Board of Advisors

Blue Engine’s Board of Advisors is composed of seventeen individuals drawn largely from the education and national service sectors. These experienced leaders have provided advice and guidance to Blue Engine since the beginning.

Penny Abeywardena

Senior Manager, Education/Girls and Women, Clinton Global Initiative

Penny Abeywardena is Head of Girls & Women and Associate Director of Commitments at the Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan organization that convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Penny joined CGI in 2009 to develop strategy highlighting and integrating the gender lens throughout the organization’s various platforms. She has since led the program’s evolution into one of CGI’s most successful efforts. Penny is responsible for the portfolio of CGI commitments focused on empowering girls & women worldwide, developing year-round programming, and integrating the gender lens throughout the CGI platform. She has notably led the growth of girls & women related commitments; advised multinational corporations, philanthropists, NGOs, and multilateral institutions to increase investments in gender-focused development initiatives; and increased the community of CGI members who are incorporating the gender lens in their work. Prior to CGI, Penny worked in both development and programmatic areas for Human Rights Watch, the Funding Exchange and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

Penny frequently advises the development of gender-related programming, most recently as the content advisor to the Club de Madrid 2012 conference. She is on numerous advisory boards including the Success Academies Charter Schools, Blue Engine, G(irls)20 Summit, the Global Partnership for Women & Girls and the Iraqi Women’s Fellowship Foundation. Penny has previously served on the boards of Sakhi for South Asian Women and Resource Generation. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and completed her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Michael Brown

CEO and Co-Founder, City Year, Inc.

Michael Brown is the Co-Founder and CEO of City Year, which was founded in 1988. For his work developing City Year, Michael Brown has been awarded several distinctions, most notably the Reebok Human Rights Award, and four honorary degrees. He was named one of America’s Best Leaders by US News and World Report in 2006. Michael is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he served as a member of the Harvard Law Review. Prior to starting City Year, he served as a legislative assistant to Congressman Leon Panetta and as a clerk for Federal Judge Stephen Breyer.

Kevin Carey

Policy Director, Education Sector

Carey manages EdSector’s policy team and oversees policy development in K–12 and higher education. Carey has published articles in magazines including Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The American Prospect, Democracy, and Newsweek Online, as well as op-eds in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, InsideHigherEd and New York Daily News. He writes a monthly column for the Chronicle of Higher Education and serves as guest editor of Washington Monthly’s annual college issue. His writing was anthologized in Best American Legal Writing 2009. Carey’s research at Education Sector includes higher education reform, improving college graduation rates, college rankings, community colleges, and the federal No Child Left Behind Act. He regularly contributes to The Quick and the ED and Brainstorm blogs and provides expert commentary for media outlets including, CNN, C-SPAN, PBS Frontline, and National Public Radio. He also teaches education policy at Johns Hopkins University. Previously, Carey was director of policy research for The Education Trust, an advocate of closing the educational achievement gap for low-income and minority children, and a policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which works to help low- and moderate-income families. From 1999 to 2001, Carey served as Indiana’s Assistant State Budget Director for education, where he advised the governor on finance and policy issues in K–12 and higher education. He also served as a senior analyst for the Indiana Senate Finance Committee, writing legislation and advising the Senate Democratic caucus. Carey holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Binghamton University and a master of public administration from Ohio State University. He lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, D.C.

Iris Chen

President & CEO, “I Have a Dream Foundation”

Iris has served as President & Chief Executive Officer of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation since June 2007. Prior to this role, she served as Teach For America’s New York City Executive Director, where she led a major expansion and grew the local corps from 250 to 1,000 teachers. Previously, she worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Iris got her start in education as a 1990 charter corps member with Teach For America in New York City, where she taught fourth and fifth graders for three years at P.S. 307 in Brooklyn. After completing the Coro Fellows Program in 1993-94, Iris joined Teach For America’s national staff, serving as Director of Public Affairs and then Vice President of Program, where from 1995-98 she led the recruitment, selection, training, and ongoing support of corps members nationwide. Iris graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies and earned her J.D./M.B.A. degree from Harvard University. She is a member of the New York Bar.

Tim Daly

President, The New Teacher Project

Timothy Daly is the President of The New Teacher Project (TNTP). Since his appointment in 2007, he has helped lead the organization’s efforts to end educational inequality by aligning policies and systems to better support teacher effectiveness. Prior to his appointment as President in 2007, Tim served as Vice President for Policy, helping to launch a team that published influential analyses of teacher equity issues in school districts such as Portland, Milwaukee, and New York. In 2009, he played an instrumental role in shaping the publication of The Widget Effect, a groundbreaking exploration of our failure to recognize or respond to the differences in teacher effectiveness. Tim has been with TNTP since 2001 and previously worked with teacher pipeline programs such as the NYC Teaching Fellows, which today has more than 9,000 active teachers in over 1,100 schools across New York City. Tim began his career in education as a Teach For America corps member at Northeast Middle School in Baltimore. He holds a BA in American Studies from Northwestern University and a MA in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.

