The Waterford.org Board of Trustees harnesses their decades of experience and an understanding of the early learning landscape to impact Waterford’s mission and programs.
All board members are committed to ensuring every child’s access to equitable, high-quality early learning programs. Drawing from their unique expertise, they serve as thought leaders in the field and have considerable experience partnering with underserved communities.
As partners in our mission, the Board of Directors advises the Waterford Executive Leadership Team in scaling our programs to a national level– extending the reach of excellence and equity in education.
Ernest Blackwell is the founder and chief executive officer of Equity and Beyond, which strives to build a community of leaders who can lead collective equitable efforts in their organizations. He also serves as a Global Inclusion, Diversity & Equity business partner for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Ernest has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Duquesne University and earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Wilmington University and MBA from the University of Texas.
Stephanie J. Monroe is President of the Wrenwood Group, a boutique Washington, D.C. health and education consulting firm. She has contributed to many family and child development efforts, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the Head Start Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families, and No Child Left Behind.
Allison Gushée Molkenthin has advised a variety of tech-based companies on raising private equity, cross-border investments, and M&A. Allison has over 30 years of experience in investment banking and graduated from Brown University with AB’s in both Mechanical Engineering and in Comparative Literature, as well as an MBA from INSEAD in France. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate research in photovoltaic solar energy in Morocco.
Ann Christensen is president of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, where she directs overall development and oversees its growing research programs. She has also worked at Huntsman Gay Global Capital, Elan Pharmaceuticals, and Deloitte Consulting. Ann holds a master’s in business administration from the Harvard Business School.
As a leader in educational technology over the last two decades, Edward “Benjamin” Heuston continues the legacy started by his father Dusty. Benjamin is an active speaker in educational settings and is also a member of several boards and associations, including the SIIA Education Board, the Society for Scientific Study of Reading, and the International Gold Key Honour Society, as well as a mentor for Utah Entrepreneurship Challenge. Benjamin earned a PhD in psychology from Brigham Young University.
Jack Ryan is a Financial Advisor with Henderson Brothers Retirement, a privately owned, Pittsburgh-based consulting firm specializing in the design and function of corporate retirement plans and individual wealth management. Jack is active in the community, participating as a coach in his local Special Olympics and as a board member for Mainstay Life Services with the goal of ensuring that people with developmental disabilities lead fulfilling lives. Jack earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Duquesne University and an MBA/JD from the University of Pittsburgh.
James R. Holbrook is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Utah where he teaches negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Before joining the faculty in 2002, he practiced law for 28 years in the complex civil and federal white-collar criminal litigation. James earned a master’s from Indiana University and a JD from the University of Utah.
Matt Grimes (he/him) is a multiracial-millennial, functional poverty survivor, education evangelist, and DEI scholar-practitioner whose work centers on helping organizations develop a highly skilled, culturally proficient, & racially diverse workforce at all levels. A former classroom teacher and school systems leader, Matt’s personal calling is to work with purpose-driven organizations to help people and teams fulfill their missions to foster inclusive workplaces that center the employee experience. An advocate for racial justice and a convener of courageous conversations, Matt’s work and lived experiences center on inclusive leadership and cultivating psychologically safety and belonging for marginalized identities in the workplace.
Todd Cranney’s experience with successful political campaigns allows him to deliver intelligent, thoughtful strategic guidance. Before co-founding his Idaho firm Riverwood Strategies, Todd served as National Deputy Political Director of the Romney for President 2012 campaign. Todd has also served in a number of leadership positions, including as a political appointee at the Department of Agriculture under President George W. Bush. Through his experience, Todd has developed an extensive network of political contributors and leaders in all 50 states.
Wayne Ysaguirre is a new member of the Waterford board of directors and the Executive Director of The Care Institute. Previously, he was the President and CEO of Nurtury, and prior to that, Wayne was a preschool teacher and director of numerous programs. He has dedicated more than 30 years to the care and education of young children and their families.