Founder, Chairman, CEO—Future Is Now Schools
Founder—Green Dot Public Schools
Steve Barr founded Green Dot Public Schools in 1999 with the vision of transforming secondary education in California by creating a number of high-performing charter high schools using available public dollars. Under Steve's leadership, Green Dot became the leading change agent in the region, starting in fall 2000 by founding one of the first comprehensive public high schools in the Los Angeles area in thirty years. In 2008, Green Dot began to operate Locke High School in Watts, re-structuring it into eight small public schools.
In 2010, Steve formed Future Is Now Schools, built on the successful secondary Green Dot Public Schools model, union reform and systemic district change, to take the foundational principles, lessons learned and successes achieved on the local level of Southern California and expanded this base to other communities around the country. Future Is Now Schools has already begun discussions with community leaders in some of America’s largest cities, bringing together all education stakeholders, including parents, teacher unions and district education officials.
In 2012, Steve continued his collaborative work with a partnership with teacher leaders within United Teachers of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Unified School District to create teacher-designed hybrid learning pilot schools in Silverlake and West Los Angeles, and the scaling and oversight of Green Dot New York, a school founded by Randi Weingarten and Steve Barr.
Most recently, Steve became a founding member of the Coalition of Community Charter Schools a group of public charter schools and organizations in New York City that envision a positive and collaborative role for charter schooling as part of our public education system.
Prior to founding Green Dot, Steve held a number of leadership positions in political and social service organizations. In 1990, Steve co-founded Rock the Vote, the preeminent youth voter registration and engagement organization in America. The Rock the Vote campaigns and field efforts led the way in the first upward surge in 18-24 year old in voting since the passage of the 26th Amendment. Following Rock the Vote, Steve led the successful efforts to pass the Motor Voter Bill, which was signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton. Thirty million Americans have registered to vote via Motor Voter.
Steve hosted President Clinton's National Service Inaugural event, which led to the creation of Americorps. He then oversaw an Americorps after-school program project in South Central and East Los Angeles that focused on helping single mothers transition off of welfare.
Steve has been active in politics throughout his professional career, serving several presidential campaigns and as a finance chair for the Democratic Party. Additionally, Steve has helped drive political change through television, as a national correspondent on the nationally syndicated Disney-produced "The Crusaders", as a contributor to Discovery Channel's "Why Things Are?", and as a writer in national magazines such as George. Steve authored "The Flame: An Unlikely Patriot Finds a Country to Love" (Morrow, 1987).
Steve has attended and spoken at some of the most prestigious education and thought leadership conferences in the country, including TED Conference, PopTech, Excellence in Education Conference, League of Education Voters, and at premiere business schools and schools of educations including Harvard Business School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Stanford and Yale.
Steve received a Ford Foundation’s Visionaries Award and has been honored as Entrepreneur of the Year by Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. Steve’s most treasured honor was his induction into the Cupertino High School Hall of Fame.
Steve is married to Teresa Wierzbianska and is the proud father of Zofia and Jack, both of whom proudly attend public school.
Susan Estrich is a well-known litigator, legal and political analyst, author and law professor. Susan is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California, as well as a legal and political analyst for Fox News Channel. She was the first woman president of the Harvard Law Review and later the first woman to run a national Presidential campaign. She also was the youngest woman to be tenured at Harvard Law School.
Mr. Leib is a co-founder of Liquid Environmental Solutions, and is responsible for the company’s legal, environmental and regulatory affairs. He oversees the Environmental Policy Department, and is an expert on the regulation of non-hazardous wastewater. Prior to this, Mr. Leib served as the General Counsel of USPT from 1994 through 1998, then continued as Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Lockheed Martin IMS’ Photo Enforcement Group during the two-year transition period. In this capacity, he led these companies’ efforts on behalf of successful photo enforcement legislation in fifteen U.S. states and five Canadian provinces. Prior to joining USPT, Mr. Leib co-founded the Investment Management Group at Stone & Youngberg, California’s leading municipal debt underwriter. Before entering the private sector, Mr. Leib was a leading political fundraiser and had served on the legislative staff of two California State legislators and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. His education includes a J.D. from the Loyola University School of Law, an M.A. in Public Affairs Fellowship with the Coro Foundation, and a B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara (U.C.S.B.). Mr. Leib is an attorney admitted to practice in California. He currently serves as an elected member of the Solana Beach School Board. He previously served as the President of the Board of Governors of the California Community College System, as an appointee of the Governor.
Jeff Shell was named Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group in September of 2013. He is based in Los Angeles and reports to Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. In his role, Shell oversees worldwide operations for the motion picture group including its global theatrical and home entertainment businesses.
In his former position as Chairman, NBCUniversal International based in London, Shell was responsible for overseeing the operations of all NBCUniversal International businesses including International TV Distribution, Global Television Networks and International Television Production. He also oversaw, in partnership with their domestic leaders, CNBC International, International Theatrical Marketing and Distribution, International Home Entertainment and International Theme Park Operations. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations for the company outside the U.S., Shell was responsible for identifying and executing all international growth opportunities for both NBCUniversal and Comcast Corporation overall.
Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Shell served as President of Comcast Programming Group, where he managed Comcast’s interests and investments in its national and regional television networks. These networks included the Comcast Entertainment Group, comprised of E! Entertainment Network, Style Network, G4, the Golf Channel, PBS KIDS Sprout, VERSUS, TV One, International Channel networks and Comcast Sports Group, who operated eleven regional sports networks. Under Shell’s leadership, Comcast’s networks grew dramatically in distribution, viewership and profitability during his six year tenure.
Prior to joining Comcast, Shell was CEO of Gemstar TV Guide International, where he successfully navigated Gemstar through a number of legal and operational challenges. Before joining Gemstar, he held a number of positions within News Corporation including President of the FOX Cable Networks Group, where he oversaw the operations of FOX’s entertainment and sports cable programming businesses including FOX Sports Net, FX and the National Geographic Channel. Shell also worked in the Strategic Planning Group at the Walt Disney Company and at Salomon Brothers Inc.
Shell received his Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and his MBA from Harvard University. In August of 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed Shell as Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the independent federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media. He currently serves on the Board of several non-profit organizations, including the National Constitution Center, and is an active leader in a number of organizations that are working on public school reform.
A native Angeleno, Shell, his wife Laura, and their daughter Anna currently reside in Los Angeles and avidly support the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the California Golden Bears.