We Are Innovative
Matt Swanson - Executive Chairman
Riccardo Stoeckicht – President & Chief Operating Officer
Teresa Gerchman – Chief Schools Officer
School Support Division
Riccardo Stoeckicht – President & Chief Operating Officer
Karen Thorpe – Financial Services
April Montgomery – Financial Services
Shelley Vincent - HR Services
Lisa Lessner – Development
School Management Division
Teresa Gerchman – Chief Schools Officer
Cassandra McKay – Academic Consultant
Board of Directors
Matt Swanson – Executive Chairman
Karl Wagner - Vice Chairman & Treasurer
Richard Carter, Ed.D.
Stephanie Clark Fitzgerald
Sylvia M. Flowers
Riccardo Stoeckicht - Chief Operating Officer
Riccardo Stoeckicht serves as Chief Operating Officer of Innovative Schools with responsibility for managing the organization’s finance and human resource functions as well as overseeing the School Solutions division which provides back office services to client schools. From 2012-2014, Mr. Stoeckicht served as the first president of the Community Education Building (CEB), an educational initiative in Wilmington, Delaware made possible by a partnership between Bank of America and the Longwood Foundation. The CEB was transformed into an educational environment for high performing charter schools offering city children access to world-class education. Prior to this position, Mr. Stoeckicht served for five years as Chief Operating Officer of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware, where he led all operating and administrative functions and provided organizational leadership and programmatic support to the CEO and his staff. As Deputy Director of the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Mr. Stoeckicht led the finance, strategic planning, human resource and information technology functions of the organization. He also had management oversight for the Early Development Center and Youth Services Department providing over 200 children ages 1 to 18 with educational programs and activities. Mr. Stoeckicht spent the first twenty years of his career in various management, finance and human resource functions at the DuPont Company in Brazil and the United States. Mr. Stoekicht holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical-Economics from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration from Northeastern University.
Teresa Gerchman, M.Ed. - Chief Schools Officer
Teresa Gerchman is the Chief Schools Officer for Innovative Schools with responsibility for supporting the implementation and management of the new schools being brought on board by Innovative Schools. Prior to joining Innovative Schools in 2014, Ms. Gerchman was based in Delaware for five years with EdisonLearning serving as Vice President of Educational Services for various school sites in the northeastern United States. She worked directly with schools to support them in the areas of leadership, pedagogy & curriculum, student and family support, assessment for learning, and learning environment. Prior to moving to Delaware, she spent three years in Hawaii, working exclusively with restructuring schools (K-12) in an educational partnership with the Hawaii Department of Education. As head of student achievement, Mrs. Gerchman was responsible for turning around underperforming schools while also building capacity. Prior to joining the EdisonLearning Educational Division, she served as an administrator in two EdisonLearning K-8 charter schools in upstate New York. In this role, Teresa was responsible for teacher supervision, student discipline, and management of the special education departments. Ms. Gerchman has a combined teaching experience of 17 years at the 8-12 level. During her career, she has also worked across school districts in the New York State Education Department as a staff, test and district wide curriculum developer. Ms. Gerchman received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Science in Science Education as well as a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the State University of New York.
Matt Swanson, Executive Board Chairman
Matthew Swanson is currently Executive Chairman of Innovative Schools, guiding the organization to be an engine for importing and launching innovative education initiatives within Delaware. Mr. Swanson’s prior professional background focused on corporate finance in New York and Los Angeles before the launch of his start-up FineStationery.com in 1999. A pioneer in Internet strategy and technology innovation, FineStationery.com revolutionized the consumer experience and overall reach of the online print industry. In 2003, he was recognized for this work as a finalist for the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award. The company was sold to 1800Flowers in 2011. Mr. Swanson is serving as chairman of the Delaware Center for Health Innovation which is overseeing the implementation of a $40 million grant to transform the healthcare system across the state of Delaware. Mr. Swanson is also an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware business school. Mr. Swanson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Paul Herdman, Ed.D.
