Our Team

The School & Main team includes our full-time staff, a devoted cadre of faculty from around the country and our board members. 


Gregg Weltz, Executive Director

Gregg joined School & Main Institute in November 2018 as our new Executive Director. In addition to his 30 years of diverse experience in the youth development sector, he is also an old friend and former partner to SMI. From 2004-2008, Gregg and Andy collaborated and led the Federal Shared Youth Vision – an unprecedented effort to build strategic partnerships between eight youth serving U.S. Government agencies and billions of federal youth dollars. Gregg most recently served for two and half years as Senior Youth Advisor for the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Nairobi, Kenya where his leadership focused on deepening collaboration and partnership between the U.S. and Kenyan Government in support of increased opportunities for Kenyan youth employment, empowerment and economic growth. Gregg also spent four years in Uganda leading his own consulting firm focused on creating community partnerships around youth employment. Gregg’s domestic work includes 15 years at the U.S Department of Labor where he directed the Department’s youth employment programs for 10 years while leading numerous presidential initiatives to improve policies and services for America’s youth, including the Shared Youth Vision with SMI. Gregg spent a number of years leading grass-roots community work as a YMCA director in California and as a history teacher in Zimbabwe. Gregg is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Heller Graduate School of Social Welfare at Brandeis University and was a Presidential Management Fellow. While in Africa, Gregg coached high school and professional basketball and shared his love for the game with local high school players through clinics and camps. He even played in a few professional-level games. Gregg enjoys hanging out and spending time with his wife and two grown children and is always on the move trying to keep his Weimaraner puppy happy. 

Andy Beck, Founding Director Emeritus

Andy is the former Executive Director of SMI. He has retired, but is continuing to support key SMI activities and partnerships as our Founding Director Emeritus.  He has over 30 years of experience creating community-wide strategies that impact young people, their families, and the communities in which they live. Andy has been involved in efforts that range from educational leadership and teaching to workforce, youth and community development. At SMI, Andy has facilitated collaborative work at the federal, state and local level and is known nationally for his ability to bring systems that support youth (education, workforce, human services, juvenile justice, housing, etc.) together to achieve meaningful outcomes for youth and greater effectiveness and efficiency for the systems that support them. Andy has worked as a teacher, a building principal, and an instructor at the graduate level and is a former president of the Alternative School Alliance based in Massachusetts. When Andy’s not working, you might catch him at a basketball game or at a music concert.

Sue Brown, Financial Manager

Sue is School & Main Institute's Financial Manager. The co-founder of a local School-to-Career partnership in Summit County, Colorado, Sue is also a member of the Colorado Tech Prep/School-to-Career Advisory Board. She brings almost 20 years of financial management and small business ownership experience to the organization. Sue’s travels span the globe and she loves the Rocky Mountains, and her extended family. She is a star!

Kathy Flynn Woodland, Director of Field Services

Kathy brings over 25 years of extensive experience in the fields of education, youth development, workforce development, and community mobilization. Her work includes being a trainer, technical assistance provider, facilitator and strategist with PK-12 schools, districts, higher education, state and federal agencies, and community partners to build successful collaborations targeting education improvement and school to college/career transition initiatives. Kathy currently serves as a coach and technical assistance provider working with MA “turnaround” schools on the implementation of strategies related to improving climate & culture and the development of strong internal and external wraparound student support systems geared to improving graduation rates. She recently helped develop Rhode Island’s statewide interagency collaborative case management model for the state’s “highest risk” youth – dropouts, pregnant & parenting teens, foster care youth, and court-involved youth. Prior to working with SMI, Kathy was the Director of Partnership Development for the Massachusetts Office for School-to-Work Transition helping to mobilize and build the capacity of community partnerships by providing technical assistance in strategic planning, system benchmarking, program operations, sustainability planning, and continuous improvement/change management methods. Kathy’s professional experience also includes both local and statewide management of at-risk and out-of-school youth programs, administration of youth and adult local workforce development efforts, administration of a non-profit rehabilitation center, and as an archaeologist in the Hudson River Valley and Guatemala. 

