Board of Trustees
The Two Rivers Board of Trustees supports and guides our community in service of our mission: to nurture a diverse group of curious, engaged learners.
Board Meetings Schedule with Agendas & Minutes
Agenda will become available approximately one week prior to each meeting.
Meetings are held at our 4th Street ES (1227 4th Street NE) unless otherwise noted. For more information or to attend, please email [email protected].
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – held via Zoom
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 – held via Zoom
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 – held via Zoom
Board Retreat Saturday, September 11, 2021 – held via Zoom
John C. Phillips
Penelope Talley Thornton
Aswathi Zachariah (Chair)
Aswathi Zachariah currently serves as General Counsel for the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), a U.S. federal agency that supports community-led development in Latin America and the Caribbean through grant-making, technical assistance, and public-private partnerships. Prior to joining IAF, Aswathi was an Associate General Counsel for the National Endowment for the Arts. Aswathi also practiced real estate law at the DC law firm, Arent Fox for a number of years where her focus was real estate and corporate transactional law. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and spent three years in the audit practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Her audit practice concentrated on clients from the financial services sector.
Aswathi graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (emphasis in Accounting) and received her law degree from the University of Denver. She grew up right outside of Denver, Colorado and now lives in Capitol Hill with her husband Richard and two boys, Samuel and Elijah.
Malik Husser (Vice Chair)
Eli Schlam (Secretary)
Eli Schlam is Associate University Counsel for George Mason University. Eli assists members of the University community with legal issues related to student conduct, university life, technology, contracts, admissions, privacy, and other areas of the University. Eli also represents Mason in litigation.
Prior to joining Mason, Eli was an associate at Williams & Connolly where he represented companies and individuals in complex civil litigation. He handled a wide-range of litigation matters, with a focus on defending lawyers and law firms against legal malpractice claims. In addition to representing clients at Williams & Connolly, Eli also ran the firm’s partnership with Dunbar High School. Through that program Eli and other associates taught a Street Law class and coached students participating in a city-wide mock trial competition. Eli was also the founder and co-chair of the firm’s Environmental Sustainability Committee and the leader of its Generous Associates Campaign to raise funds for DC Legal Aid.
Eli clerked for Judge Richard Clifton of the United States Circuit Court for the Ninth Circuit in Honolulu, Hawaii. He attended Harvard Law School, where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau for two years. As a member of the Bureau he represented low income clients in eviction and domestic relation cases. Before going to law school, Eli received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to attend the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he received a Masters Degree in Nationalism and Ethnicity Studies. He also attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate.
Eli lives Fairfax, Virginia with his wife, Emilee, and daughter, Carmen. Eli’s passion is discovering, tasting, and cooking with unique fruits, especially different varieties of mangoes. He can often be found at farmers markets or fruit festivals.
Saumil Shah (Treasurer)
Saumil Shah currently serves as KIPP DC’s Chief Information Officer. Saumil began his career as a Strategy Consultant with Deloitte, working across multiple functional areas and industries. After several years at Deloitte, Saumil obtained his MBA at the Haas School of Business at Berkeley. After business school, Saumil worked at SunPower as a Product Marketing Manager, working closely with creative, technical, marketing, and sales teams to develop technology platforms to allow channel partners to be more successful.
He began his education career through Education Pioneers where he worked at the Oakland Unified School District developing alternative teacher compensation models. Since serving as an Education Pioneer fellow with the Oakland Unified School District in 2009, Saumil has devoted most of his career to solving knotty strategic and operational challenges in education reform. In 2011, Saumil worked on the team that launched the Achievement School District in Tennessee, a government agency devoted to turning around persistently failing schools in the state. He then became an educational consultant serving a diverse array of clients in D.C. and across the country.
Kimberly Eddings is the Senior Director of Human Resources at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) where she is responsible for designing the strategic direction for talent strategy, development, acquisition and operations. Kimberly has provided Human Resource, DE&I, and talent strategy expertise for NAEYC, George Washington University, Friendship Public Charter School, and The Ohio State University in a variety of HR roles. Kimberly holds a Masters of Science in Educational Leadership from St. Thomas University in Florida and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African American Studies from The Ohio State University. Kimberly also completed an Executive Certificate in Diversity & Inclusion for HR from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Kimberly’s passion for education and people led her to complete fellowships with Education Pioneers in Washington, DC and the Progressive Leadership Academy in Columbus, Ohio. Kimberly currently lives in Maryland and loves spending time with her seven nieces and nephews and best pup, Mingo.
John C. Phillips
John C. Phillips is the current Store Director for the newly opened small format Target store in Washington, DC in the historic community of Ivy City on New York Avenue.
John started with Target as a seasonal team member eight years ago and due to his work ethic was promoted to various executive positions in guest service and logistics leading to his current role as Store Director.
John is a multifaceted professional with a stellar background in strengthening corporations through workflow management, relationship building, and mountain–top leading that has proven to increase efficiency crucial to sustained prosperity.
He started his career as a youth consultant for immigrant African and Caribbean communities for the Archdiocese of Atlanta. In response to the cultural needs of the youth community, he started his own culturally inclusive retreat program. Then he was promoted to special assistant to the director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministry where he coordinated culturally inclusive fundraising events raising over a $25,000 each year towards youth and young adult programming.
He has travelled to various countries including Jamaica, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Italy and Ecuador to volunteer and to create cross cultural and interreligious dialogue.
John is a member of the NAACP, and volunteers with multiple local DC nonprofits including National Salvation Army, So Others Might Eat, Human Rescue Alliance and many others.
John earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morehouse College and studied at St. Louis University and Aquinas Institute of Theology for a Masters in Theology.
