Advisory Board

Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD

Lawrence J. Cohen, the author of Playful Parentingis a licensed psychologist specializing in children’s play and play therapy. In addition to his private therapy practice, he is also a speaker and consultant to public and independent schools, and a teacher of parenting classes and classes for daycare teachers. His regular column in Nick Jr. magazine was the winner of the 2003 Golden Lamp award from Education Press, and he also answers parents’ questions online at NickJr.com. Larry is the co-author, with Michael Thompson and Catherine O’Neill Grace, of Best Friends, Worst Enemies and Mom, They're Teasing Me as well as The Art of Roughhousing with co-author Anthony DeBenedet. Most recently, Larry published The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears (Random House, September 2013). Larry and Anthony DeBenedet also co-author a blog for TIME Ideas.

Sam Chaltain

Sam Chaltain is a DC-based writer and education activist who began his career as a teacher in New York City. He works with schools, school districts, and public and private sector companies to help them create healthy, high-functioning learning environments. He writes regularly for his own site, samchaltain.com, and his Education Week blog, Of, By, For: In Search of the Civic Mission of K-12 Schools.

Previously, Sam was the National Director of the Forum for Education & Democracy, an education advocacy organization, and the founding director of the Five Freedoms Project, a national program that helps K-12 educators create more democratic learning communities. He spent five years at the First Amendment Center as the co-director of the First Amendment Schools program. Sam came to the Center from the public school system of New York City, where he taught high school English and History. He also spent four years teaching the same subjects at a private school in Brooklyn. Sam’s first teaching experience was in Beijing, China, where he joined the faculty of the Foreign Languages department at Beijing Normal University as a visiting lecturer. He taught two American History & Literature courses to third-year undergraduates.

Sam’s writings about his work have appeared in both magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, Education Week and USA Today. A periodic contributor to CNN and Huffington Post, Sam is also the author or co-author of six books: The First Amendment in Schools  (ASCD, 2003); First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights (Oxford University Press, 2006); American Schools: The Art of Creating a Democratic Learning Community  (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009); We Must Not Be Afraid to be Free: Stories Of Free Expression in America (Oxford, 2011); Faces of Learning: 50 Powerful Stories of Defining Moments in Education (Jossey-Bass, 2011); and the forthcoming Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice (Teachers College Press, 2013).

Sam has a masters degree in American Studies from the College of William & Mary, and an MBA from George Washington University, where he specialized in nonprofit management and organizational theory. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he graduated with a double major in Afro-American Studies and History.

VIDEO The Art (& Science) of Great Teaching: Sam Chaltain at TEDxYouth @ Brooklyn Free School

Pamela J. Clarke

Pam Clarke was lucky to have a great education that included both public and private schools, several great colleges and a year of study in Athens, Greece. She has spent her 45 year career teaching and leading schools, and has gained a perspective on many different approaches to education.

Convinced that a child’s creativity and curiosity should drive a good education, she now works for Trevor Day School, an activity-based experiential N-12 school.  Her interest in The Blue School comes from a conviction that creativity is the brightest route to the skill of learning, the ability to solve problems, and the learning of empathy.  What else could we need?

In addition to her work in schools, Pam enjoys sculling, reading, golf and her two children: Henry David, actor/writer/movie maker and Jeanie, horse trainer, riding teacher and Eventing competitor. 

Austin Hearst

Austin Hearst is a media executive, film producer and philanthropist. A grandson of William Randolph Hearst, he plays a leadership role in the still family-owned Hearst Corporation, one of the nation’s largest diversified media companies. As a member of the board of directors since 1990 and a member of the audit, retirement plan and investment committees for the Hearst Corporation and Hearst Communication Inc., Austin is also vice president of special projects for Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, the operating group responsible for the Hearst Entertainment interests in cable television networks, including ESPN, Lifetime, A&E and HISTORY; television production and distribution; newspaper syndication; merchandise licensing; and ventures investments. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Chestnut Holdings LLC, a private equity and agricultural development company.

In his role with Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, Austin has produced television specials and series and acquired a library of more than 250 films. Working with Dr. Robert Arnot, CBS and NBC chief medical correspondent, he was a cameraman and producer for the 2009 documentary Rising from the Ashes, a film about the people of Sudan, and has been involved in several documentaries on controversial issues in Africa for network television, World Vision, Save the Children and the United Nations.

Austin began his career as a news director at the independently owned KWG/KYBB radio station in Stockton, California. After working at several independent television stations he became a news producer, and later a cameraman and editor, at the Hearst’s WBAL-TV in Baltimore. He is a graduate of California Polytechnic University with a bachelor’s in environmental design and landscape architecture. Austin applied his design skills at the Cartography Corporation of San Francisco where he served as president and chief environmental designer.

