New York
Charter School Incubator
Staff & Consultant Profiles

Dirk Tillotson, Esq. is the Director of the High Performance Network.  He is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in new school planning and also the development of internal systems of accountability to drive continuous improvement.  Mr. Tillotson has been the lead developer or rejuvenator for several charter schools, including the National Blue Ribbon Award winning American Indian Charter School in Oakland, California, which the LA Times ranked as the top high-poverty academic school in the entire state, charter or traditional public.  During his 15 years working with charter schools, Mr. Tillotson has focused on underserved community groups, helping them develop and implement high quality and sustainable schools.  

Prior to his work with NYCSI, he served as COO and interim CEO and the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, and consulted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, post-Katrina in New Orleans.  He also led the school based aspects of RAND education’s largest implementation project; reform of the education system of the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar.   His charter school work began in Oakland, California, where he led or developed several high achieving schools and founded a charter support organization, Oakland Charters Together.  Mr. Tillotson earned his B.A. in political science from SUNY Albany.  He earned both his Juris Doctor and Masters in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from the University of California at Berkeley.

Karen Drezner has been committed to improving educational opportunities for and fostering the resiliency of children and families living in urban communities for over two decades. Following  rich experiences as a classroom teacher in Boston and Brooklyn, a mental health researcher at Judge Baker Children’s Center, Children’s Hospital, Boston, and a public health program director at the Children’s Health Fund in New York, Karen assumed a leadership role at Harbor Science and Arts Charter School in East Harlem.  In 2004, Karen founded the Bronx Charter School for Children, serving 432 K-5 students in the Mott Haven community of the South Bronx. As the Executive Director for seven years, she led the school to meet and exceed its academic goals for English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, and consistently outperform the district. She established and maintained a welcoming and inclusive learning community, evidenced by 95 % attendance, 98% enrollment, 100% participation at parent/teacher conferences and high staff retention rates. Karen has conducted school monitoring visits for the NYC DOE Charter Schools Office and renewal visits on a national level with SchoolWorks, Inc. As the Director of Leadership Development at Achievement First, a network of 22 charter schools in New York and Connecticut, she fostered the development of teachers and leaders on individual, school and network levels.  Karen currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School and on the advisory board of The Children's Storefront Urban Education Symposium. She earned a B.A. from Clark University, a M.Ed. from Boston College and completed the Executive Program at Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.  Karen trains and advises founding teams throughout the charter school application process with the NY Charter School Incubator, and provides leadership coaching and school capacity building support to schools in the High Performance Network and through her independent consulting firm, Leveraging Leaders.

Paul Le has founding, full-growth, and replication operations experience as the first Director of Operations at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School and as Explore Charter School’s Chief Operations Officer. In these capacities, he oversaw daily operations, developed critical school systems and operating procedures, and independently pioneered time and cost-saving improvements in service delivery that supported each school’s mission to prepare students for college.  Paul has specialized experience in organizational development, human capital, technology, and compliance. He has parlayed these skills to address operations staff turnover, redesign organizational structures and workflows in response to growth and replication, and established staff recruitment initiatives. He implemented a number of value-added services through leveraging current technology, including real-time integration and reporting of student admissions, performance, and academic intervention data for instruction and grant reports, a school emergency broadcast system, biometrics for attendance and meal accounting, and a school library. Paul also has substantial experience with Title I, E-rate, BEDs, NYStart, Project SAVE, VADIR, teacher certification, and annual report submissions, and has led community-based initiatives critical to broadening student application pools and securing charter approval.  Before joining the charter movement, Paul taught Social Studies and was Department Chair at The Park Slope Education Complex at M.S. 88. He has also worked as a senior litigation paralegal at Orans, Elsen, Lupert & Brown, LLP, and a management analyst at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Paul earned his Bachelor’s from Yale University as a double major in History and Ethnicity, Race & Migration, a Master’s in Education as a NYC Teaching Fellow from Brooklyn College, and a Master’s in Public Administration from NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Glenn Liebeck served as Director of School Leadership Development at the New York City Charter School Center, Glenn created, designed, recruited and implemented the Emerging Leader Fellowship- an intensely rigorous, high achieving program to train charter school secondary leaders.  In addition, Glenn created a partnership with Cambridge Leadership Associates (CLA) to found the Principal Support Network- a program designed to coach current charter school principals through their adaptive challenges utilizing a peer-cohort model.  Glenn also developed and managed the charter school baseline review process designed to help school leaders assess programmatic strengths and weaknesses and identify priorities.  He promoted responsive, high quality support for charter schools facing renewal with various authorizing agencies and coordinated with colleagues to plan, implement and support charter school intervention strategies while supporting and coaching charter school instructional leaders in the development of their teachers.  Glenn started his career in 1997 as a Teach for America Corp member teaching science in Jersey City, New Jersey and then joined the charter school movement in 2000.  He taught high school science and began learning the administrative ropes at City On A Hill Charter High School in Boston, while getting his Master's in Educational Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  He then went on to serve as Dean of Students, Science Chair, Director of Summer Academy, Professional Development Facilitator and biology teacher at the MATCH Charter High School, where the educational gains rival those of any public high school in the country- urban or suburban.  Glenn also has a BS degree in Biology from Union College

