Our Team

Skilled Team

Our volunteer-based team includes award-winning principals and teachers, parents, non-profit leaders and other relevant professionals, working particularly in public schools and the public sector. Bright Mind Enrichment and Schooling leaders and team members have done non-profit educational work together for twenty years. (Aside from the listings below, we will continue to post bios of more Bright Mind team members, so keep checking back.)

Community Collaborating

From healing arts non-profits to civic and community groups, Bright Mind collaborates with –and always seeks to collaborate further with a diversity of individuals and groups.

Join us!

New team members are often sought, including those with educational, operational, financial, administrative and other types of experience. Let us know how you would like to contribute.

Board Members

Bright Mind’s board has wide-ranging experience, with lifelong commitments to community-oriented work. We attended and send our own children to public schools. Our board has always been led by people of color, and our organization works closely with the communities we serve.

Jennifer Griffin, Chairperson

Jennifer serves as our primary leader for educational and curriculum matters. She represents Bright Mind to all communities, notably Latino/a communities.

Having taught special education full-time since 2006, Jennifer is currently the Head of Special Education at a large high school in Montgomery County (greater Washington DC area), overseeing 200 individuals.

Recently, Jennifer has twice been a full-time summer school assistant principal for the Arlington (VA)
Public Schools, for the High School Summer School program: responsible for overseeing the special education
department, state tests (SOLs), interactive achievement testing, computer labs, cafeteria, and students – as
one of four assistant principals overseeing 1,500 high school students.

From 2012 – 2013, she served as Inter-Assistant Principal at Washington-Lee High School, Arlington. In Summer 2012, she also served as Intern Assistant Principal at Arlington Traditional School. She has
additional experience within the Arlington Public Schools as a Local Educational Agency (LEA) Representative, a member of the Aspiring Leaders group, and a Facilitator for Cultural Competency.

She has been licensed in multiple areas as a teacher (Administration and Supervision Pre-K – 12, Early Childhood Special Education, Early / Primary Education Pre-K – 3 and Specific Learning Disabilities K – 12). She teaches high school special education in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Family Studies and a Master’s degree in General and Special Education Children Birth-2nd Grade, both from Syracuse University, and a Master’s degree from George Mason University in Education Leadership. She has earned multiple relevant certifications and awards.

Terrence Calhoun,
Vice-Chairperson / Treasurer

Terrence oversees Bright Mind finances, promotes Bright Mind to funders, guides grant submissions, and works on fundraising campaigns. He represents Bright Mind to all communities, with particular emphasis on African-American communities.

Terrence is a non-profit professional, as well as a diversity educator. As Conference and Events Manager for HealthHIV, he serves as Project Manager for HealthHIV’s annual SYNChronicity conference. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Conferences and Meeting Services (CMS) with the National Minority AIDS Council for over fifteen years. In this work, his responsibilities encompassed logistical planning for conferences, developing marketing collateral and conference promotional materials; developing RFPs for conference related activities; and negotiating contracts for national and regional conferences. Terrence has served as the Director for the United States Conference on AIDS and as the point of contact for CDC’s HIV Prevention Leadership Summit. In addition, he has received numerous awards and accolades for his service to the HIV community.

Terrence has also spent years doing director-level diversity education work, with a focus on working with and teaching students. He did his undergraduate studies at Cornell University (NY) and is both a foster and adoptive father. He is highly involved in fostering networks.

Martin Brooks, Board Secretary
/ Manager

Martin is responsible for Bright Mind board matters, raising funds and cultivating relationships with institutions, and implementing and providing oversight of overall goals of the organization.

Martin has a passion for helping youth and young adults, and for veterans’ issues, having served in the
National Guard. He was Dean of Peer Education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY, where he taught for six years in the field of Peer Education in Human Relations, conducting research and instructing
students on how to work together across difference.

