About Us

The Teaching Lab team is dedicated to building a non-profit, teacher-led network that leverages grassroots organizing and research-based professional learning to serve all students, no matter their background or zip code.

We believe that an equitable education system can be built by collaborating with communities that educate traditionally underserved students. Teaching Lab works to build local leadership and content expertise to develop the capacity of communities to sustain growth and development.  

Teaching Lab envisions a teaching profession where teachers, in collaboration, own and drive a culture of learning and continuous improvement in their instructional practice, impacting student achievement in disadvantaged communities in significant and measurable ways.

Our mission is to build a movement of teacher leadership focused on the professional learning to meet the need of all students.


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Silas Kulkarni - Executive Director

Silas Kulkarni is co-founder and Executive Director of Teaching Lab, a nonprofit devoted to closing the opportunity gap through teacher-led professional learning. Silas is a nationally renowned expert on the Common Core State Standards and professional learning. Before founding Teaching Lab, he worked as a literacy expert at Student Achievement Partners and as a record-breaking math teacher in Harlem, NY and Washington DC. In 2011, Silas’ students in Southeast DC broke the citywide, all-time record for 8th grade math scores, scoring 100% proficient or above, with 62% scoring advanced. He has presented, published research, and led trainings around the country. Silas is a graduate of Yale University.

“As a middle school math teacher in Washington DC, I was lucky enough to be part of a teacher-led community focused on improving our instruction. It worked! To this day, my middle school math students hold the citywide record for highest math test scores. This form of collaboration works and if we can engage more educators in these conversations, we can change our profession.


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Max Wagner - Senior Managing Director of Partnerships

Max Wagner brings best-in-the-industry experience in grassroots teacher organizing.  After serving as a Teach for America corps member in Brooklyn, New York, Max has dedicated his career to empowering and elevating the teaching profession, working as an organizer for Educators for Excellence, the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, and most recently Student Achievement Partners. His deep expertise in teacher-leadership underlies the viral growth of the Teaching Lab model.

“As an elementary special education teacher in Brooklyn, New York, I know the struggle of meeting the needs of all students every day. Leveraging the experience of classroom teachers and the best in researched based best practices, we can create resource for teachers, by teachers, that can be transformational for kids.”


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Chris Daniels - Managing Director of Strategy

Chris Daniels brings extensive experience in school district support and business planning to the Teaching Lab team. He previously served as a director at TNTP, working with school systems across the country on academic and human capital strategy. He has also worked on charter school policy at the U.S. Department of Education, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and as a seventh grade math teacher in Philadelphia. He holds a BA from Columbia University, an MS in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 


“As a former middle school teacher, I understand the struggle to master content knowledge, curriculum, student culture, and my own development. I'm thrilled to be able to support other teachers in balancing all of these critical elements so they can best serve their students."


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Adrienne Williams - Manager of Lab Development

Adrienne Williams brings 8-years of teaching, coaching, and leading experience with Center City Public Charter Schools in Washington, DC. There, Adrienne served as a teacher-leader and curriculum manager supporting instruction in literacy and math in grades K-3. In 2016, she won the Center City Excellence Award for achieving the highest student performance in reading with 85% at or above grade level,  70% being advanced. Outside of her charter-based worked, Adrienne has promoted and provided professional learning and collaboration around literacy instruction and standards alignment in both the District and around the country. She came to education through Urban Teacher’s four-year program and completed a Teaching Lab fellowship that gave her firsthand knowledge of the potential of putting the power of change in the hands of teachers.


“As a first-grade teacher and later a coach, my relationships with my peers were integral to improving my practice. Through sharing ideas, lesson plans, student work and practicing together, I was able to get better faster. Not only did my practice improve, but my relationships with my colleagues helped get me through the challenging first years of being a teacher. They helped build my resilience to stay in the game and keep showing up for my kids when it would have been easy to burn out. Having a team to support you and stay focused on the right work was crucial.”

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Janice Williams - Education Pioneers Summer Fellow

Janice Williams is an experienced professional with almost ten years of experience and established expertise in capacity building, education, and program management in the U.S. and internationally. She has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, a Master's in Government and International Affairs and Masters in Technology, Innovation and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps from 2010-2012 in Niger and Guinea. She was the Program Director for the Innovation Lab (InLabs) program in Sierra Leone, with Global Minimum and has extensive experience working with and building relationships with various stakeholders in West Africa and in the U.S., including government/ministry officials, teachers, and other professionals. She worked as a Special Assistant at the Baltimore City Health Department as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner of Maternal and Child Health and recently as a Technical Adviser on a DFID funded project for the President’s Recovery Priorities; the post-Ebola recovery plan for Sierra Leone. She is proficient in three languages: French, Krio and Hausa.

