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Thrive Education Foundation

Carlos_Cortez.jpegCarlos Cortez, PhD, President of San Diego Continuing Education for the San Diego Community College District.

Dr. Cortez serves as the President of Continuing Education with the San Diego Community College District. He most recently served as Dean of Academic Pathways, Workforce Development, and Student Success and Acting Vice President of Instruction at Berkeley City College. Cortez is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, where he has worked in various capacities since 2001. His research interests center on the role of educators and administrators of color in the historical development of American social welfare and education policy. He is also an expert in the area of promoting equity and access in urban education through literacy and policy initiatives. Before BCC, he also served as Director of Education Extension at the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to UCLA, he worked in education at the P-12 level as a classroom teacher, administrator, and researcher. Cortez began his career in education as Teach for America Corps member. His experience spans the public, private, and charter school sectors in Washington DC, Houston, New York City, and Los Angeles. Cortez served as Principal of New Village Charter School in Los Angeles and as Assistant Principal at Grape Street Elementary School. In these positions, he was known for his dedication to teachers and students, the development of innovative programs and services, and sound fiscal management. He has worked primarily with students with special needs and emotional disturbance from low income communities and has been a staunch advocate for policy and finance reform as a member of various state and federal level legislative task forces. His commitment to social justice drives his passion for urban education reform.  Cortez’s educational background includes three degrees in African American Women's History, including a BA, Georgetown University; MA, New York University; and PhD, University of Southern California.

Tony Fulton, Director of Facilities Planning, Design, and Construction and University Architect for San Diego State University, Retired.

Prior to his retirement he managed $1.5 billion dollars of design and construction and over 2.5 million square feet of new and renovated academic/support facilities utilizing Design-Build, CM at Risk and other innovative construction methodologies.  As part of his duties he master planned the physical growth of the main campus, off-campus centers at Calexico and Brawley, and a new CSU campus which is now CSU San Marcos. Fulton brings valuable insight into organizational/operational management and best business practices, architectural selection, design, conceptual planning, and facility programming, master planning, environmental planning, and agency review processing and project assurance through the critical evaluation of the construction process. Because of his long standing expertise and involvement with educational and private institutions he has the ability to assemble the best consulting team members to solve problems and to apply “best practice” results to emerging and existing problems for clients. During the past several years he has given particular attention to K-12, Community College and Healthcare bond program assessments, construction auditing for healthcare and educational clients, CEQA processing and review, master planning, and the design-build process. Tony holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Penn State, a Master of City Planning degree from SDSU, and maintains registration as a licensed architect in California and Pennsylvania. During his career he spent several years teaching architecture and engineering courses and has lectured on construction methodologies and construction performance enhancement. While in private practice he designed several K-12 schools and ski resorts in Pennsylvania. He is an active member of the Association of University Architects (AUA), the Society of College and University Planners (SCUP), ACE Mentoring-San Diego, Mt. Helix Foundation, and actively participates in other local, civic, and national organizations.

Justine.jpegJustine K. Nielsen, Attorney, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.

Justine Nielsen is a land use, environmental and real estate attorney at one of San Diego’s  top law firms. She represents private entities and public interest groups on a variety of land use, planning and entitlement matters throughout various stages of the real estate development and environmental regulatory process. She is active in several local industry organizations including the Urban Land Institute and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. She is also active in the community, having served on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of San Diego County from 2010 to 2016. As a past participant in the Center for Civic Education’s We the People program, she is also passionate about civic education in public schools, frequently volunteering as a judge in We the People program competitions. She is a graduate of San Diego State University and California Western School of Law.  Justine lives with her husband and young son in the Del Cerro community of San Diego.

Corey.png Corey Polant, Development Officer, Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad, San Diego State University. 
Corey Polant leads the strategy and facilitation of all major gifts into the Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad (ZIP Launchpad), and oversees philanthropic giving to the university from the New York Tri-State area. He has successfully identified strategic initiatives to fundraise for within the ZIP Launchpad and is currently building a donor pipeline for solicitation.  He also maintains and steward’s high level business and community relationships forged between the ZIP Launchpad and the entrepreneurial community.  Corey is recognized for his positive relationship building mastery, energetic personality and commitment to grow private support towards the Campaign for SDSU.  The ZIP Launchpad is the university’s entrepreneurial center and community and helps incubate student ideas into viable startups. Corey has also held leadership roles in the community with the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, (an LGBT grant giving foundation),San Diego Rotaract, a leadership and community service organization, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Young Leaders Committee, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization and most currently, Thrive Public Schools.  Corey holds a BA in Sociology from San Diego State University and is currently pursuing his Masters in Public Administration.

1.jpgPeri Lynn Turnbull, APR, Chief External Relations and Strategy Officer for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

As the Chief of External Relations and Strategy, Turnbull leads the communications and research functions at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to design a proactive narrative to collaboratively reframe the conversation about public education so that all kids can access high-quality public schools and to challenge the misinformation about public charter schools driven by supporters of the status quo. Prior to joining the team at the National Alliance, she was the senior vice president of communications and knowledge management at the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) leading the communications and technical assistance effort for the charter community in the state of California. Her commitment to public education and community building in California began with executive level positions at the both the Fresno Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District as well as the American Red Cross, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter. Before moving to the United States in 1999, Turnbull held positions at The Conference Board of Canada, led a non-profit arts organization and held a variety of positions with Federal Cabinet Ministers within the Canadian Government. Turnbull serves as Chair of the Thrive Education Foundation board supporting the facilities and funding needs of the K-12 non-profit charter management organization Thrive Public Schools in San Diego and is a volunteer with Angels Foster Family Network. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) degree from Carleton University (Canada) and a Masters of Science in Executive Leadership (MSEL) from University of San Diego. She has also received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Universal Accreditation Board. She and her husband, Jeff Wiemann, who leads an agency placing infants and toddlers with foster families, are raising four children in La Mesa California, all of whom attend public schools. As advocates for providing students with the best educational option to meet their individual needs, two of their children attend traditional district public schools an

Mary Walter-Brown, CEO, News Revenue Hub

Mary Walter-Brown is the founder and CEO of the News Revenue Hub, a mission-driven media firm that helps news organizations successfully develop and manage membership programs. Formerly the publisher and COO at Voice of San Diego, Mary is a trailblazer in the nonprofit news sector leading the charge for news outlets to build diverse and sustainable revenue through audience engagement and relationship building. Working with dozens of news organizations around the United States, including The Intercept, The Center for Public Integrity and Politifact, the News Revenue Hub provides a collaborative environment where digital news innovators can experiment, solve problems and trade best practices. Mary is a 2016 graduate of the Punch Sulzberger executive leadership fellowship at Columbia University. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.