Chief Executive Officer
Brian Neal is the chief executive officer for Accelerate Great Schools, a multi million-dollar fund to increase access to high-quality schools for under-served students across Cincinnati. Prior to this role, Brian worked as a program officer for the Farmer Family Foundation, 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 in 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.
Chief of Staff and Operations
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 has served on the board of a non-profit that helps teachers and organizations initiate and run programs to enrich student development and growth.
Paige 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. She and her husband have two children.
Vice President of Programs and Impact
Deb Howard is vice president of programs and impact for Accelerate Great Schools. She brings to the role nearly 40 years of experience across the education, nonprofit and corporate sectors. Through her various roles, Deb has touched the lives of thousands of students, educators and leaders in more than 60 school K-12 systems and some 30 institutions of higher education.
Deb held leadership roles with nationally-recognized KnowledgeWorks Foundation, the Cleveland Education Fund and the North East Independent School District in San Antonio. Deb holds a BA in English and Communication Arts and a MA in Educational Leadership from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She is married to Ron Howard, a professor of nursing at The Christ College. They have two adult children and five amazingly talented grandchildren.
Manager of Operations
Ryan Caldwell obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Georgia Southern. She later went on to take numerous specialty classes in Early Childhood Education. As a former founding Resource Coordinator for Cincinnati Public Schools, Ryan knows first-hand the importance of partnership and community involvement in education.
Ryan is the Operations Manager for Accelerate Great Schools. She is responsible for creating a positive work culture and overseeing the health of the organization. Ryan lives by the Benjamin Franklin quote “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends”. In 2012, Ryan opened what became the first minority owned Five-Star Rated child care center in Ohio. Ryan is committed to supporting the needs of children throughout the city and is eager to supporting Accelerate Great Schools’ mission.
Vice President of Partner Advancement
John P. Scott is vice president of partner advancement for Accelerate Great Schools. He has over 15 years of non-profit experience where he has made an impact in the areas of community engagement/building, partner development, faith-based engagement, human service funding, community health, and diversity/inclusion.
John is a member of several community boards including the Urban League Community Advisory Board, Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, and a founding member of the Covington Independent Public Schools Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. He is a native Cincinnatian and currently resides in Covington, KY, with his beautiful wife Sophia, who also works in the non-profit arena. Together they have three children.
Accelerate Great Schools & Public Allies Partnership
Accelerate Great Schools is partnering with Public Allies to support young leaders and AGS parent engagement efforts in Cincinnati. 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. Public Allies working with AGS include Devoe Sherman and Melan White.
Devoe Sherman is a native Cincinnatian and has worked in a variety of roles and industries, including as a small business consultant, blogger, and community organizer. Devoe believes deeply in elevating success and making a positive impact in the community.His previous community-organizing projects have centered on creating and maintaining welcoming and respectful climates for diversity.
Melan White is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of Walnut Hills High School. She studied Graphic Design and Mathematics for a year at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. She then transferred to the University of Washington D.C. where she studied Civil Engineering. She is taking a gap year to participate in a Public Ally term and plans to return full-time to a University upon the completion of her AmeriCorps term. Outside of work, Melan likes to play lacrosse, read and write poetry and prose, and spend time with her family.
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