He has presented at three national AIDS conferences on effective management skills. He has worked as a social worker with disabled people and was a founding director of the ARCH, a non-profit focused on community, cultural, and diversity education in schools and workplaces. He regularly conducts street outreach and programming to aid victims of sex trafficking, including as a focus of his work as a senior pastor, where he works to bring diverse faith communities and human services organizations together to aid poor and under-served communities. He is an ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church. Since 2008, he has served as a pastor in the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference. He holds Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC) and currently serves as senior pastor at Magothy United Methodist Church in Pasadena, Maryland.

Martin received a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and an Honorable Discharge after serving in the US Army National Guard (Washington, DC). He and his wife have a 3-year-old daughter.

Craig Kaufman, Executive Director

Craig guides Bright Mind’s growing team and network of dozens of professionals, from executing content to developing capacity as both a grassroots-based non-profit and an educational organization. He oversees all operations and operational strategies for Bright Mind, working with our excellent team and allied resource people. He guides Bright Mind’s public profile, including building relationships with non-profit, civic, and other organizations.

Craig has directed non-profit and socially-engaged efforts focused on education for over twenty years. He has also taught low-income children, including in a Harlem (NYC) public school and a Tijuana squatter community. He has run campaigns with a strong focus on children and education, including as Executive Director of: Pennsylvania Action, a statewide advocacy agency, where he hired and oversaw many staff and planned campaigns that reached across the state; Progressive Action, LLC, where he negotiated contracts and alliances with national organizations; the ARCH, where he executed over 300 events for a 501(c)(3) New York City-based agency; and Bright Mind. He was founding director of Trilogy Leadership Training, as well as a Senior Writer and Project Coordinator at Garrison Institute, where he brought exponential funding growth (on projects with a focus on education and at-risk groups) and long-term institutional support. He has worked on social-action efforts in California, New York, and the Southwest.

The New York Times, CNN, and NPR have covered Craig’s work. His op-eds have appeared with top-ten U.S. newspapers, KQED (the largest NPR station), and other leading newspapers. He graduated with distinction from Cornell University and speaks Spanish fluently.

Team Members

Andra Brill, Ph.D., Curriculum
and Wellness Director

Andra is an education consultant specializing in language acquisition, mindfulness and literacy and the interaction between these three. She works with public school teachers and parents to turn down the noise of the world outside and focus on creating safe, caring environments. Andra began her career as an early childhood teacher and has taught grades K-5 in the Denver Public Schools and surrounding districts. Andra believes nurturing our children with inspiration and clear boundaries is the most important work we can do as adults. As the Director of the Boettcher Teacher Residency, Andra helped to create a national model for teacher residency. She has been published in the Huffington Post and various parenting magazines, and has taught at University of Denver, Metro State University and the University of Colorado. Andra has practiced mindfulness since 2003. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation from the University of Colorado.

Amy Chan, Administrative

Amy’s professional background is in finance and accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and is currently the Chief Financial Officer for the Housing Authority of the County of Marin (in the San Francisco Bay Area), an organization committed to the housing needs of low-income families and individuals. She teaches yoga, qi-gong and mindfulness, having taught at various studios and wellness centers in New York. Amy has been a yoga practitioner for over 9 years and is a classically trained ballet dancer, under the Vaganova method for 11 years. She has also been studying with acclaimed New York choreographer, Daria Fain, under her Certification Program, C O R E M O T I O N, a movement practice rooted in the Chinese Five-Element Theory and Qigong fundamentals.

John J. Concannon, Jr., Webmaster

John is a seasoned communications professional with more than 30 years’ experience in designing and programming websites, photography and video production. He is the founder of Interact – Interactive Media Systems and was the operations manager and director of creative services for WFAT-TV in Pittsburgh and vice president of a production company located in Johnstown, PA. John produced a 13 episode outdoor adventure series for the Outdoor Channel for worldwide distribution. In addition, John has produced TV ad campaigns for National Service Organizations, marketing and sales promotional packages, streaming media, safety training programs, and TV programs. His work incorporates script writing, photography, and video programming in multiple formats. John’s photographic work has been published widely, and he has more than 50 video and DVD production credits.