Nick Rodriguez is a Director at Delivery Associates, an organization whose mission is to improve the effectiveness and accountability of government worldwide.
Nick’s primary expertise is in the effective delivery of public sector reforms at scale. In this role, he advises local, state, and national governments on delivery and continuous improvement in climate and sustainability, P-20 education, economic development, and global public health. Prior to his work at Delivery Associates, he was a co-founder and Director at the Education Delivery Institute (EDI), a nonprofit that focused on helping education leaders change the way they work to serve students through better practices in planning, performance management, and organizational change. He is also a co-author, with Sir Michael Barber, of “Deliverology 101,” a field guide for education leaders using these approaches, and its successor, “Deliverology in Practice,” which was published in 2015.
Prior to joining EDI, Nick was an Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company’s public sector practice, where he advised governments on policy and implementation at the local, state, and national level in the U.S. and abroad. Nick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Economics from the London School of Economics, and a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Oxford University, where he was a British Marshall Scholar.
Matthew Steenhoek joined PN Hoffman & Associates in 2005 and is currently a Senior Vice President of Development. In the past 15 years, Matt has helped lead the design, entitlement, and construction of approximately 1,800 residential apartments, more than 450 condominiums, 380,000 square-feet of urban in-line retail, 1-million square-feet of Trophy and Class-A office, over 1,000 hotel rooms, 20 acres of parks, piers, streets, and public spaces, and approximately 150,000 square feet of cultural or civic uses. He has completed developments in Alexandria, VA, and the Kalorama, NoMA, and Southwest neighborhoods of Washington, DC. Additionally, Matt works on master planning and development visions for new deals and oversees the development process.
Matt received his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Maryland, is a graduate of the 2012 Urban Land Institute Regional Leadership Institute, and holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute where he was recognized by the local chapter of the American Planning Association as the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student for Virginia Tech – Alexandria. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, and was recognized by the Washington Business Journal as a member of the 40 Under 40 group in 2018. Matt lives in Takoma Park, MD with his wife and two young children and is an avid bike commuter.
Penelope Talley Thornton
Penelope Thornton Talley hails from a family of educators and is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity for an excellent education. Her extensive career has included executive roles in the public, private and non-profit sectors including her tenure as Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Prior to OAG, she successfully performed in senior leadership positions for Alvarez & Marsal, Maryland State Department of Education and AARP.. She also served as an Adjunct Business Professor for the University of Maryland system. She has built a positive career focused upon performance improvement, contract negotiation, operational efficiency and turnaround services.
Penelope possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Juris Doctor for the University of Richmond and a MBA from Johns Hopkins University. She is a licensed attorney in the state of Maryland, where she resides.
Jenny Bradbury serves as R&D Project Director at Digital Promise. She currently works on projects focused on improving Math and adolescent writing outcomes for Black and Brown students and helping districts build their capacity for data equity through interoperability. She is a co-designer of Digital Promise’s Inclusive Innovation model, which centers and amplifies traditionally underrepresented perspectives and experiences in the R&D process. Prior to joining DP, Jenny spent roughly 15 years working in curriculum design and educational technology development and implementation at NFTE (the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship), Discovery Education, and PBS. She began her career as a high school English and Humanities teacher at public, private, and charter schools. Jenny holds a Master of English Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Brown University. Jenny lives on Capitol Hill and is the proud mother of 2 Two Rivers students.
Ahnna Smith currently serves as the Executive Director for the DC Workforce Investment Council. In that role she is responsible for the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of an integrated system that connects DC residents to education, training, and employment, and provides local employers with the skilled talent they require to grow and thrive their businesses. She previously served as the Interim Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education under Mayor Bowser, and in the Obama Administration as the Chief of Staff for Innovation and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. Ahnna also previously served as the Executive Director of Teach For America in the Washington, DC region, and worked in teacher recruitment, preparation, and development in the United States and the United Kingdom. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Miami-Dade County Public Schools after earning a degree in government and politics, magna cum laude, from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Derek E. Pierce is a dedicated and committed educator and pushes for educational reform and equity for all students with varying disabilities. Derek’s work experience has extended between PK3- high school students and local education agencies. Among those years of experience, Derek has 24 years of continued and faithful service in the field of education. Derek currently serves as the Compliance Inclusion Specialist at a local public charter school. As their Compliance Inclusion Specialist, Derek supports all grade levels and the special education department that ensures the student’s goals and objectives are met, promotes parent-teacher collaboration, and a variety of other school-wide initiatives. In 2019-2020, Derek served on the Academic Excellence committee of Two Rivers Board of Trustees. Derek is an initiate and active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Derek received a Bachelors in Counseling from Texas A&M University- Commerce, a Masters in Special Education and Doctorate in Education- Educational Leadership from Abilene Christian University. Derek currently lives in Maryland and enjoys time laughing and spending time with his family and close friends.
Theo Thompson currently serves as Managing Director of People & Operations at Let’s Get Ready, a national nonprofit that helps low-income students get to and through college. In this role, Theo is responsible for the success of the organization’s operational & financial metrics and all human resource functions. For over 8 years Theo served as an Operational Leader for a number of district and charter school systems across the east coast including Washington, DC and New York City – having the opportunity to develop long-term organizational strategy, create efficient operational processes, and shepherd strong financial growth. As Program Manager for Entrepreneur Works – a Philadelphia based microfinance organization, Theo helped elevate the signature technical assistance program. Most recently he served as Director of Operations with The Urban Institute, a research and policy organization based in Washington, DC.
Theo received his Bachelor’s in English and Communications from Westminster College in Missouri, a Master’s in Public Administration, and a Master’s in Community Development from Rutgers University. A proud St. Louis native, Theo now resides in Washington, DC.