FOCUS Board Bios
Maquita Alexander is the Head of School of Washington Yu Ying PCS. She served as the Principal of the school from 2009-2012. She has led the educational effort of the school to develop the immersion and International Baccalaureate program. Maquita has worked closely with the Chinese program team to help develop effective classroom management strategies for new Immersion teachers. She has successfully set and met both internal and DC educational targets. She has over 19 years of teaching and administrative experience, including 15 in the Fairfax County Public School system, and eight years as an elementary school teacher. She She has a Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University and a Master of Teaching, Elementary Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and an administrative certification in Curriculum and Administration from George Mason University.
Sekou Biddle is the Vice President of Advocacy at UNCF. Biddle began a long career in education as an Alumni of Teach For America, followed by a stint as both an educator and administrative staff member at KIPP DC. In 2007 Biddle was elected as the Ward 4 Representative to the DC State Board of Education, serving for two terms. From 2007-2011 Biddle worked as the Executive Director at Jumpstart for Young Children DC, before temporarily filling the role of at-large member of the DC Council. Biddle is an alumnus of Morehouse College and holds a degree in business administration.
Mr. Bruno is the President of Building Hope, an organization that provides business advisory service and facilities financing to charter schools primarily in the District of Columbia and Florida. He is a CPA with over 35 years of accounting, finance, business and management experience, was a partner in both KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He serves on boards of Georgetown University Hospital (Chairman), Center City Public Charter Schools, Somerset Preparatory Academy, KidsSmiles, the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, the Idaho Charter School Network and on the Advisory Board of KIPP-DC. In addition, he chairs the audit committee of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools.
Ambia Harper graduated from Columbia University and received her J.D. from the Yale Law School where she was managing editor of the Yale Law Journal. After law school, Ms. Harper was an associate at Hogan & Hartson LLP, where her practice focused on representation of colleges, universities, education associations, and investors in education-related companies, as well as public school districts. She served as Senior Counsel for Civil Justice and Education at Common Good, a non-profit, non-partisan legal reform coalition based in New York through 2011, and then as an Associate at Grais & Ellsworth LLP until 2015, when she moved to DC. She also served on the Citizen Schools Board of Advocates.
Karl Jentoft is a partner at TenSquare, LLC, a national educational advisory services firm, where he manages charter school facilities projects across the country. He previously served as Charter School Development Corporation's Vice President of Corporate Development, where he was responsible for strategy development, marketing, contract negotiation, risk analysis, establishing operations, and developing business partners. He was also a director with Octopus Investments where he redesigned and overhauled marketing, customer communications, and public relations. Karl has held senior management positions in both banking and real estate development firms throughout his career and has been involved with public charter schools for more than a decade.
Judith Denton Jones is the Chair of the Maine Association for Charter Schools. A former urban sociologist and education planner, she served as a full-time consultant to DC public schools on facility and educational planning from 1987-1994. She was president of the Six School Council, which organized a choice program for elementary schools.
Joshua M. Kern is the Managing Member of TenSquare, LLC, a national educational advisory services firm. Prior to founding TenSquare, Mr. Kern was the Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer of Thurgood Marshall Academy PCHS. He is a founding member of the DC Public Charter School Association, Vice Chair of the Board of FOCUS, a member of the Board of Barrack Academy, and an Advisory Board member of the National Public Charter School Resource Center. Mr. Kern graduated with honors from Georgetown University Law Center in 2001 and holds a BA and MBA from Tulane University.
Dan is Founder and Managing Director of Center Creek Capital Group. He was formerly Director of US Investments at Lone Star Funds, a private equity fund and a Director of Corporate Development at Capital One. Dan has worked in international development and economic policy analysis, and published research papers on economics and business policy. Dan is former chair and founder of the Seeds of Peace Young Leadership, and serves as the Treasurer of FOCUS and Chairman of its Finance Committee.
Dan Mindus the founder and CEO of NextGen Angels. Dan has spearheaded more than 30 investments in high-growth companies through NextGen Angels and his prior experience as Investment Director at CIT GAP Funds and Vice President at New Vantage Group. He has been included twice on Washingtonian magazine's list of 100 DC Tech Titans. Dan serves at the board level on 14 CIT GAP Funds portfolio companies. Dan started his career at the Gerson Lehrman Group, an investment research firm in New York City. Dan holds a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Marcus Noel is a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree and founder of Heart of Man Ventures (HoM), a blended learning program and platform that teaches middle school and high school students entrepreneurship through culturally relevant experiences, human-centered design, and digitally based skills to compete in today's economy. Noel graduated with honors from Morehouse College with additional studies at the London School of Economics.
Marcus has been a featured speaker at The White House, TEDxYouth, and K12 schools nationally. His work has been featured in Forbes, MADE Magazine, and Ashoka. Marcus has received numerous accolades in the innovative education space including a ConnectED Fellowship at the US Department of Education, other honors include 2016 Made Impact List, a 2015 Camelback Ventures Fellowship, an Education Pioneers Fellowship, a ProInspire Fellowship a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellowship, and being named to the 2015 class of “Emerging Innovators” by Ashoka and American Express. Marcus is a 2016 Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum.
Jessica Wodatch is a founder and Executive Director of Two Rivers Public Charter School, one of the highest performing public charter schools in DC, which serves 515 students in preschool to 8th grade. Prior to becoming the founding principal at Two Rivers, Jessica served as a school leader at two special education schools in DC. as well as a researcher with Policy Studies Associates. She holds a BA from Macalester College and a master’s degree in education administration from George Washington University. Jessica was awarded the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Scholarship in 2012 and was recently named a finalist for Expeditionary Learning’s Silverberg Leadership Award.
Shantelle D. Wright is the Founder and Head of School of Achievement Preparatory Academy (“Achievement Prep”), one of the highest performing charter schools in the District of Columbia. Prior to opening Achievement Prep, Ms. Wright was selected as one of 13 outstanding leaders to complete the Building Excellent Schools (BES) fellowship program. Ms. Wright is also a licensed attorney having received a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University School of Law and a BA in Sociology from Hampton University.