Hilary Steuer Grasso joins NYCSI from Kehl, Katzive & Simon, LLP where she represented public school districts, private schools, charter schools and not-for-profit organizations.  Prior to that, she was with the Office of Legal Services of the New York City Department of Education, serving both as legal counsel to various Committees on Special Education and as an appellate attorney for the special education unit.  She began her career as a litigation associate at a Cahill, Gordon & Reindel, LLP. Hilary teaches legal writing to first year law students as an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School.  Hiilary received her BA cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and her JD from Columbia  Law School. 

Elizabeth Lenig  is Performance Data Analyst for the New York Charter Schools Incubator. At the Incubator Ms. Lenig provides specific data reports and products, consulting services including on-site audit and review of data and assessment programs, and data analysis for charter school advocacy.

Charter School Business Management’s (CSBM) mission is to support the charter school movement by creating and maintaining a strong foundation of finance, operations, human resources and compliance at each school it serves.  CSBM provides professional development, guidance and shares best practices, ensuring that business and operations leaders are trained and prepared to manage the non-academic responsibilities of their charter schools.  CSBM is also an outsourced solution.  Its trained and experienced staff members will manage finance, operations, human resources and compliance responsibilities for schools.  These services, which are tailored to the unique culture and needs of schools, are proven techniques that allow school leaders to focus on what’s most important – student achievement.
Since its launch in March 2006, Charter School Business Management has supported more than 85 proposed and existing charter schools and charter school support organizations around the country, including the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Empowerment Schools, New Schools for New Orleans, New Leaders for New Schools, The Renaissance Schools Fund in Chicago and the National Association for Charter School Authorizers.  CSBM’s team consists of several former business and operations leaders with experience and expertise in executing finance, operations, human resources and compliance responsibilities.

Francesca Kaplan Grossman has a variety of experience specializing in leadership and negotiation in both educational and corporate circles. She co-developed and helps manage the Emerging Leaders Fellowship (ELF) at the NYC Charter School Center. ELF trains high performing charter school teachers to become secondary leaders in their own schools. In this capacity, Francesca works as a leadership and negotiation coach for the fellows and works closely with their in-school mentors. Francesca serves as a negotiation consultant and as the Director of Leadership Development for The SAB Group, a firm that works closely with both educational and corporate leaders worldwide. Previously, she worked as a teacher and specialist at Girls Prep Charter School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Francesca received an MA in Education - specializing in Leadership Development, Curriculum and Teacher Training at Stanford University in 2001, and her BA in America Studies with a specialization on Race and Ethnicity from Stanford in 2000.

The NY Charter School Incubator builds the capacity of charter school founding groups through coaching, training, peer support, and networking in order to cooperatively develop high quality and sustainable charter schools focused on continual improvement and targeted at students and communities that have traditionally been underserved. 
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