Jean Hammes, Field Service Manager

Jean, has been a member of the School & Main Institute team since 2004 working on School-to-Work/School-to-Career efforts in Colorado, workforce development efforts in our statewide Texas Initiative and as a faculty member and TA provider in our national Institutes, Summits and capacity building sessions. She has been active in the field of project management and partnership development for many years, with experience in teaching, education reform, workforce development, community development initiatives, and program administration.

Born, raised, and educated in Iowa, Jean began her career teaching at a small Iowa high school. An opportunity to work on school-to-work partnership initiatives took her to California for 5 years working as Project Director for the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR) in Emeryville, California, where she managed the workflow across multiple large-scale projects located in four states, and worked with the team in conducting research to support projects and remain on the forefront of policy and practice. In 2004, Jean started working and collaborating on education and workforce development initiatives with School & Main Institute in several states and localities. Jean has provided training and technical assistance supporting educational reform, partnership skills building, and strengthening workforce development linkages to support youth investment and community youth development systems.

Jean has also served as the Program Director for the Alpine Agency on Aging, a program of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments.  She was responsible for a wide range of functions related to advocacy, planning, coordination, inter-agency linkages, contracting, evaluating and program development.  She administered and coordinated the delivery of services, including evidenced-based programming, for a five-county area. She successfully provided and managed federal and state programs and funds where she kept everyone in line and on task.

Susannah Madan-Erbil, Project Manager

Susannah Madan-Erbil has been working at SMI since 2000. Prior to her work with SMI, she worked in the marketing department of an Internet company where she assisted in marketing their educational program to schools across the country. Susannah has an MA in Education from Simmons College, Boston, MA and she taught third grade for one year before returning to the business world. After receiving her BA from Barnard College, New York, NY in German Studies, she worked in the translation business for three years. With Susannah’s many years living in Germany and Turkey, she is our resident German-Turkish guru.

Nora Priest, Field Manager

Nora is a Jill-of-many trades whose professional adventures over the past 30 years have taken her up, down, and across the field of education. Teaching ESL, launching new schools, curriculum design, teacher training, secondary school redesign, educational research, publishing, instructional technology, student-centered learning, community partnerships and interagency collaboration to support our most vulnerable youth….The topics are many but Nora’s passion for understanding learner needs and creating powerful educational experiences is always the same. An SMI staff member and associate since 1994, Nora provides support to school districts, youth organizations, state agencies, and cross-sector partnerships around the country. She is also our resident technology wiz, having spent five years immersed in the ed tech sector where she helped found an e-learning company and led the development of ProjectPower, an award-winning learning management system, and a suite of tools for Big Picture Learning's national network of high schools. Nora also worked for Reading Is Fundamental in Washington, DC; the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program; and helped found and direct an orphanage, school, and clinic in Haiti. Nora owns MindMoxie, a creative educational services company which does specialized curriculum and web dev projects for K-16 publishers and educational organizations. She holds a Master's Degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Bachelor of Science from Georgetown. Nora is a tortured Gemini who loves everything (but especially languages and Indian food) and needs the sea as much as she needs air.

William Rodriguez, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

Williie has been part of the School & Main team for over 15 years. He has contributed to our work on the Roxbury Youth Network, Boston Campaign for Proficiency and “Reimaging Juvenile Justice” partnership effort we are building with Wheelock College.  Willie has served in a variety of leadership positions such as executive director of La Alianza Hispana, the Boston Campaign for Proficiency, the Crime and Justice Institute and as Project Director to Bail Alternative and Alternative Sentencing Projects at The Vera Institute of Justice.  He also has served as Special Assistant to the President on Latino Affairs at Northeastern University.  In that capacity he co-founded the Latino Cultural Center, Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program and helped develop Latino retention scholarships.

