Our Team

Me and Tree!

Dara Barlin, Founder

Dara has over two decades of experience conducting research to inform policy and organizing action-driven campaigns for positive change.  Her research has been featured at the United Nations, U.S. Senate, Education Trust, Harvard Education Letter Spotlight Series, Education Week, The Guardian, London Times, Boston Globe, and other several other outlets. Her campaigns have been touted as outstanding models by senior advisors to President Obama, the United Nations, the Open Society Institute and the American Federation of Teachers. Her most recent study, What Matters Most in NYC Mentoring? was featured by NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña in in her monthly letter to all of NYC’s 1700+ principals. Her most recent campaign, A Big Project, helped to build trust and develop a common blueprint for positive change across 97 countries.

Dara has a Masters with honors in Public Policy from the London School of Economics, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Barnard College.


Kelly V. Ruggles

Kelly V. Ruggles, Consultant in Mathematical Models

As a Mathematical Modeler and Research Scientist, Kelly V. Ruggles uses methods of cost effectiveness and decision science to improve education reform efforts. She seeks to identify agents impeding student academic progress and improve success rates for students in low-income areas. The aim of her research is to optimize the quality and value of  education, through a strategic, policy-based, mathematical modeling approach.

Projects include work with NYC Department of Education and Columbia University Medical Center focusing on identification of strategies to improve new teacher mentoring, development of new assessment technologies, and creation of informatics tools for proteomic quantitation. Her overall goal is to use her background in engineering, molecular biology and computer science to better understand human behavior through data-mining, data visualization and decision science.

Kelly has a BS in Biological Engineering from Cornell university, PhD in Nutritional and Metabolic Biology from Columbia University and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioinformatics from NYU Medical Center.