Skip Navigation
For ease of founding, The Cedar School is created as a proprietary school (for-profit), although it will be run like a non-profit, with focus on student and program success above all. In addition to the board, The Cedar School has an outstanding Advisory Board designed to guide its research-based decisions and ensure that the school meets best practices in every aspect of its program.
 
Board
Clay Kaufman, Co-Founder, Head of School has over 30 years of independent school leadership, including twelve years as head of school at The Siena School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has implemented hands-on, experiential learning and has developed integrated curricula in the humanities, math and sciences, focusing on students with learning differences. As an administrator, he built the high school program at The Siena School, and has led training and professional development programs for teachers at public and private schools about strategies for teaching students who have learning differences. He has presented at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference five times, leading workshops about strategies for students with learning differences that are also effective for all students. He earned his bachelor of arts in American Studies from Yale University and his master’s degree in government from Georgetown University. He has been an EE Ford Fellow in the NAIS program for Aspiring Heads, and spent a year in Turkey in the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program.
 
Ben Jenkins, Co-Founder, is Chief Investment Officer of Digital Colony. Mr. Jenkins is also the Co-Founder of Digital Bridge Holdings and the former Chairman of GTP. In July 2019, Digital Bridge was acquired by Colony Capital to become the premier platform for digital infrastructure and real estate investment. Prior to forming Digital Bridge, Mr. Jenkins was a Senior Managing Director and head of the Hong Kong office for The Blackstone Group. During his 12 years at Blackstone, Mr. Jenkins led over a dozen private equity investments (including GTP) across a range of industries and geographies, including telecommunications deals in developed and emerging markets. Prior to joining Blackstone, Mr. Jenkins was an associate at Saunders, Karp and Megrue (now Apax) and a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley.
 
Kathleen Miles is Chief Counsel, Public Finance in the Washington, DC office of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. In her current role, she supports the Public Finance group, in both bank and capital markets activities. Kathleen has over 20 years of experience in public finance, including at the partnership level, in law firms located in New York and Washington, DC. She has acted as bond counsel and underwriter’s counsel on healthcare, higher education, single and multifamily housing, infrastructure and transportation transactions. Kathleen is a member of the NABL faculty for the Fundamentals of Municipal Bond Law Seminar. Kathleen was also an Associate General Counsel of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. She received her bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College, Harvard University and her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Her daughter graduated from The Siena School in Silver Spring, MD.
Advisory Board

Dr. Guinevere Eden is Director of the Center for the Study of Learning at Georgetown University Medical Center and is a national leader in the scientific, neurobiological research of dyslexia and reading. Using functional brain imaging technology, Dr. Eden and her colleagues are investigating the neurobiological representation of reading in dyslexic individuals, and how reading is impacted by instructions or mode of communication. She is a director and officer of the International Dyslexia Association and serves on the editorial boards of the Annals of Dyslexia, Dyslexia, and Human Brain Mapping. Dr. Eden has served as a permanent member of a standing NIH Study Section. She holds a bachelor's degree in physiology from University College London and a doctorate in physiology from Oxford University.

Michael Thompson, Ph.D., is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia. He and his co-author, Dan Kindlon, wrote the New York Times best-selling book, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys (Ballantine Books, 1999). He is the author of Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children (Ballantine, 2001) and The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Achieve Success in School and in Life (with Teresa Barker, Ballantine, 2004), written to help parents understand the complex journey of children through school, from Kindergarten through senior year.  A dedicated speaker and traveler, Michael Thompson has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC 20/20, CBS 60 Minutes, The Early Show and Good Morning America. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and U.S. News and World Report and has been a guest on NPR’s “Morning Edition” with Susan Stamberg, “Talk of the Nation” with Ray Suarez and the Diane Rhem Show. He wrote, narrated and hosted a two-hour PBS documentary entitled “Raising Cain” that was broadcast nationally in 2006.

