William Bassell become the Principal of the Academy of American Studies in September of 2011. Prior to that, he was the Principal and the Transformation Mentor Principal at Long Island City High School from August 1994 to August 2011, making him one of the longest serving high school principals in the New York City Public School System.
Bassell is a staunch advocate of arts education. While at Long Island City High School, he taught his own opera appreciation class and ensured that high level academic expectations for all are combined with aesthetic education in art, music, technology, and culinary arts to create a first rate secondary education.
Bassell was awarded the Special Arts Recognition Award by Americans for the Arts in honor of his extraordinary accomplishments as well as to celebrate New York City’s commitment to arts education.
Linda is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Scholastic Inc., where she is responsible for handling all of the labor and employment law issues for the approximately 10,000 employee workforce. Linda also supports the Company’s retail store, and employee benefits, facilities, manufacturing, and travel services departments. As a key business partner with her client groups, Linda plays a critical role in helping the company achieve its strategic objectives.
Most recently, Linda has been named by The Network Journal (TNJ) as one of 2011′s “25 Influential Black Women in Business.”In 2010, she was named one of Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top 100 Under 50 Executives & Emerging Leaders. Linda is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Cornell University and New York University School of Law.
Gary is a Partner at Ernst & Young LLP and is based in New York City. He serves as the Global Client Service Partner for several of the largest global financial institutions which are Ernst & Young clients. In addition to serving as the single point of contact to coordinate Ernst & Young’s services to these institutions, Gary provides specific advice in the areas of risk management, regulatory and business/operations improvement matters to address strategic change and implementation requirements.
Gary is active in the Firm’s activities with Junior Achievement NY Organization. Prior to joining EY in May 2002, Gary was a Partner at Andersen where he headed the New York Financial Services Office Business Process and Risk Consulting Practice.
Gary is a CPA and Certified Internal Auditor. He is a member of the New York Society of CPAs. Gary earned a B.S. at Cornell and a M.B.A at NYU.
Robert Reffkin is the Founder and CEO of Urban Compass. Previously he worked at Goldman Sachs as Chief of Staff to the President & COO following five years working in the firm’s private equity arm. While at Goldman Sachs, Robert founded New York Needs You, a nonprofit organization that provides mentorship and career development for ambitious first-generation college students. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, he worked at Lazard Frères and McKinsey & Company. In 2005, he was appointed as a White House Fellow to serve as special assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury.
He currently serves on the Board of the Citizens Committee for NYC, Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, and served as founding chair of Bronx Success Academy 1 charter school. He received a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.
His primary philanthropic undertaking includes running 50 marathons, one in each U.S. state, to raise $1 million for youth education and enrichment programs.
Eddie Rodriguez is the principal of a general practice law firm, which focuses on civil litigation, criminal defense, commercial and business disputes, appellate matters, and general business law.
Mr. Rodriguez has a longstanding commitment to public service and civic leadership. In October 2007, he co-founded Rewarding Achievement (REACH) (www.reachnyc.org), the largest nonprofit inner-city high school scholarship program of its kind in the nation; he served as Executive Director of REACH until 2010, when he transitioned onto the organization’s Board of Directors.
Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Regis High School, Columbia College and New York University School of Law. He is past-President of the Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association (BLAPA) at NYU Law, and was a founding Board member of the Red Hook Initiative, a community-based organization committed to confronting and affecting the consequences of intergenerational poverty in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Laura Smith works at Amplify Education. Prior to her role at Amplify, Laura was the Vice President of the Sesame Workshop where she defined and provided transformative educational experience for pre-schoolers in classrooms and centers across America using Sesame Street’s educational content.
Most recently, Laura served as Assistant Commissioner for External Partnerships and Research with the New York State Department of Education. Her previous experience in the education field includes work with the New York City Department of Education, NYC Center for Charter School Excellence and the San Diego City School District. Laura earned a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University and a M.B.A. from Northwestern University.
Jacob Wright is a portfolio entrepreneur who develops, finances, owns and operates hotels and restaurants throughout the United States. Jacob has provided professional consultation and feasibility analysis on developments totaling over $500 million in assets. In addition to his operational experience, he maintains knowledge of current trends in academia through his positions of Visiting Lecturer and Entrepreneur in Residence at Cornell University.
Mr. Wright has been quoted as an expert in his field, providing multiple articles and interviews for publications including the Cornell “eship” series, Hospitality News, and National Restaurant News, while also participating as a business plan judge and panel expert at annual conferences and competitions. Mr. Wright dedicates significant time contributing to his hometown community of Syracuse by participating on many charity boards including the March of Dimes, Erie Canal Historical Museum, and Crouse Hospital Foundation board.
Practice Makes Perfect is continuously looking to add to the expertise of its passionate advisors. The advisory board plays a critical role in ensuring the organization is on-track fulfilling its mission and pursuing logical opportunities to expand its impact. Advisory board members use their networks and political capital to secure resources and open doors. Most importantly, they contribute their wealth of experience to assist with and to mitigate any unexpected challenges. If you are interested in joining our dedicated team of advisors, send an email to email@example.com the subject “Advisory Board” and a brief statement (less than 300 words) of qualifications. The role requires a 5-10 hour annual time commitment.