Our Board

Fraser Black
Fraser is the Managing Partner at Pioneer Square Investments, an investment company focused on early-stage startups and real estate projects in the Pacific Northwest. His more than 25 years of financial and general management experience in leadership positions at high-growth businesses includes serving as the Chief Financial Officer at ONYX Software, Group Manager at Ashton-Tate and Financial Analyst at Salomon Brothers. He has also served on the boards of numerous businesses including Lumera Corp. (LMRA), Planner Systems, Ballard Mill Properties, Plexera and Imprev.

Fraser is an active philanthropist in the education field. He is a board member or advisor with nonprofit organizations including Social Venture Partners, The Seattle Foundation, IslandWood, Powerful Schools and the Business Partnership for Early Learning.

Fraser has a Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College.


The center for educational leadership portrait with Sharon Wiliams,Wendy London,Steve Fink and Hanns-Peter Nagel

Dr. Stephen Fink
Dr. Stephen Fink is the executive director of the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership (CEL), and affiliate professor of educational leadership and policy studies in the University of Washington College of Education.

Dr. Fink has worked extensively with school and district leaders on improving the quality of instructional leadership. His work has spanned large urban, suburban, rural and charter schools and management organizations across the country. In addition to directing CEL, Dr. Fink provides facilitation and executive coaching for superintendent and district-level leaders in a number of CEL partnerships.

Prior to coming to the University of Washington he spent 12 years as an assistant superintendent in the Edmonds School District (Wash.), and was a principal and special education teacher in Idaho and Los Angeles. Dr. Fink is the co-author of Leading for Instructional Improvement: How Successful Leaders Develop Teaching and Learning Expertise.


David Fischer
David Fischer is the Vice President of Business and Marketing Partnerships at Facebook. He is responsible for Facebook’s rapidly growing advertising business and manages the Sales and Marketing teams worldwide.

Prior to joining Facebook in 2010, David was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. Starting in 2002, he built and directed Google’s online sales channel, which represents the majority of Google’s customers worldwide, and helped build Google’s online advertising network into the largest in the world. He played a major role in globalizing Google’s business and operations, opening offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

David previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Treasury Department. At Treasury, he served as an advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury and worked on a variety of economic policy issues within the federal government. Prior to that, David was an Associate Editor at U.S. News & World Report, where he covered economics and business from Washington, DC. He served as a consultant to the Russian Government on the implementation of its privatization program in the early 1990s.

David holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s in business administration from Stanford University. He is recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. David serves on the boards of the Ad Council, Squaw Valley, SEEP Network, a global non-profit dedicated to microfinance and enterprise development, and is a member of the National Advisory Council of the US Ski Team. David and his wife Joannie live in Northern California with their two sons.


Dr. Ronald Fortune
Ronald is the Co-Founder and Chairman at Education.com, a go-to site with more than five million monthly visitors that provides involved parents with information and ideas to help kids reach their full potential and make learning fun. Previously he served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from October 2006 to February 2012.

Previously, he was the founder and CEO of Edumetrics Learning, a company focused on developing technology-based educational content for students that eventually formed a partnership with the Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford University. He also served for 10 years as CEO of Computer Curriculum Corporation (CCC). During his tenure as CEO, CCC became the largest educational software company in the United States.

Ronald has delivered numerous speeches, presentations, and testimonials to federal and state congressional committees, international education leaders, education associations and governmental groups. He has served as a member of California’s Information Technology Council; as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Software and Information Industry Association (formerly Software Publishers Association); and as President of the CEO Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based organization advocating the use of technology in schools. He also served on the National Board for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and on the Board of Directors for Edison Schools, Inc.

Ronald serves as a senior advisor to Project Pipeline, a nonprofit teacher recruitment and credentialing institute, and volunteers in various school and community functions. He was named one of the “Top 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology” in 2009.

A former secondary classroom teacher and school administrator, he holds a Ph.D. in Education, a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley.


Jere Brooks King
Jere Brooks King is a former high technology marketing executive with a current focus on nonprofit board service and consulting in the California Bay Area. For more than 35 years, she held a variety of sales and marketing positions at technology companies including IBM, Autodesk, and Cisco Systems. Her career included operational experience in companies with revenue ranging from $40M to $40+B in a variety of challenging environments: rapid growth, international scale, managing change, rebranding, mergers & acquisitions, and communications.

Jere was most recently a vice president of marketing at Cisco for 16 years, retiring in November 2011. Her experience spans Advertising, Branding, Communications, Direct Marketing, Online Marketing, Seminars, Trade Shows and Events, Public Relations, Analyst Relations, and Marketing Strategy and Planning. Always dedicated to the development of women leaders in technology, she developed an innovative networking program for Cisco women executives called the Perspectives Forum and remains a regular speaker for Women Unlimited on leadership.

