John has more than four decades of entrepreneurship experience. The first school he created, Benton Hall, has served students for 40-plus years. As a tenured professor at Saint Cloud State University (1988–1998), John researched the rise of private investment in education. In 1992, he created and published The Education Industry Report, which shaped the early years of the industry. John wrote the first Galileo Education business plan in 1999 with a dream that learning like this was possible. Prior to his career, John attended the Peabody Institute, which was on the cutting edge of special education rights.
John has advised investment clients from Warburg Pincus to the late Ted Forstmann, served on corporate boards from Behavioral Innovations to National Heritage Academies, and fostered some 30 acquisitions in the education and behavioral health space. He is also a well-known speaker and writer on the intersection of capital markets and education and currently is writing two new books.
Mark has been a leader in education for more than two decades and specializes in building student-centered education models. During the course of his career, Mark has built more than 170 schools and programs in 20 states. He is a frequent speaker at education industry events and for years served as a sponsor and judge for the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. Mark has been named one of Nashville’s most admired CEOs and E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year for Social Responsibility in 2016. He also has written two books with co-founder John McLaughlin.
Mark began his career working as a child abuse investigator and foster child advocate for the state of Tennessee. In keeping with that, Galileo Prep will support the education of foster children as its charitable mission.
Clara brings a diverse background in finance with over a decade of progressive experience ranging from sell-side equity research to mergers and acquisitions, to corporate financial planning and analysis. As CFO, Clara leads accounting, financial planning and reporting, capital formation, acquisitions, tax, treasury, and risk management. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and is a Level III Candidate in the CFA program.
In her free time, Clara mentors young women in partnership with Rock The Street, Wall Street/Girls Rock Wall Street to promote diversity and inclusion in finance.
Lacy is a seasoned executive associate with nearly a decade of experience in project management, training, strategic planning, and executive support. She brings expertise in all aspects of communication, administration, finance, and operations to our executive management team. Lacy specializes in aligning business objectives with comprehensive administrative knowledge to achieve maximum impact, time management, and efficiency.
She is passionate about providing young people the opportunity to experience education outside the norms and preparing them for successful, ambitious futures.