Gary Hoachlander is President of ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Beginning his career in 1966 as a brakeman for the Western Maryland Railroad, he has devoted most of his professional life to helping young people learn by doing—connecting education to the opportunities, challenges, and many different rewards to be found through work. Widely known for his expertise in career and technical education and many other aspects of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, Gary has consulted extensively for the U.S. Department of Education, state departments of education, local school districts, foundations, and a variety of other clients. Gary earned his Bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and holds both a Master’s and Ph.D. degree from the Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley.
As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Brad Stam co-leads ConnectEd with President Gary Hoachlander, supports organizational development and business development, and aligns programmatic initiatives in support of ConnectEd’s systemic reform goals. Prior to coming to ConnectEd, Mr. Stam served as Chief Academic Officer for Oakland Unified School District, leading dramatic academic improvement at the elementary and middle grades, and initiating a systemic Linked Learning approach to high school reform. During Mr. Stam’s tenure, Oakland USD had the highest API growth of any large urban district in California, 118 points. Prior to coming to Oakland, Mr. Stam served as Special Assistant to the Superintendent and Director of Teacher Affairs in San Francisco Unified, creating innovative and collaborative approaches to support teacher and principal effectiveness and organizational learning. Mr. Stam has taught middle school, was a middle school vice principal and elementary school principal in San Francisco, and started his career developing and teaching project and outcomes-based interdisciplinary curriculum at University Heights High School in the Bronx, New York. He brings expertise and practitioner experience in teaching and learning, assessment, urban school and district reform, and a lifelong passion for helping underprivileged youth improve their life options through quality education. Mr. Stam earned his BA at Harvard University and his MA at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Rob Atterbury is the Director for Professional Development, for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, and also serves as a district coach for the California District Initiative for Linked Learning. Prior to joining ConnectEd in 2009, Rob spent 28 years with San Diego Unified School District as a teacher, Program Manager, Director of the School-to-Career program, and Director in the Office of Secondary School Innovation. He also spent a year and a half as the High School Transformation Associate Superintendent for Atlanta Public Schools. In these roles, Rob has been involved in transforming large comprehensive high schools into small, career-themed schools, career academies, and/or smaller learning communities. Rob is passionate about improving instruction through real-world standards-based curriculum designed to engage students, providing every student with a work-based learning experience, and supporting districts and schools in this pursuit. Rob is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Studies and a Master's degree in Education Administration from United States International University. He holds various teaching credentials and a Clear Administrative Services Credential from San Diego State University.
Kathleen Harris recently joined ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career as the Director for Technical Assistance and Coaching. As a CTE instructor and program supervisor, state department consultant, and professional development specialist and project manager, Kathleen has worked in almost every state with hundreds of school sites and thousands of educators. Her experience in coaching districts that are implementing Smaller Learning Communities grants and schools that are developing career academies will benefit all involved in the Linked Learning approach. Having taught health occupations and science in both high school and community college, Kathleen understands the daily challenges teachers face and the benefits of teaching within a context of personal worth. She has also served as a National Career Academy Coalition reviewer and consultant. Kathleen holds a Master's degree in Organization and Career Development, a Bachelor's degree in Behavior Science (Education) from JFK University, and a Registered Nurse diploma from Oakpark (Illinois) Hospital School of Nursing.
Pier Sun Ho is Associate Director for Pathway and Curriculum Development at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Previously, she worked as an educator and educational researcher for more than a decade. Pier taught science and mathematics in Massachusetts for six years before returning to graduate school at the University of Michigan. During her graduate studies, Pier wrote science curriculum, designed and delivered professional development, and conducted research in Detroit public schools as part of a systemic reform initiative supporting technology-rich, inquiry-oriented science instruction in urban school districts. Pier holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master's degree in Educational Administration and in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Science Education with the University of Michigan.
