Advisory Board
  • Nate Bowling

    Nate Bowling

    In his eleventh year of teaching, Nate Bowling is veteran of the United States Air Force Reserves and a graduate of the Evergreen State College. He was a 2014 recipient of the Milken Family Foundation's National Educator Award, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for 2016 National Teacher of the Year. Nate was also a recipient of the 2016 Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award from Evergreen. He blogs about teaching and educational equity issues at and his writing has been published in the Washington Post, New York Observer, Huffington Post and Seattle Times. Nathan is a co-founder of Teachers United, a teacher led education policy advocacy group and currently teaches AP Human Geography and AP Government & Politics at Lincoln High School, in his hometown of Tacoma.

  • Matthew Chingos

    Matthew Chingos

    Matthew Chingos is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, where he studies education-related topics at both the K–12 and postsecondary levels. Chingos's areas of expertise include class-size reduction, standardized testing, teacher quality, student loan debt, and college graduation rates. His current research examines the long-term effects of school choice policies, student transportation, and college living costs.

    Before joining Urban, Chingos was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is the coauthor of Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities and Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt. His work has also been published in academic journals, including the Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and Education Finance and Policy. He has received support from the US government and several philanthropic foundations.

    Chingos received a BA in government and economics and a PhD in government from Harvard University.

  • Justin Cohen

    Justin Cohen

    Justin C. Cohen is a writer, education policy expert, and recovering nonprofit executive. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Education Week, Fusion, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review; he is a regular contributor at The Huffington Post. Previously, he served as president Mass Insight Education. Prior to leading Mass Insight, Justin was director of portfolio management at the DC Public Schools, where he was a senior advisor to Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and he has held various leadership roles in charter school design and advocacy. Justin serves as chairman of the board for Students for Education Reform and is a fellow of the Broad Academy. He also was a writer in residence at the Carey Institute for the Global Good and served on the education policy committee for President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. He holds a BA in cognitive science from Yale.

  • Tosha Downey

    Tosha Downey

    Tosha Downey is Director of Advocacy for Teacher Town Memphis, a partner organization in the city’s effort to transform chronically underperforming schools. Prior to joining Teacher Town, Tosha served as Director of Government Affairs at the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, IL. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Tosha completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education at Clark Atlanta University. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Tosha has spent more than 15 years leading and supporting non-profit teams in charter school management, college access, student recruitment, community engagement, and talent acquisition. Prior to joining Noble, she worked for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, Comer Science & Education Foundation, and the Ryan Family Foundation.

    She is the only child of William and Geraldine Downey, who still reside in the Soulsville community in South Memphis. Tosha has two daughters, Dana, a graduate of Cornell College, and Ebony, a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College and biology teacher.

  • Michael Griffith

    Michael Griffith

    Mike Griffith has worked in the field of school finance policy for the past 19 years with Education Commission of the States, the consulting firm of Augenblick & Myers and the Michigan State Senate. His research has focused on the condition of state budgets, the adequacy and equity of state finance formulas, and promising practices in funding programs for high-need students. Mike is an expert resource to national news media and has been quoted more than 300 times by such outlets as CNN, Education Week, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio and The New York Times. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in public administration from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in education management from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Andrew Highsmith

    Andrew Highsmith

    Dr. Andrew R. Highsmith is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. Highsmith received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2009. His doctoral dissertation won the 2009 John Reps Prize for Best Dissertation in American Planning History from the Society for American City and Regional Planning History and the Urban History Association’s Best Dissertation Award for 2009-10. He is a specialist in modern American history, urban history, and public policy. His book, Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis was published in July 2015 by the University of Chicago Press. The book won the 2016 American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Book Award. In addition to the book, Highsmith has published scholarly articles in the Journal of Urban History, the American Journal of Education, Environmental Justice, the Teachers College Record, and the Journal of Policy History. Highsmith currently resides in Irvine, California, with his wife and three children.

  • Richard Kahlenberg

    Richard Kahlenberg

    Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, has been called “the intellectual father of the economic integration movement” in K-12 schooling and “arguably the nation’s chief proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions.” He is also an authority on teachers’ unions, charter schools, labor organizing and inequality in higher education.

    He is the author of six books, including A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education (with Halley Potter) (Teachers College Press, 2014), and All Together Now: Creating Middle Class Schools through Public School Choice (Brookings Institution Press, 2001). In addition, Kahlenberg is the editor of ten Century Foundation books, including The Future of School Integration: Socioeconomic Diversity as an Education Reform Strategy (2012). Kahlenberg’s articles have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, C-SPAN, MSNBC, and NPR.

    Previously, Kahlenberg was a Fellow at the Center for National Policy, a visiting associate professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, and a legislative assistant to Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

  • Jesse Levin

    Jesse Levin

    Jesse Levin is a principal research economist at AIR, where he has been involved in a number of projects investigating educational production, school finance and adequacy, and resource allocation. He currently serves as the project director of a national study of weighted student funding systems and a feasibility study to improve the quality of school-level expenditure data, and as deputy director for a study of Title I resources allocation, all for the U.S. Department of Education. He has also directed studies regarding school funding, resource allocation, and effectiveness in states and school districts across the country.

    His articles have appeared in Economics of Education Review, Empirical Economics, Labour Economics, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, and Peabody Journal of Education. He also regularly serves as a referee for several peer reviewed journals.

    Prior to his work at AIR, Dr. Levin served as an economics researcher for the Institute for Research of Schooling, Labor Market and Economic Development in the Netherlands, where he conducted research on economics and education issues. In November 2016, Levin was elected to the board of Pacifica School District in California. Dr. Levin earned his Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute.

  • Kenneth Wong

    Kenneth Wong

    Kenneth K. Wong, Ph.D., is the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor in Education Policy and chairs the Department of Education at Brown University. A political scientist by training, Professor Wong has conducted extensive research in federalism, education governance, school finance, and policy innovation. He received the Deil Wright Best Paper Award given by the American Political Science Association for his research paper on accountability and innovation in public education in 2007. Author of over 100 articles, Professor Wong’s books include The Education Mayor: Improving America’s Schools, Successful School and Educational Accountability, and Funding Public Schools: Policy and Politics. His research has received support from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, the U.S. Department of Education, and several foundations. During 2013-14, he served as an advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education and the U.S. Secretary of Interior on issues pertaining to American Indian education. He was a key architect of the State of Rhode Island’s 2010 school funding formula, the first major funding reform in twenty years. He served as the advisor to the Rhode Island School Funding Working Group (2016-17), appointed by Governor Gina Raimondo. He is a member of the expert panel to the U.S. Department of Education on its study on the Title I formula (2016), as mandated by the U.S. Congress.