Meet the People Behind FuelEd

FuelEd’s team has expertise in business, psychology, social-emotional learning, and education.

[The Executive Team]


Megan Marcus, Chief Executive Officer & Founder:

Ms. Marcus holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and Masters degrees in Psychology from Pepperdine University and Education, Policy, & Management from Harvard University . Over the past several years, Ms. Marcus has conducted research on the social-emotional competencies of teachers at Boston Teacher Residency and also served as the lead researcher for The Social Neuroscience of Education. This book, by Dr. Louis Cozolino, explores how strong teacher-student relationships trigger neural plasticity and serves as the research foundation of the FuelEd program.


Doug Valentine, Director of Operations: doug valentine

Mr. Valentine holds a B.A. in French, German and Pre-Architecture from Case Western Reserve University (2004), and has recently completed his Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.  His professional background includes teaching English as a foreign language to adults and children in Europe as well as school management and teacher development.



Sandra DeSobe, Clinical Director: Sandra_DeSobe_3

Sandra DeSobe is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Texas. She has more than 25 years of experience providing therapy to children, adults and families; and providing supervision to LPC Interns and LMFT Associates. In addition to her clinical work, Ms. DeSobe has taught graduate and undergraduate students, professional development courses, and seminars on child and family development and a variety of mental health topics. Appointed by the governor, she served on the Texas State Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists for 10 years, two of those years as presiding officer.


Brittany no backgroundBrittany L. Gibson, Houston City Lead:

Brittany L. Gibson joins FuelEd as the Houston City Lead.  She holds a Master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington as well as a dual Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology with a focus on Child Development and Education from the University of Texas in Austin.  Before coming to FuelEd, Brittany worked in the non-profit and public sector as an educator, undergraduate adviser, community organizer, and policy analyst.  As a Teach for America corps member, she taught first and third grade in Denver Public Schools, connecting with parents, colleagues, and members of the surrounding community to improve the lives of students, as well as researching and designing a school culture and behavior plan.   In Seattle, Brittany worked in higher education as a mentor and instructor to undergraduate students in both developmental psychology and education.  She spent the last three years working in the education policy and advocacy field, empowering parents and teachers to make changes to local and statewide policies, specifically in teacher preparation, charter schools, and early childhood education.  She is excited about opportunity to improve student outcomes by investing in educators and ensuring that all children have the supportive, caring, and validating teachers they need to thrive.

[The Program Team]

FuelEd’s research-based curriculum combines developmental psychology, counseling psychology, and social neuroscience to develop teachers’ and administrators’ abilities to leverage relationships to drive learning.  FuelEd’s program utilizes Instructional Workshops, supplemented by Small Groups and One-on-One sessions, delivered over the course of a semester or year. All three components are designed to promote learning and growth through relationships. Our program team of facilitators, clinical supervisors, and therapist interns ensure that as FuelEd teaches the importance of relationships, we provide participants with the experience of being in relationships that are constructed to promote social and emotional development.

Jyotsna Kottoor, FuelEd Counselor:  Ms. Kottoor is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern. She holds a in Psychology from Northwestern University and a M.A. in Clinical Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Ms. Kottoor has worked with women and children exposed to domestic violence and homelessness. She believes that personal well-being is essential to developing healthy and satisfying relationships, which act as an impetus for growth and the desire to engage in the world around us.

Cindy Bandemer, FuelEd Counselor:  Ms. Bandemer has a Masters degree in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.  Ms. Bandemer’s past clinical work has been with women rebuilding their lives after homelessness and/or incarceration.  Her clinical interests include trauma, mind-body medicine and health, work-life balance, stress management, effective parenting and non-violent communication.  She draws on person-centered, psychodynamic, ecological and existential theories in her work and believes healthy relationships lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life.  In the past she has led the development, implementation and evaluation of disease prevention, health promotion, and science education programs in medical schools, professional organizations, and a hands-on science center.

Andrea Holman, FuelEd Counselor:  Ms. Holman is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Tennessee. She holds a B.S. in Counseling Psychology from Toccoa Falls College and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College. Ms. Holman has over 5 years experience providing mental health services to children and adolescents in an academic setting. She utilizes person centered, psychodynamic, and attachment based theories in her practice. Ms. Holman is excited to work with FuelEd, promoting healthier relationships, that will bring about lasting social and emotional health amongst FuelEd participants and beyond.

[Board of Directors]

Megan Marcus, President:  
Ms. Marcus holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and Masters degrees in Psychology from Pepperdine University and Education, Policy, & Management from Harvard University . Over the past several years, Ms. Marcus has conducted research on the social-emotional competencies of teachers at Boston Teacher Residency and also served as the lead researcher for The Social Neuroscience of Education. This book, by Dr. Louis Cozolino, explores how strong teacher-student relationships trigger neural plasticity and serves as the research foundation of the FuelEd program.

Dr. Pravin Chaturvedi:  Dr. Chaturvedi is currently Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IndUS Pharmaceuticals and the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Napo Pharmaceuticals. Chaturvedi founded the Boston-based IndUS Pharmaceuticals in 2005 which was acquired by Napo Pharmaceuticals in 2007 and in 2010, Dr. Chaturvedi successfully spun IndUS out. Dr. Chaturvedi has served on the Boards of Scion Pharmaceuticals, IndUS Pharmaceuticals, Sindu Pharmaceuticals and  Sindu Research Laboratories, as TiE Boston, a non-profit promoting entrepreneurship.