Mike Goldstein

Founder, MATCH School

Mr. Goldstein designed the MATCH School as his senior thesis project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. From the school’s inception to June 2005, he served as the school’s CEO; he is now part of the team launching the teacher training program. He serves on the advisory boards for the National Council on Teacher Quality and Lee Academy Pilot School, and is a non-resident Senior Fellow at Education Sector, a non-partisan Washington think tank. He’s a former journalist, Duke grad, and basketball junkie.

Shawn Golhar

Director, Barclays Capital

Shawn PM Golhar is the Head of Public Policy Research at Barclays.  Based in New York, he is responsible for covering major public policy issues for the firm and our global client base. Formerly, Mr. Golhar was a Director in the Public Policy Group in New York and a Vice President in the Public Finance Group in Los Angeles. Active in the community, Mr. Golhar serves on the boards of America Needs You where he serves as the President of the New Jersey Board, Warm Heart Worldwide, and is an Advisory Board Member for Blue Engine and Millennial Action Project. Mr. Golhar is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Truman National Security Fellow, and served as a Leadership Southern California Fellow. Mr. Golhar completed his undergraduate studies at Rutgers University and the London School of Economics and received his Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Nicole Farmer Hurd

Executive Director, National College Advising Corps

Prior to her arrival at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in July 2007, Dr. Hurd served as an Assistant Dean and Director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence at the University of Virginia, where she was also the founding director of the College Guide Program. The Guide Program, which served as the model for the National College Advising Corps, places recent graduates in public high schools throughout the state to partner with guidance counselors in an effort to increase the college-going rate. Dr. Hurd received the 2007 Governor of Virginia’s Award for Volunteerism and Community Service, as well as the 2007 Faculty Award from the Raven Society, U.Va.’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Jeremy Lack

Principal, New Leaf Ventures

Jeremy Lack is a Principal at New Leaf Venture Partners, having rejoined NLV in 2009. Jeremy initially started at NLV as an Associate in 2005, and joined ORION Healthcare Equity Partners as a Partner in 2008. Previously, he was an Associate at Oxford Bioscience Partners, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, and Director of Strategic Planning at the New York City Department of Education. Jeremy earned his doctorate in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He received his B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Sammy Politziner

Co-Founder, Arbor Brothers

Sammy graduated from the University of Michigan in 1999 and moved to New York with Teach for America. Sammy taught second grade in the South Bronx and founded a small non-profit called Project YES: Youth Exploring Society, an academic summer camp for some of New York-area students. After a stint of world traveling, Sammy moved farther north for a master’s degree in education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He then taught language arts and social studies for two years at a KIPP school in North Carolina, where he was also the financial chair. Sammy returned to New York in 2005 for a job in investment banking at a boutique firm called Kildare Capital providing sell-side M&A and capital formation advice. In 2010, Sammy co-founded Arbor Brothers, a venture philanthropy firm focusing on early-stage social entrepreneurs in the New York area.

Amy Potthast

Director, Service and Graduate Programs, Idealist

Amy Potthast, Director of’s service and graduate education programs, has been a Peace Corps Volunteer, AmeriCorps member, and AmeriCorps VISTA Leader. At Idealist, Amy has created new resources and events to promote social-impact careers and graduate education. She helped design the Institute on Public Service Careers, which was the 2006 NACE/Chevron Award winner for innovative programming for undergraduate career advisors. In 2007, she earned the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals’ Building Bridges Award. Creator of The New Service blog and podcast, Amy recently launched a free, online career transitions guide called Service Corps to Social Impact Career, available at

Amy Rosen

President & CEO, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Amy Rosen is the President & CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE, formerly The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship), a non-profit organization that provides entrepreneurship education programs to young people from low-income communities. She is a nationally recognized expert in comprehensive urban school-system-reform strategies where she has worked to close the achievement gap by providing all young people with high quality educational opportunities. Before joining NFTE, Amy was a founding partner of Public Private Strategy Group (PPSG), a privately held management consulting and financial advisory firm where she successfully developed the firm’s Education Practice. She has served as an advisor to Mayor Bloomberg’s team, designing and implementing the restructuring of New York City’s Department of Education. She previously served as COO for New Visions, a large non-profit committed to systemic reform of New York Public Schools, where she reengineered operations and created a new business model for the organization. She currently acts as education advisor to Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and is on the faculty at Columbia Business School where she teaches Education Leadership to MBA students. In addition to authoring numerous articles, Amy is currently Chairman of the Board of TEAM SCHOOLS, a group of highly successful KIPP charter schools in Newark. She previously served on the Board of SEEDS, a nonprofit organization that identifies and provides high-achieving, low-income students with academic enrichment opportunities, and on the Board of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. Amy completed an Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School, and received her B.A. in political studies from Pitzer College. She was a 2004 Fellow at the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy.