Prior to joining the Rodel Foundation of Delaware in 2004, Paul was a senior manager at New American Schools, a national nonprofit, where he provided support to states, districts, and charter schools. He also conducted research for organizations such as the Brookings Institution, RAND, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and The World Bank. Paul began his career in the 1980s as an educator working in various U.S. cities, South Africa, and Australia, serving students from kindergarten through high school. He co-founded a highly successful school-within-a-school based on an Outward Bound model in one of the largest high schools in New York City. His work served as a beta site for Expeditionary Learning, a comprehensive school reform model that is now in 140 schools across the United States. In the 1990s, Paul served in the Secretary of Education’s office for two governors in Massachusetts, a state that is now the nation’s top performer, during the wholesale redesign of the state’s policies on standards, choice, and finance. Paul received his bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Delaware and his master's degree and doctorate in education administration and planning from Harvard University. He lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Dana and their three children.
Martha Manning founded the Delaware Charter Schools Network, which is a membership association of all of Delaware’s charter schools. She served as Executive Director until her retirement in 2006. Prior to that time, Martha’s career included teaching elementary school in the Red Clay Consolidated School district and running a small non-profit called Focus on the Kids. That organization focused on public education reform. Before returning to work full-time in the non-profit world, Martha volunteered in the schools her four children attended and helped the Cab Calloway School of the Arts become a reality. She was a member of the CCSA Board for eleven years. Martha is also a founding board member of the Red Clay Education Foundation and is the Secretary of the Foundation. She also served on the board of the Wilmington Youth Rowing Association (WYRA).
Mr. Wagner, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Finance, began working with Buccini/Pollin in December 1999. Mr. Wagner is responsible for overseeing the acquisitions, development, and financing of non-hospitality properties. Mr. Wagner primarily focuses on commercial and residential projects including acquisitions (both income producing and non-income producing), ground-up development, redevelopment, and historic tax credit investments. Prior to joining Buccini/Pollin, Mr. Wagner worked for the public accounting firm Simon, Master and Sidlow, P.A. Mr. Wagner received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware.
Leroy A. Tice, Esquire
Mr. Leroy A. Tice, Esquire is a Milford, Delaware native. He is a proud alumnus of Delaware State University where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and became a member the Pi Sigma Alpha national political science honor society. Mr. Tice later earned his Juris Doctor from the Seton Hall University School of Law. During law school, he served as a Public Interest Fellow in Columbia, South Carolina where he performed death penalty appellate work, and a Teaching Fellow in Seton Hall’s Academic Support Program concentrating on Constitutional Law. Upon graduating, Mr. Tice received the Raymon del Tufo, Jr. Award for achievement in the area of Constitutional Law. Mr. Tice is licensed to practice law in Delaware and New Jersey. He is currently City of Wilmington, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works. He is also President of a Delaware law practice focusing on the areas of person injury, workers’ compensation, criminal defense and civil rights, among others. He has served in the recent past as counsel to the Delaware House of Representatives, Democratic Caucus. Mr. Tice’s affiliations include the Delaware State Bar Association, Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section; Delaware Trial Lawyers Association; American Bar Association; American Civil Liberties Union outside counsel; Delaware State University Board of Trustees; Eastside Charter School Board; Wilmington Hope Commission Board and; Innovative Schools Board of Directors. Mr. Tice has received numerous recognitions for volunteerism. He is most proud of receiving the “Key to the City” of Milford in 2007.
Richard Carter, Ed.D.
