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About the Panel:
Dan Varner is the CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit (ESD), a coalition of philanthropy, educators, and community-based. ESD focuses its efforts on dissemination of actionable information, alignment of actors, innovation in education, and community voice. Mr. Varner is a current member of the State Board of Education and received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School.
Thomas Willis is the CEO of Cornerstone Charter Schools. Cornerstone directs four charter schools, one of which (Madison-Carver Academy K-8) was recently named as 1 of 31 Top Schools in Detroit by Excellent Schools Detroit. Mr. Willis grew up in the Detroit area and earned a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Michigan.
Veronica Conforme is the Interim Chancellor for the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The EAA is the governing body of the Education Achievement System, a statewide school system to replace underperforming Michigan schools. It currently oversees 15 schools in Detroit. Prior to this role, Ms. Conforme served as Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Department of Education.
Brian Jacob is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Education Policy, Professor of Economics, and the co-director of the Education Policy Initiative at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.