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Who We Are

Catalyst in Transforming Education

A group of dedicated educators focused on student achievement.

Passionate Educators

Deeply-committed to helping schools and districts ensure all of their students succeed.

Industry Leaders

Delivering research-based professional development, school leadership and instructional effectiveness services.


Professionals delivering the highest quality and most impactful services to our clients.

Atlantic delivers customized educational solutions to school and district partners to measurably improve student performance.

Our Leadership

James L. Hager

James L. Hager


Leader: Superintendent for more than 20 years earning State Superintendent of the Year Award by both Nevada State Superintendent’s and the Nevada School Board’s Associations; principal, Director of Secondary Education, Deputy Superintendent and classroom teacher.

Trusted Advisor: Graduate faculty at University of Washington; Professor-in-Residence at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Expertise in policy, politics, governance, organizational development, school improvement and the principalship. Academic Advisor to Hobsons-Naviance.

Leading Edge: Educator of the Year by the Reno Chapter for the NAACP. Plato Learning Corporation’s Educator of the Year. Appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education to Western Regional Advisory Committee on Technology.

Catalyst: Coordinated the Executive Leadership Doctoral Program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership.

Amanda Rychel

Amanda Rychel

Chief Operating Officer

Leader: A career charter school teacher and leader at all levels. Her impact spans from the classroom to the district level including the successful turnaround of an under performing school. Experienced special education teacher, school principal, Director of Instructional Design and Strategy and Chief of Staff gives her the unique ability to blend best practices in school operations and instruction to meet the needs of underserved learners.

Trusted Advisor: Growth and school improvement has given her a broad range of experiences which she uses to navigate change management and school redesign through technology, data, operations, social emotional learning, school start up, curriculum and instructional design, special education and the RTI process to drive teacher and student success.

Leading Edge: Amanda lead the redesign of a 100 year old school building into a modern blended learning environment.

Catalyst: As a founder of Distinctive Schools in Chicago, IL, Amanda designed, developed and scaled a thriving Personalized Learning and Innovation model. She also pioneered the 1:1 blended learning environments and technology integration as a school principal through pilot classrooms and teacher development.

Pete Gorman

Pete Gorman

Managing Director of Academies

Leader: Superintendent of 19th largest school district in the US; principal, district-level administrator and classroom teacher in California, Florida and North Carolina. Executive Vice President for one of nation’s largest publicly traded K-12 education companies.

Trusted Advisor: Executive coach to numerous sitting and aspiring coaches; board director, Acceleration Academies; board director, Education Research Strategies.

Leading Edge: Won 2011 Broad Prize in Urban Education while Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School District for showing the greatest academic gains in a large, urban school district. Created a culture of using data to improve classroom instruction.

Catalyst: While Superintendent, narrowed the gap between black and white high school students in reading by 11 percentage points; “selective staffing” initiative put the best teachers and administrators in 25 of the lowest-performing schools. These and other policies attracted national recognition, including from the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Leroy D. Nunery II

Leroy D. Nunery II

Senior Strategic Advisor

Leader: Founder and Principal of PlūsUltré LLC in 2007 whose mantra of “Inspiration, Imagination, and Innovation” reflects its approach to enhancing the strategic and operational capacities of educational, non-profit, and entrepreneurial entities.

Trusted Advisor: Professional experience includes 16 years in various roles in corporate banking and capital markets, and 4 years with the National Basketball Association as Vice President, Human and Information Resources and Vice President, Business Development.

Leading Edge: Awarded the Wallace L. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award by the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and Lafayette College created the Leroy D. Nunery Award for Intellectual Citizenship, given to a student of color for leadership and academic excellence.

Catalyst: Currently a board member for The Benchmark School and Bartram’s Gardens, both in the Philadelphia area and is a Lifetime Member of the National Black MBA Association, Inc.

Jim Huge

Jim Huge

Senior Executive Consultant

Leader: Jim has led school boards in more than 230 successful school superintendent searches in the past 25 years. Former Superintendent in Cherry Creek, CO and Casper, WY school districts.

Trusted Advisor: Former advisor to senior executives in Fortune 100 companies including Walt Disney organization, Costco, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Leading Edge: Awarded the Outstanding Educator in the state of Nebraska. Recipient of the National Association of School Executives’ Distinguished Professor Award. Named by IDEA as one of the top presenters in the first twenty-five years of their national leadership development programs.

Catalyst: Named by IDEA as one of the top presenters in the first twenty-five years of their national leadership development programs.

Our Founders

Joseph Wise

Joseph Wise

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Leader: Superintendent of schools for the nation’s 15th largest public school district and the State of Delaware’s largest public school district; former EVP and Chief Education Officer with EdisonLearning, Inc in the UK; Director of Organizational Development for the Disney organization; classroom teacher.

Trusted Advisor: National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and College; adjunct faculty and advisory committee to the Broad Academy; Board Member, Northwest Evaluation Association; lifetime member, NAACP and Florida Association of PTAs.

Leading Edge: Appointed a Fellow to the Eli Broad Urban Superintendents Academy and selected as the Broad Fellow by Eli Broad Institute for School Boards; 2006 Champion for Children award conferred by the HOSTS Learning organization.

Catalyst: Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer of Distinctive Schools; Co-founder of Acceleration Academies, a dropout recovery program; co-founder and Chief Education Officer, Atlantic Research Partners; founding member of the District Management Council; authored three books.

David Sundstrom

David Sundstrom


Leader: Chief Corporate Officer for one of North America’s largest provider of administrative software and services in the PreK-12 education market. Chief of Staff and Interim Superintendent for Wilmington, Delaware and Chief of Staff for Duval County Schools; classroom teacher.

Trusted Advisor: Counsel to numerous school districts and boards in the areas of superintendent-board contract negotiations, labor/employment and human resources management, special education compliance, risk management and civil rights policies and compliance.Invited to teach courses at Michigan State University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Leading Edge: Focused on employment and civil rights issues, employment protocol design and implementation and contractual and labor dispute-resolution.

Catalyst: Co-founder and legal counsel of Distinctive Schools; Co-founder and chief counsel, Acceleration Academies;Co-founder and Board Chairman, Atlantic Research Partners; Co-authored two books.

Our Team

Susmita Pratihast

Susmita Pratihast

Vice President, Performance Analytics

Greg Paulmann

Greg Paulmann

Vice President, Teaching & Learning Design

Michelle Michelini

Michelle Michelini

Executive Director, Partnerships & Development

Erin Hennessy

Erin Hennessy

Executive Director, Academies & Client Support

Our Faculty

Jose Delfin

Andrea Brown-Thirston

Rebecca Carranza

Barbara Kent

Jude Kesl

Desma Manigault-Mcelveen

Lisa Palacios

Sala Sims

Robert Tomback

Crystal Wash

Ankanksha Bajaj

Kristen Baldino

Christina Chow

Michelle Michelini

Christopher Horan

Vincent Matthews

Stephen Murley

Jonathon Raymond

Cynthia Yoder

Darlene Schottle

Julie Smiley