Paula (Penni) Hudis has served as Director of Pathway and Curriculum Development at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career since the organization's inception in 2006. Her career has spanned a wide range of positions in education and industry, including teaching, research, program evaluation, and practice related to education, equity, and employment advancement. Prior to joining ConnectEd, she served as Director of Evaluation for MPR Associates, Inc., Vice President and Manager of Human Resource Planning for Bank of America, and Operations Manager for Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action at the Bechtel Corporation. She began her career in research and teaching at Indiana University, Bloomington and recently spent nine years as a part-time Visiting Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Penni earned a Bachelor's degree at New York University, and Master's and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology and Demography at the University of Michigan.
Arlene LaPlante serves as Director for the ConnectEd Network for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career Network. With more than 30 years of experience in secondary education as a teacher, counselor, site and district administrator, and national consultant, Arlene has devoted her career to improving the education of high school students. Most recently this work has involved developing and implementing career-themed academies and small schools that integrate academic and career technical education in a small, personalized learning environment where students and their individual learning needs are known well by their teachers. She is a credentialed administrator, teacher, and counselor, who has consulted extensively for high schools, middle schools, colleges, universities, and local school districts. Arlene holds a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and a Master's degree in Counseling from San Diego State University.
Roman Stearns is Director of Leadership Development for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, joining ConnectEd in 2006 as Director for Policy Analysis and Development. Throughout his career, Roman has worked at the school, district, county, state, and national levels toward high school reform. After spending 10 years at the school and district levels on school change issues, he directed a large two-county school-to-career partnership, promoting regional models and structures to support reform efforts. Roman then moved to the UC Office of the President to direct a statewide project intended to revamp “a–g” course certification by making it more transparent, providing extensive training about that process to high school educators and recommending changes in UC policy and procedures to ensure that UC's admissions process supported ongoing high school reform efforts. In doing so, he promoted UC's approval of academically rigorous career-technical courses and sought opportunities to blend academic and career-technical course content to prepare students for both college and careers. Roman holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University, a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University, and Single Subject Teaching and Administrative Credentials from California State University.
Elizabeth Stroud joined ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career as Director of Communications in November 2011. With more than ten years of strategic communications experience, Elizabeth has served corporate, non-profit and education organizations, and increased funding, revenues and awareness for those organizations. Most recently, Elizabeth held the position of Business Development and Client Strategies Director for the Oakland Schools Foundation (OSF). During her tenure, the organization assisted public schools in raising nearly $20M, with Elizabeth increasing the client portfolio and developing organizational systems to support exponential growth. Elizabeth utilizes her technical expertise in marketing, internal and external relations, fundraising and community outreach to enhance the student experience from K-12 through post-secondary levels. Her dedication to support student transitions from high school to college, and college to career, positively impacts the lives of young people in California and beyond. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in Organizational Communications and Public Relations from California State University, East Bay.
Carl Taibl, CPA, is the Chief Financial Officer for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, joining the organization in 2009. Carl started his career in 1980 working in public accounting, serving clients such as the Joyce Foundation while employed at KPMG . He continued in several increasingly challenging finance positions at Southern Pacific Railroad, Ernst & Young, Accenture, and most recently as CFO for Hanson Bridgett, a San Francisco-based law firm. Carl is active in various non-profit organizations, and is a local board member of Financial Executives International (FEI). He is a member of the AICPA and has published several articles. His motto dating back to when he was the first Eagle Scout of his troop, is to leave something in better condition than when he arrived. Carl earned his Bachelor's degree at Northern Illinois University and holds a Master's in Business Administration with honors from Northwestern's Kellogg School.
Dave Yanofsky is Director of Media and Youth Development for ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. Before joining the staff at ConnectEd, Dave was the Program Director for Uth TV, where he oversaw a staff of youth media makers and helped to produce Grind & Glory, a feature-length film that was shot and edited by a crew of teenagers. He began his career in radio, reporting for “Budapest Day & Night,” the first English language radio program to appear in Eastern Europe after the wall came down. After returning to the United States, Dave produced his first feature film, Poetic License. Aired nationally on PBS, the film captures the emergence of spoken word poetry as a powerful form of self-expression for teenage youth. Since that time, he has produced a number of innovative projects that focus on youth and storytelling, and that help educators integrate media into their classroom or afterschool workshop. Dave holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Hamilton College.