FOCUS Board Bios

Maquita Alexander

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

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.

Jay Costan

James Costan is a partner in Dentons' Energy practice. He represents clients on a wide range of public utility and energy matters, including energy transactions and federal and state regulation of the sale and transmission of electricity, natural gas and LNG and the licensing of energy projects. He has extensive experience in the handling matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the US Department of the Interior, the US Department of Energy and the United States Courts of Appeals. He also has experience in assisting clients in the development of natural gas and power projects outside the U.S. James Costan served on the board of Septima Clark PCS. He graduated cum laude from the School of Law at Washington and Lee University, and holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Karl Jentoft

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 Jones

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.

Josh Kern

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 Magder

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

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.

David Nitkin

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 Wright

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.

Joe Bruno

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.