Mila Atmos

Mila Atmos is the founder and host of Future Hindsight, a podcast that aims to inspire civic engagement through in-depth conversations with citizen changemakers. She explores the factors that support humanity and foster vibrant, democratic societies, including education, public policy, and the arts. Mila has been a contributor to HuffPost and Quartz, among other publications. She earned a B.A. in history from Columbia University and a masters degree in international affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia.

David Beard

David Beard is a writer, editor and strategist who specializes in audience engagement. He is a former Associated Press foreign correspondent, assistant managing editor of the Boston Globe, director of digital content at the Washington Post and executive editor of Public Radio International ( He has consulted with the AP, the Knight Foundation, the Pulitzer Prizes and Mother Jones and is a contributing editor to the Poynter Institute. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School and was a 2017 research fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center.

Joshua Benton

Joshua Benton is director of the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University, a project to help journalism adapt to the demands of the Internet age. Before coming to Harvard in 2007 as a Nieman Fellow, he spend seven years as an education reporter for The Dallas Morning News, during which he won five first-place awards in the National Awards for Education Reporting, in investigative reporting, beat reporting, and opinion writing. He also won the Philip Meyer Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting. He is a native of south Louisiana.

John Branam

Jon Branam is executive director of Get Schooled, an organization that offers tips, tools and advice to help people succeed in education. John is a former middle school teacher and Peace Corp volunteer with more than fifteen years of experience in the education field and was previously a partner with The Learning Accelerator, an education consultancy focused on accelerating blended learning. He also served as director of programs for the Higher Achievement Program, a rigorous out-of-school academic enrichment program and deputy director for Grantmakers for Education, a national nonprofit whose mission is to promote excellence in education philanthropy. He earned his B.A. in political science from Washington and Lee University and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.

Nick Chiles

Nick Chiles is a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist. He is the author or co-author of 19 books, including New York Times best-sellers he wrote with the R&B icon Bobby Brown, the civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and the gospel legend Kirk Franklin. He is the co-author with Robbin Shipp of Justice While Black: Helping African-American Families Navigate and Survive the Criminal Justice System, which was a finalist for a 2015 NAACP Image Award. Chiles has served as a newspaper reporter (mostly covering education), magazine writer and magazine and website editor in chief during more than three decades in journalism, winning nearly 20 major awards—including a 1992 Pulitzer Prize as part of a New York Newsday team. Chiles was a member of the board overseeing the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Schools; he is also a member of the board of the Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship, affiliated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has served as a professor at Columbia Journalism School and at Princeton University as a recipient of the Ferris Fellowship. He is a consultant for the William Julius Wilson Institute at the Harlem Children’s Zone. He currently teaches journalism at the University of Georgia. Chiles, a graduate of Yale, lives in Decatur, Georgia, with his wife Sadiqa Chiles.

Celeste Ford

Celeste Ford is the Director of External Relations for Carnegie Corporation of New York. She is a former TV news reporter of 25 years who worked her way up from smaller markets to the nation’s top local station–WABC-TV in New York City. She also reported for PBS and CNBC. During her 15 years at WABC-TV, Celeste started and ran the station’s first unit dedicated to education issues. Her reporting was honored with a number of the broadcast industry’s top awards including a DuPont-Columbia University Award and two Edward R. Murrow awards.

Mitch Gelman

Mitch Gelman is the president and chief executive of WCNY in Central New York. An experienced digital media executive and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, Gelman’s experience spans journalism, entertainment technology and digital media. Gelman formerly worked as chief technology officer at The Newseum in Washington, D.C. and as vice president of product at Gannett Co., overseeing digital product development in key areas for more than 90 national and local news entities across the USA TODAY Network. He was also a reporter at New York Newsday, executive producer at, vice president at and chief operating officer at THX, Ltd.

LynNell Hancock

LynNell Hancock is a reporter and writer specializing in education and child and family policy issues, who has taught journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism since 1993. She is the director of the Spencer Fellowship for Education Journalism. In addition to contributing to Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation and The New York Times, she served on staff of The Village Voice, the New York Daily News, and Newsweek where she covered national and local education issues.