Austin is actively involved in a wide range of civic, philanthropic and global humanitarian causes, including early childhood development projects with Save the Children and the government of Bhutan, and community agricultural projects in South Sudan. He is on the board of directors of Save the Children USA, an organization he has been closely involved with for more than 20 years. Austin is also on the board of advisors of Karuna Shecken, a non-profit humanitarian organization focused on providing education, healthcare and social services in the greater Himalayan region.

Austin has leadership roles in many nonprofit organizations, including serving on the board of councilors of the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications, the board of Pacific Crest Outward Bound, the executive committee of National Outward Bound and the advisory council for the United States Committee for Refugees. 

Ian Kerner

Ian Kerner is a nationally-recognized sexuality counselor and New York Times bestselling author of numerous books including She Comes First. He writes a well known column for CNN and can often by seen on the TODAY Show and the Dr. Oz Show. Ian is certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors (AASECT) and addresses issues that are common to the "American bedroom" He frequently lectures on topics related to human sexuality, with recent appearances at New York University, Yale and Princeton. Ian is the founder of good in bed, an online destination that brings together many of the country's leading sex and relationship experts to provide information and advice.

Ian holds advanced degress from Brandeis University and NYU and is also a former recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. With his wife, Lisa Rubisch, a commercial and music video director, they have two sons who began attending Blue School at its inception. Ian continues to be an enthusiastic participant in the Blue School community.

H. Sujin Kim

H. Sujin Kim is counsel to the Estate Planning and Administration Group and the Charitable Organization Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC. She represents high net worth individuals in estate, gift, and income tax planning and estate and trust administration. She also represents clients in Surrogate's Court.

In addition, Ms. Kim advises public and private charitable organizations in a variety of matters, including establishing tax-efficient structures, securing tax-exempt status, and advising governing boards on issues involving fiduciary duties and liability, charitable solicitation, and compliance.

Prior to joining Frankfurt Kurnit, Ms. Kim was most recently associated with Loeb & Loeb, LLP, where she handled estate planning, tax-exempt organizations, and estate administration work.

Ms. Kim is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, and the State Bar of California.  She is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Non-Profit Organizations Committee.  Ms. Kim is a graduate of Harvard University (BA, magna cum laude, 1993), and New York University School of Law (JD, 1998; LL.M., 2003).

Lawrence D. Levien

Lawrence D. Levien is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP based in Washington, DC. Mr. Levin focuses on the negotiation and administration of collective bargaining agreements and has negotiated a variety of complex multiparty transactions. He also has extensive experience in the negotiation and consummation of corporate acquisitions, bankruptcies and divestitures as they affect all levels of the employee complement. His practice concentrates on clients encountering major restructuring challenges due to either economic circumstances or industrywide dislocations.

Mr. Levien generally represents employers with multiple union relationships and/or employers party to multiemployer agreements through the auspices of industrywide associations. The interplay between the objectives of his client and the needs of the multiemployer group is a specialized element of his practice. Mr. Levien has significant experience in the construction and transport industries. More specifically, for more than 25 years, he has represented the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA), whose members build and maintain all types of pipeline, in a variety of matters, including contract negotiation with the four industry crafts, litigation, National Labor Relations Board proceedings, and other labor relations issues affected by a unionized workforce and union-based objectives. He has also represented numerous individual construction companies in their labor relations activities. Mr. Levien created and drafted proposed project labor agreements in conjunction with the project manager for the proposed Alaskan Natural Gas Pipeline before that project was discontinued. Mr. Levien's practice also focuses upon the entertainment and media industries, representing venues, producers and presenters on the entertainment side of the industry, as well as casino and resort hotels, in all facets of labor relations. Recently, Mr. Levien has been involved in a variety of complex issues relating to the underfunding of multiemployer defined benefit plans, including withdrawal liability litigation and Pension Protection Act compliance. Mr. Levien has in-depth industry knowledge and is thus able to bring a business background to the legal component of human resources and labor relations.

Before joining Akin Gump, Mr. Levien served in the Appellate Court and Litigation Section of the National Labor Relations Board from 1971 to 1974. Mr Levien has written professionally as a reporter and correspondent, both before and during his legal career.

John Maeda, PhD

John Maeda is a leader who integrates technology, design and leadership into a 21st-century synthesis of creativity and innovation. His work as an artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator earned him the distinction of being named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire. In June 2008, Maeda became president of Rhode Island School of Design. At RISD, Maeda is leading the movement to transform STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to STEAM by adding Art: stemtosteam.org. Called the “Steve Jobs of academia” by Forbes, he believes art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century.

As an artist, Maeda’s early work redefined the use of the computer as a medium for expression by combining expertise in software development with traditional artistic methods, laying the groundwork for the interactive motion graphics that are taken for granted on the web today. He has exhibited in one-man shows in London, New York and Paris. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartier Foundation in Paris. His current focus is on imagining how design and technology can bring clarity to leadership in the era of social media. He serves on the boards of Sonos and Quirky, and on the Davos World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership.

