initiatives to municipal agencies and community based organizations. He currently serves as board chair for College Forward and treasurer for the Grantmakers for Education board of directors.  He also served on boards of numerous national and regional organizations such as the National Summer Learning Association, Nonprofit Roundtable of the National Capital Region, Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, Learning All the Time Network, and the Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem.  He received his BA in Sociology from American University and his MA in Applied Sociology/Public Policy from the same institution.

Sara Sneed
Vice Chairperson
The NEA Foundation
President and CEO

Sara Sneed is president and CEO of The NEA Foundation in Washington, D.C. Sara joined The NEA Foundation in February 2019, after almost 20 years with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, one of the nation’s largest community foundations. While with the Hartford Foundation, Sara served as director of education investments, promoting educational equity and excellence with partners at the local, state and national levels. Sara also led the development of strategy and policy advocacy to close persistent educational opportunity gaps and improve student outcomes across some of Connecticut’s highest need school districts.

She is credited with developing dynamic new learning opportunities both for and with educators and students; successful advocacy for equity-focused fiscal practices among schools and school districts; and effective grants programs, policy advocacy, and cross sector collaboration supporting English Learners, whole child development and increased family, school and community partnership.

Among her national leadership roles, Sara currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington D.C.; on the Grantmakers for Education Equity Impact Group; and on the steering committees of the Education Funders’ Strategy Group and Community Schools’ Funders Group.

Elizabeth González
College Futures Foundation
Chief Program & Strategy Officer

Elizabeth González joined College Futures Foundation in 2019. As chief program & strategy officer, Elizabeth works closely with the president to manage the development and implementation of the foundation’s strategy.

Previously, Elizabeth was a portfolio director and senior program officer at The James Irvine Foundation, where she initially oversaw the Youth program and, more recently, the Better Careers initiative, postsecondary success grantmaking, and Linked Learning, Irvine’s effort to integrate academic and career-technical education for better student outcomes in high schools throughout California. Prior to her work at the Irvine Foundation, González was a postsecondary success program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At First 5 Los Angeles, González served as a senior program officer, developing and managing investments in community capacity building and early learning while leading the organization’s strategic planning.

A first-generation college graduate, Elizabeth earned a B.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She currently serves on the boards of Linked Learning Alliance and Grantmakers for Education.

Paul Herdman
President & CEO

Paul is president and CEO of Rodel, which he joined in 2004.  He is a founding member of the Vision Coalition, Delaware’s public-private partnership whose aim is to transform public schools to world-class status. Paul is an Aspen Institute-NewSchools Fellow in entrepreneurial leadership, and a 2010 recipient of the NewSchools Venture Fund “Change Agent of the Year” award. He has served as a senior manager at New American Schools, consulted with Brookings Institution, RAND, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and The World Bank. Paul has taught K-12 in the U.S., South Africa, and Australia, and co-founded an Outward Bound-based school-within-a-school in New York City. He assisted the secretary of education for two governors in Massachusetts during the wholesale redesign of the state’s policies on standards, choice, and finance during the 1990s.

Lynn Alvarez
ECMC Foundation
Vice President, Programs and Strategy

As ECMC Foundation’s vice president of programs and strategy, Lynn Alvarez is responsible for directing strategy across the foundation’s portfolios. She works directly with the foundation president and all team members to implement the Foundation’s goals, grantmaking, investments and initiatives.

Before joining ECMC Foundation, Lynn operated her own philanthropic advising firm for 15 years, where she helped private and community foundations develop and manage initiatives, refine their grantmaking systems, evaluate their impact, train their grantmaking staff and manage funding portfolios.

Before starting her own consulting firm, Lynn oversaw a large grantmaking portfolio at The California Endowment and worked at the California Community Foundation and the Peninsula Community Foundation (now known as the Silicon Valley Community Foundation). Lynn also had a career in the legal field, including supporting immigrant rights and as a professor at UCLA. She is fluent in three languages—English, Spanish and French.

Lynn holds a J.D. and a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sophie Fanelli
Stuart Foundation

Sophie Fanelli is the president of the Stuart Foundation where she is responsible for leading the foundation’s investments to advance whole child education in California and Washington State. She oversees four grantmaking portfolios: School Finance & Accountability, Educator Leadership, Creativity & Arts Education, and Adolescent Learning. Sophie first joined the Stuart Foundation as senior program officer for education in October 2012.