John Hechinger

John Hechinger is a senior editor at Bloomberg News, where he was a 2011 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service and a two-time winner of the George Polk Award for his reporting on higher education. He is the author of True Gentlemen, The Broken Pledge of America’s Fraternities (PublicAffairs-Hachette, 2017). Before joining Bloomberg in 2010, he was a senior special writer at The Wall Street Journal, where he focused on education and finance.​ He is the son of Fred Hechinger, for whom The Hechinger Report is named.

Paul Hechinger

Paul Hechinger is a veteran of broadcast and online journalism. He has produced cross-medium journalism for Time, Court TV, NPR and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. He is the son of former journalist Fred Hechinger, for whom the Hechinger Report is named.

Kiki Keating

Kiki Keating is the founder and director of KikiNetwork, where she brings a wealth of experience in communications strategy and practice from around the world. She was previously founding Director of Public and Media Relations at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. An experienced trial attorney, Kiki is also a certified mediator/arbitrator and a recognized leader in the business education communications world. She is also a frequent speaker at global business school conferences. Kiki earned a BA from Smith College and a JD from the University of Maine. She resides in Hanover, NH and commutes regularly to Boston, New York, and locations around the world for event and media relations assignments.

Vernon Loeb

Vernon Loeb is senior editor for investigations, enterprise and innovations at Inside Climate News, the Brooklyn-based non-profit that won a Pulitzer for national reporting. Previously he has served as politics editor at The Atlantic, managing editor of the Houston Chronicle, local editor for The Washington Post and deputy managing editor/news at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was a reporter earlier in his career. Before returning to Philadelphia, he was Metro investigations editor at the Los Angeles Times and a defense reporter at The Washington Post.

Jeevan Padiyar

Jeevan Padiyar is a technology investor, entrepreneur and product team leader. He most recently served as Chief Product Officer at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Prior to joining JKCF, he managed education product portfolio for Palm Ventures, a private equity firm. Padiyar made his entrepreneurial debut in college when he started a remote-controlled blimp company, which he grew from a dorm room startup to 150 employees and sold for $95MM. He studied medicine as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine after earning degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Kansas State University. Jeevan brings deep experience in innovation management, technology product development, and conversion optimization with expertise in education.

Jennifer Preston

Jennifer Preston is a vice-president for journalism at the Knight Foundation. Previously, Preston was an award-winning journalist for The New York Times for almost 19 years, with broad experience as a digital journalist, reporter and senior editor. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to a reporting role where she focused on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life. Her most recent work as an editor focused on extending digital media and social media storytelling and curation across the newsroom. Preston also worked as an editor and circulation marketing manager at New York Newsday, where she won numerous awards for an investigative reporting project that examined the police use of deadly force by off-duty police officers in New York. Preston was a 2010 fellow in the Sulzberger Leadership Program at Columbia University and is on the board of directors of the Online News Association.

Susan Sawyers

Susan Sawyers is a New York City based multimedia journalist and social media strategist. She is interested in education, philanthropy and lifestyle reporting. A former producer and researcher for “Bloomberg EDU with Jane Williams,” Bloomberg Radio’s weekly program on education, Susan’s writing and reporting has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The Hechinger Report and New York Social Diary. A graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Grinnell College, she was the former director and curator of the Los Angeles-based Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. She speaks French fluently and taught English and French to students in France and in Washington, D.C.

Richard Tofel

Richard Tofel is general manager of ProPublica, with responsibility for all of its non-journalism operations, including communications, legal, finance and budgeting and human resources. He was formerly the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal and, earlier, an assistant managing editor of the paper, vice president, corporate communications for Dow Jones & Company, and an assistant general counsel of Dow Jones. Most recently, he served as vice president, general counsel and secretary of The Rockefeller Foundation, and earlier as president and chief operating officer of The International Freedom Center, a museum and cultural center that was planned for the World Trade Center site.

Robin White Goode

Robin White Goode is the education editor at Black Enterprise, a multimedia company whose flagship publication, Black Enterprise magazine, reaches six million readers every other month. She helped develop Black Enterprise’s education-focused initiative, BE Smart. This multi-platform approach brings together leaders in business, policy, philanthropy, and education to effect substantive change in areas of education equity and workplace readiness. White Goode is an award-winning writer who co-wrote a series of articles published in Black Enterprise that examines the education crisis in the black community. She previously taught her own two children at home for eight years. Both have graced their respective school’s dean’s list.