Richard S. Carter, Ed.D. has served as an educator, in a variety of capacities, for over 20 years. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he worked as an intern at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, which has had a major impact on his work. A key component of the Center’s mission is to revitalize West Philadelphia through the creation of university-assisted community-focused schools, as reflected in the elements of John Dewey’s theory of democratic education and the Chicago Hull-House tradition as pioneered by Jane Addams. Richard began his teaching career as a middle school Social Studies and English-Language Arts teacher at the JP Turner Middle School. Turner is located in the Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood where Richard grew up and where he spend some time as an intern at the Netter Center. Following his work at Turner, Richard returned to Penn to complete doctoral studies in educational leadership. His dissertation focused on the Center’s emergent collaboration with the Mayer Sulzberger Middle School. In addition to his teaching experience, Richard has served as an assistant professor of education at Rider University, program administrator [for a pre-college preparatory program, for low SES status students] for the Program in Teacher Preparation at Princeton University, as a vice principal, and as 1 of 4 assistant directors of school improvement at an interim elementary school in the Trenton Public School District. Currently, Richard is proud to serve the students of the Brandywine School District as Principal of Talley Middle School. He began his work in the district in April of 2006. Talley achieved AYP status after the Spring 2009 Delaware State Testing Program (DSTP) administration. This accomplishment was a first for the school. Richard attributes Talley’s progress to a growing faculty commitment to distributive leadership, evidenced based decision making, and school practices responsive to the realities of adolescent development.Richard and his talented and lovely wife Marla have been blessed with 2 dynamic children: a son, Jordan (11), and daughter, Hannah (6).
David Dresslar is the Executive Director of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, an Indiana organization similar to Innovative Schools. A lifelong educator with more than 40 years of experience, Dresslar became executive director of the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning in 2008. He previously served as a senior fellow for CELL with primary responsibility for high school innovation and model school development. Before joining CELL in 2004, he was superintendent of schools in Jenison, Michigan, for 17 years and, prior to that, served in a variety of teaching and administrative positions, including assistant superintendent for the M.S.D. of Lawrence Township in Indianapolis. He also writes and speaks on school transformation and the future of educational practices.
Stephanie Clark Fitzgerald
Stephanie Clark Fitzgerald is a Curriculum Consultant for the New York-based New Leaders for New Schools and a Curriculum Dissemination Project Manager for Perspectives Charter Schools. She is the immediate past President and CEO of the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Delaware. Stephanie began her career as a middle school social studies and language arts teacher in Chicago. As a small public school founder and independent school principal, she focused on creating learning communities in which children, families, faculty and staff, and the community all thrive. As an education consultant, Stephanie assisted in opening two schools in Washington, D.C. for the Edison Project; provided school-level accountability development for Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, Illinois; and with KPMG Consulting, conducted performance reviews for districts and states and assisted in developing and marketing an education data warehouse. She received her BA from Harvard University, MA in Education Leadership and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and MA in Economic Education and Entrepreneurship from the University of Delaware.
Sylvia M. Flowers
In 2004, Sylvia Flowers decided to leave Corporate America to pursue her personal passion by joining the Broad Residency in Urban Education, a management training program for emerging executives seeking to ultimately become leaders in education reform. In January 2007, she joined Chicago Public Schools as Project Manager of Chicago TAP, a pilot program designed to drive recruitment, development and retention of quality staff in 40 high-need schools through implementation of the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP). The Teacher Advancement Program accomplishes this by offering teachers and administrators sustained opportunities for career advancement, ongoing school-based professional development, instructionally focused accountability and performance incentives. The project was the first of its kind in Chicago Public Schools to link teacher compensation rewards to improving student achievement. The Chicago Public School system is the nation’s third-largest, with an annual operating budget of $4.7 billion. It includes more than 600 schools and serves about 415,000 students. Today Sylvia Flowers is Director of Technical Assistance for Tennessee SCORE — the State Collective on Reforming Education founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. In her current role, she directs SCORE’s technical work with state government and local school systems. She began her work in education in the Christina School District in Wilmington, Delaware as the Director of Training and Development. In this role, she brought experience in quality management and process design to create and in some cases, restructure for professional development for all staff, leadership development for administrators, and induction and mentoring of new teachers. She later assumed responsibility for Federal and State Grants, as well as competitive grants for the District. She served as Program Manager for Title I and Title V programs, with specific oversight of Supplemental Education Services for students at underperforming schools and services for non-public school students. She began her career as a Chemical Engineer with Monsanto Chemical Company in St. Louis, Missouri. She later worked as a Senior Buyer at Solutia Inc, a spin-off chemical company, in the Nylon Fibers Plant in Pensacola, Florida. She had responsibility for sourcing contracts and the purchase, inventory and warehouse management of all raw materials and additives used in the nylon manufacturing operations. Ms. Flowers left Solutia to obtain her Master of Business Administration in Management at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Upon graduation in 2002, she returned to the corporate world, working for Duke Energy as a Commercial Associate in Duke’s management leadership program, where she evaluated key energy policy initiatives and provided analytical support for the acquisition and divestiture of assets.
