Michael J. Curran blends his legal, teaching, leadership, and management experience in order to help individuals and organizations reach their full potential. He is able to leverage his extensive background in growing, improving and leading companies and business units by working with people who desire to realize higher levels of satisfaction and potential.
Michael practiced law for seven years at the beginning of his career and then spent the past three decades working for public and private companies in the commercial real estate investment management industry. He has served as President, CEO, Partner, COO, and Senior Managing Director transforming organizations and motivating the people with whom he worked to learn and achieve far more than they thought possible.
Former Minnesota State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge is author of Minnesota’s 1991 first-in-nation charter school law, a winner of the 2000 Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. The 18-year legislator served as Senate Assistant Majority Leader before stepping down from public service in 2000. In honor of the 20th anniversary of chartering, Reichgott Junge wrote Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story, a candid memoir of her challenging journey of pioneering the first charter school law from idea to national movement. The book has won multiple national awards, including 2013 Grand Prize Winner of Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, and Third Grand Prize Winner for Nonfiction Books in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (www.embercommunications.com). Reichgott Junge is an international education policy leader and spokesperson for charter public schools, having presented in 34 states, Guam, Canada and India. She consults with K-12 education, chartering, business and philanthropy entities around the U.S. She is past founding board member of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and current board vice chair of Maryland-based Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), copublisher of Zero Chance of Passage. She was inducted into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame in 2008, and received the Brian Bennett Education Warrior Award from Democrats for Education Reform in 2012. She served as founding board chair of Level Up Academy, a Minnesota charter school that opened in fall, 2015. As President of Ember Communications, Inc., Reichgott Junge is a national speaker and trainer on leadership, messaging, strategic communications, and public services redesign for leaders in business, nonprofit and government sectors. In addition to public service, she draws on over thirty-five years of experience in business and nonprofit law, five years as nonprofit executive for a large human services organization, twenty years of media messaging as frequent television political analyst, former radio host, and editorial writer, and lifetime of board service, including Citizens Independent Bank, Twin Cities United Way, and Minneapolis Chapter of the American Red Cross. Ember received her BA from St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota), JD from Duke University Law School (Durham, North Carolina), and MBA from University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN). She is an avid ballroom dancer and co-founder of the nonprofit that is bringing Dancing Classrooms of Mad Hot Ballroom fame to Minnesota fifth and eighth graders. She most enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael Junge.
Tom Nida is the Executive Vice President/Market Executive at City First Bank. Prior to joining City First Bank, he served as a Regional Executive for John Marshall Bank and as an Executive Vice President & Managing Director – Community Development/Non-Profit Banking for United Bank for Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Mr. Nida has been very active in the charter school movement in Washington, DC, serving as a board member and treasurer of the Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School, for which he helped obtain DC Revenue Bond, tax-exempt financing. He was appointed to the DC Public Charter School Board by Mayor Anthony Williams in 2003, and was elected Chairman of the Board in 2004, and served in that capacity until February 2010. He also has real estate development experience, having founded and managed several land trusts focused on renovation of historic commercial properties over the past twenty-four years. Mr. Nida is recognized nationally for his expertise in charter school financing, having written two articles published in the RMA Journal.
Mr. Nida graduated from the University of Wisconsin and completed an Executive Program at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia.
Jim Goenner serves as President & CEO of the National Charter Schools Institute, a mission driven organization dedicated to transforming education through the relentless pursuit of excellence. Jim joined the charter schools movement in 1995, and has played an influential role in its evolution ever since. In 2010, his pioneering efforts earned him an induction into the National Charter Schools Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the Institute, Jim served as the Executive Director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University, where he led the first and largest university authorizer of charter public schools in the nation. Under his leadership, CMU became known as the “gold standard” for charter school authorizing, earning recognition from both the U.S. and Michigan Departments of Education. Jim helped found and chaired the board of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (2007-2010) and the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers (2002-2010). He also helped found and served as the first President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (1996-1998), which serves as the unified voice of Michigan’s charter schools movement. Jim currently serves on the board of The Center for Education Reform, the leading voice and advocate for lasting, substantive and structural education reform in the U.S., on the board of the Charter Schools Development Corporation which specializes in helping charter schools with facility and financing needs, and on the National Advisory Board for Pathways in Education, Opportunities for Learning and Options for Youth. Jim has testified before numerous policymaking bodies, including the United States Congress, and was invited by the U.S. Department of Education to serve on the advisory board of the National Charter Schools Resource Center. He has received gubernatorial appointments from Governors John Engler and Jennifer Granholm. He earned his doctorate in educational administration from Michigan State University and has authored numerous articles, including “Charter Schools: Revitalizing Public Education,” which appeared in Phi Delta Kappan and “Michigan’s Chartering Strategy,” which appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Education Next. Jim and his wife, Theresa, have seven children and two grandchildren.
