Board of Directors
Bob Bernstein, Founder and Owner, Bongo Productions, LLC
Bob Bernstein is a former newspaper reporter and the founder of several Nashville restaurants. The Chicago native moved to Nashville in 1988 to cover small business and state government issues for the Nashville Business Journal and Memphis Business Journal. Two years later he became Associate Editor of the Tennessee Journal, and one year later he opened Bongo Java - now the city's oldest and most honored coffeehouse. He has since opened five other food establishments including the only Certified Organic coffee company (Bongo Java Roasting Co.) and the only Certified Kosher restaurant (Grins Vegetarian Cafe). Mr. Bernstein is the operating partner of Fido, Cafe East and Hot & Cold. He earned an M.S.J. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. from San Francisco State University.
Crystal Bradford, Account Manager for Dell Computers and Nashville Prep Mom
Crystal Bradford is an Account Manager for Dell Computers in Nashville. Crystal manages an Outsource Partner site that’s in El Salvador. In this role she ensures the outsource partner has all the tools they need to provide service for US Spanish and Outlet customers and meet the goals set by Dell. She acts as a liaison between Dell and El Salvador, to ensure both are parties needs are met. She is a native of Nashville, where she is a class of 89 graduate of Whites Creek High School. Crystal has been married for 15 years and has 3 kids: a 4 year old son, 13 year old daughter, and a 10 year old daughter who attends Nashville Prep. In her spare time she enjoys catering various parties and events.
Hal Cato, Founder and CEO, Zuemo
Hal, who has held leadership roles in the private and non-profit sector for more than 25 years, is a passionate youth advocate who spent the past decade leading Oasis Center in Nashville, TN. Under his leadership, the organization grew more than 500% and received numerous regional and national awards. Prior to joining Oasis Center, Hal spent 11 years helping build what is now known as Bright Horizons, where he served as Vice President of Client Services as well as the Founder and President of the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children. As a young man out of college, Hal founded Hands on Nashville. In 2009, Hal was named Nashvillian of the Year by the editors of the Nashville Scene for creating the Youth Opportunity Center.
Ron Corbin, Principal RBBC Holdings
Ron Corbin is the Principal of RBBC Holdings. Ron Corbin enjoyed a 35-year career as a leading executive for Allstate, America’s largest publicly traded auto and personal property insurer. In addition to his high-level of expertise in developing proven financial and management systems, Corbin leveraged his expertise for the betterment of a wide array of social and community issues. Corbin also served in the U.S. military, where he earned the rank of Sergeant E5 in the United States Army. He served a year in Vietnam and was honorably discharged in November 1967. Corbin is a Distinguished Alumnus of Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma, where he earned a BS Degree.
Vince Durnan, Director, University School of Nashville
Since 2000 Vince Durnan has been the Director of the University School of Nashville. Prior to USN, Mr. Durnan was the Academic Dean at Suffield Academy, where he also taught history and economics. Additionally Mr. Durnan has experience teaching and coaching at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kingswood-Oxford School, and Harvard-Westlake School while also serving as a Reader and Faculty Consultant for the Advanced Placement Economics Exam for seven years. In addition to our Nashville Prep board, Mr. Durnan also serves on the Board of Centerstone and the board for the Hermitage. He participated in Leadership Nashville in 2002-2003 and has served recently on the Board of the Red Cross, Oasis Center, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, and the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools. Mr. Durnan was a Tyng scholar at Williams College where he received his BA, holds a Master’s in Education from Harvard, and is currently writing his dissertation for an Ed. D. in Leadership Policy and Education from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.
Leah Granderson, Project Manager, Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc.
Leah Granderson is a Project Manager at Gobbell Hays Partners, Inc. an architectural, environmental and project management firm. In this capacity, Leah manages several new construction, renovation and environmental projects with locations throughout the United States. Leah is native of Atlanta, Georgia but now calls Nashville, Tennessee home where she graduated from Tennessee State University and received her B.S. in Architectural Engineering and Facilities Management.
Chris Sloan, Co-Chair - Emerging Companies Team, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Chris Sloan is a corporate and intellectual property lawyer specializing in (1) representing entrepreneurs, start-ups and other emerging businesses and (2) handling complex software and other IT transactions for both small and large companies. He has represented many early-stage, high-growth businesses in connection with business planning and formation, venture capital funding, drafting and negotiating vendor and customer agreements, strategic contract negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property protection, and other general business law and intellectual property law issues. He often serves as outside general counsel for these types of companies. Mr. Sloan received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Aneesh Sohoni, Chief of Staff (Teachers and Leaders), Tennessee Department of Education
Aneesh Sohoni is the Chief of Staff, Teachers and Leaders at the Tennessee Department of Education. In this role, he works closely with the Assistant Commissioner for Teachers and Leaders to oversee and plan the strategic vision of the division. The division’s work includes teacher and principal evaluation, licensure, talent development, strategic compensation, and leadership effectiveness strategy. Prior to joining the department, Mr. Sohoni started his work in education with Teach for America as a high school English teacher in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and is currently a Masters in Public Policy (Education Policy) candidate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
John Spragens, Attorney
Mr. Spragens is an attorney. He previously served as Communications Director for U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (TN), a 10-term Democratic congressman from Nashville. In the years before he joined Cooper’s office, Mr. Spragens was a reporter and columnist for The Nashville Scene. He graduated from Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School, has a B.A. from Kenyon College, and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University.
Wendy Thompson, Vice Chancellor for Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives for the Tennessee Board of Regents
As Vice Chancellor, Wendy Thompson provides leadership to teams working to increase the number of credentials awarded by the system. Her twenty five plus years in higher education began at the University of South Florida where she served as the principal legal officer in the area of labor, faculty relations, employment and civil rights. Prior to joining the Tennessee Board of Regents staff, Wendy served as University Counsel and Assistant to the President at Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, and her B.A. from Bethune-Cookman University.
Rev. Neely Williams, Program Director, Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship Peniel Initiative
Rev. Neely Williams has more than twenty years of experience as a community organizer. She is currently the Program Director at the Interdenominational Minister’s Fellowship Peniel Initiative, where she has provided administrative leadership to the development of myriad coalitions and non-profit agencies, including the IMANICoalition (a network of service-providers community residents with HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse issues), the PenielInitiative Collaborative (a network of crime victims’ service providers, faith leaders, and other community leaders) and the Nashville Community Coalition for Youth Safety. She provides pastoral support for two local congregations – the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church and the Old Ship of Zion Baptist Church. She serves as guest preacher/speaker to many other churches and organizations. Rev. Williams is a graduate of American Baptist College, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Chaplain Training at the Nashville Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Vanderbilt University School of Divinity. She completed a one-year intensive institute program in community-based program design, development, and implementation from South Carolina University School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Lindsay Wright, Managing Director, Teach For America
Lindsay Wright is the Managing Director for Programs, Teach For America – Nashville. In this role, she leads her team to select, train, and support a corps of over one hundred first and second year teachers working throughout Metro Nashville Public Schools and many of our local charter schools. The vision she has been driving toward with her team and teachers is one where all students, regardless of where they are born, have the opportunity to access a high quality education. As part of her work with TFA, Ms. Wright has directly trained and supported an annual cohort of approximately 30 teachers to achieve ambitious goals with their students. She started her education career with Teach For America as a fifth grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ms. Wright received her B.A. from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.