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Team & Culture

We see the potential in every individual and recognize that our possibilities are limitless when we work together to realize our mission.

Team and Culture at Acelero Inc.

Vision & Values

We exist at the intersection of care and innovation, reducing barriers to high-quality education for early learners and working with families and communities to see them thrive. Our values are the foundation of who we are and inform everything we do: Data-informed Learning, Transparent & Open Communication, Growth Mindset, Dismantling Inequities, and Caring Teams & Community.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

We are committed to educational equity and to eliminating the gaps between young children’s potential and their achievement in school and life. We value the innate worth, dignity, and abilities of all individuals, families, and communities.

Acelero, Inc.


Board of Directors

Paul Braude, Managing Director, is the Chief Investment Officer and Head of the Direct Private Opportunities within BlackRock’s Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions (MASS) group. In this role, he is responsible for leading the team that sources and underwrites opportunistic private market investments across emerging segments of private markets, with a focus on introducing sources of idiosyncratic risks to client portfolios. The team typically pursues highly structured and thematic or market driven investments in areas of high relative value. Paul serves as the chair for BlackRock’s Direct Private Opportunities Executive Investment Committee and Internal Investment Committees. He is also a member of the Infrastructure Solutions Investment Committee and the Multi-Alternatives Executive Committee. Paul serves as a board representative at several BlackRock portfolio companies.

Prior to joining BlackRock in 2014, Paul was an investment professional at Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Group, where he focused on evaluating and executing opportunistic private investments across industry and capital structure spectrums.

Paul earned his BS degree in Economics from the Wharton School and a BAS in Computer Science from The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Outside of work, he enjoys exploring new cuisines and traveling with his wife and their three children.

Tonika Cheek Clayton, who is managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund, leads its tools and services team. Under her leadership, NewSchools has invested more than $9 million in 58 for-profit and non-profit entrepreneurs who are developing digital tools and services that support teaching and learning in pre-K through 12. Before she joined NewSchools, Tonika served as vice president of Amplify, a company that reimagines K-12 education by creating digital products and services that empower teachers, students and parents in innovative ways. She previously worked as a researcher for Harvard University’s Public Education Leadership Project where she consulted the first cohort of urban public school district leaders and co-authored several case studies seeking to identify more effective ways to drive student achievement by strengthening school district management and leadership. Her case study on the New York City Department of Education and case series on Race, Accountability and the Achievement Gap, in particular, are among some of the popular PELP case studies requested by educators.

She started her career in marketing and public relations with the NBA, promoting the NBA Store and NBA All-Star events before she transitioned to business development and the launch of the NBA’s Development League.

Tonika graduated from Harvard College and earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School. She is a board member for the Canterbury Episcopal School, which serves a predominantly minority community in south Dallas. Tonika also has raised funds for her husband’s congressional campaign, President Barack Obama, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and state Sen. Wendy Davis.

Katharine Hawthorne is an impact investor, finance professional, and advisor who has dedicated her career to building a healthy, sustainable, and inclusive future.  Katharine joined the Builders Fund in 2020 as Vice President on the investment team.  Builders is a private equity platform and B Corporation investing in sustainable systems and human elevation.  Previously Katharine worked with Patamar Capital, Citibank, and Tiedemann Advisors, and began her career as a finance and contracts manager at UCSF, where she oversaw a $50 million annual portfolio and negotiated over 30 transactions with federal, corporate, and philanthropic funders in the healthcare and life sciences industry.  She holds a B.S. in physics from Stanford University and an MBA in finance with honors from the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.  Katharine is Board Observer at MPOWERD Inc, a Certified B Corporation specializing in designing clean energy technology including solar lighting and mobile charging; and Board Director at Sharp & Fine, a San Francisco-based dance company.

