In the early 1990s in a tough neighborhood in westside Costa Mesa, a group of incredible mothers decided they’d had enough. Gangs and drugs and prostitution had created an unsafe environment for their kids so they reached out for help.

 

Community leaders came together to open the doors of Shalimar Learning Center, a space for the neighborhood kids to come after school, get help with homework, and stay safe. Over 100 kids showed up on the first day.

What started as a single neighborhood center has grown to programs in over 400 California schools serving over 100,000 students annually. Think Together was founded in 1997 to expand educational support services for kids like the ones at Shalimar who didn’t have the same support systems as their peers. Along the way, Think Together’s leaders have spent a lot of time listening, adapting, and expanding the mission to help change the odds for kids.

Together we are building a community where all kids have the chance to succeed.

 

Senior Leadership

  •  

    Randy Barth

    Founder and CEO, Think Together and Executive Chairman, Principal’s Exchange

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  •  

    Tia Dwyer

    Chief Operating Officer

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  •  

    Mike Frobenius

    Chief Financial Officer

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  •  

    Tracy Carmichael, PhD

    Chief Engagement Officer

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  •  

    Marty Holtzman

    Chief People Officer

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  •  

    Steve Amick

    Director of Policy & Partnerships

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  •  

    Maria Reichel

    Chief of Staff

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Randy Barth

Founder and CEO, Think Together and Executive Chairman, Principal’s Exchange

Before embarking on a career as an education entrepreneur, Barth had a successful business career for more than twenty years, first as an investment advisor with various major Wall Street firms and later as a corporate CEO. Barth holds a Bachelors in Economics from UCLA and studied under Peter Drucker at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Along with former LA Times reporter Jennifer Delson, he is the co-author of the best- selling book "Think Together: How YOU can play a role in improving education in America." Randy serves on several boards and as a Senior Fellow at UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs.

 

Tia Dwyer

Chief Operating Officer

Dwyer works closely with CEO Randy Barth and the Executive Team to implement and maintain high quality programs. She oversees all regional and program leaders and helps design and guide strategic planning. She joined Think Together in 2009 as Director of Learning Programs where she built a nationally recognized summer learning program before being promoted to Orange County’s General Manager. Prior to joining Think Together, she oversaw expanded learning programs in the Lawndale School District. Dwyer is a credential teacher and holds a Bachelors in Music from UC Irvine and a Masters in Education from National University.

 

Mike Frobenius

Chief Financial Officer

Frobenius oversees finance, accounting and information technology, and manages detailed reporting to Think Together’s school district partners, the CA Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to joining Think Together, he served as director of finance for LA Chemical, a $175 million leading regional distribution company. He has served as a board member for a local credit union and is an active volunteer for a number of local community youth sports programs. Frobenius holds a Bachelors in Accounting from CSU Fullerton and is a California Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

 

Tracy Carmichael, PhD

Chief Engagement Officer

Carmichael connects people, businesses, and organizations to the mission of Think Together. She leads all fundraising and networking efforts, as well as board and committee engagement. She began her journey with Think Together in 2008 as Manager of Program Evaluation and then as Director of Action Research. As the inaugural Think/UCI doctoral fellow, Carmichael spent four years researching the impact of academic alignment of Think Together’s after school programs. Her doctoral research has been recognized nationally as a model of collaboration for extended learning providers. She holds a Bachelors in Criminology from UC Irvine, a Masters in Educational Research from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Education from UC Irvine.

 

Marty Holtzman

Chief People Officer

Holtzman oversees recruitment, staffing, human resources, and volunteers. He has more than 25 years of experience in the Human Resources field. He is an innovative leader who has developed HR teams and created human capital programs aligned with business objectives for global medical devices, bio-pharmaceutical, renewable energy, and telecommunications manufacturing and services companies. Holtzman began his career as a mathematics instructor for Tustin Unified School District. He holds his Bachelors in Psychology and CA State Teaching Credential from UC Irvine.

 

Steve Amick

Director of Policy & Partnerships

Amick is responsible for managing the organization’s expansion across California. He has more than 25 years of experience at every level of afterschool direct service and administration. He previously served as the Executive Director of the League of California Afterschool Providers and the Region 9 Lead for Before- and After-School Programs, offering training and technical assistance to providers. Amick is the former Vice-Chair of the National Afterschool Association, past Co-Chair of the California Afterschool Network Executive Committee, and was designated by the Secretary of Education to serve on the California Advisory Committee on Before- and After-School Programs. He holds a Bachelors in Political Science from San Diego State University.

 

Maria Reichel

Chief of Staff

Reichel oversees the alignment of projects and initiatives, including the planning and implementation of the organizations’ strategic plan and marketing efforts. She leads cross-functional teams across the organization to ensure large projects are successful. Prior to joining Think Together, Reichel was as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, acting as Project Manager for Santa Ana Building a Health Community, a place-based initiative of The California Endowment. She has also served as a management consultant with Mercer in Los Angeles and London, and as a Financial Analyst with Goldman Sachs in New York. She holds a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University and a Bachelors in International Political Economy from Colorado College.

 

Board of Directors

 

Awards & Recognition

  • 2005

    Selected as a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder Awards recipient ($200,000)
  • 2006

    Awarded a $1 million grant from The Irvine Company
  • 2008

    
Named by the U.S. Department of Education as one of five National Demonstration Sites to coordinate after-school and supplemental education services (SES)
  • 2008

    
Awarded $8.5 million grant from The Irvine Company
  • 2009

    
Received $250,000 from Southern California Edison to establish robotics labs at 41 middle schools
  • 2009

    Granted $690,000 from the Children and Families Commission of Orange County to pilot early literacy programs in Santa Ana
  • 2010


    Garnered $936,000 in AmeriCorps grants to support leadership development and community service
  • 2010


    Awarded $500,000 from the Rose Hills Foundation to support programs in Los Angeles County
  • 2010


    Received $200,000 to establish the Raykovich Family College Bound Scholarship Fund for Santa Ana high school students served by Think Together
  • 2011

    
Granted $3.5 million over three years by the Walmart Foundation to provide summer learning programs in three California cities
  • 2011

    Awarded $125,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to expand summer services in Santa Ana
  • 2011

    
Awarded $100,000 from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
  • 2011

    
Garnered recurring annual donation of $100,000 from the Ueberroth Foundation
  • 2012

    
Granted $1 million by the Children and Families Commission of Orange County
  • 2012

    
Awarded $200,000 capacity-building grant from the Weingart Foundation
  • 2012

    Partnered with the j.k. living foundation (founded by Matthew McConaughey) to expand wellness programs among high school students

Citations

  • 2004

    
Ethics in America Award, Chapman University Passkeys Foundation
  • 2007

    
Diamond Champion, Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce
  • 2009

    
Top 20 Best Companies to Work For, OC Metro Business Magazine
  • 2009

    
Afterschool Champion, Afterschool Alliance
  • 2009

    
Special Service to Community, City of Santa Ana Board of Recreation and Parks
  • 2011

    
Top 10 CEOs, OC Metro Business Magazine
  • 2011

    Community Pillar Award, Assemblyman Jose Solorio