Sydney Ford and Karen Pancho, Designers

CREATIONxPROGRESS co-creators Sydney Ford and Karen Pancho met in 2017 over a pot of well-brewed tea in a cafe for a typical session of “dreaming and scheming.” Frustrated with the lack of people of color representation and freedom in a field where expression should be at the forefront of the operation, the two created a company that represents all they want to see in the realm of artistry. They’ve provided an opportunity to further education in a creative concentration, resources to facilitate a craft, and support from a network that believes in what you have to say through art.

Ankita Goel, Development

Ankita works on grant research and writing for Bright Mind and has also done Bright Mind survey designing work. She completed her master’s degree in Applied Economics from University of Maryland, College Park. She is a Statistical Data Assistant with University of Maryland on the India Human Development Survey project. She also worked as an Investment Intern with the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, which focuses on securing pensions of UN employees by investing provident funds around the world. She is passionate about economic and human development, and her career focus is on improving the lives of people globally.

Sloka Iyengar PhD, PMP, Director of Programming

Sloka Iyengar PhD, PMP is a neuroscientist, science educator and science advocate, passionate about using her science and dance training for the public good. As an educator, she has developed curricula and taught neuroscience and forensic science to middle-school and high-school students. Presently, she teaches neuroscience and evolution to educators at the American Museum of Natural History.

She developed the Basic Science section of www.epilepsy.com to communicate advances in basic epilepsy research to patients and caregivers globally. Her most recent projects focus on science and science communications. She is involved in neuroscience outreach and advocacy, having visited Capitol Hill several times to lobby for basic neuroscience funding to elected officials.

Sloka is also a professional dancer and performer of the 2000-year-old classical Indian dance form known as Bharatanatyam. Among other programming, she teaches dance and has started a program to bring dance to residents of New York City nursing homes. Passionate about combining the arts and sciences, Sloka has developed “Neuronatyam” – a production to explore dance through the lens of neuroscience. She worked at a shelter for stray animals, as well.

Her studies include at the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine, where her research focused on understanding how neuronal circuits generate and sustain epileptic seizures. After her postdoctoral study in an academic setting, Sloka transitioned to clinical research, where she worked closely with adults and children with refractory epilepsies. One of the trials led to the eventual approval of cannabidiol in subjects with specific epilepsy syndromes by the FDA.

Jamie Liebeskind,
Communications Consultant

Jamie has extensive experience working in the non-profit sector in the media and healthcare industries. Most recently she worked as a program associate and grants manager in the international program at The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation focused on healthcare policy and practice. Previously she worked as a development associate and office manager at an independent media non-profit and global broadcast news hour. Jamie holds a BA from Quinnipiac University in History and Communications and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.

Angel R Reynolds, Finance

Angel has been providing business management and financial services to nonprofits, government contractors and private firms for nearly 20 years. She brings to the BME team an MBA with a focus in Accounting. She is a Certified Bookkeeper (CB), member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and a Notary Public for multiple states. Angel owns and runs Financially Sane Services, assisting multiple agencies across the US. “My goal is to keep the foundation of business and accounting solid, so others can expand their vision and awesome social impact.
Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Jack Trent, Video

Jack Trent is a documentary and commercial filmmaker with a special inclination for cinematography and camera operating. Jack’s directorial debut short documentary, “Ramak Niakan Safi: This is Life,” is being judged at film festivals across the country. Along with this Jack continually works with small businesses and nonprofit organizations by not only producing and filming content but by editing together media to help promote an idea or story. Currently enrolled in Florida State University studying Video Production, he has been trained under two former BBC and National Geographic editors and producers.

Tuqa Youssef, Operations Director

Tuqa has extensive work experience in the non-profit, technology and education sectors. After serving two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, she recently began a career in educational technology. Growing up in a family of educators has increased her drive to advocate for and inspire students who want to pursue a career in the field. Tuqa graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with a BA in Public Relations and is currently pursuing her Masters in Information Systems – Technology Leadership at Touro College.