BRIGHT Announces Leadership Succession

COLUMBUS, May 25, 2018— BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools announced that Dr. Thomas Maridada, the President and CEO of BRIGHT, will be leaving the organization in August to pursue post-doctoral studies at Harvard University. Maridada will attend Harvard Divinity School and has been awarded the Dean’s Fellowship -- one of the highest honors bestowed upon students at the university.

BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools is a 501c3 public-private partnership authorized by the Ohio General Assembly in 2013. BRIGHT is one of several non-profit organizations incubated by the Ohio Business Roundtable, similar to Battelle for Kids, and was created to impact educational outcomes in K-12 education.  BRIGHT trains aspiring leaders to lead transformation in high-poverty schools.

Maridada, who transitions out of his role in August, will be succeeded by Idin Pirasteh, who will serve as the Interim President and CEO. Pirasteh, who currently serves as BRIGHT’s Chief Operating Officer, has served in various leadership roles within the organization since 2014, including Director of Operations.  Maridada, who will remain closely involved with BRIGHT in a senior advisor role, has been helping the program prepare for his departure and this transition since July of 2017.

Maridada said, “One of the great privileges of my life has been working with the BRIGHT Fellows. The Fellows offer great hope and promise for the future of K-12 education. Equally important, I have great confidence in Idin Pirasteh’s ability to provide continuity and build upon the incredible work that we have forged together as a team. It has also certainly been a joy to work closely with Pat Tiberi, our BRIGHT Board of Directors Chairman, who has exhibited exceptional leadership since assuming the role earlier this year. As BRIGHT evolves, I strongly believe that it will continue to have a major impact in the field of education.”

Said Tiberi, President and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable and Chairman of the BRIGHT Board, “Through his leadership to the BRIGHT Program and his tireless devotion to helping at-risk students, Dr. Maridada has helped improve the lives of countless children in the state of Ohio. On behalf of the BRIGHT Board and grateful families across the state, we thank Tom for his outstanding service and for a job well done.”

Maridada joined the organization as President and CEO of BRIGHT in 2015. Prior to his role at BRIGHT, Maridada served as the National Director of Education Policy and Practice at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) in Washington, D.C. where he leveraged 12 million dollars, through federal discretionary funding, to increase the programmatic impact of the CDF Freedom Schools initiative. Before his role in educational policy, Maridada was appointed as a turnaround superintendent to two Michigan school districts and was later named “Michigan Superintendent of the Year” for leading reform efforts which significantly raised student achievement, closed achievement gaps, increased the number college-bound students and dramatically improved graduation rates. Maridada’s work was highlighted in the Education Trusts’ 2011 report entitled “Becoming a Leader in Education: An Agenda for Michigan” which reported that the K-8 students in Maridada’s district, despite living below poverty, consistently outperformed students in numerous districts with much higher socio-economic status.

Since 2015, under Maridada’s leadership, 60 BRIGHT Fellows have been licensed as school leaders by the Ohio Department of Education. Maridada has been instrumental in developing key programmatic components to the program which resulted from his collaboration with The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, the OSU College of Education and Human Ecology, Battelle for Kids, the Education Service Center of Central Ohio, New Leaders for New Schools, the New Teacher Project and partnerships with more than 80 education leaders throughout the state of Ohio.