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Malcolm Hodnett - Intern

Malcolm Hodnett is a 2017 graduate of Frostburg State University with a degree in Business Administration. Since 2017 he has worked as an instructional assistant in Charles County Public Schools in Southern Maryland. Malcolm joined Teaching Lab as a new way to contribute to creating a better educational climate. He aspires to create content that fosters growth and self-discovery for young people. 

Malcolm is excited to be a part of the Teaching Lab team during the 2018 summer and to gain new competencies and develop his skills as he helps build the organization.

Board of Directors


Susan Pimentel - Co-author of the Common Core State Standards

Susan was a lead writer of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts/Literacy and is a Founding Partner of Student Achievement Partners. Susan also has led several national improvement efforts, including two multi-state adult education reform initiatives under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Adult and Vocational Education (OVAE), and the development of content for the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence—a rigorous discipline-specific national teacher test. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a law degree from Cornell University. Since 2007, she has served on the National Assessment Governing Board that advises on the nation's report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).


Bryan Richardson - Co-founder of UPD Consulting

Bryan brings 15 years of public and private sector management experience. He has been recognized nationally as an expert in implementing complex management and technology reforms and for his expertise in the development and implementation of the Stat performance management processes. His engagements have included leading the development of performance management processes with school districts in Baltimore and Paterson, NJ, and state education agencies of New York, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. He has also served as an adviser to the US Department of Education on performance management and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on personalizing teacher training, performance management, and education technology. Bryan led work in the Rhode Island Department of Education to develop seven inter-dependent data systems in parallel as part of the state’s Race to the Top Initiative. 

David Liben - Education researcher and Senior Content Specialist at Student Achievement Partners

David is the Senior Content Specialist of the Literacy and English Language Arts team at Student Achievement Partners. David has taught elementary, middle school, and high school students in public and private schools, as well as community college and teacher preparation courses, in New York City and Vermont. David still spends as much time as possible in schools with teachers and children. Together with Meredith Liben, David founded two innovative model schools in New York City - New York Prep, a junior high school in East Harlem, and in 1991, the Family Academy - where he served as Principal and lead curriculum designer. David holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in school administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Robert Sheffield - Director for California Initiatives at WestEd

As the Director for California Initiatives at the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at WestEd, Robert Sheffield focuses on strengthening implementation of the new content standards in California.

Previously, Sheffield served as Executive Director for District Implementation at the College Board. During his tenure, he led efforts to grow the reach and effectiveness of the SpringBoard program through school and district leader professional learning and coaching. Sheffield also led advisory councils and focus groups to ensure that teacher voice was reflected within the program’s design and delivery.

Sheffield received a BS in educational studies and U.S. history from Vanderbilt University and an MS in curriculum, instruction, and technology from Nova Southeastern University.


Ross Wiener - Vice President for education at the Aspen Institute

In his role at Aspen, Ross leads professional learning networks for urban school district leaders and senior Congressional Education staffers. The program assists policymakers and education leaders in strengthening human capital systems, supporting implementation of Common Core State Standards, and strategically reallocating financial resources. From 2002 to 2009, Ross worked as policy director and then as vice president for program and policy at the Education Trust, a national, non-profit organization dedicated to raising standards and closing achievement gaps in public education. Prior to Education Trust, Ross served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section.

Sarah Johnson - Program Officer, Exceptional Educators at Overdeck Family Foundation

Sarah joined OFF from the New York City Department of Education (DOE), where she was the senior adviser to the Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning. In her role, she consulted on strategy for a 600-person division and managed teams that created and implemented the Vision for School Improvement, a strategy and set of resources to accelerate student learning in all NYC schools, and coordinated teacher development and evaluation policy. Before her work at the DOE, she was a high school science teacher in Oakland, CA, where she established the school’s first Environmental Science Curriculum, co-innovated an online modifiable textbook initiative, and founded a social justice student leadership program. She has a Doctorate in Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an M.A.T. from American University, and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Neuroscience from Emory University.


Jenny Jordan - Chief of Staff and Senior Managing Director at Teach For America

Jenny currently serves as Chief of Staff and Senior Managing Director - Strategy, Finance and Operations at Teach For America- Bay Area. Prior to that role, she served on the founding team at a new education philanthropy, the Schusterman Foundation; helped replicate high-performing charter schools in roles at Aspire Public Schools and Brooke Charter Schools; and partnered with non-profits as a strategic consultant at The Bridgespan Group. Jenny holds an M.B.A. and Master's in Education from Stanford University and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard University. Jenny lives in San Francisco with her husband.