Willie is a passionate and zealous advocate for human rights, social justice, and democratic equity for youth.  He is a recognized and influential leader in the Latino community in Massachusetts.  He is a pre-law advisor to students and co-advisor to the Latino student organization La Herencia Latina at Wheelock College.  He also was a research and writing contributor to the Boston Bar Association Task Force on Justice Report on Corrections, Bridging the Public Safety Gap - Prisoner Re-entry report for the Crime and Justice Foundation (1998).  Both reports led to criminal justice systemic reform and new program development in Massachusetts. Willie also serves as an Instructor at Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development in Boston and as Chair of the Juvenile Justice/Youth Advocacy Department.

Fran Roy, School & Main Institute Faculty & Coach

Fran Roy is an educator’s educator who has worked in schools in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Wisconsin -- and is ready to tackle achievement gaps wherever she finds them. She started as a middle school math teacher and later served as an assistant professor of education and district administrator. As assistant superintendent of the Fall River Public schools, her most recent position, Fran worked closely with teachers and district staff to boost student achievement using a combination of curriculum, school climate, and social emotional learning innovations. She combines a knack for data analysis with a deep understanding of how the brains of different students tick and how to adjust teaching and learning to fit their needs, interests, and hopes. She has provided a variety of school improvement support to public schools across Massachusetts including support for middle school redesign in New Bedford, math curriculum redesign work in Barnstable and Southbridge, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) planning support in Framingham, New Bedford, and West Springfield. She also serves on the state’s Mathematics Curriculum Refinement Panel charged with gathering stakeholder input and identifying possible refinements to the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks. Dr. Roy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, a master’s degree in mathematics from Rhode Island College and a doctorate in education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Naeemah Smith, School & Main Institute Associate Project Manager

Naeemah has dedicated her entire career to helping the most vulnerable people in our society get access to the opportunities that will allow them to thrive. She’s worked with people who suffer from mental illness at Dimock’s Transitions of Boston, and was a counselor at St. Mary’s Bridge Home shelter for abused or neglected children. Starting in 2010, Naeemah worked at Roxbury Youthworks’ G.I.F.T. program in service to young girls victimized by commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) as well as youth identified at high risk for entering CSE or other forms of exploitative relationships. The majority of the G.I.F.T girls are system involved and have experienced significant amounts of trauma.

Naeemah has a “gift” for building genuine and long lasting relationships with even some of the hardest to reach girls at G.I.F.T.  During her time at G.I.F.T., Naeemah implemented numerous programs and cultivated partnerships from all different sectors, while also earning a BA in Sociology from UMASS, and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Suffolk University.

But in 2019, Naeemah decided to leave her role as G.I.F.T.’s Assistant Director and embark on a new challenge as an Associate Project Manager at the School and Main Institute, where her experience navigating systems and developing programs will be used to support programs all of the world.

Naeemah is also a mom to four boys (three humans and one cocker spaniel), and so her favorite thing to do is take a peaceful nap in a clean house which she hopes to actually experience again one day…

Patricia Spradley, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

Pat has worked with School & Main on School-to-Career / School-to-Work efforts all the way back to the late 1990’s. She was a key component in the development of the Springfield Parent Academy – an SMI capacity building effort that helps parents and families develop effective partnerships with the public schools, while also helping caring adults develop skills and employment opportunities. Pat is the Chief of Parent and Community Engagement for Springfield Public Schools, in Massachusetts.  As Chief Officer, reporting to the Superintendent, she strategically engages key parents, community, and political and institutional partner support to assist with student achievement.  She currently has direct responsibility for Workforce Development, School Volunteers, Parent Facilitators & Family Education, the Parent and Community Engagement Center, the Springfield Parent Academy, Student Assignment Services, Homeless Educational Services, Migrant Refugee Support Services, Home Schooling, METCO and School Choice/Charters. 