Jay Hromatka is a Managing Director in the public financing and investment banking group at Piper Sandler. Prior to that, he was an Executive Vice President with HJ Sims, a privately held investment bank and one of the country’s oldest underwriters of tax-exempt and taxable bonds. He has more than 30 years of experience as a public finance professional providing investment banking services to governmental entities throughout the country. For the past 19 years, Mr. Hromatka worked extensively as a senior banker specializing in structuring and underwriting more than 100 charter school transactions that financed over $1 billion in facility projects.
Throughout his career, Mr. Hromatka has acted as lead banker on financings across the country and has developed a significant base of experience and relationships with diverse clients ranging from charter schools to state and local governments, school districts and not-for-profit agencies.
Mr. Hromatka holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Minnesota. He is active in many civic and not-for-profit organizations.
Lanette Dailey-Reese is currently serving as the founding executive Director of the Capital Experience Lab. She and a dynamic group of educators are committed to launching an innovative school model that immerses students in place-based learning experiences within the robust museum, research and cultural centers of DC.
Prior to this she served as the Executive Director of City Arts and Prep Public Charter School. For more than 15 years she has personally and professionally committed to increasing the quality of education by facing the diverse challenges schools face to improve student learning and achievement. Prior to working for City Arts and Prep, Lanette served as Executive Director for International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE). During her time with she worked in partnership with school leaders across the Mid-Atlantic region focused on improving student outcomes through high quality professional learning for the leaders and teachers. Her varied career includes corporate, public, charter, post-secondary, and non-profit education experiences.
Lanette has a dynamic set of strengths as a visionary thinker with a systemic understanding of the optimal educational environment that is needed for teachers and students to be successful.
Upon moving her family to Washington D.C., Lanette pursed volunteer opportunities within the educational community. Through a partnership with Education Board Partners she selected City Arts & Prep Public Charter School where she has served as Academic Chair for two years. Lanette is a sports enthusiast with a passion for golf, cooking and family travel.
Lanette holds two graduate degrees one in Higher Education Leadership and Management from Drexel and a Community and Regional Planning degree from Temple University.
Mr. Valdez has over 40 years of experience in municipal finance in the Southwest. His extensive experience includes industrial development authority bonds, sales tax (excise tax) revenue bonds, infrastructure finance, school districts, multi-family housing, single-family housing, hospitals, special needs revenue bonds, tribal finance, charter schools and New Market Tax Credit transactions. Mr. Valdez also has experience with rating agency and insurance company presentations. He has participated for many years in bond elections and tax referendums. Prior to working in the investment banking industry, Mr. Valdez worked for the United States Department of Agriculture. At the U.S.D.A., he was a specialist loan officer under the Business & Industry Loan Note Guarantee Program in Washington D.C. and later became the Chief for the program in the State of Arizona. He brings expertise in implementing government programs to assist issuers and borrowers in obtaining government loans, loan guarantees and grants. Mr. Valdez holds aBachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business from New Mexico StateUniversity and a Master of Science degree in Finance from American University,Washington, D.C. Mr. Valdez currently sits on several charitable boardorganizations including The Arizona Foundation for Educational Advancement,Charter Schools Development Corporation, the City of Espanola Chamber ofCommerce, and the SER Foundation.
Christina Ryan is the Managing Director for the Greater Washington Market at Hartman Executive Advisors, where she has worked since 2007. As Hartman’s first employee, for nearly a decade she has diligently worked to change how many of the top executives in the nation’s capital and in the Baltimore metropolitan region perceive technology – from that of a “necessary evil” to one of the greatest underutilized sources for revenue growth, strategic insight and competitive advantage.
To Christina, collaboration is the key to success. Since technology catalyzes change at an incredibly rapid pace, she believes that Hartman’s executive level subject matter experts who deeply understand unique industry challenges are true game-changers for the C-Suite. An advocate for helping executives navigate the intersection of technology and business, her greatest satisfaction comes from connecting business leaders with Hartman advisors who can help them reach their strategic goals. Outside of the office, Christina enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with family. She is an active volunteer in her community, serves as a mentor to other young professionals, and is a member of several professional organizations.
Christina obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Marketing from Elon University.
Joe Keeney has over 25 years of experience in school development, finance and operations. Joe is the Founder and Chairman of 4th Sector Solutions Inc. and School Food Solutions L3C. 4th Sector Solutions is a leading provider of charter school finance, human resources, operations, and facility development services, and School Food Solutions helps charter schools comply with the National School Lunch Program. Prior to founding 4th Sector Solutions, from 1997-2005 Joe was president of Edison Charter Schools, where he helped build one of the nation’s largest networks of public charter schools -- serving 30,000 students in 15 states. His responsibilities at Edison included school operations, client development, finance, and real estate design and construction. Joe had previously been a divisional president and chief operating officer of a Fortune 1000 global manufacturer, and a corporate strategy consultant at LEK Consulting.
Joe has a BA in economics from Columbia College and an MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School, where he was elected a Baker Scholar and received the Macy Scholarship and the Uhlmann Award. Joe also earned an EdM in education leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.