Board Members

The DC Public Charter School Board is governed by a seven-member Board, nominated by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the DC Council. The volunteer Board approves new schools, provides oversight to schools while in operation, and revokes a school's charter if they fail to meet their performance goals. 

Darren Woodruff Photo

Darren Woodruff, Ph.D |  Chair 

Darren Woodruff, Ph.D. is Chair of the Public Charter School Board.

Dr. Woodruff has long been involved in education research and policy.  Currently he is the senior director of education at the DeBruce Foundation Research Institute where he focuses on the role of schools and education in transforming underserved communities.  Prior to this, Dr. Woodruff worked as a principal research analyst at the American Institutes for Research where he focused on a wide range of educational topics including support for at-risk youth, special education and closing the achievement gap.  Before joining AIR, Dr. Woodruff was a faculty member at the Yale Child Student Center.  He also serves on the boards of other research institutions including the Walter and Theodora Daniel Education Research Fund at Howard University.

Dr. Woodruff has authored several research papers and book chapters on education including minority issues in special education and effective programs for at-risk students.  He has taught and counseled students at the elementary through college levels.

Dr. Woodruff received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University, his Masters from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Howard University’s School of Education where he focused on educational psychology.  He is married and has two children.

Don Soifer | Vice Chair  

Don Soifer is the Vice Chair of the Public Charter School Board.

Don Soifer is a co-founder and Executive Vice President of the Lexington Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.  There, he directs the Institute’s research programs in domestic-policy areas including education, energy and logistics. Mr. Soifer’s education policy research has been published and discussed in many of the nation’s most influential news publications and journals, and cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on several occasions and in official hearings of various federal and state agencies.  Mr. Soifer appears regularly on television and radio programs around the country.

Soifer serves on several governing and advisory boards for government and nonprofit organizations. He is on the board of Carpe Diem, a network of charter schools active in Arizona, Indiana, Ohio and Texas that emphasizes personalized learning.

He is a 1990 graduate of Colgate University and lives in Washington, DC.

Steve Bumbaugh | Member

Steve Bumbaugh is a member of the Public Charter School Board.

Mr. Bumbaugh has many years of experience working in education, philanthropy and issues related to urban poverty.  Currently he serves as the Manager of Breakthrough Schools: DC at CityBridge Foundation, an organization that works to build a citywide system of high-performing schools in the District.   

Previously, Mr. Bumbaugh served as the President of the ECMC Foundation, a national funder focusing on education issues in low-income communities.  He was also the first Executive Director of the Specialty Family Foundation, a funder focusing on education, health, and food security issues in low-income communities in Southern California.  Mr. Bumbaugh has also published numerous articles and has been a regular speaker on issues related to poverty and race.

Mr. Bumbaugh received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and his Masters Degree in Business Administration from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Rick Cruz | Member 

Rick Cruz is a member of the Public Charter School Board.

Mr. Cruz has long been involved in public education. In Washington, DC, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of DC Prep Public Charter School which focuses on student academic achievement, character education and high school and college readiness. On a national level, Mr. Cruz held senior level positions at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Teach for America and America’s Promise Alliance. Currently, he is Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at The College Board, a nonprofit organization which connects students to college success.

Outside of education, Mr. Cruz has strong experience in finance, budget management and fiscal strategy. He was a strategic consultant, having worked at the Corporate Executive Board and the Advisory Board Company for more than a decade in successive leadership positions in the US and internationally.

Mr. Cruz has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Yale University.

Ricarda Ganjam, Ph.D. | Member

Ricarda Ganjam is a member of the DC Public Charter School Board.

Dr. Ganjam has spent more than 15 years with Accenture where she advises companies large and small on human performance and change management. For much of that time, her practice has focused on education, workforce development, technology, performance measurement and leadership in the Washington DC metro area.

She has also been involved in education with KIPP DC’s Future Focus program that mentors students across the KIPP PCS network with career management, presentation skills, financial literacy, critical thinking and more. The program is part of Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, which equips students with the skills to reach their goals of college graduation and successful careers.     

Dr. Ganjam received her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University.  She also received her bachelors and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Saba Bireda | Member

Saba Bireda is a member of the DC Public Charter School Board.

Ms. Bireda is an attorney at Sanford Hiesler, LLP, a national civil rights law firm. Long active in education policy, Ms. Bireda previously worked for the U.S. Department of Education where she served as senior counsel in the Office of the General Counsel.  There she developed litigation strategy, advised on legal issues and led complex investigations on a variety of education matters.  She also served as senior counsel at the Department’s Office of Civil Rights, where she advised on matters regarding discrimination in education.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Bireda focused on education issues while working for EducationCounsel LLC, an education consulting firm, and the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute.  She practiced law in the private sector in Philadelphia for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Ms. Bireda began her career as a teacher at Sousa Middle School in southeast Washington, DC.

Ms. Bireda graduated from Harvard Law School and received her bachelors degree from Stanford University.

Naomi Shelton | Member

Naomi Shelton is a member of the DC Public Charter School Board.

Ms. Shelton has deep experience in public policy both at the national and local levels. Currently, she is the Director of K-12 Advocacy at UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. There, she focuses on national education initiatives and community engagement efforts to ensure more African-American students are college and career ready.

Ms. Shelton also spent several years working in Washington, DC’s Executive Office of the Mayor and in several District agencies. She spearheaded efforts to improve online access to city services and greater efficiency between departments.

A life-long resident of Washington, DC, Ms. Shelton also worked in the private sector, providing project and crisis management, and public relations counsel.

Ms. Shelton has a bachelor’s degree in English from Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi.