Learn Fresh is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides a fresh take on academic exploration through Student Centered Design, sparking students’ curiosity in the educational value of the ordinary and extraordinary in their lives. We utilize culturally relevant topics to develop fundamental academic skills and show students that learning can be derived from the things that matter most to them. Through relationships with iconic individuals and brands that students revere, we bring these experiences to life in and out of the classroom.
Our mission is to make learning fun for everyone. We aim to improve student engagement and achievement through the creation and distribution of innovative, fun, and effective educational tools.
We explicitly strive to reach the students across the country who have historically performed at the lowest levels, and we recognize the enormous disparities that have perpetuated such trends - specifically for low-income students of color. These students are more likely to attend under-performing and under-resourced schools, they are disciplined at alarmingly high and non-representative rates, and negative narratives about their abilities are portrayed in the media with great frequency. We see brilliance and limitless possibility in every student, and we aim to provide resources and support to these students and their educators so that their brilliance may shine through, with the end result being a more just and equitable society.
We envision a world in which all students find learning so engaging that they want to do it all the time. Students are trained to seek out opportunities for learning in all aspects of their lives and recognize the relevant connections between their academic work and the world that they encounter outside of school. Through this awareness and these opportunities, students will be able to find a subject they are passionate about, commit themselves to their learning, and successfully pursue graduation from high school and a personally meaningful career path.
We believe that students' interests and needs should be at the core of every successful academic experience. We seek to define the themes, brands, and individuals that students find to be most personally meaningful in a variety of fields - athletics, arts, food, travel, and more. Instead of isolating or separating those topics from the traditional subjects that students are expected to master, we combine them, with the aim of creating deep and highly memorable educational experiences. We sit at the center of the partnership between educators and brands to facilitate a productive and meaningful relationship that provides maximum tangible, standards-based educational value for all students, while equipping teachers with the tools that they need to build strong connections to their students' lives.
Khalil is a young social entrepreneur with a passion for driving positive change in education. He graduated from Brown University, where he studied Education and Social Innovation, was a member of the Varsity Rugby Team, and was captain of the Club Hockey team. Khalil is an African American National Merit Scholar and a winner of MassChallenge—the world's largest startup competition. He is an Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow, and the youngest Echoing Green Fellow in the organization's history. Khalil has been honored by Ebony for "Manifesting Youth Leadership Now,” The Washington Post's The Root named Khalil one of the nation's 25 "Young Futurists" and he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list at 21. On Sundays Khalil can be found riding his vintage motorcycle or camping under the stars.
Nick is a passionate entrepreneur who devotes time to pursuits in the arts, education, and athletics. At Learn Fresh, he has worked with NBA teams, large urban school districts, and national and regional after-school program providers to develop the NBA Math Hoops community program model. Since its launch in Cleveland during the fall of 2013, the program has expanded to include initiatives with 15 NBA teams and over 62,000 students. He has also invented First & 10, a football and math game being piloted by the Denver Broncos and schools throughout Colorado.
Beyond Learn Fresh, Nick serves as the Staff and Educational Coordinator for the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps from Madison, WI, a consistent Drum Corps International Finalist ensemble. Nick also runs a visual design business servicing high school marching arts programs in California and Wisconsin.
Nick received a bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing Management from Syracuse University, and completed his master's degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he took an active role in growing the presence of education innovation on Harvard's campus. Outside of his work, Nick loves travel and Italian food, and excels at non-sports such as darts and foosball.
Colleen was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has been surrounded by athletics from a young age. Her family is all dedicated sports fans, and she grew up playing every one that came her way. By middle school, she settled on water polo, and this led her to being recruited to play at UC Berkeley. Berkeley is where she initially became interested in the link between sports and education, and she tied this into her studies and fieldwork with the Education Department.
Upon graduating from UC Berkeley in 2005, she has remained in the field of education. Her first position was with AmeriCorps VISTA at a middle school in Berkeley, CA where she served as the Academic Coordinator for the Youth Support Program. This began her career working with low-income communities in the Bay Area, where she has remained for the past 10 years. Her main focus and expertise has been to bring STEM curriculums to a network of schools in over 9 school districts, and to remain connected to curriculum trends on the national level.
Colleen now serves as the Director of Program Partnerships and Outreach at Learn Fresh Co., and remains dedicated to providing all students a fun, engaging way to learn. She strongly believes in the ability of every child to succeed.
Aside from her work life, Colleen can be found exploring everything in and around San Francisco. She is a big San Francisco Giants, Warriors and UC Berkeley sports fan. When she is not in the Bay Area, she is either in Kauai with her family or exploring hidden gems with her husband in Northern California.
A transplant to Colorado, Jeff grew up near Syracuse, NY. A lifelong Syracuse Orange fan, he attended and graduated from Syracuse University's Martin J. Whitman School of Management in 2012 with a dual major Bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises and Marketing Management.
While a student at Syracuse, Jeff worked with the Near Westside Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing one of the poorest neighborhoods in America, and Syracuse University's Emerging Enterprises Consulting, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create business plans, scale products and services, and support investing in local communities. These experiences, coupled with a love of reading and education, have helped shape Jeff's belief that education is one of the best tools available to create opportunity and equality for all.
Over the years, Jeff has worked as a ski instructor, concessions manager and software consultant, among other varied positions. Jeff currently brings knowledge learned at these past opportunities to Learn Fresh, where he is responsible for event logistics, incentive distribution, and the company's finances. Jeff is also frequently on the road conducting educator training sessions, hosting NBA Math Hoops tournaments and conducting special events across the United States.
Calvin Sibert is a “Game Changer.” His innate ability to impact change is evident in the way in which he approaches the classroom, his role as a father and his community involvement. He attended Western Michigan University and received his baccalaureate degree in education in 2002. Upon completing his degree, he initially had aspired to become a print and runway model. Nevertheless, he knew that he had been called by God to become a “role” model instead for students in the inner city of Detroit.
After his first year of teaching, Calvin created a behavior/financial literacy program called “The Money System.” This educational platform promoted character education, academic excellence and financial preparedness for young people. During his 20 years in the field of education, he has coached basketball, soccer, and cross country. In addition, he founded a ballroom dancing league called “The Smooth League” which introduced young people to the intricacies of ballroom dancing along with its etiquette and protocols.
Calvin possesses a passion for young people and education. He is the quintessential mentor, coach and encourager. His enthusiastic zeal for life and infectious optimism has and will continue to transform and revolutionize the lives of many. He is truly a man who practices what he preaches; and that’s how you change the game.
His interests include ballroom dancing, trying new restaurants, listening to motivational speakers, and spending time with family.
Sumner is a performing artist and writer with a passion for education, community development, and social justice. He’s dedicated to using the Arts and athletics as tools for empowering youth to explore and develop their identities within a community. Sumner first worked with the Learn Fresh team in the summer of 2013 to help develop Learn Fresh's mission, vision, and branding, and recently rejoined the Learn Fresh team as a part-time Development Associate.
After graduating from Brown University in 2014 with a degree in International Relations, Sumner worked for a year as a Teaching Artist with Providence CityArts for Youth, co-leading an after school arts integration program at Gilbert Stuart Middle School on the South Side of Providence. With CityArts, Sumner created hands-on projects that combined content from Rhode Island State Social Studies, Language Arts, and Science curriculums with aspects of music, theater, poetry, sculpture, painting, drawing, and a host of other artistic mediums. In July of 2015, Sumner moved to Brooklyn, NY to pursue music full time as a saxophonist with soul-pop group Lawrence. Lawrence released its debut LP, Breakfast, in March of 2016 after working with Grammy Award winning producer Eric Krasno (Lettuce/Soulive/Tedeschi Trucks Band), and is currently touring to support the release with headline shows and festival appearances around the country. In between shows, Sumner can be found in the back of the tour van writing grants for NBA Math Hoops.
Bill served as Sr. Vice President of Business Development for the National Basketball Association from 1991-1999. After leaving the NBA, Bill went on to become the Founder and co-CEO of Interactive Search Holdings, which was sold in 2004. Presently, Bill is the Board Chair for Learn Fresh, as well as the Executive Chair of ANC which designs, installs and operates the signage and scoreboards systems for 80+ professional and college teams across the country. Bill chairs the Center for Entrepreneurship at The Met Center, which is a Big Picture Learning school. Bill is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the Harvard Business School. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and three children.
Carlin has a passion for developing and supporting youth in diverse, under-resourced communities. She is an inspirational, mission-driven leader with a unique background given her varied experience as a philanthropist, nonprofit executive, social worker, and educator. Currently, Carlin works as a program officer for the David & Lucile Packard Foundation where she is responsible for grantmaking, coordinating special projects, compiling research, and supporting communication connected to the Office of the President. Prior to that, she was Managing Director of Innovate Foundation and a consultant and advisor to major Silicon Valley corporations on their education philanthropy and initiatives. Carlin began her career with Teach For America, first as a corps member teaching in Compton, CA, and then as a national staff member in Chicago and New York City. She has lived and worked in the Bay Area since 1999. In her spare time, Carlin can be found at the boxing gym, cheering on her favorite sports teams, or enjoying local activities and adventures with her family. Carlin holds degrees from Northwestern University and The University of Michigan School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California.
