The Backbone Team serves as a catalyst to unify and convene the Partners to work together to achieve measurable results. The Backbone Team provides the collective impact framework and rigor. They consolidate knowledge by collecting and reporting the county-level disaggregated data and connecting the data from specific intervention strategies to identified milestones to encourage collective learning and continuous improvement. The backbone team is the “connective tissue” that holds the Partnership together and enables the educational equity eco-system to function more effectively and efficiently.

From Left to Right: Michael Looft, Nadia Lehrer, Brian Gadsden, Ann Mathieson and Juliet Schiller

ann mathieson - executive director

Ann Mathieson is the founding Executive Director of the Marin Promise Partnership. Ann is passionate about educational equity, innovation and community. She also serves on the Bay Area Board of Peer Health Exchange and is a Steering Council Member of New Schools Venture Fund. She was formerly a trustee and Board Chair of the Marin Community Foundation and was elected twice to the Kentfield School Board where she served as President. She was a co-founder and President of the Bay Area “I Have a Dream” Foundation, a college access program for underserved students. Ann worked for 15 years as a marketing executive, first at Hallmark Cards and then with Collagen Corporation. Ann has a BS from Indiana University and an MBA from Stanford University.

brian gadsden - Strategic Consultant

Brian works as Marin Promise’s Continuous Improvement Director. Brian has held positions in the non-profit and education field where he has focused on systems change, collective impact and organization capacity building. Brian is passionate about transformational leadership, innovation, and building strong supportive, healthy, communities. He is an active volunteer, Youth Speaks Board Member, and mentor to elementary, high school and college students. Brian received his undergraduate degree at The George Washington University, where he studied Political Science and Sociology. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.




Michael has over twenty years of leadership experience spanning the nonprofit, for- profit, and government sectors. He is passionate about leveraging his substantial background in data analysis, capacity building, and partnership development to create educational equity for everyone. Most recently, he spent five years at the crowdfunding nonprofit Kiva, expanding access to education for thousands of children and young adults around the world through increased access to financial aid. He has also spent time in the classroom, teaching computer literacy to adult immigrant populations, at a low-income community center, and to residents at a shelter for battered women. Michael holds an A.S. from De Anza Community College, a B.S. from San Francisco State University, and graduate degrees from both St. John's College and Harvard. 

Juliet Schiller - Director of Collaborative Action

Dr. Juliet Schiller is the newest Milestone Manager at Marin Promise. Prior to joining Marin Promise, Juliet was a professor of education. Juliet has a passion for equity issues and serving disenfranchised youth. Juliet has been in the field of education for sixteen years. Her research and scholarship focus on the effects and influence of diversity in American education - including the nature of prejudice, culturally relevant pedagogy, public policy, social justice, human rights, and educational opportunity. Juliet was the prior Board President for Canal Alliance and served as Vice-Chair of the Marin Human Rights Commission. She earned her undergrad degree in Colorado, M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction at Dominican University, and Ed.D. in International and Multicultural Education/Learning and Instruction at the University of San Francisco.  Juliet also wrote her dissertation with a focus on English Language Learners and Newcomer Youth. 


Shelley Hamilton - Director of collaborative action

Shelley works as Marin Promise's Director of Collaborative Action for the College Enrollment Action Team. Shelley has over 20 years of experience facilitating strategic and business planning sessions for many organizations, including the Marin Community Foundation, The Agricultural Institute of Marin, Whistelstop, the Marin Aging Action Initiative and the United Way.


Elizabeth Stoner - Manager of collaborative action

Elizabeth Stoner recently joined the Backbone Team as the Manager of Collaborative Action! She will facilitate the 9th Grade Math Team in Marin City and the College Readiness/Plan Team.  Elizabeth has been an active member of several Marin Promise Action Teams, including the College Enrollment and College Readiness Action Teams. 

nadia lehrer - Operations manager

Nadia Lehrer has over 15 years experience as an Executive Assistant and Facilities Manager in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Nadia is passionate about educational equity in Marin County. Nadia has an Associates of Science in Behavioral and Social Sciences from City College of San Francisco and is currently attending San Francisco State University part-time.