Harry Feder is FairTest’s Executive Director as of August 2022. He came to FairTest after a long career in public education in New York City, as a social studies teacher at The Beacon School from 2008-2022 and at the Urban Academy Laboratory High School from 2000-2008. As a teacher Harry developed and taught secondary school courses in a variety of areas including United States History, Russian History and Culture, Criminal Justice, the Economic Development of New York City and World War II. As an academic leader of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, Harry is a deeply experienced practitioner and teacher/educator of performance-based assessments.
Harry also brings a wealth of education research, policy and advocacy experience to FairTest. He was a Visiting Scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2017-18 traveling to schools across the county, researching and writing on the importance and status of high school education in preparing students for readiness as democratic citizens. He was an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn College for Social Studies Teaching. Harry served as counsel to the Consortium in its successful fight to maintain its schools’ waiver from the New York State Regents Exams so it could maintain and develop its system of Performance Based Assessments. In the 2000’s Harry served on the Board and as Board Chair of the Coalition of Essential Schools, the national network of schools founded by Ted Sizer and Deborah Meier.
Prior to his career in education Harry was a litigator in private practice, first at Cahiil Gordon & Reindel and then at Arkin Kaplan and Cohen in New York. He clerked for the Honorable Stewart G. Pollock of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Harry has a J.D. from the NYU School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Hallie Levin and their children, Ellis and Vera.
Robert "Bob" Schaeffer
Public Education Director
Bob has served as Public Education Director of FairTest, since its founding in 1985, and is a member of its Board of Directors. Previously, he was Editorial Writer at the NBC-TV affiliate in Boston, Research Director of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Human Services and Elderly Affairs, and worked for several years as a research associate at the Education Research Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He is author ofStandardized Tests and Teacher Competence(School Voices, Fall, 1996) and coauthor ofStanding Up to the SAT(ARCO/Simon & Schuster, 1989). He has also coauthored many FairTest publications, includingTesting Our Children: A Report Card on State Assessment Systems, Standardized Tests and Our Children: A Guide to Testing Reform, Implementing Performance Assessments, The SAT Coaching Cover-Up, Test Scores Do Not Equal Merit, and Sex Bias in College Admissions Tests: How Women Lose Out.
Bob attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an undergraduate and graduate student.
Ilana Spiegel is an award-winning educator who has devoted her life’s work to serving students, educators, families and the community for more than 25 years. She is an active leader serving on education committees and boards, and engaging groups of parents, educators and students to improve outcomes for all students, Spiegel was appointed to the 2014 Colorado Standards and Assessment Task Force by the Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives. She has worked closely with members of the Colorado General Assembly on legislation to reduce testing in Colorado schools. Spiegel was appointed to the Colorado Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act committee in 2015. Spiegel has extensive experience with education system budgets, and she has worked to improve educational funding, increase opportunities for low-income students, first-generation students and students with disabilities.
Spiegel’s education experience includes public, private, urban, rural and suburban settings, as well as a residential facility.
Spiegel has written “Ask the Expert” columns forChalkbeat, articles on privatization and market-based education reform for Heinemann Education Publishing, and numerous editorials on education policy for the Denver Post, Aurora Sentinel, and The Colorado Springs Gazette.
Spiegel is a graduate of Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English and holds a Master of Arts in Education from Columbia University. Spiegel and her husband of 25 years, Dr. Jeff Spiegel, are the proud parents of four children, ages 14 to 22, including a CU Buff.
Senior Director of Advocacy
Akil is an educator, speaker, entrepreneur, and testing expert. Akil has worked at every level of the supplemental education industry, advising universities, launching multiple companies, developing dozens of admissions and test preparation programs, training hundreds of instructors, and helping thousands of students achieve success.
Akil was founding partner and CEO for Bell Curves, a test preparation company that focuses on helping public schools, non-profit organizations, and community-based organizations understand admission systems and policies and develop affordable solutions for their students. After leaving his position as Director of Equity and Access for an international test preparation corporation, Akil worked as a consultant, providing institutions with a deeper understanding of how to successfully support underserved students.
Akil Bello has been a featured expert on MSNBC and Yahoo! News, in the Netflix documentary Operation Varsity Blues, and in the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed and Wall Street Journal. Akil has authored research papers including In a Pandemic, Test-Optional Admissions Is Necessary but Insufficient and Gaming the Financial Aid Process. Notably Akil coined the term “highly rejective college” to highlight colleges who seem to relish the number of students they reject rather than the number they educate.
Akil holds a bachelor’s degree from a university in Brooklyn, NY.
Board of Directors
Chair; Founding Executive Director (retired), Panasonic Foundation, Secaucus, NJ
Clerk; Communications Specialist, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Boston, MA;
Executive Director, NY Standards Performance Consortium, New York, NY
Founding principal, Central Park East (NYC) and Mission Hill (Boston) schools, Hillsdale, NY; Professor, New York University
Executive Director, Center for Artistry and Scholarship.
Public Policy Communications