Pat was born in Philadelphia, PA and is married to Willie L. Spradley, Jr.  They are the proud parents of four grown children, Sean, Tara, Dwight and Derek and four grandchildren.    In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to jazz, sewing, watching basketball and vacationing.  Pat holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources/Personnel Management, a Master’s degree in Organizational Development and a Massachusetts State Certification in Educational Administration. She was nationally recognized by Education Week as a 2015 “LEADER TO LEARN FROM”.

Ephraim Weisstein, Schools for the Future Director, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

A longtime associate and SMI collaborator, Ephraim has extensive experience helping school districts and communities in New England and across the nation make strategic investments based on analyzing student data and current and missing resources. While Vice President at the Commonwealth Corporation, Ephraim helped lead and design the Massachusetts’ Pathways to Success by 21 (P-21) initiative where he worked closely with state and local district leaders to implement resource mapping as a key method to identify gaps and duplication in available resources and the implications for strategic planning and policy development. He worked with the New York City Department of Education on a similar process for NYC’s large disconnected youth population. As an SMI associate, Ephraim has worked closely with both New York State officials in the Depts. of Education and Labor, as well as key leadership from several Alabama rural communities on the development and implementation of a shared vision for youth with the purpose of deepening collaborations—whether at the state or local level—and helping partners gain a better understanding of available youth services and resources and how to strategically maximize their use and foster new opportunities. Ephraim also developed Schools for the Future, a fully performance-based school model designed to serve students old enough to enter high school but who have been held back two or more times, with significant gaps in basic reading and math skill development.

Beatriz McConnie Zapater, School & Main Institute Faculty and Coach

Over the past 40 years, Beatriz has created successful programs to prepare off-track youth to graduate from high school and continue on to post-secondary education. Beatriz strongly believes in student-centered, culturally-responsive, and equitable education, and understands that collaboration with community-based organizations and institutions are essential in order to develop the whole student. She has a profound belief that the development of the whole person (body, mind and spirit) is an essential human right. We first worked with Beatriz on our innovative blended learning models – Using Technology/On-Line Learning With At Risk Youth – in Massachusetts.

Beatriz began her career in education as an ESL teacher of Latino adults in Boston’s South End. Teaching then led her to develop and lead new schools and programs in both non-profit community-based organizations, and public schools in Boston. These have included El Centro del Cardenal/Cardinal Cushing Center, Greater Egleston Community High School, and Boston Day and Evening Academy.

In addition to her direct work with students and faculty, she has also been a Leadership Coach to district superintendents, administrators, principals and faculty, and facilitated participatory processes whereby schools and organizations can make strategic planning decisions that will transform culture and climate, and ultimately, students' educational outcomes.

Beatriz is also the author of two children’s books: Fiesta! and Three Kings’ Day.  She balances her work by staying healthy through fitness, making and enjoying art, playing and enjoying music, cooking, and staying connected to nature and family.

Beatriz holds a B.A. in Fine Arts and Liberal Arts and an Ed.M in Bilingual Education and Teaching ESOL, both from Boston University.  



Susan Curnan, School & Main Institute Advisory Board Member

Susan P. Curnan is a professor of Social Policy and Management at the Heller School, Brandeis University, founding chair of MBA and MPP programs concentration in children, youth and families, and Executive Director of the Center for Youth and Communities. The Center is one of the nation’s premier evaluation research and capacity building firms dedicated to preparing young people for education, work and life by driving social change to address inequalities. A graduate of Yale University with advanced degrees in policy, management and ecological systems theory, Curnan joined the Brandeis faculty in 1983.

