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.

ann mathieson - executive director

Ann Mathieson has a background in marketing, education and philanthropy. Along with being the founding Executive Director of the backbone team for the Marin Promise Partnership, she 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 the Kentfield School Board.  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 - Director of continuous improvement

Brian works as Marin Promise’s Continuous Improvement Director in leadership 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. 

Shelley Hamilton - College Enrollment Action Team Facilitator

Shelley is currently the Executive Director of MARINSPACE, a local non-profit that strengthens networks of community organizations by providing collaboration and shared workspace services. In addition to leading MARINSPACE, 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.

nadia lehrer - Operations manager

Nadia Lehrer has worked as an Executive Assistant and Facilities Manager in both the corporate and non-profit sectors for the last 15 years. Nadia has event management and administrative operations management experience. Nadia is passionate about equity in education. 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.