Chief Executive Officer of Accelerate Great Schools
Brian Neal is the chief executive officer for Accelerate Great Schools, a multi-million dollar fund to increase access to high-quality schools for underserved students across Cincinnati. Prior to this role Brian worked as a program officer for the Farmer Family Foundation (FFF), a private foundation that invests in causes that promote educational opportunities for underprivileged youth, stability for the economically disadvantaged, and healthcare research.
Brian has worked across all sectors to support students and families across Ohio. Most notable is Brian’s work as the Ohio Director for the SEED Foundation’s Ohio expansion effort, a $60M campaign to launch Ohio’s first public, college-preparatory boarding for underserved children. Brian also led the statewide Ohio Parent Information and Resource Center for United Way of Greater Cincinnati and he was a founding resource coordinator during Cincinnati Public Schools’ district-wide Community Learning Centers’ launch. Brian’s efforts have led to statewide policy changes, Ohio-specific public-private partnerships, and strong local and statewide community collaborations.
Brian received his bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from the University of Cincinnati. Brian is happily married with four children – three daughters and one nephew.
Paige Elisha Lindy
Chief Program Officer of Accelerate Great Schools
Paige Elisha Lindy has worked in various leadership roles to increase educational outcomes for students. She led instruction as a classroom teacher (9th grade English), has run operations for a national training institute for new teachers, and currently sits on the board of a non-profit that helps teachers and organizations initiate and run programs to enrich student development and growth.
Elisha Lindy also holds an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke and brings experience building data-driven strategy development and multi-partner project execution, which she honed while working for five years at American Express.
Cinnamon D. Pelly
Chief Marketing & Community Engagement Officer of Accelerate Great Schools
Cinnamon Pelly’s passion for equity and supporting the success of families has been a theme throughout her career. Most recently Pelly led the $29.5-million-dollar White House Choice Neighborhood Initiative focused on families in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, representing an interagency partnership between HUD and the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Justice and Treasury to support locally driven solutions for transforming distressed neighborhoods.
Prior to that, Ms. Pelly was Vice President of Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase Foundation investing the annual $5.2 million charitable giving portfolio in Ohio, West Virginia and Northern Kentucky not for profit partners. She is most proud of the investments she made that continue to make an impact and leave a positive legacy in the community. She funded the 2007 pilot of the JPMorgan Chase Urban Teaching Academy at Miami University, now the Urban Teaching Cohort, was an early board member of Strive and a founding board member and initial funder of Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation, all of which continue to help the community.
Pelly holds degrees from The Ohio State University and Franklin University and enjoys serving the community through volunteer service with Philanthropy Ohio, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, Junior League, and The Links, Incorporated.
Tanisha Chapman is Accelerate Great Schools’ Public Ally for the 2016 - 2017 and 2017-2018 years. Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads. Their mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Public Allies’ focus is a program that links diverse young Americans who want to make a difference with not-for-profit organizations in their communities who need them. In the process, young leaders are shown how to turn their passion for making a difference into a viable career path, developing leadership qualities, job skills, and work experience.
Tanisha started at Accelerate Great Schools on September 21, 2016. Ms. Chapman studied Early Childhood Education at Cincinnati State. Her passions are choreographing liturgical dance and completing D.I.Y (Do It Yourself) projects at home. Tanisha hopes to learn more about networking, building strong collaborations, hone her public speaking skills and gain valuable on the job training and important work experiences in education and philanthropy. Ms. Chapman is married and has 2 children. She enjoys horseback riding, soccer games and spending time with her family. Ms. Chapman and her family live on Cincinnati’s West Side.
School Start Up Consultant
Deborah Howard joined Accelerate as a School Start-Up Consultant in May 2017. Most recently, Deb worked at KnowledgeWorks with Early College Schools in Ohio and across the country.
Manager of Operations
Ryan Caldwell joined as Accelerate's new manager of operations on June 1. Previously, Ryan worked as a founding resource coordinator with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and currently operates one of the only African American-owned 5-star child care centers in Ohio.
Abdine Lewis joined Accelerate on June 6 as an Accelerate Great Schools' Lee Fellow. Abdine, who is originally from Avondale, is researching and identifing best practices to attract and retain more talented, diverse people of color to education. Abdine is a Withrow University High School graduate who returned to his alma matter in 2016-2017 to teach science to 9th and 10th graders.
Accelerate Great Schools Board of Directors
President, Joseph Auto Group
Trustee, The James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Foundation
Gary D. Mercer
General Manager, Engineering Division & Vice President, GE Aviation Systems
Partner and President,
North American Properties
Dorothy Battle, Ph.D.
Atkins & Pearce, Inc.
Mary Beth Martin
Farmer Family Foundation