Throughout her career, Professor Curnan has worked in all three sectors of society, with all states and commonwealths from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and in more than 200 communities in the USA; she has traveled to South and North Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia to consult on education, workforce development, management and policy issues.  She has been a director and trustee of a family foundation, served as a social impact advisor and thought leader on many national task forces on policy, performance management and program quality for the U.S. Department of Labor, Department of Education, USAID & UNESCO, as well as work groups for the National Academy of Sciences, the White House Domestic Policy Council and Task Forces. During the 1990s (and before), Curnan was involved with virtually all major youth employability initiatives sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and served as Principal Investigator (PI) and National Study Leader for several national youth initiatives. Today, she leads a group of scientists and practitioners carrying out a portfolio of projects in urban and rural communities and in Africa. All are funded by philanthropy and government.

Within the University, Professor Curnan was recently elected for an unprecedented fourth term as President of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate, the elected representative body of the faculty, which advises and consults with the President, Provost, and Board of Trustees in a model of shared governance.

Chantel Devaughn, School & Main Institute Board Member

Ms. Chantel Devaughn has over 27 years’ experience in skills-based training, capacity building, and the workforce development field. She currently works as a National Technical Assistance Expert and Advisor for various community-based organizations and federal/state funded programs including YouthBuild, PATH and EARN. At SER Jobs for Progress in Detroit, Michigan, she worked as the Executive Director for the Detroit Youth Opportunity Movement (YO!) funded by the US Department of Labor, which provided intensive youth development training and support for over 4500 youth working to achieve success in education and career goals. Ms. Devaughn has previously managed over $100 million in federal and state grant dollars and has represented a host of Fortune 500 companies including CVS, The Home Depot, and UPS in the development of their workforce initiatives as the former Vice President of Workforce Development Initiatives at CIC Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has also successfully managed transitional housing and shelter initiatives for domestic abuse victims, substance abuse survivors, and homeless families, as well as the development of over $20 million in low-income housing as Vice President of Operations for Shelter Inc. in Flint, Michigan. Ms. Devaughn resides in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband where they continually work on a host of social justice initiatives.

Jim Gross, School & Main Institute Board Member

Jim was born in Syracuse, New York in 1950 and attended the University of Rochester and thereafter received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1976.  After law school, Jim moved to Washington D.C and worked for two years at Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Subsequently, he moved back to Boston and served as law clerk to Thomas Lawless, Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts.  Jim then became a partner at the Boston law firm of Friedman & Atherton, where he concentrated in the area of bankruptcy and Chapter 11 reorganization work.  In 1989, Jim left Friedman & Atherton and became a founding member of the law firm, Klieman, Lyons Schindler and Gross in Boston, where he served as the managing partner for twenty years. For the last ten years, Jim has served in an of counsel position with the law firm of Madoff & Khoury LLP in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

In addition to his employment, over the years, Jim has been involved with various causes and non-profit organizations.  He served as a board member and then as the President of Compassion & Choices of Greater Boston, Inc. and was one of the petitioners in the unsuccessful death with dignity referendum in Massachusetts in 2012. The referendum had sought to allow terminally ill patients, whose suffering had become intolerable, to be allowed to obtain medication from their physicians to bring about an earlier and more peaceful death.  Jim is a member of the Newtonville Local Historic District Commission and has served as chair of the Commission for the last ten years.  Since 2009, Jim has been a volunteer at Community Servings, a food and nutrition program located in Jamaica Plain, which provides food to families living with critically or chronically ill family members.   For the last six years, Jim has volunteered as a teacher at the Welcome Project teaching English as a second language to adult immigrants in Somerville. 

Lorenzo D. Harrison, School & Main Institute Board Member

As Director of OLMS’ Office of Program Operations since November 2013, Mr. Harrison provides leadership for management, operation and direction of Office of Labor-Management Standards program operations for the U.S. Department of Labor.  He also provides overall management and direction to the OLMS Division of Reports, Disclosure and Audits. He has been particularly involved with revitalizing the Director’s Voluntary Compliance Partnership, an initiative, focused on partnering with 42 international labor unions to help advance mutually beneficial goals and objectives, and compliance with the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, as amended. 