Lisa Kennedy:  Ms. Kennedy is Principal of The Kennedy Collaborative, a strategic consulting initiative focused primarily on the nonprofit sector, providing expertise in board development, fundraising, strategic planning, prospect strategy, program assessment, leadership skills and resource development.   Ms. Kennedy started her career in sales, management and marketing in the contract furniture market.  She spent the past 25 years in fundraising, focused primarily on mental health at the Menninger Clinic Foundation and the Hackett Family Foundation; medicine for 15 years at Baylor College of Medicine, including 8 years as Chief Development Officer leading a $1 billion campaign; and higher education at Rice University and Southern Methodist University.

Dr. Anne McClellan:  Dr. McClellan is a teacher, leader, rainmaker, program designer and an innovative thinker with a very diverse education reform career. Anne currently serves as the Executive Director for Growth and Innovation and Clinical Faculty at the University of Houston, College of Education and her work focuses on developing and funding new initiatives, community engagement and informing educational policy. Prior to joining the college, Anne has served in several roles including the Director of Middle School Matters at the George W. Bush Institute, Vice President for Growth at YES Prep, a network of Houston-based public charter schools, program officer at the Communities Foundations of Texas-Texas High School Project,  founding principal of Challenge Early College High, the first early college high school in Texas,  and a Principal at Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School. Anne was also a co-founder of the Center for Reform of School Systems, which focused on the improvement of district and school board governance.  Anne holds degrees from Syracuse University, Buffalo State University and University of Houston.

Stephen Pike:  Mr. Pike currently serves as the General Counsel at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a quasi-public entity that supports the development of clean, renewable and alternative energy in Massachusetts.  Prior to joining MassCEC, Mr. Pike practiced corporate law in Boston for nearly 15 years, most recently as a partner at a mid-size Boston-based firm and prior to that as a partner at a large multinational firm.  During this time, he focused primarily on commercial transactions, venture capital and private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate law.  Mr. Pike has worked nationally and internationally and in various industry sectors, including media and telecommunications, software, medical devices, biotechnology, consumer and construction products, consulting services, energy, and clean technology. Mr. Pike graduated from Yale University with a BA in History and earned a JD from the Boston University School of Law where he was an editor of the Law Review.

[The Advisory Board]

Dr. Louis Cozolino:  Dr. Cozolino is a Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University with a clinical practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Cozolino’s recent research focuses on a synthesis of the biobehavioral sciences with psychotherapy and education. He is the author of several books including The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, The Social Neuroscience of Education, and The Making of a Therapist.

Allen Grossman:  Mr. Grossman is a Harvard Business School Professor of Management Practice. He joined the HBS faculty in 1998, with a concurrent appointment as a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.. Mr. Grossman has also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Outward Bound USA. His current research focuses on leading high-performing nonprofit organizations and the management of public school districts.

Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Ed.D:  Dr. Immordino-Yang is an affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist who studies the development of social emotion and self-awareness across cultures, connections to social resilience and morality, and implications for education. She is an Assistant Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. She earned her doctorate in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University in 2005 and completed her postdoctoral training in affective neuroscience with Antonio Damasio in 2008. She holds an NSF CAREER award and in 2011 was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science. She has received an honor coin from the U.S. ARMY and a commendation from the County of Los Angeles for her work on compassion education, and is the inaugural recipient of the IMBES Award for Transforming Education through Neuroscience. In 2014 she received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Early Career Award for Engaging the Public in Science and Engineering and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Early Career Award.

Scott Morgan:  Mr. Morgan is the Founder & CEO of Education Pioneers, an organization that exists to identify, train, connect, and inspire a new generation of leaders dedicated to transforming our education system so that all students receive a quality education. Mr. Morgan began his career teaching social studies and leadership at St. Jude High School in Montgomery, Alabama. He later served as the legal counsel for Aspire Public Schools, where he worked with the management team and school leaders to start and operate a network of small charter schools throughout California. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in government from the University of Notre Dame, received his Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland, and earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. Mr. Morgan is a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, a board member of Beyond 12, Inc., and a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Class of 2010.

Gary Orren:  Mr. Orren is a Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he teaches and writes on public opinion, politics, and persuasion. Mr. Orren has worked in the United States and abroad as a pollster and strategist for candidates, interest groups, government agencies, corporations, and news organizations, including the New York Times and Washington Post.  He helped draft the rules for the presidential nomination process and assists ABC News in its election night forecasting. He also worked at the youth corps program City Year as a team leader and director of national policy and planning.

David Osher:  Mr. Osher is currently the Vice President of the American Institutes for Research where he is also a fellow co-directing the Human and Social Development Program.  His work focuses on collaboration; children’s services; failure and dropout prevention; social emotional learning; school climate; youth development; the social and emotional conditions for learning, teaching and healthy development; and culturally competent interventions for children and youth with mental health problems and disorders and their families.

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl:  Dr. Schonert-Reichl is an Applied Developmental Psychologist at the University of British Columbia (UBC). After beginning her career as a classroom teacher, Dr. Schonert-Reichl has conducted research in the area of social and emotional learning  for over twenty years. She is responsible for developing a Social-Emotional Learning and Development Concentration within UBC’s Education Department and is currently involved with the following research project: Social and emotional learning and pre-service teacher education: A scan of SEL content in programs across North America.

Dr. Daniel Siegel:  Dr. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and postgraduate medical education at UCLA where he studied how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory and narrative. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the Executive Director of the Mightsight Institute. Dr. Siegel is also the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are. This book introduces the field of interpersonal neurobiology, which studies the way the brain grows and is influenced by relationships.

Dr. Ivor Weiner:   Dr. Weiner is a professor of Special Education at California State University Northridge where he coordinates the Autism program and directs the Family Focus Resource Center. Prior to entering teacher education, Dr. Weiner served nine years with Dallas Public Schools as a teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders and behavior specialist for students with emotional and behavior disorders and autism. Dr. Weiner is passionate about infusing social neuroscience research in teacher preparation training.