Karen Callahan – Genesis Academy
Binky Michele Jones – Ombudsman Educational Services
Timothy A. Smith, M.I.M. – Learning Matters Educational Group & E-Institute High Schools
Amy Schlessman, Ph.D. – Rose Management Group & Rose Academies
Board of Directors
- Kim Franklin – Vechij Himdag Alternative School
- Rebecca Gau – Stand for Children, Arizona
- Joel Kramer – Nogales Unified School District
- Angela Pogue – Maricopa County Education Service Agency
- Brent Potter – Kingman Unified School District
Karen Callahan, President
Karen Callahan is founder and executive director of Genesis City, a youth services charity that serves to reclaim the promise of Arizona’s disenfranchised youth by providing them with an opportunity to re-enter the educational pipeline. Throughout her 23 year tenure at Genesis City, Karen’s programs have assisted over 5,000 (chiefly poverty-level) youth and their families in their pursuit of educational opportunity. In 1993, Karen also instituted Genesis Academy, one of the first alternative high schools in the metropolitan Phoenix area, where she continues to serve as principal. Karen received YWCA’s Tribute to Leadership Education Leader award in 2012, was honored by ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy as an “Architect of Change” in 2014, and was the recipient of the Golden Rule Education Award from the Arizona Interfaith Movement in 2015. Karen serves on the education committee of the Phoenix Community Alliance, and has been an active member of the Arizona Alternative Education Consortium since 2011. Karen is an Arizona native and ASU graduate.
Binky Michele Jones, President-Elect
Binky Michelle Jones is Regional Vice-President of Operations for Ombudsman Educational Services. Binky began her career with Ombudsman in 2000 as a center director for Metro Charter, one of eight schools operated by the company in Arizona. She has served in several positions for the company, including Regional Manager of Arizona, and Assistant Vice-President of Operations. In 2013, Jones was promoted to Regional Vice-President and is responsible for providing overall leadership, quality assurance, and strategic direction for the Ombudsman Charter Schools. Jones has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree of Education and Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She currently holds a K-12 Arizona teaching certificate in vocational education and an Arizona Principal’s Certificate. In 2015, she was elected President Elect of the Arizona Alternative Education Consortium and currently holds that position.
Amy Schlessman, Past President
Amy Schlessman, PhD, has dedicated her professional, and much of her personal, life to development of intelligence and creativity. Amy infuses research and innovation into her passionate work for quality educational options for all learners. Not-for-profit organizations including schools and community collaboratives, as well as Fortune 500 companies, have benefitted from her contributions. Her publications include books and articles ranging from theory to practice. Her fellow professionals have elected Amy to multiple leadership positions including President of the Arizona Alternative Education Consortium (AZ AEC), President of the TESOL International Association, and groups within the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Her community service includes the Northwest YMCA in Tucson where she chairs the Board Development committee. Schlessman received the University of Arizona’s Meritorious Performance in Teaching Award.
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