A former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maeda taught Media Arts and Sciences for 12 years and served as Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Lab. He has published five books including Creative Code (2004) and The Laws of Simplicity (2006), now translated into 14 languages. @johnmaeda was picked as one of the 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011 by TIME Magazine, and his latest book, Redesigning Leadership (2011, with Becky Bermont) expands upon this Twitter feed. Maeda also serves as a trustee of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, is a member of the TED Brain Trust, and of Proctor & Gamble’s Design Advisory Board. He has designed commercial projects for corporations such as Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok and Samsung. In 2001 Maeda was awarded a National Design Award in the US; in 2002, the Mainichi Design Prize in Japan; and in 2005, the Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize in Germany. In 2009 he was inducted into the New York Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame, and he received the AIGA Medal in 2010. 

A native of Seattle, WA, Maeda earned bachelors and masters degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, followed by a PhD in Design Science from the University of Tsukuba Institute of Art and Design in Japan and an MBA from Arizona State University. 

VIDEO John Maeda: How art, technology, and design inform creative leaders, TEDGlobal 2012

Jennifer McCrea

Jennifer McCrea is the founder of Exponential Fundraising and a 25-year fundraising veteran who has worked with CEOs, fundraisers and board members from a wide variety of organizations, including Millennium Promise, Acumen Fund, Donorschoose.org, Grameen America, Teach for America, Witness, Comic Relief, X Prize Foundation, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Rhode Island School of Design, Robin Hood Foundation, Council of Foreign Relations, Creative Commons, Pencils of Promise, New Profit and many others.

Jennifer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University where she leads the Course in Exponential Fundraising. She is also a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, serves as an advisory board member of the MIT Media Lab, Berklee College City Music program, and is a co-founder and board member of the Quincy Jones MusiQ Consortium. In addition, Jennifer is co-founder of the Business Leadership Council for a Generation Born HIV Free, a public-private partnership initiative with the goal of ending the transmission of HIV from mothers to children worldwide by 2015.

Previously, Jennifer was at Case Western Reserve University and at Washington University in St. Louis during their multi-billion dollar campaign. She was also Vice President for Development at Dickinson College. In September 2013, Jennifer's book, Team Generosity, written with philanthropist and fellow Blue School Advisory Board member Jeff Walker, will be published by Crown Publishing at Random House.

Steven Nelson

Steve Nelson has been the Head of the Calhoun School in Manhattan since 1998. During his tenure, Calhoun has assumed a prominent place among the progressive schools in America. During these years, Calhoun has experienced a 60% increase in enrollment, expanded and enhanced facilities through a major capital initiative, and developed innovative curricula in many disciplines.

Prior to assuming Calhoun’s headship, Steve served as Vice President of Landmark College in Putney, VT, a post-secondary institution dedicated to students with learning differences. He also served for several years as Director of Development for Vermont Law School in South Royalton, VT.

From 1985-91, he served as President of the Center for Creative Studies, Institute of Music and Dance in Detroit. The Center served more than 2,000 students, primarily ages 3-18.  Programs included: strings; winds/brass; vocal music; jazz; music therapy; and dance. Steve is a serious violinist, trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and frequently performs chamber music with Calhoun students, faculty and guests.

For 17 years, he has been a regular Op-Ed columnist for the Valley News, the daily newspaper of the Upper Connecticut River Valley. For several years Steve has “blogged” about education at the Huffington Post. Along with a deep commitment to progressive education and public education, anti-racism work and other social justice issues remain a high priority in his work, within and without the Calhoun community.

He has been married to Wendy Nelson for more than 4 decades, with whom he crafted and released into the wild two near-perfect adult children and two absolutely perfect granddaughters.

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD 

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources in education and in business. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers on these topics, with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. The videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 talks to the prestigious TED Conference have been viewed more than 25 million times and seen by an estimated 250 million people in over 150 countries. His 2006 talk is the most viewed in TED’s history. In 2011 he was listed as “one of the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” by Fast Company magazine, and was ranked among theThinkers50 list of the world’s top business thought leaders. 

Sir Ken works with governments and educations systems in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.

For twelve years, he was professor of education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now professor emeritus. He has received honorary degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, the Open University and the Central School of Speech and Drama; Birmingham City University, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Oklahoma State University. He was been honored with the Athena Award of the Rhode Island School of Design for services to the arts and education; the Peabody Medal for contributions to the arts and culture in the United States, the Arthur C. Clarke Imagination Award, the Gordon Parks Award for achievements in education and the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for outstanding contributions to cultural relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2005, he was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.

His 2009 book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into twenty-two languages. Sir Ken is also the author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative. His latest book, Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life was published in May 2013.

