Azad oommen, Co-Founder

Azad was the founding Executive Director of the Central Square Foundation (CSF), an Indian venture philanthropy fund that invests in organizations looking to improve the quality of student learning.  He has worked extensively in the field of leadership development, having run the Clinton Fellowship for Service in India, the Clinton Democracy Fellowship for City Year in South Africa, and the Mickey Leland Hunger Fellows program for the Congressional Hunger Center in the US.

He serves on the board of the the India School Leadership Institute and the Advisory Board of the Central Square Foundation.  Azad has a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Economics from Georgetown University.


sameer sampat, Co-Founder

Sameer was the India School Leadership Institute’s (ISLI) first CEO. Prior to that, he worked as a Project Manager and Research Analyst with the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University where he designed, implemented, and evaluated interventions to close the racial achievement gap found in the United States. He has also worked with Teach For America, Akanksha and Adharshila Shikshan Kendra.

Sameer earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and completed a Master’s degree in Economics and Education from Columbia University.


Gina has over 20 years of experience studying education reforms and translating research into policy and practice. She is currently a Senior Advisor for the George W. Bush Institute, consulting on design of their School Leadership Initiative. She has authored research-based frameworks and tools for educational leadership, such as the National Association of Secondary School Leaders’ Building Ranks Framework, and guides for measuring the impact of school leadership development programs, such as the SEP3 Toolkit: State Evaluation of Principal Preparation Programs. She has also served on multiple advisory committees to create standards and assessments for educational leaders, such as the Technical Advisory Group for National Board Certification of Accomplished Principals and the National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) Standards advisory committee. She was previously the Executive Director of Research and Policy Development at New Leaders, an Education Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation, and an elementary teacher for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Dr. Ikemoto holds a doctorate in Education Policy from the University of Maryland.



Poorvaja was part of the research team at Samhita Social Ventures where she designed and executed impact evaluation studies, bespoke research studies, and school needs assessment studies. As an Education Pioneers summer fellow in New York, she designed the overall strategy and the monitoring and evaluation tools for a charter school’s social and emotional learning program. She has also worked at Varthana, Teach For India and the Center for Public Research and Leadership, Columbia University.

Poorvaja holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Stella Maris College, a Master’s degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a Master’s degree in International Educational Development specializing in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Eric Squires, Program Consultant

Eric Squires has been an educator for over 30 years. He spent a large portion of his early career in the UK, working as a science teacher, department head, deputy head, and finally principal. During the latter part of his career, Eric shifted his focus toward international education, leading international schools both in the UK and abroad. Eric has spent time in Egypt and the UAE leading schools, and working with the governments there, training school leaders and teachers. More recently he has been Chief Academic Officer with the India School Leadership Institute and has also run training courses for teachers and school leaders in several countries for Cambridge Assessment International Education.

Eric holds a Bachelor's of Science in Geology from Bristol University and Masters of Arts in Educational Management from the Open University.

Aniket Thukral, Expansion Director

Aniket was Head of School and Teacher Training Lead for Ark's first public private partnership school in India. He started his education career as a primary teacher in an under-resourced school in Pune through Teach for India.  Following his teaching stint, he continued serving the Teach for India mission in various capacities, including designing curriculum and coaching teachers. He has worked extensively on conceptualizing and executing teacher training institutes. Aniket has a Bachelor's in Commerce (Honours) from the University of Delhi and began his career as a hedge fund auditor with Ernst and Young in India.