The CityPathways Steering Committee possesses decades of expertise in effective formal and informal learning settings.
Sanda Balaban, Founder/Director
Sanda Balaban focuses on increasing innovation, excellence, and equity, particularly for youth from under-resourced environments, through integrating in- and out- of school learning. She is passionate about helping rethink where, when, how, and with whom learning happens. After the 2016 election, Sanda pivoted from CityPathways to civic pathways, and is now the co-founder and director of YVote and Next Generation Politics, which bring together socioeconomically, racially, and politically diverse teens to grapple with complex civic issues and current events in order to equip them to be informed, engaged citizens and change-makers within their schools and communities.
Previously, Sanda served as Executive Director of the Governor's Committee on Scholastic Achievement (GCSA), a nimble non-profit that partners schools with corporations to provide one-to-one workplace-based mentoring across the four years of high school. She is proud to have been an Echoing Green Semi-Finalist, a PresenTense Fellow, and an Aspen Ideas Award finalist in 2015.
Sanda is the founder of FLIP (Future of Learning and Innovative Programs) Consulting, through which she supports organizations in exploring new programmatic frontiers and increased organizational efficacy. Past clients include ExpandED Schools/The After School Corporation (TASC), the Social Impact Exchange, Brooklyn Lab, School in the Square Charter Middle School, Citizen Schools, Teaching Matters, Thrively, Global Cities, Kunskapsskolan Education, FHI360 (formerly AED), the New Teacher Center, and 2Revolutions.
Sanda directed strategic learning initiatives for Facing History and Ourselves, an international education and professional development organization that links the lessons of history to the everyday issues students face in their lives in order to create a more informed, engaged citizenry.
Sanda worked for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for seven years in a number of capacities including a founding Network Leader for the Bridges for Learning Network of secondary schools, as Chief of Staff for the Empowerment Schools Initiative, in the Office of New Schools, and serving as Special Assistant to the East Bronx Regional Superintendent.
Prior to her tenure with NYCDOE, Sanda spent four years in educational philanthropy at the Goldman Sachs Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Earlier in her career, she worked for the Teachers Network, a nonprofit professional development and policy organization; and for the Boston Private Industry Council, coordinating school-to-career programs and work-based internships for alternative high school students. Her most seminal experience was teaching secondary school level humanities and elective classes in New York City and Boston, which informs her thinking each day.
Danielle DiMare is an educational leader with deep experience in grants administration, after-school programming, change-management, and technical assistance. She has worked in New York City helping provide dynamic, innovative after-school and dropout-prevention programs for young people over the last decade. Her experiences working at The Leadership Program and the NYC Department of Education had a significant impact, enabling her to explore her passion for learning, leadership, and change. To enhance her skills, she concomitantly pursued a Master's degree in Organizational Change Management at Milano New School, with key course work around the core competencies of a change agent, digital innovation in education, and social entrepreneurship.
From mid 2010-2013, Danielle lived abroad in Central America, Southeast Asia, and Europe, during which time she worked at Wide Circle in Brussels, consulting on projects related to having a mindset for excellence, the future of work, and customer-centricity.
Since returning to the United States, Danielle has been pursuing new opportunities in the fields of education, change, and social innovation, inclusive of supporting Career Clue, a summer youth employment program where high schools students learn about 21st jobs, participate in service learning, earn an academic credit and receive a financial stipend; the Community Learning Schools Initiative with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT); and working with the National Center for Community Schools at Children’s Aid Society helping schools and community-based organizations boost school success. Danielle is passionate about how things work and what makes organizations successful, what sparks intrinsic motivation and ongoing growth, and how to support authentic leadership and transformative change, all of which she brings to bear in the work she does.
Cal Hastings is committed to supporting adolescents on their pathway to high school, college, and career success through developing innovative strategies to improve middle grades education. Cal is Chief Schools Officer for NYC Outward Bound, overseeing the implementation of NYC Outward Bounds schools approach to learning across their network of schools. Prior to Outward Bound, he was the Senior Director for Middle School Literacy at Generation Ready, responsible for national growth, implementation support, and continued refinement of middle grades school and district programs. Previously he led the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) work for the New York City Department of Education, the largest middle school reading initiative in the nation, supporting high needs schools in implementing a research-based framework to address the adolescent literacy crisis. Prior to joining the NYCDOE, Cal served as the Senior Director of School Support and New School Development for FHI360 (formerly AED) where he managed a portfolio of middle-grades improvement initiatives and was the director of the FHI360 Partnership Support Organization (PSO), leading a team of fourteen in providing professional development and operational support for a network of fourteen schools serving over 3,000 children. He also oversaw a USDOE funded Middle School Leadership Program and an i3 funded partnership with the National Forum to AccelerateMiddle-Grades Reform focusing on the early indicators of high school success.
Earlier in his career, Cal was the SeniorDirector ofPrograms for MOUSE where he led the development and implementation of an information and communication technology-focused youth development program calledMOUSE Squad. The program is now having a positive impactin more than 300 locations in the United States, including New York City, Chicago, California, and Texas and, in partnership with Microsoft, the MOUSE Help Desk curriculum is accessible in more than 50 countries worldwide. Cal started his career as a both a classroom teacher (grades 5-12) and as a middle-grades dean.
Michael Preston has developed, implemented, and studied learning technologies for more than a decade. Michael is the Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. He co-founded and led CSforAll, the hub for the national Computer Science for All, which emerged from his work founding CSNYC to provide high-quality computer science to every student in the nation’s largest public school system movement. Michael previously worked for four years at the NYC Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Readiness, overseeing technology projects that promote innovative school practices and student-centered learning. Prior to the NYCDOE, he worked at the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), an instructional technology research and development organization within Columbia University, where he led teams that created multimedia analysis tools. He has taught courses in psychology and education at Teachers College and developed technology programs at New Visions for Public Schools. Michael received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.
Jeanne Rotunda is a seasoned, savvy school leader with deep expertise in creating collaborative learning environments and cultivating leadership skills in teachers and students. She currently consults for CityPathways, School in the Square Charter Middle School, and the NYCDOE’s Learning Partners Program and PROSE initiative. From 1995-2014, Jeanne Rotunda led West Side Collaborative (WSC), a primary goal of which has been to help students learn to make meaningful choices and value personal/academic growth through exploration and reflection. By creating highly individualized instructional opportunities for each child and the conditions for students to develop their “voices” and be empowered for the next steps in their lives, WSC was recognized as an Ambassador School for the NYC iZone. Under Jeanne’s leadership, WSC received the Elizabeth Rohatyn Leadership Award for School Innovation in 2011 and a 2013 Blackboard Award for school excellence. Jeanne has been an Inquiry Partnership Program Team Member supporting the development of middle school lab sites across the city and facilitating inter-visitations; a Facilitator for Office of New Schools workshops; and a Mentor for Leadership Academy Aspiring Principals and administrative interns from colleges and universities. She received her M.S. in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College of Education Principal’s Institute.