FOUNDER / CEO
Long before adding his SMRT leadership role to his professional duties, Lee was already making a difference in the lives of thousands of residents as director of affordable housing for Housing Services Incorporated. Under his leadership, HSI has developed 17 affordable housing communities throughout the state of Texas and provided services to over 10,000 residents across the state of Texas. In 2013, HSI shifted its operating philosophy to foster long-term community engagement by delivering sustainable service programs to the populations in and around the organization’s housing developments. It was then that Lee began developing an educational enrichment program in collaboration with partners in the Rio Grande River Valley — first for the local affordable housing community, and then for the community at large. The concept quickly gained popularity, prompting the HSI board of directors to fund the 501(c)(3) organization known as SMRT — Strong Minds Rise Together — where he serves as CEO and president. This gave way to SMRT Solutions, a for-profit entity that provides educational consulting.
COO / Senior Vice President Data Architecture
As a highly motivated strategic leader from Silicon Valley with strong people management skills, Sampath has over 20 years of experience in team and project management. Sampath has a proven track record of developing, managing, and executing complex engineering and IT projects while successfully adhering to time, quality, and budget directives. He has excelled in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence space since 1998, where his technical and functional understanding of ERP systems and data management is unparalleled. He understands the technology landscape and knows that technology is not the goal in itself, but a rather means to an end. His ability to translate technical language into business language has helped many business executives make the right decisions. Sampath has focused on guiding executives toward the right technology investments through his collaborations with leaders of the tech industry in both Texas and California at the executive level. Sampath’s education includes a Master of Science degree in computer science from Bishop Heber College.
Senior Vice President / Chief Technology Officer
As a member of the senior executive team, Lenny shapes our long-term vision of technology and drives innovation for SMRT Solutions. He and his team are always looking to harness the power of emerging technologies for our clients as they explore the big ideas that are important to SMRT Solutions. He is a multiskilled, hands-on technology professional with a passion for creative problem solving. He has architected innovative Web and mobile solutions in a wide array of industries including big data, location intelligence, data aggregation, data collection, and data analytics. From his Silicon Valley location, he enjoys keeping up with technology and is ready to roll up his sleeves to solve any problem. As a founder of small startups, he has gained hands-on experience in various aspects of strategic planning, sales, marketing, and engineering. He has also served as a software and data architect in various projects with Digital Insight, the California Department of Public Health, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, KPMG Peat Marwick, and Citibank NA (India). Lenny holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer science, both from St Joseph’s College, India. When not CTO-ing, Lenny enjoys music, baseball and spending time with his family.
Senior Vice President Client Services
Phil received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his MBA from Loyola University Maryland. Phil’s 34-year career in education includes experience as a high school teacher and working in academic publishing, developing instructional materials for two- and four-year colleges at Cengage, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill. He has also served on the senior sales management and executive teams at these companies. Phil changed his focus in 2006 and became involved in online cloud-based educational software and cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) enterprise-level faculty information systems. Most recently Phil has made a commitment to the adult education and workforce communities with an emphasis on the impact of new WIOA legislation and the evolving age of accountability in education.
Director of Client Services
Kathi Medcalf has been working in K-12 and adult education for over 25 years. She has taught both high school and middle school science, holding an International Baccalaureate Certification, and has also been the administrator for adult education and diploma programs in both Maine and Washington states. Kathi has a strong background in using data for program improvement at the state and local levels. She also has project management experience at both the state and local levels, supporting implementation and deployments on a large scale, such as the Maine Adult Education Portal. She has also provided professional development on social-emotional learning, competency-based instruction, and data science. Additionally, Kathi has served as treasurer of the Conference on Adult Basic Education (COABE) from 2013-2015. Kathi has a Master of Science degree in adult education from Southern Maine University and a Master of Arts degree in teaching chemistry from Villanova University.
Director of Professional Learning: Adult Education
Irene has worked in education and training for over 25 years, having worked in adult education and workforce programs as an instructor, career counselor, education supervisor, youth program director, workforce center manager, and staff development trainer. She specializes in providing quality staff development and prides herself in ensuring that adult educators have the latest information to be great instructors. Irene is a graduate of St. Mary’s School of Law (JD 2004) and Our Lady of the Lake University (BA 1997). She has a passion for education and loves sharing her unique knowledge, skills, experience, and education with others.
Director of Professional Learning: K-12
Director of Research and Evaluation
Education Research Analyst
Andrew graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Brandeis University in 2010. Prior to moving to New York to pursue graduate education, he spent two years working for the nonprofit Asian American Civic Association (AACA) in Boston as an ESL instructor, followed by a two-month stint at the English Learning Institute in Dakar, Senegal. Prompted by his experience in West Africa, Andrew landed in New York City where he attended New York University, graduating with a master’s in political economy. Andrew has worked two years as a classroom teaching assistant as a part of the NYU America Reads program, as well as two years teaching as an after-school and summer enrichment instructor at Advantage Academy in Flushing, New York.
Through skilled analysis of existing academic literature, Rashid has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for future SMRT research initiatives. He also manages the survey system deployment and shapes our data-driven approach to education. Rashid holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, and a master’s degree in political economy from New York University. In addition to the quantitative methods and statistical expertise he brings to our organization, Rashid is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University in the area of comparative political economy.
Director of Psychological Evaluation and Case Management
What is this “social-emotional learning” everyone is talking about? Through dedicated research, and his knowledge of psychology, Joseph has the answer to that question and more. Prior to joining the SMRT team, Joseph attended UMASS Amherst, where he became involved in psychological research on racial profiling, as well as volunteering at a local prison counseling an inmate. After UMASS, Joseph transferred to McGill University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. While at McGill, Joseph joined two research teams that went to local middle schools to study the effects of peer victimization and non-suicidal self-injury on students, administering and scoring scales such as the Beck’s Depression Inventory. After that, he turned his attention to human motivation and ecology in order to learn what drives people and how to foster motivation and well-being in others. He has spent the last two years working at a high-risk group home for the mentally ill, where he moved up the ranks quickly to become the program manager.