Claudia Koochek is the head of school at Westmark School in Encino, California, and a well-known educator in the LD community. She serves on the board of directors at Parent Education Network (PEN) and at Dyslexic Advantage, and on the advisory board of the Dyslexia Center at University of California, San Francisco.

Born and raised in El Salvador, Koochek taught vision-impaired students as well as students with multiple disabilities before relocating to the United States at the age of 21. She spent the next 20 years as a teacher and administrator at Charles Armstrong School, in Belmont, California, before being appointed head of school. Koochek holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master of arts degree, and a credential in special education.

Dr. Valaida (Val) Wise, is the principal consultant at her firm, Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting, LLC. The firm supports organizations in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion, governance and leadership. She is also a faculty member in the Graduate School of Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md where she teaches diversity, equity, inclusion and issues of social justice. An educator for more than 25 years, Dr. Wise has served as the Head of School of several independent schools in the Washington DC region. Dr. Wise has written several articles on educational leadership, and equity in education and has been asked to speak nationally and internationally on those topics. Her current research interest lies in the area of diversity and inclusion in independent schools. Dr. Wise serves on the board of several professional organizations and independent as well as public charter school boards.

Dave Sylvestro, School Psychologist at The Southport School in Southport, CT, was a founding staff member and the head of psychological services at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich for forty-three years. He holds a graduate degree in School Psychology from Fairfield University, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity College, and is a member of the Connecticut Association of School Psychologists. His tenure at Eagle Hill included serving as teacher, coach, dormitory supervisor, academic advisor, the facilitator for the dads’ support group and parent support group. He has presented often at the International LDA Conference, and is a past editorial advisory board member/contributing writer for Parents Together, co-chair of the Greenwich Youth Suicide Prevention Committee, and frequent speaker on subjects related to Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Parenting and Social Development for SPED*NET Wilton and Smart KIDS.

Dr. Ben Powers, Headmaster at The Southport School, is a practitioner, researcher, and advocate who works with students with dyslexia and ADHD. After completing a BA in Russian, he holds an Executive MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Doctorate in Business Administration at Grenoble Ecole de Management, fusing his interests in dyslexia and entrepreneurship; his doctoral research focused on the self-esteem and self-efficacy perceptions of adolescents with dyslexia and ADHD to understand the impact those personal-level variables have on social-emotional well-being and career intentions. Additional interests include developing collaborative, community-based, and scalable implementation models for literacy across LD/ADHD, bilingual, bidialectal, and vulnerable communities.

Bill Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuro-psychologist and founder of William Stixrud and Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland. In private practice as a neuropsychologist since 1985, Dr. Stixrud specializes in the evaluation of children, adolescents, and adults with learning disabilities, and in the promotion of self-esteem in children. Prior to entering private practice, Dr. Stixrud served as a staff neuropsychologist at the Children's National Medical Center and the Georgetown University Medical School. He currently is a member of the Clinical Neuropsychology Supervisory Faculty at Children's National Medical Center and holds an appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical School. He has also served as a consultant to the Division of Neuropsychiatry at the National Institutes of Health. A frequent lecturer on topics related to neuropsychological assessment, learning and executive disorders, brain development, stress, motivation, and sleep, Dr. Stixrud is co-author, with Ned Johnson, of The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives

Anne Glass, Ed.M, is the 2019 Sam Kirk Educator of the Year, an award given annually by the Learning Disabilities Association of America. Anne served as Head of School of Purnell, a boarding school for girls who learn differently, from 2018 – 2021, and previously served as a reading and learning specialist at the Chapin School in Manhattan. Anne developed the Learning and Wellness® program, a K-12 holistic model of support for students, which she implemented at Purnell School in 2017. Anne has also been an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Special Education at CUNY Hunter College and in the Learning Disabilities Program and the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Anne received her BA from Wellesley College in Economics, and an MA in Reading and a Master of Education in Learning Disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University. During the summer of 2015, she was awarded a fellowship to the Neuroscience of Reading Institute at MIT to study brain bases of reading development and disability as well as implications for early identification and intervention.