Micah Gilmer is an expert in applied research, social innovation and the non-profit sector. He received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 2009. He serves as Senior Partner with Frontline Solutions, a social change organization that provides consulting services primarily to government, philanthropic and non-profit organizations. His current projects include work for Open Society Foundations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Gilmer’s recent publications include “Momentum: Sustaining Efforts to Improve the Life Outcomes Among African-American Males” (Ford Foundation), “Family Matters” (ABFE), “Why We Can’t Wait: A Case for Philanthropic Action” (Ford Foundation) and “Rebel Song: Soweto’s Black Sunday Movement” (Transforming Anthropology). Gilmer is a former Morehead Scholar, and earned his undergraduate degree in African American and Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Deborah Stroman is the director of the Center of Sport Business and a clinical associate professor at the University of North Carolina. With a focus on sport business and entrepreneurship, her teaching and research interests include leadership, marketing and social issues in sport. Working with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School MBA students and high-performing undergraduate students, she directs a number of key projects to promote the examination of the sport industry and its impact on society. Signature events include the nationally-recognized Basketball Analytics Summit and engaging research impact symposiums held each spring and fall terms in Chapel Hill. Stroman also collaborates closely with UNC’s robust entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem of administrators, alumni, faculty and students. In this capacity she teaches the university’s Sport Entrepreneurship course, promotes new sport, fitness, and wellness start-ups, and engages with the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) community in business development and consulting. Dr. Stroman has more than three decades of business, entrepreneurship and athletic industry experience. She previously owned a sport marketing and event planning company and had a 17-year career in financial services.
Jose Gordon serves as Chief of Staff for Global Communications at eBay. He is the former Executive Director of the Warriors Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Golden State Warriors, where he led fundraising and charitable investments, including grantmaking, basketball court refurbishments, and ticket donations. Jose also serves on advisory committees for the Jefferson Awards Foundation, Good Tidings Foundation, Oakland Public Education Fund, and BensFriends.org. Previously, he was Senior Director of Development Communications for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in Palo Alto. Jose graduated from Stanford University with degrees in Economics and American Studies.
A Brooklyn native, Latesha Williams is an accomplished sports & entertainment executive who served with global icon and international superstar LeBron James' marketing company, LRMR Management LLC. As the head of digital business development, Ms. Williams worked with leading technology & sports companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Fenway Sports Group, and the NBA to ensure the profitability and viability of the LeBron James brand throughout the world. Ms. Williams is well networked and respected through her years of experience honed at MTV, Nickelodeon, and Rocawear. Known for her hard work ethic and fierce loyalty, she is highly committed to serving her community and raising awareness about the importance of education among inner city youth. Ms. Williams works regularly with the Admiral Center, a Living Cities initiative that helps athletes and celebrities use their resources to develop sustainable solutions to our nation's most pressing social problems. She has been featured on MTV's Get Schooled television program, a collaborative effort with Viacom and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to highlight the impact of higher education; and recognized by The Ohio Governor's Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach as a distinguished female leader. Ms. Williams is a 2006 graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York.
NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced basketball board game and mobile app that allows students to learn fundamental math skills through direct engagement with the real statistics of their favorite NBA and WNBA players. The NBA Math Hoops curriculum is tied to Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Learning Skills, and it has been shown to improve students’ basic math skills and understanding of statistics, in addition to their interpersonal skills, driving them to collaborate more effectively with their peers.
Learn Fresh distributes the NBA Math Hoops game and curriculum in association with NBA Cares, and developed the product in partnership with Hasbro and Big Picture Learning. Working with individual NBA teams and neighboring education partners in cities around the United States, Learn Fresh is developing community-driven City Chapter Initiatives that provide NBA Math Hoops to students and educators at no cost.
NBA Math Hoops has reached 87,122 students who have collectively done 58,516,909 math problems.
The Broncos First and 10 experience is centered on a board game and 12-week curriculum, which is built to engage 5-8th grade students through the game of football and the statistics of the Denver Broncos’ legendary Super Bowl Championship teams. Participating students sign sportsmanship contracts, draft a team, compete in “football” games on the game board, and challenge their peers for the championship title, all while developing fundamental math skills.
As a member of the Broncos First and 10 community, educators enjoy an annual in-person training experience, unlimited games and classroom materials, and special student incentives from the Denver Broncos and Learn Fresh. The top participating students from each site are also invited to attend an annual Broncos First and 10 Championship, hosted at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. For the very best students and educators, there is also an opportunity to earn an expenses-paid trip to the annual Learn Fresh National Championship weekend!