Rich Nazarian — Board Chair: Rich is the retired founder and CEO of Minnetronix Medical, a technology company that over the past 25 years has developed hundreds of products and manufactured hundreds of thousands of medical devices that have been used to treat millions of patients. Rich is an advocate for increasing diversity in technical fields through STEM education for underrepresented groups. Rich serves on the boards of several medical technology companies as well as the Dougherty Family College at St. Thomas, a two-year college program for inspired students who want to obtain a four-year college degree and face financial or social obstacles on the way to their goal. Rich comes from a family of K-12 educators and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Josh Crosson — Governance Committee Chair: From local neighborhoods to the State Capitol, Mr. Crosson advocates to ensure that all Minnesota students, especially those most underserved, have access to a great education. He previously worked in D.C., where he transformed his passion for public policy into a fulfilling vocation, or, as his friends put it, made a living out of doing something “activisty”—first at the Human Rights Campaign and later on Capitol Hill. At HRC, Josh spearheaded student outreach operations and expanded the organization’s mission to incorporate LGBTQ+ students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He then spent four years writing legislation and advising his hometown congressman, Rep. Adam Smith (WA-9), on labor, health, budget, and tax issues. Josh holds a bachelor’s in Political Science and Religion from Santa Clara University. When he’s not working for Minnesota’s kids or spending time with his partner, Jon, in their North Minneapolis home, Josh operates an adult LGBTQ+ sports league that benefits local homeless youth.
Erica Ahlgren — Academic Committee Chair: Erica is passionate about educational equity for all students and works diligently to ensure that regardless of her role, she is centering students and community. She has spent over a decade in education – starting her teaching career in Washington, D.C. before returning home to MN in 2012 to teach in North Minneapolis. After leaving the classroom, Erica supported teachers across the Twin Cities apply design thinking principles to their instructional practices. She currently supports elementary schools in implementing strategic school improvement efforts. She also serves as an adjunct professor within the Master of Teaching program at Concordia University, St. Paul. She has a Ph.D. in Culture and Teaching from the University of MN Twin Cities. Erica enjoys cooking with friends, running Minneapolis trails and her puppy, Gigi.
Tyler Burkhardt — Finance Committee Chair: Tyler is an audit senior manager of audit at Ernst and Young, a professional services firm. Tyler is passionate about advocating and supporting equitable outcomes throughout Minneapolis. Tyler also serves on the board of Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON). Tyler holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Accounting from the University of St. Thomas.
Jinah Chervinac – Board Member: Jinah Chernivec is a human resources executive with over 20 years of experience. Her passion is providing HR solutions for organizations by building infrastructure through technology, compliance, and talent. Jinah also enjoys consulting with early-stage ventures and other non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, she held corporate HR leadership positions in social services, health care and biotechnology organizations. Jinah holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, a Master of Science degree in Psychology and an MBA with an emphasis in Leadership Development. She is also certified as a HRCI Senior Professional in Human Resources and is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (HRCI-SPHR, SHRM-SCP). She is an active member of many prominent HR organizations, including the Executive Network of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) both on the national and local level, and she regularly participates in HR executive panels, member groups, and serving on nonprofit Boards. Jinah enjoys spending time with her family, hiking and traveling. She also enjoys serving on the board of directors for two nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities, where she shares her knowledge and passion for HR.
John Brakke – Board Member: John is a Managing Director of Individual Giving for Teach For America. He started his career as a high school math teacher in Baltimore, MD as a 2013 Teach For America corps member. While teaching, he earned his Masters of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University. A 2017 Fulbright Grantee, John spent a year working at the Universidad Nacional de La Pampa in Santa Rosa, Argentina mentoring aspiring English teachers. He returned to the Twin Cities in 2018, and has spent the last five years working for Teach For America.
Meghna Sohoni – Board Member: Meghna is the Director of Business Operations at TNTP, a national educational consulting non-profit. She began her career as a 5th grade teacher and worked in talent innovations at Teach For America. Meghna holds her bachelors in Political Science and Masters in Education Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Meghna is passionate about education equity work and in her free time enjoys running, puzzles, and traveling.
Phil Galligan – Board Member: Phil is a senior associate in business analytics with Aqua Finance. He holds a BA in philosophy from Stanford University, a PhD in philosophy from Brown University, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Phil grew up in the St. Paul public school system.
Laura Pastor – Board Member: Laura Pastor has worked in the education field as a teacher, tutor, coach, coordinator and administrator for 18 years. Laura’s teaching career began in St. Louis, MO as a middle school ELA teacher. Upon returning to her home state of MN, Laura pursued a graduate teaching degree at the College of St. Scholastica and has worked primarily in MN charter schools in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park. She is passionate about providing a high-quality education for all of Minnesota’s students. In the 2023-2024 school year, Laura will be a 4th grade teacher at NECP and is excited to serve on the NECP board of directors.
Hadijatou Sanyang – Board Member