Ted Fujimoto is the founder and chairman of the Right to Succeed Foundation and the President of Landmark Consulting Group. He helps communities and school districts create and support 21st-century schools. As a California-based entrepreneur and consultant, he has helped develop business strategies for Bay Area Coalition of Essential Schools, Big Picture Learning, Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, Partnership for Uplifting Communities, Linking Education & Economic Development, California Charter Schools Association and the New York Charter Schools Association. Ted has toured over 500 public schools in the nation, his work represents more than $150 million in funding. He was instrumental in designing and founding Napa New Technology High School and the New Technology Foundation that now comprises 62 schools nationwide, with 28 new schools opening by Fall 2011. He has served on the California Education Technology Advisory Committee and received the 2002 Center for Digital Government "In the Arena" award for education leadership in transforming vision to reality. In Converge Magazine’s "1999 Year in Review", Ted was named one of "Education’s Dreamers, Leaders and Innovators." He is pioneer of the "Right to Succeed" movement and believes every child should have the opportunity to succeed. He also serves as chairman of the California Credit Union Supervisory Committee, a $1 billion dollar credit union serving educators.
Ethan Gray is the Founder and CEO of Education Cities - a national network of city-based organizations in 25 cities all dedicated to growing high-quality public schools. Before his role at Education Cities, Ethan served as Vice President of The Mind Trust where he helped develop the “Opportunity Schools” plan for transforming the Indianapolis Public Schools. He previously worked as the Policy Director at Be the Change, Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., where he helped craft a policy agenda to expand national and community service opportunities that strongly influenced the introduction of the Edward M. Kennedy “Serve America Act.”Ethan is an honors graduate of Harvard College and holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in education policy and management. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Strive Prep network of charter schools, and serves on the National Advisory Boards of Families for Excellent Schools, EdFuel, and Innovative Schools in Wilmington, Delaware. Ethan is an accomplished cellist and serves on the board of trustees for the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra.
Bob Pearlman is an author, speaker, and strategy consultant for 21st Century School and District Development in Tucson, AZ. He is former director of strategic planning for the New Technology Foundation in Napa, CA, a school development organization which supports the replication of the New Technology 21st Century High School model in more than 50 communities across the United States. Pearlman consults and speaks widely in the U.S. and United Kingdom on 21st Century Learning.In California, Bob served as director of education and workforce development at Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and as president of the Autodesk Foundation. He previously served as coordinator of educational reform initiatives for the Boston Teachers Union, national consultant on educational technology for the American Federation of Teachers, and as a co-founder of the Co-NECT School New American School Design Team, and as a classroom teacher for 20 years. Bob has been a pioneer in designing new 21st Century schools; integrating project-based learning, work-based learning, and technology into the schools; and training teachers, administrators, and parents in the application of new technologies and their role in restructuring schools. Bob is the author of many articles on 21st Century Learning, including “Making 21st Century Schools: Creating Learner-Centered Schoolplaces/Workplaces for a New Culture of Students at Work” (Educational Technology, September-October 2009), “New Skills For A New Century: Project-based learning teaches kids the collaborative and critical thinking abilities they'll need to compete” (Edutopia, June 2006), and “21st Century Learning in Schools – A Case Study of New Technology High School in Napa, CA”, (published in New Directions for Youth Development, Summer 2006 Special Issue: The Case for Twenty-First Century Learning). He is a contributing author to the new Leading Edge anthology, 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (Solution Tree, 2010). [TEAM MEMBERS SUBHEAD]