About Us

At its core Summer Workation is a simple idea - we hope to help teachers make the most of their summers by connecting them with workations (high-profile vacation work experiences). On our site teachers will find a diverse set of summer options. Research has shown that teachers who enjoy enriching summertime opportunities are: more likely to stay in the profession, more apt to help students engage in novel projects and expected to see an increase in the percentage of their students passing state exams. Our hope is that all teachers can utilize the summer as a period for personal and professional growth.

We Help
Our Team
Summer Workation aspires to revolutionize the way teachers spend their summers. We are extremely lucky to have a talented group to help us along the way!
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Staff
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Nitesh Banta - Founder
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Contact: nitesh@summerworkation.org
Nitesh founded Summer Workation in January 2009. Through his work with Summer Workation, Nitesh hopes to transform teacher summers. Nitesh graduated from Harvard where he majored in social studies with a focus in education and public policy. He has extensive experience in education and online media, including work with the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Greek Ministry of Education, Teach for America, Teach for India and Google. Nitesh Banta previously worked on a number of education and business strategy consulting cases as an associate at The Parthenon Group.
Paul-Emile Dorsainvil - COO
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Contact: paul@summerworkation.org
Paul-Emile officially joined Summer Workation in June 2009 after previously working with Google. Paul-Emile graduated from Brown University where he majored in History with a focus in American history post Civil War. He has experience in operations, online media and finance, including work with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Google. Prior to Summer Workation Paul-Emile worked as a Relationship Manager at Google, in the AdWords Group, where he focused on financial services organizations. Paul-Emile also has experience in the education space have taught in a science program in New York city and coordinating a mentoring/tutoring program for underprivileged youths in the Providence, Rhode Island area.
Having met Nitesh in the summer of 2007 as Google interns and later roommates, Paul-Emile was present when Nitesh first conceived the idea that would become Summer Workation and he is excited to help make this dream a reality.
Sungbo Daniel Shim - Business Development Associate
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Contact: daniel@summerworkation.org
Sungbo Daniel Shim is a junior at Columbia College pursuing a major in Economics-Philosophy. For the year of 2009, Daniel worked as an instructor and educational consultant at Gen Academy, an SAT prep and academic enrichment academy in Toronto, Canada. He has experience teaching Critical Reading, Writing, and Essay Composition for the SSAT and SAT to elementary school, middle school, and high school students in classes of 10-20 students. Furthermore, he has assisted the academy in establishing an SAT II US History and Literature preparatory curriculum, as well as offering private tutoring and instruction in Advanced Placement Economics and Statistics.
Having interned for Summer Workation in the summer of 2009, Daniel has continued to be involved in the business development end of Summer Workation, securing and researching potential funding opportunities to fulfill Summer Workation's goal of enriching teachers' summers. Through his involvement, he has expressed an interest in social entrepreneurship, and wishes to pursue a career that would foster both a greater social awareness and attention to solving social problems through sound business principles.
Damion Harrikissoon - Marketing and New Media Associate
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Contact: damion@summerworkation.org
Damion is a junior at Columbia University in the City of New York. As a member of the Class of 2011, he is currently working on achieving a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Although he aspires to pursue a career in the corporate business world, Damion is committed to his work on various community service and community building initiatives. Most recently, he has served for a year in NYC as a volunteer Health Educator for Peer Health Exchange.
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Board of Advisors
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Beth Gillin - Veteran Educator
Contact: beth@summerworkation.org
Beth has taught high school English for the past eleven years and has served as the English department head of Stamford High School for the last two years. During her time as an educator she has worked extensively with the NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation, created an SAT preparation program and worked on district curriculum development. Beth holds her Master's in Education from Sacred Heart and a 6th Year degree in Education Administration from the University of Bridgeport.
Lisa Broom - New Teacher
Contact: lisa@summerworkation.org
Lisa is first year bilingual elementary school teacher in Houston, Texas and a member of Teach For America. She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill last May with a B.A. in International Studies.
