Steve Arnold | Chair of Advisory Council

Steve Arnold is co-founder of Polaris Partners, a venture capital firm investing in technology and healthcare companies across all stages. Prior to starting Polaris, he served as a special adviser to Burr, and Egan, Deleage & Co., all following more than 10 years in executive positions in the software and digital media industry. Steve is actively working to help improve K-12 education for the benefit of all students, and currently serves on the boards of a variety of non-profit organizations focused on innovation in education.

Samantha Boardman | Advisor

Samantha Boardman, MD, is a clinical instructor in psychiatry and assistant attending psychiatrist at Weill–Cornell Medical College. She received her BA from Harvard University, her MD from Cornell University Medical College, and a master’s in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her website,, shares science-backed and actionable insights for a healthy and fulfilling life. 

Tim BrownAdvisor

Tim Brown is Executive Chair of IDEO, a global design company that creates positive impact through design. Brown guides the work of IDEO in applying design thinking to topics such as service design, system design and strategy, and across sectors such as education, health, government, technology, the social sector, and business.

Pete CarrollAdvisor

Pete Carroll is the head coach and executive vice president of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. Carroll also founded A Better LA and A Better Seattle, initiatives that support community-based solutions to reduce youth and gang violence.

Ulrik Christensen | Advisor

Dr. Ulrik Christensen is recognized worldwide as an expert in learning technology. He has pioneered adaptive learning, data-driven content development, simulation, and debriefing technologies. In 2006, Dr. Christensen cofounded Area9 Group, which has been at the forefront of adaptive and personalized learning.

John. B. King Jr.Advisor

John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served as the US Secretary of Education from 2016 to 2017 as a member of President Barack Obama’s administration. He joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner, a post he held from 2011 to 2015. John began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Massachusetts, and as a middle school principal.

Julie MikutaAdvisor

Julie is Co-President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and leads their K12 Education portfolio. In this capacity, she oversees strategy and investments in increasing the number of low-income students, especially students of color, who graduate from high school ready for college and the workplace.

Martin E. P. SeligmanAdvisor

Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman is the director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Penn Department of Psychology. He is also director of the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology program (MAPP). He was president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, during which one of his presidential initiatives was the promotion of positive psychology as a field of scientific study. He is a leading authority in the fields of positive psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism, and pessimism. He has written more than 300 scholarly publications and 25 books.

Ryan SmithAdvisor

Ryan Smith co-founded Qualtrics in 2002 with the goal of making sophisticated research simple. As CEO, he has grown the company from a basement startup to a $2.5B business that is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. Today, Qualtrics is a leader in experience management, and its XM Platform™ is a single system of record for all experience data, also called X-data™, allowing organizations to manage the four core experiences of business—customer, product, employee, and brand experiences—on one platform.

Marc Vetri | Advisor

Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of the critically acclaimed Vetri family of restaurants. Marc was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” in 1999 and received the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” in 2005. Marc is also the author of several award-winning cookbooks: Il Viaggio di Vetri (2008), Rustic Italian Food (2011), Mastering Pasta (2015), and Mastering Pizza (2018). Additionally, Marc co-founded the Vetri Community Partnership, which has served over 500,000 healthy, made-from-scratch school lunches through its signature “Eatiquette” initiative.

Jim Shelton | Advisor

James “Jim” Shelton is Chief Investment and Impact Officer at Blue Meridian Partners. In this role, Jim leads Blue Meridian’s efforts to continuously increase the impact, reach, and influence of our investees and investments. This includes driving the evolution, expansion, and ongoing implementation of Blue Meridian’s regional investment strategy — integrating the work of expanding effective solutions nationwide with developing regional and local strategies that capture the compounding benefits of continuums of services — to produce the strongest possible outcomes for children and families and achieve community-wide impact.