Previously, she served as director of research & policy at the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) at UCLA where she oversaw public policy and legislative efforts focused on education equity and access, student and parent engagement, and school transformation. She also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California where she concentrated on a range of social and racial justice issues including advancing education equity, LGBTQ issues, immigrants rights, and advocacy for the homeless. Sophie was trained as a lawyer in France, Italy and at the University of Texas in Austin where she focused on criminal justice issues.

John Fitzpatrick
Communities Foundation of Texas
Executive Director, Educate Texas

John is the executive director of Educate Texas, CFT's statewide education initiative. His role spans five areas: strategy, fundraising, advocacy, culture/talent and what he calls Team CFT. From 1997-2004, John had a dual role as the executive director of Skillpoint Alliance, a central Texas nonprofit, and vice president for education and workforce development at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. John moved to Texas in 1994 to attend grad school at the LBJ School at UT Austin, where he met his wife, Kristen Vassallo. Before that, he worked on Capitol Hill for Republicans and Democrats on education, workforce development, trade and other issues. John taught eighth-grade English and U.S. history for a year in Long Island, New York. He holds a bachelor’s in sociology from Wesleyan University, where he also played soccer.

John Garcia III
Greater LA Education Foundation

Dr. John Garcia III is chief deputy of strategic partnerships & innovation at the LA County Office of Education and president of its newly formed foundation, The Greater LA Education Foundation. In his prior position as program officer for education at the California Community Foundation, John managed outreach, initiatives and grantmaking focused on improving educational outcomes and opportunities in Los Angeles County.

Previously, John served as a consultant with Jobs for the Future, the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Governors Association. He spent four years as a school counselor in an urban school district and was the Westside Impact Teacher of the Year in 2010. John also served as an adjunct professor at Phoenix Community College, teaching college success strategies, and was the founding director of the Arizona College Access Network. He has served as a policy analyst for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and was a doctoral resident with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

John holds a business degree in supply chain management and a Master of Counseling from Arizona State University. He earned his doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Charmaine Mercer
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Program Officer, Education

Charmaine is a program officer in Education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Her portfolio focuses on education policy, practices, and tools that advance deeper learning experiences and outcomes, especially for those furthest from opportunity.

Prior to joining the foundation, Charmaine was a director and senior researcher for the Learning Policy Institute, where she led a small team of dedicated researchers, policy advocates, and communication specialists. In a previous role, she served as the vice president for standards, assessment, and deeper learning at the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national policy and advocacy organization that focuses on secondary schools. Charmaine has also held various positions on Capitol Hill, including as a senior staffer for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, a senior staffer for the Education and Labor Committee, and a researcher for the Congressional Research Service.

Charmaine received her Ph.D. in politics and education policy from Claremont Graduate University, as well as her master’s degree in political science. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from San Diego State University. Charmaine is a native Californian, finally returning home after being on the East coast since 2002, and the shamelessly proud mom of adorable twin boys. She also enjoys running.

Edward Smith
The Kresge Foundation
Program Officer-Education

Edward Smith is a program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. He helps advance the team’s goals and functions by inviting and reviewing funding requests and making recommendations for investments in ongoing or emerging innovations. He also manages a portfolio of grants focused on promoting college opportunity and degree completion for marginalized student groups.

He joined Kresge in 2019 after 10 years in education policy research, working to understand how city leaders develop and advance education attainment initiatives rooted in a city’s assets and suited to the needs of its people. Previously, he held positions at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, NASPA’s Research and Policy Institute and the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Ed has worked as a consultant in education administration and has taught at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels and at a correctional facility.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in education from Pennsylvania State University.

LaVerne Evans Srinivasan
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Vice President and Program Director

LaVerne Evans Srinivasan is the vice president of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s National program and program director for Education. At the Corporation she oversees grantmaking and amplifying activities aimed at engaging parents and communities, improving teaching and leadership for learning, advancing innovative learning environment designs, providing K–12 pathways to college and career success, and fostering integrated approaches to innovation and learning. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Srinivasan joined Carnegie Corporation in 2014, arriving with extensive experience in senior-level leadership roles in the areas of urban district change, nonprofit education reform, and educational technology. She served as a deputy chancellor of the New York City Department of Education (2003–2006), where, among other accomplishments, she designed and implemented Project Home Run, a strategically redesigned and streamlined system for recruiting, hiring, and placing teachers and school principals that greatly increased the teacher talent available to high-needs schools and which has been replicated nationwide.