Troy Murrell - Social Entrepreneurship Expert
Contact: troy@summerworkation.org
Troy Murrell is a senior at Harvard University. He will graduate in June with an A.B. in History and a secondary in Health Policy. He has worked in Kantolomba and Ndola, Zambia in developing educational seminars in math, business and health. While there, he also engineered 3 micro-businesses through microloans and community involvement. His work targeted lending to groups of women, encouraging economic growth to the point of self-sustainability. Troy worked on another microfinance project in Johannesburg, South Africa that worked with several microfinance institutions there to set up tours of microbusinesses across the city, the revenue going in part to the MFI for future microloans, in part to the microentrepreneur to support the business and its development, and in part to fund community projects in the areas being visited. He hopes to pursue a career both that further fosters social entrepreneurship as an industry.
Avi Kaplan - Social Media Adviser
Contact: avi@summerworkation.org
Avi currently serves as a webmaster and is in the process of launching his own workation web site. He recently launched a campaign called Tweetsgiving for Epic Change. The initiative used Twitter to fundraise $11k in 48 hours to help build classroom for a school in Tanzania (you can learn more about the initiative at http://tweetsgiving.org/.) Avi studied History at Harvard College.
Frederick M. Hess - Education Scholar
Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and executive editor of Education Next. He is known for his work on a diverse range of educational issues including entrepreneurship, philanthropy, accountability, charter schooling and school vouchers, and teacher quality. His books on No Child Left Behind and efforts to improve troubled schools include No Remedy Left Behind (AEI 2007), No Child Left Behind: A Primer (Peter Lang 2006), Leaving No Child Behind? (Palgrave Macmillan 2004), and Spinning Wheels (Brookings 1999). His work has appeared in scholarly and popular publications including Teachers College Record, American Politics Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, Harvard Educational Review, Educational Policy, Education Week, Phi Delta Kappan, American School Board Journal, National Review, the Weekly Standard, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. A former public high school social studies teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. Hess holds an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University. He has taught as a professor of education and public policy at Harvard, Georgetown, and Rice Universities, as well as at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Jacquelyn L. Jackson - Executive Director Tucson Values Teachers
Contact: jacquelyn@summerworkation.org
Jacquelyn L. Jackson serves as Executive Director of Tucson Values Teachers, a regional initiative that works to raise public awareness about the vital role of teachers and to build business-education partnerships that enhance the levels of respect and remuneration for teachers as a means of recognizing their central role in our region's economic future. In 2009, Jacquelyn worked with the University of Arizona Department of Education in partnership with TVT to create 25 industry internships for K-12 teachers. Prior to joining Tucson Values Teachers, Jackson served as a Director of Community Outreach for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Vice President for the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Director of Government Relations for Pima Community College. She moved to Tucson from Washington, D.C. where she was the chief lobbyist for the Times Mirror Company. She also served as director of media and outreach for HealthWeek, a national PBS program produced by the Washington Post Company and Newsweek Productions, and was head of media for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. She earned a Master's degree in clinical social work from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Lisa Barrett, Partner, The New Teacher Project
Contact: lbarrett@summerworkation.org
As Partner for The New Teacher Project, Lisa sits on the Management Team of two business lines and is responsible for overseeing the success of TNTP's programs in Oakland, CA, and Phoenix, AZ. Prior to assuming this role, Lisa was Director of Oakland Teaching Fellows where she launched the program and managed the planning and execution of all aspects, including candidate recruitment, selection, and training and ongoing teacher resources. The program met all goals in its inaugural year and, based on this success, the District asked TNTP to expand the work in Oakland and to launch a second selective program for certified teachers. Under Lisa's guidance, the programs have brought in 125-150 teachers annually, including more than 75% of all special education hires in the past five years. Lisa also led the launch of TNTP's state-approved credentialing program in California which trains and certifies qualified, exceptional special education teachers for high-need schools in the Bay Area. Before joining TNTP, Lisa taught a special education class at Parker Elementary in Oakland, where she increased her students' reading skills an average of 2.2 grade levels per year and served on the Leadership Team. Lisa was selected and trained to teach in high-needs schools through Teach For America and earned her BA from Yale University.
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