Board of Directors

Julie Mikuta, Chair

Julie Mikuta is Co-President of Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and leads its K12 Education portfolio. In this capacity, she oversees its 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. Julie joined the organization in 2013 to build our Education portfolio and team. Prior to joining Schusterman, Julie was a Managing Director at NewSchools Venture Fund, focused on teacher preparation. Previously, she led trainings for school board and superintendent-teams of large urban districts at the Center for Reform of School Systems. Julie also served as an elected member of the D.C. Board of Education from 2001 until 2004. During her time on the School Board, Julie was Vice President of Alumni Affairs for Teach For America. Julie began her career in education teaching high school science in New Orleans through Teach For America. Julie graduated from Georgetown University, where she was captain of the women’s basketball team, and did a doctorate at Oxford University, as a Rhodes Scholar. Julie is on the boards of Stand for Children and New Meridian, as well as the Yu Ming Charter School.

Dr. Tequilla Brownie, Secretary

A native Arkansan, Dr. Tequilla Brownie is passionate about interrupting intergenerational poverty and improving social mobility for all students, and views education as a key conduit for equity and meaningful change. Dr. Brownie is an Executive Vice President with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), a national education consulting firm based in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Brownie co-leads TNTP’s consulting team that works with districts and departments of education all over the country. Her team’s work is focused on improving local and national academic outcomes and disrupting educational inequities. Before joining TNTP, Dr. Brownie worked for nine years in Memphis City Schools, where she oversaw the district-wide effort to improve student outcomes by increasing teacher effectiveness. Working alongside TNTP’s staff, Tequilla helped build community support for quality education, and drove human capital reforms that led to significant policy changes. She is also a licensed therapist and worked as a school social worker, where her focus was on supporting students’ and families’ efforts to improve academic and social outcomes. Dr. Brownie is a sought-after national speaker on policy issues, and frequently presents to key state legislatures and other leaders at the national and local level to drive important policy changes related to educational equity. Dr. Brownie is a proud graduate of a rural Arkansas public school system. She holds an undergraduate degree from Yale, a masters degree from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and a doctorate of education from the University of Memphis, where she completed her dissertation on policy implications surrounding teacher effectiveness.

Allana Jackson, Treasurer

Allana Jackson is a partner in Bridgespan’s Boston office where she focuses on the Education and Children, Youth, and Families practices. Her work with nonprofit organizations and foundations has included strategic planning, talent strategy, organizational design, and customer strategy with public school districts, charter management organizations, foundations and innovative nonprofits. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Jackson was a manager at Bain & Company in its Consumer Goods & Retail Practice where she helped clients with a range of issues including organizational effectiveness, growth strategy and mergers & acquisitions. Jackson was also a member of Bain’s pro-bono Education practice where she worked with clients in K-12 education and led Bain’s relationship with Rowe Elementary School, a Bain-sponsored school in Chicago. Jackson graduated from Harvard University with her bachelor of arts in economics and sociology. She also has a master of business administration from the Kellogg School of Management, where she was a Siebel Scholar. A native of Atlanta, she currently lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and son.

Frances Messano

Frances Messano is President at NewSchools Venture Fund. In this role, she oversees our four investment areas, as well as our research and learning team. Throughout her six year tenure at NewSchools, Frances has had a broad set of responsibilities, including creating the Diverse Leaders investment strategy, leading the Innovative Schools team and developing the content for four Summit conferences. Previously, Messano served as Vice President of Strategy on Teach for America’s Strategy, Innovation and Organization Development Team. In this role, she led the development of TFA’s long-term, national strategy. Before that, Messano was an Associate Partner at Monitor Institute, the social impact practice within Monitor Deloitte’s strategy consulting arm, where she helped education organizations scale their impact through strategy development, organizational design, leadership development, and program design. She also expanded the Institute’s education practice and developed the strategy for Deloitte’s social impact service line. Additional experiences include working at Morgan Stanley for four years in equity sales and structuring. Messano has a master of business administration from Harvard Business School and bachelor of arts from Harvard College. She serves on the board of Unidos US, Stand for Children, Pahara Institute, and Latinos for Education. She is also a Pahara-Aspen education fellow. Frances is a first-generation college graduate and an alum of Prep for Prep, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, non-profit organizations that she credits with helping her gain access to educational opportunity. Frances sings with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and will always say yes to a karaoke night out.

Kira Orange Jones

Kira Orange Jones is the Chief Executive Officer of Teach Plus. She sets the organization’s vision and impact strategy and leads its work to develop and advance teachers as leaders in education policy and practice, build a more equitable and excellent education for students through change and innovation, and elevate the teacher leadership movement and the profession. Prior to joining Teach Plus, Kira served as Senior Vice President at Teach for America. In 2019, she founded the TFA Systems Impact Lab, managing ten regions across the Midwest and South while advising TFA regions nationwide on strategy and systems change. She previously managed more than a dozen TFA regions across the country, serving over one million students with an annual budget of approximately $40 million. Kira spent a decade at the helm of Teach for America’s Greater New Orleans region, leading it through one of TFA’s most ambitious growth and impact efforts and expanding the organization’s presence from 100 to over 1,000 alumni. The daughter of an educator, Kira began her career as an elementary school teacher and documentary filmmaker in Louisiana. In 2002, she founded Right Quick Productions, a non-profit dedicated to telling the stories and amplifying the voices of African American youth. In 2011, Kira was elected to her first term on Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), and was subsequently re-elected in 2015 and 2019. As a state policymaker, she has helped increase teacher pay, strengthened the state’s public charter schools, expanded quality early childhood education for families, and grown the number of students prepared for post-secondary success. She most recently served as BESE’s Vice President as part of the Board’s first-ever all female leadership officer team and was re-elected by her fellow Board members in December 2021 to continue in that post. In 2015, Kira was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In The World. Her other honors include being named Louisianian of the Year by Louisiana Life Magazine and Woman of the Year by the New Orleans City Business Journal. She received the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership presented annually to outstanding Teach For America alumni and, in 2020, was named a Distinguished Alumna of Wesleyan University. Kira is a Moderator for the Pahara Fellowship, a member of the Aspen Global Network, and a founding leadership committee member of Education Leaders of Color (EdLOC). Kira holds a BA in Film Studies and Political Theory from Wesleyan University and a MEd from Harvard University. She lives in New Orleans.

All Stand for Children Leadership Center Board Members are independent voting members.


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