After leaving Cisco, Jere made a pivot to the nonprofit industry. In 2015, Jere completed a Fellowship in the inaugural Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute with studies focused on board governance in nonprofit and for-profit, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and leadership. Currently she is on the board of directors for CHC (Children’s Health Council), Stanford Student Enterprises, and EOS (Equal Opportunity Schools), and on the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute Advisory Board. She served as a Board Member and President-Elect for Abilities United from 2011 – 2014. During 2012 she completed a Silicon Valley Encore Fellowship at Abilities United, and remains actively engaged with the Encore organization.


Reid Saaris
With a personal commitment to equity in education that traces back to seeing his best friend not receive the same quality of education, even though he was across the hall at the same school, Reid founded Equal Opportunity Schools to help schools develop systems to close achievement gaps and provide all students an equal opportunity to achieve their education goals.

At Equal Opportunity Schools, Reid provides vision, organizational and strategic leadership. His role as Executive Director includes partnership, fund, and board development; long-term planning; recruitment; team and program development; and advocacy on behalf of the Equal Opportunity Schools mission to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in challenging high school classes.

Prior to starting Equal Opportunity Schools, Reid coached soccer and cross-county running and taught history, economics, philosophy and psychology at a large, rural high school in South Carolina. He also headed the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs at a school that grew to the largest IB program in the state. It was there he found a relatively simple, high-impact reform that could enhance learning opportunities for “missing students” across the country. He committed to ensure that no student in the school would be overlooked for participation in AP or IB because of the color of their skin or the size of their parents’ paycheck. That reform effort seeded Equal Opportunity Schools.

Reid is a respected writer and researcher on education. His summa cum laude thesis at Harvard, Our Latest Generation: The Civic Greatness of Young Americans, disputed the idea that young Americans are disengaged and apathetic, and traced political inequalities back to inequity in educational opportunities. It was awarded the Hoopes Prize for excellence. Reid also authored a paper for the Education Trust about the missing students problem. He received Stanford’s only 2010 Social Innovation Fellowship and is currently a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur and an Echoing Green Fellow.

Reid graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s in Government and has a Master’s in Business and Education from Stanford.


Dr. Edward Lee Vargas
Dr. Edward Lee Vargas just recently joined the AVID Center as Executive Vice President for National and International Programs in 2015.  He brings a wealth of highly successful multi-state and international leadership experiences and accolades as Superintendent of Schools in multiple states, as evidenced by being named State Superintendent of the Year in California in 2006 and State Superintendent of the Year for Washington in 2014.

Dr. Vargas is a nationally recognized speaker on leadership for creating high performing school systems grounded in equity and excellence for all, and Distinguished Lecturer on “School System Readiness to Transform”, keynoting numerous state and national conferences, including the National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC on 21st Century Skills, speaking at USA-China Educational Symposiums in China and presenting at Microsoft’s Global Forum on Technology in Prague, in the Czech Republic in 2012 and in Barcelona, Spain in 2014.


Deborah Wilds

Deborah Wilds
Deborah J. Wilds retired as the chief operating officer of the College Success Foundation (CSF) in January 2014.

Prior to joining CSF in 2006, Deborah served as a senior program officer for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led efforts for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Gates Cambridge Scholars and the Washington State Achievers Program. She also oversaw the early college initiative creating 250 new early college high schools.

Deborah served as the deputy director of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Office of Minorities in Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. She has co-authored several books, written more than 20 articles, and co-authored ACE’s Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education. She was the co-founder and chair of the Board of Directors of New Era Education, an independent school and pre-school located in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 2013, she was appointed to the Washington State Board of Education, and also currently serves on the boards of Washington State Mentors, Philanthropy Northwest, College Spark, The Corporation for Enterprise Development, UW Bothell Advisory and the Seattle University Board of Regents.

Deborah has a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Maryland at College Park; a master’s degree from Howard University and a bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Diego.


Josh Wyner
Josh has spent 15 years as a nonprofit leader, developing organizations aimed at improving education and urban policy. Most recently, he was the Executive Vice President of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, where he led the design and implementation of programs. Previously, he was Senior Vice President of Complete College America.

In the mid-90’s, Josh served as founding Executive Director of the DC Appleseed Center, which analyzes and actively seeks to resolve problems affecting the daily lives of those who live and work in the Washington, D.C. area – including students in K-12 and higher education.

Josh’s wide-ranging career includes positions as an organizer and analyst with Citizen Action, a program evaluator at GAO and an attorney with Beveridge & Diamond.

Josh is a graduate of Vassar College, the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the NYU School of Law.