Board

  • Ben Rayer (President) :: Founder & CEO, Touchstone Education, Inc.

    Mr. Rayer is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Touchstone Education, a blended learning charter management organization operating secondary schools throughout the United States.  Prior to founding Touchstone Education, Mr. Rayer was the Chief Charter and New Schools Officer at the Philadelphia School District.  In this capacity, he oversaw 100 schools enrolling more than 50,000 students and led the school system’s turnaround efforts in its lowest performing schools.

    Prior to joining the School District, Mr. Rayer was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Mastery Charter Schools.  In this role, he was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations a nationally renowned charter school system operating high performing turnaround schools in underserved communities.

    Prior to working for Mastery, Mr. Rayer was a Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation where he ran a leadership training program for aspiring urban school administrators.  Mr. Rayer has also worked as a public finance consultant at Public Financial Management where he specialized in financing and consulting for school districts across the country.  Finally, Mr. Rayer served as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District and taught 5th grade in the Long Beach, CA School District as part of Teach For America.

    Mr. Rayer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy from Cornell University, a Master of Government Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a 2002 graduate of the Broad Foundation’s Urban Superintendents Academy training program.

  • Winston Churchill (Treasurer) :: Managing Partner, SCP Partners, LLP

    Mr. Churchill has been managing general partner of SCP Partners since its founding in 1996 and has over twenty-five years experience in private equity investing. Previously, he had formed Churchill Investment Partners, Inc. in 1989 and CIP Capital, LP in 1990. Prior to that, he was a managing partner of a private investment firm that specialized in leveraged buyouts on behalf of Bessemer Securities Corporation.

    From 1967 to 1983, Mr. Churchill practiced law at the Philadelphia firm of Saul Ewing LLP and served as Chairman of its Banking and Financial Institutions Department, Chairman of the Finance Committee and a member of its Executive Committee.

    Mr. Churchill is currently a trustee of American Friends of New College, Oxford, England, The Gesu School, Scholar Academies, as well as a trustee fellow of Fordham University, trustee emeritus of Immaculata University and a former trustee of Georgetown University. He was awarded a BS in Physics, summa cum laude, from Fordham University followed by an MA in Economics from Oxford University where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a JD degree from Yale Law School.

  • Alex Hernandez (Secretary) :: Partner, Charter School Growth Fund

    Mr. Hernandez is a Partner at the Charter School Growth Fund.  In this role, he leads the organization’s “next generation” school investments, as well as those for portfolio members located in the Western United States and Texas.  Mr. Hernandez is a former Area Superintendent at Aspire Public Schools and joined the Charter School Growth Fund in July 2010. Previous to managing Aspire’s largest region, Mr. Hernandez worked with ICEF, a CMO in Los Angeles, and Portland Public Schools as a Broad Resident. Prior to that, Mr. Hernandez worked for several years with JP Morgan and Disney Ventures. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna and has an MBA and Masters of Education from Stanford University.
  • Jim Peyser :: Managing Partner, New Schools Venture Fund

    Jim Peyser is the Managing Partner for City Funds at New Schools Venture Fund, a non-profit grant-making firm that seeks to transform public education by supporting innovative education entrepreneurs. In this role, Jim leads New Schools investment activity in Boston, Newark and Washington, DC.

    Prior to joining New Schools, Jim was Education Advisor to two Massachusetts Governors, where he helped shape state policy regarding standards and assessments, school accountability, and charter schools. In 1995, he served as Under Secretary of Education and Special Assistant to the Governor for Charter Schools. He spent more than seven years as Executive Director of Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, where he helped to launch the Massachusetts Charter School Resource Center, which supported the development of the state’s first charter schools. Prior to joining Pioneer Institute, Jim held various positions at Teradyne, Inc. in Boston, an electronic test equipment manufacturer.

    In his role with New Schools, Jim currently serves on the board of directors for Achievement First, New Schools for New Orleans, Success Charter Network and Uncommon Schools. He is also chairman of the board of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). In June 2011, Jim was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

    Jim holds a MA in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School (Tufts University) and a BA from Colgate University.

  • Jason Wingard, PhD :: Vice Dean, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Wingard is the Vice Dean of Executive Education and Adjunct Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Wingard serves as a global thought leader and practitioner in results-based organizational development. He has supported and led large-scale change initiatives for Fortune 500 organizations specializing in client management, product development and distribution, and professional services.

    Dr. Wingard previously served as Senior Vice President of Regional Markets at ePals, Inc. and President and CEO of the ePals Foundation. Dr. Wingard has also served as Manager of Global Education at Silicon Graphics, Inc. where he was responsible for overseeing the development of strategic product solutions for the multi-sector adult education market.

    Dr. Wingard has also previously served as Executive Director of the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute at Stanford University. At Stanford, he was responsible for the overall leadership of the multi-disciplinary institute that provides classroom and field-based executive development consulting services to non-profit executives nationwide. Prior to Stanford, Dr. Wingard served as Senior Director of Executive Education at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania where he designed, developed, and delivered customized leadership development solutions and online training modules for senior executives for organizations including Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, IBM, Coca-Cola, JPMorgan Chase, the World Bank, and the National Football League (NFL).

    Dr. Wingard holds a BA in Sociology, with honors, from Stanford University; a MA in Education from Emory University; a MA in Technology in Education from Harvard University; and a PhD in Education, Culture, & Society from the University of Pennsylvania.