Ryan Mahoney is GCA's Governing Board Founding Chair. Ryan is the Southeast Regional Advocacy Director at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and previously Vice President for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
Eric Cochling is Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), an independent, non-partisan, and solutions-focused nonprofit, whose mission it is to create opportunities for a quality education, fulfilling work, and a healthy family life for all Georgians. Prior to joining GCO, he was in private practice for eight years with a focus on business formation, real estate, contract negotiations, estate planning, and civil disputes.
Eric is a licensed attorney in the State of Georgia and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia and his juris doctorate and master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University. Eric has served on a number of boards and is currently on the founding board of The Other Side Academy – Atlanta. He and his wife have three children and serve as children ministry coaches at their church.
Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff is the Head of Voices for Georgia’s Children, a leading child policy and advocacy organization. Erica draws upon her more than ten years of experience as a licensed psychologist, researcher, and innovative school administrator to facilitate policy change that improves access to quality services for children and families.
Charlie Harper is the Executive Director of PolicyBEST, a public policy organization that advocates for issues in the fields of Business & Economic Development, Education, Science & Medicine, and Transportation. In addition, Charlie is Publisher of GeorgiaPol.com and is a syndicated columnist writing about Georgia politics. Charlie holds a BBA in Economics from the University of Georgia and an MA in Economics from Georgia State University.
Ben Brumfield is the Institute Senior Science Writer and Media Representative at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to that, Ben was a prize-winning journalist at CNN for 14 years. Ben also worked for many years in Germany for German television networks including a long stint as a TV science journalist and documentarian.
Kenneth Tennyson is a Financial & Treasury Advisor specializing in treasury and financial risk management consulting. Kenneth has over 15 years leading and directing different organizational initiatives to improve global cash and liquidity, operations, and risk management at PwC, SunTrust, Robinson Humphrey, and United Parcel Services. Kenneth holds the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) credential from the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) and has a M.S. degree in Finance from Webster University George H. Walker School of Business & Technology.
Andrew, an education and political consultant, worked for the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) for over 12 years, the last six as Executive Vice President over advocacy and policy. Andrew has been instrumental in the passage of many charter school related legislation, including the 2009 “Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act,” allowing for a statewide alternative authorizer of charter schools. After that legislation was declared unconstitutional in 2011 by the Georgia Supreme Court, Andrew played a pivotal role in reestablishing this statewide alternative authorizer of charter schools by passage of a constitutional amendment. The Charter amendment ballot initiative was approved by Georgia voters in November 2012 and was the first statewide, charter school specific referendum to be passed in the nation. After nearly a decade in the sports entertainment industry, Andrew pursued a career in education, first as a classroom teacher, then with GCSA. Andrew left GCSA in the fall of 2017.
Juli is currently the Assistant Professor of Education Leadership at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. She is an accomplished author and speaker on educational leadership. She previously was the Certification Program Director for the Georgia Charter Schools Association for four years and is a former High School and Middle School Science and Technology teacher serving in Georgia, Texas and Ohio. Juli received her doctorate and education specialist degrees from Georgia Southern University, her Master of Education degree from Ohio University and her B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Mike Kooi is GCA's Governing Board Executive Director. Mike began his career as a commercial litigation attorney before moving on to work as an attorney for the Florida Department of Education defending many of the education reform initiatives for then-Governor Jeb Bush. Mike later served as Policy Chief for Education in the Florida House of Representatives under then- House Speaker Marco Rubio, and as Executive Director of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, and as Executive Director of the Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice at the Florida Department of Education. In 2013, Mike came to Atlanta and served as Education Division Director for Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Office of Planning and Budget. Most recently, Mike was Managing Director of Capital Education Solutions, LLC.