He is married to Therese (Lady) Robinson. They have two children, James and Kate, and now live in Los Angeles, California. Learn more about Sir Ken at sirkenrobinson.com.

David Rockwell

David Rockwell is the Founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, an award-winning, cross-disciplinary architecture and design practice. Based in New York City with a satellite office in Madrid, Rockwell and his 140-person firm focus on a diverse array of projects ranging from hotels to hospitals, restaurants to airport terminals, Broadway set designs to consumer products.

Long before turning his attention to architecture, Mr. Rockwell harbored a fascination with immersive environments. The flagship Imagination Playground park, a public-private partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, opened in July 2010 at Burling Slip in the South Street Seaport area of Lower Manhattan. Imagination Playground is a rich environment of diverse materials that encourage unstructured child-directed free play. Through a partnership with KaBOOM!, Rockwell Group is offering fixed-site and other scalable models of Imagination Playground to communities nationwide.

Rockwell's monograph Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group was published by Universe, a division of Rizzoli Books, in 2002. Spectacle by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau -- a book examining the history of and public fascination with larger-than-life manmade events -- was published by Phaidon Press in October 2006.

In May 2010, Rockwell was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. He was the recipient of the 2009 Pratt Legends Award and the 2008 National Design Award for outstanding achievement in Interior Design from Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. Rockwell has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from Interiors magazine and inducted into Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame. He received the Presidential Design Award for work he contributed for the Grand Central Terminal renovation. Rockwell serves as Initial Alliance and Board Member of Gehry Technologies and Chairman of the Board of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA). He is also a board member of Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Rockwell received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Syracuse University and studied at the Architectural Association of London.

John Rogers

John Rogers joined Blue Man Group as CFO in April 2009. Shortly thereafter, he led a restructuring of the Company and the sale of a minority interest in its entertainment business to a private equity firm. He streamlined the Company’s cash management system by replacing 89 bank accounts in six institutions across North America with 35 accounts in a Zero Balance Network. In 2010 he oversaw the audit resulting in the company’s first audited financial statements in its 20 year history.

Prior to joining Blue Man, Mr. Rogers was Regional CFO for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Long Island region and has over 30 years in financial management experience with book publishers, direct mail marketers and magazine companies.

Mr. Rogers began his career with KPMG and is a licensed CPA in the State of New York.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Fordham College with a B.A. in Economics and received an M.B.A from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Rogers lives on Long Island where he served as Treasurer and later Chairman of the Board of Trustees of All Saints Regional Catholic School.

Daniel J. Siegel, MD 

Dr. Dan Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative.

Dr. Siegel formerly directed the training program in child psychiatry and is the recipient of teaching awards and honorary fellowships and professorships. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he is on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development. He is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization that focuses on how the development of insight and empathy within individuals, families, and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes.

Dr. Siegel is the author of the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: Toward a Neurobiology of Interpersonal Experience, which introduces the idea of “interpersonal neurobiology” as a way of defining the mind and mental well-being. This approach is further explored in the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology of which Dan is the Founding Editor. His book with Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., Parenting From the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive, explores the application of this newly emerging view of the mind, the brain, and human relationships to families. In The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being, Dr. Siegel expands these applications into the arenas of everyday life and psychotherapy. His book Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation offers the general reader an in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being. His professional text, The Mindful Therapist, explores the application of these ideas for the clinician’s own development of mindsight and neural integration. Dr. Siegel has three New York Times bestsellers: Brainstorm, which explores how brain development impacts teenagers’ behavior and relationships, The Whole-Brain Child (with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.), and his latest No-Drama Discipline (with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D).

View Dr. Siegel's current programs and appearances at www.DrDanSiegel.com.

Jeffrey C. Walker 

Jeffrey C. Walker is the Ex-Chairman of Millennium Promise, an incubator to eliminate extreme poverty with the United Nations and Columbia University; Ex-Chairman and Co-founder of Npower, shared technology services to non-profits; Co-chair of the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium; Chairman Emeritus of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation; and Chair of the Council of Foundations at the University of Virginia. He is on the Boards of Berklee College of Music, New-Profit, Morgan Library, University of Virginia Undergraduate Business School (of which he was President for ten years), Miller Center, Lincoln Center Film Society, MDG Health Alliance and the Visiting Committee at the Harvard Business School. He is a member of the advisory boards of the MIT New Media Lab and IDEO.org. Walker is Ex-CEO and Founder of JPMorgan Partners, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Global Private Equity, and Ex-Chairman of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Previously, he was an Executive-in-Residence at Harvard Business School focusing on Social Enterprises and Collaboration as well as a lecturer at Kennedy School. While at Harvard, Mr. Walker helped develop and launch a course on fundraising for nonprofits. Mr. Walker is a CPA and a CMA. He received his BS degree from the University of Virginia and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.