Staff

Ben Rayer

Founder & CEO ::  brayer@touchstoneeducation.org

Prior to founding Touchstone Education, Ben was most recently 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. Before this, Ben was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Mastery Charter Schools, where he managed the day-to-day operations of a nationally renowned charter school system operating high performing turnaround schools in underserved communities.

Ben has also served as a Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, where he ran a leadership training program for aspiring urban school administrators, as a public finance consultant at Public Financial Management, where he specialized in financing and consulting for school districts across the country, and as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District.

Ben taught 5th grade in the Long Beach, CA School District as part of Teach For America. He 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.

Joan Massey

Chief Academic Officer  ::  jmassey@touchstoneeducation.org

Joan is an experienced school reformer, turnaround specialist, and talent developer. Prior to joining Touchstone Education’s founding team, Joan was the Chief Academic Officer for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools in LA. Joan also served as both the Director of Performance Management and the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education for Hartford Public Schools in CT. Joan was a Principal for seven years at Whitney High School North in Hamden, CT. In these roles, Joan opened 11 schools and redesigned two, including both charter and district schools.

Joan is a specialist with knowledge of emerging research and best practices in the area of curriculum and instructional design and practice, and she is skilled in leading the implementation of professional development programs with the purpose of creating rigorous and engaging instruction that is standards driven, project-based, and college-ready.

Joan has a Masters in Special Education from American International College in Springfield, MA, a Bachelor of Science in Education from Northeastern University in Boston, and has completed work towards a Doctorate of Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.

Nishita Gupte

Chief Operating Officer  ::  ngupte@touchstoneeducation.org

Nishita oversees Touchstone Education’s technology, human resources, school operations and new school development.

Prior to joining Touchstone Education’s founding team, Nishita was an Associate Partner at the New Schools Venture Fund. In that capacity, she made investments in New Schools’ for-profit and non-profit investments in charter schools, education technology and human capital organizations. Nishita previously managed operations and worked on strategic technology projects at Aspire Public Schools, a high performing CMO with 25 schools across California. Before working in education, Nishita was an Associate at the private equity firm of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and an investment banking Analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Nishita holds a B.S. degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. and M.A. in Education from Stanford University

 

Joanne Doherty

Joanne DohertyExecutive Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Joanne oversees the development of curriculum and instructional practices at Touchstone Education.

Prior to joining Touchstone, Joanne was a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development at Teach For America in Newark.  Before joining the Teach For America staff, Joanne was a Special Education teacher and department chair at North Star Academy College Preparatory High School in Newark, where she was placed as a Teach For America corps member.  Before working in education, Joanne worked as an Assistant Vice President in Product Management at Evergreen Funds, the investment management branch of Wachovia Bank and a Mutual Fund Analyst with MFS Investment Management.

Joanne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and English and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

Al Motley

Executive Director of Information Technology  ::  amotley@touchstoneeducation.org

Al focuses on Touchstone Education’s technology work. As a member of the operations team, he leads the identification and deployment of new tools and platforms to achieve the organization’s academic mission. He also develops systems, supports, and trainings to maximize Touchstone’s staff and students’ daily technology use.

Prior to joining the Touchstone team, Al was the Director of Information Technology at Mastery Charter Schools, a charter management organization in Philadelphia, PA. He was also a Vice President at Monarch Consulting, which provides technology solutions for small business, education and non profits.

Al earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University.