Scott Miller is a Co-Founder of Acelero Learning and has been part of its growth from a tiny office in Manhattan to over 1,100 employees. He has previously served in a variety of roles including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Strategy Officer. During his time at Acelero Learning, the organization achieved leading gains in child outcomes as well as attracting growth capital from leading double-bottom-line investors such as the Packard Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund, Boston Community Capital, and New Jersey Community Capital. Prior to co-founding Acelero Learning, Scott was an Associate Partner at New Schools Venture Fund.

He is also the founder of Greenhaven Road Capital, a boutique investment management firm that manages an investment partnership modeled after Warren Buffett’s pre-Berkshire Hathaway investment partnership. Scott is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA and master’s in education from Stanford University. Scott lives outside of New York City with his wife, three daughters and two dogs.

Mora Segal is a Managing Director at A-Street. She is also the co-founder of Leading Now, an initiative to help school superintendents navigate politically-charged environments in order to serve all of their students. Mora is a board member of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, Open Up Resources, and America Achieves; and is the advisory board chair of the Eli and Phyllis Segal Citizen Leadership Program.

Previously, Mora was the CEO of Achievement Network (ANet), an organization dedicated to ensuring students in marginalized communities have access to meaningful, high quality instruction. Over the course of her ten years leading the organization, ANet supported thousands of K-12 schools nationwide with data-driven instruction, instructional leadership coaching, and the implementation of curriculum, assessment and professional learning systems. Mora led the organization’s growth from serving 60,000 students to 350,000 students, while deepening its impact for students. Her organization was recognized multiple times by the Nonprofit Times as one of the best places to work.

Prior to ANet, Mora held leadership roles at College Summit (now PeerForward) and SchoolSports (which became ESPN-Rise). She is a proud AmeriCorps alumna, a Coro Foundation Fellow and a Pahara-Aspen Fellow. Mora received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Yale University. She resides in Newton, MA with her husband and two daughters.

Aarthi Sowrirajan is a Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager for the BlackRock Impact Opportunities (BIO) Fund within the Equity Private Markets team. She is responsible for managing the implementation of EPM’s social impact investment strategy, including the execution of BIO’s mandate of advancing racial equity through opportunistic investments. Aarthi is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of Acelero Learning, a Board Director of Lift Retro Fitness FTX, LLC and a Board Observer of Conexon LLC, all of which are BIO Fund portfolio companies. Aarthi serves on the Los Angeles Leadership Team and chairs community engagement efforts for the Los Angeles office.

Aarthi has over 15 years of experience in financial services with a focus on private markets investments in underrepresented markets. She has transactional experience in real estate private equity, infrastructure development, structured products, securitization and credit. Prior to BlackRock, Aarthi was on the founding team of Turner Impact Capital, a $2 billion impact investment firm focused on driving financial and impact outcomes through real estate and infrastructure investments across education, workforce housing and healthcare. She served as Managing Director and Partner, and led the establishment of the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund in 2011, one of the first institutional-backed impact funds in the US. During her decade-long tenure at Turner, Aarthi held primary responsibility for sourcing, structuring, managing transaction teams, leading due diligence efforts and monitoring investments. She held management responsibilities of overseeing operations, fund management and business development.

Aarthi has partnered with academic institutions and industry practitioners to advance the social impact investing ecosystem and drive thought leadership. She has guest lectured at The Wharton School, Harvard Business School, The University of Chicago, UCLA and USC on impact investing.

Aarthi began her career as a member of the Structured Products Group at Deutsche Bank, and has also worked in the investment banking division of Bank of America (Chicago), sales and trading at Credit Suisse (New York) and real estate private equity at Canyon Partners (Los Angeles).

Aarthi serves on the Board of Directors of Equitable Facilities Fund (EFF), a nonprofit social impact fund for high-performing charter schools. Aarthi served on the Board of Directors for Equitas Academy, one of the highest performing charter schools in Los Angeles, from 2012 until 2020, including two years as the Chair of the Board and several years as Treasurer.

She received an A.B. Honors from the University of Chicago with a concentration in Economics and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.