Prior to his work at OLMS, from 2012 to 2013 Mr. Harrison worked on New York City’s $127 million Young Men’s Initiative. The Young Men’s Initiative is focused on addressing disparities and improving justice, health, education and employment outcomes for thousands of young black and Latino men in New York City.  

Mr. Harrison served as the Deputy Director (2008 to 2012) and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary (2009 to 2010) of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at US DOL. The OFCCP is one of the federal government’s premiere civil rights agencies, entrusted with ensuring equal employment opportunity for millions of workers. Prior to leading OFCCP, he spent seven years as the Administrator of the Office of Youth Services in DOL’s Employment Training Administration (ETA), where he helped lead and manage the nation's $3 billion youth employment training system, serving hundreds of thousands of youth in the U.S. annually.  The Youth Opportunity Grants initiative, a sophisticated systems development demonstration program, focused on improving outcomes of 14 to 21 year old youth from 36 high poverty communities in the U.S. was a major focal point during Harrison’s tenure at ETA.  

Regarded as one of the founding staff of the STRIVE program in East Harlem, New York where he worked for over a decade before going to D.C., Harrison has considerable knowledge and experience leading and managing innovative, cutting edge non-profit organizations.     

Lorenzo holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University. He and his wife, Glenda, live in Waldorf, Maryland, and are the proud parents of a son and daughter, and have five grandchildren.

Kay Khan, School & Main Institute Advisory Board Member

State Representative Kay Khan has represented Newton in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1995. She was originally appointed by Speaker Robert DeLeo in 2009 to serve as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities and has served in this capacity ever since. Chair Khan is the founder and Co-Chair of the legislative Mental Health Caucus, the first of its kind in the country, and founder and Co-Chair of the Task Force on Justice Involved Women and Their Children, under the aegis of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators. The Chair earned her bachelor’s degree from Boston University School of Nursing. Her first job as a nurse was at Boston Children’s Hospital. Following this, she became an instructor for Boston University School of Nursing undergraduate students on a pediatric rotation. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Boston University, graduating with honors and worked in a private group practice in Newton for close to 20 years. Representative Khan has lived in Newton for more than 40 years where she and her husband raised their three children and now enjoys her seven grandchildren.

Robert Sainz, School & Main Institute Board Member

Robert Sainz serves as the Assistant General Manager responsible for the Workforce Development Division (WDD). Through his work, he annually manages over $70 million in public agency grant funds.

Under Robert’s leadership, he established the City of Los Angeles YouthSource System and Performance Partnership Pilot Initiative (P3), is a founding partner for LA:RISE – an innovative model serving formerly homeless and re-entry populations and has increased substantially the number of young adults serviced in HIRELA and other employment programs.

Robert has nearly 20 years of public service experience, specifically in local government. Throughout his public service career, he has addressed many difficult social problems facing our community’s low-income residents, including the challenges of juvenile delinquency, youth and adult unemployment, and poverty. He has personally been engaged in policy development, program development and program implementation of a number of youth and community intervention programs.

Robert has over 28 years of public service experience, specifically in local government. He was previously the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement for the City of Los Angeles and worked as the Assistant Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families. Robert began his public service career in the Los Angeles County Probation Department in 1992, and as Probation Director managed the Department’s Community Relations and Communications Office.

Robert is the past Chairperson of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles and past Chairperson of Helpline Youth Counseling, a community-based organization. He is a Board Trustee and past president of U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Workforce Development Council. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work including the Durfee Foundation’s Stanton Fellowship.

He received his BA degree from UC Santa Cruz, MPA from Columbia University, and post-graduate work from the University of Southern California.


In a Nutshell

Founded in 1985 at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management, School & Main Institute (SMI) has grown into a nationally recognized, independent non-profit training and partnership development organization that has worked with organizations and state agencies in more than 35 states.


School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators in the fields of education, workforce preparation, youth and community development.

Read more about what we are currently working on >

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