Our Team

ESD’s supporting coalition (as represented by its Board of Directors) includes diverse organizations affecting change in Detroit and regionally. We are Detroiters by birth and new Detroiters. We live in the city. We live in the metropolitan area. We are allies and we believe in the power of people coming together for our children.

Board of Directors

Tonya Allen, The Skillman Foundation

Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber

Ralph Bland, New Paradigm for Education

Sharlonda Buckman, Detroit Parent Network

Veronica Conforme, Education Achievement Authority

Clark Durant, The New Common School Foundation

Lou Glazer, Michigan Future, Inc.

Dr. Herman Gray, United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Roquesha O'Neal, Parent, Osborn Neighborhood Alliance Education Committee 

Mark Ornstein, Detroit 90/90

Sherita Smith, Parent, Urban Research Center

Shirley Stancato, New Detroit, Inc.

Doug Bitonti Stewart, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation


Leadership Team

Linda Forte, CEO

Denise Smith, vice president for early learning  
Email Denise \ LinkedIn

For bios, photos, speaking requests, or media inquiries, contact Maria Montoya at 313-285-9156.


Eric Anderson, information systems and technology

Bernita Bradley, community engagement/outreach manager

Walter Cook, data and research manager 

Kinyatta Cooper, receptionist

Ashley Johnson, director of collective impact

Maria Montoya, director of communications and partnerships

Shawness Woods-Zende, E3 master coach