Scott Schwaitzberg

Deputy Chief of Staff to NYC Deputy Mayor

Howard Wolfson Scott currently works in the New York City Mayor’s Office as Deputy Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson. He also serves as an advisor to Catchafire, Inc., Standard Start and Pando Projects. Previously, Scott was a consultant at McKinsey & Co. from 2005 to 2010, primarily working in the finance and technology sectors. Scott was also one of the leaders of Strategic Planning 101, McKinsey’s partnership with Robin Hood, where he helped guide New York City nonprofits through the development of strategic plans. Scott has a B.A. in Economics and Plan II from The University of Texas at Austin.

Scott Thomas

Co-Founder, Arbor Brothers

Scott graduated from the University of Michigan in 1999 with an engineering degree, later moving to New York to teach middle school mathematics with Teach for America in Washington Heights. He taught for three years before moving to the south end of the island for an MBA from NYU, where he helped launch the nation’s first student-managed venture philanthropy fund. In 2005, Scott went to work for Lehman Brothers and later Neuberger Berman, managing investments in infrastructure and alternative energy companies. In 2010, Scott co-founded Arbor Brothers, a venture philanthropy firm focusing on early-stage social entrepreneurs in the New York area. Scott serves on the New York Board of Directors for Summer Search, a national youth development organization.

Judy Vredenburgh

Immediate Past President and CEO, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America

Judy Vredenburgh is the Immediate Past President and CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters and currently serves on President Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Advisory Council. Under Vredenburgh’s leadership, Big Brothers Big Sisters more than doubled the number of children served to more than quarter of a million in 2009. Under her leadership, the number of minority adults and children participating in the program has increased significantly, and an outreach program for children of prison inmates grew to 36,000 last year. Previously, Vredenburgh was CEO of apparel company Chess King. She started her career in the retail industry, rising from buyer to top positions at Chess King and Sizes Unlimited. She also served as senior vice president at the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. Vredenburgh received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, her M.B.A. from SUNY, Buffalo and holds honorary doctorates from Philadelphia University and Lynchburg College.

Charles Warner

Professor, The New School and NYU Stern School of Business

Charlie is an adjunct professor in the graduate Media Management Program at The New School and at NYU’s Stern School of Business. He is also the Goldenson Chair Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism where he taught media management, media economics, media sales, and creativity and created and ran the annual Management Seminar for News Executives and lead annual Community Affairs workshops. Charlie’s book Media Selling, 4th Edition is the most widely used sales textbook in the field. Until he retired in 2002, he was Vice President of AOL’s Interactive Marketing division. Charlie is an active management, marketing, and sales trainer and consultant and has worked with CBS, ABC, ESPN, MTV, Fox, Microsoft’s MSN, Cox Cable, TNS, WPP’s Kantar Video, and many other major media companies. He has also been VP, General Manager, of WNBC-AM (now WFAN) in New York, WMAQ-AM and WKQX-FM in Chicago, and CBS Radio Spot Sales.

Jeff Wetzler

Chief Learning Officer, Teach for America

Jeff Wetzler joined Teach For America after working at Monitor Group, an international consulting firm, where he developed and led client engagements to advise executives on a range of strategic, organizational, and leadership issues. While at Monitor, Wetzler also led new product development initiatives and managed global training in the area of interpersonal effectiveness. Wetzler currently serves as vice chair on the founding board of two Leadership Prep charter elementary schools in Brooklyn, NY. He earned a B.S. in psychology from Brown University and an M.A. in adult learning and leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. While at Brown, he cofounded Providence Science Outreach, a nonprofit organization that equips university students to use hands-on projects to get kids in under-resourced schools excited about science.

Stephanie Wu

Senior Vice President, Program & Service, City Year

Stephanie leads the design of City Year’s youth programs which are delivered by 1500 full-time volunteers in 21 cities and hundreds of schools across the country. Stephanie came to City Year from the private sector in 1988 as a founding team leader in City Year’s summer pilot program. During City Year’s first decade she developed and led projects serving Boston youth in school and out of school programs as well as founded City Year’s Academy, putting in place foundational programs on City Year’s culture, ideals, history, programs and leadership techniques. She has held a number of management positions, including Co-Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President of U.S. Site Operations, and Senior Vice President for Human Resources. Stephanie served for one year in England and Wales with the American Field Service. She was also selected to be a national trainer in President Clinton’s demonstration national service program, Summer of Service. Stephanie is a graduate of Boston University.