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Board of Directors

Dr. Steven Levitt

William B. Ogden Distinguished Professor of Economics at The University of Chicago

Dr. Levitt has taught at the University of Chicago since 1997.

He currently directs the Becker Center on Chicago Price Theory.

In 2004, Levitt received the John Bates Clark Medal, which is awarded to the most influential economist under the age of 40. In 2006, he was named one of Time magazine's “100 People Who Shape Our World.”

Steve co-authored "Freakonomics," which spent over 2 years on the New York Times Best Seller list and has sold more than 3 million copies in 35 languages worldwide.

The follow up to "Freakonomics," "SuperFreakonomics" was published in 2009. Steve also is the co-author of the popular New York Times Freakonomics Blog.

Don Oppenheimer

CIO, Kennedy School of Government

Don is the Chief Information Officer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Prior to the Kennedy School, Don was the Chief Information and Knowledge Officer at Goodwin Procter LLP.

Don spent the majority of his career in management consulting, as a Partner at Mercer Management Consulting.

He received his M.B.A from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Jeremy Beard

Head of Schools, YES Prep Public Schools

Jeremy Beard is currently working as the Head of Schools for YES Prep Public Schools, a national nonprofit working to ensure 100% of YES’s low-income minority students matriculate and graduate from a 4-year college.

Recently he has worked as the National Director of Programs for Blueprint, working to help school districts across the nation implement strategies in high-need schools to close the achievement gap. In 2010, he helped lead the Apollo 20 School Project in Houston Independent School District (HISD). As the Apollo 20 School Improvement Officer, he worked with HISD, The Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University, and Blueprint to work with low-performing middle and high schools in order to turn them around. In year one of the Apollo 20 Project, 100% of mainstreamed seniors were accepted to a 2-4 year college; math passing rates increased by 9% and science passing rates increased by 4%; attendance improved significantly at the majority of schools, while referrals and suspensions decreased.

Prior to arriving in Houston, Jeremy served for 5 years as principal of IDEA College Preparatory in Donna, Texas, a 6-12 campus. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked IDEA #13 out of 21,000 High Schools in the United States, despite being one of the few schools on their list to serve a predominantly low-income minority population. Eight percent of the students in South Texas graduate from college in 4-6 years, yet under Beard’s leadership 100% of IDEA’s past graduating classes all enrolled in a 4-year college or university. That same year, Beard received the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership for his work at IDEA. The Jennings award is presented annually to one out of over 20,000 Teach For America alumni whose work has led to far-reaching systemic change in that given year with significant and measurable impact in addressing an issue of critical importance to closing the achievement gap. 

Beard joined IDEA in 2002, as an English teacher then later a Director of College Counseling, and Assistant Principal, after serving for three years as the Program Director for Teach For America - Baltimore. Beard entered the field of education via Teach For America as a 1995 Los Angeles corps member and taught fifth grade ESL, in a Special Education Inclusion class for four years in Long Beach, California. He holds a B.A. in English and a B.A. in African-American Studies from the University of Maryland and completed his M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College in August of 2006.

Robert E. Cowden III

Partner, Casner & Edwards, LLP

Robert E. Cowden III is currently a partner in the Boston law firm Casner & Edwards, LLP, where he concentrates on the affairs of nonprofit organizations.  

Mr. Cowden serves as counsel to operating charitable organizations, many of which are educational or social services organizations, to trade associations and to grant-making foundations. Mr. Cowden also represents individuals and closely-held businesses in the fields of architecture and publishing. He has served as a director and officer of various charitable organizations, including United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Inc., and is a past co-chairman of the Boston Bar Association Committee on Tax-Exempt Organizations. Mr. Cowden is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.