Thank you, Paul, for the life you’ve given to children, to educating them, to helping them grow and find themselves.
President Bill Clinton
PAUL CUMMINS (Executive Director)
Founder, president, and CEO of the Coalition for Engaged Education, Paul Cummins received his PHD from Harvard University and is the co-founder of Crossroads School in Santa Monica, where he also served as headmaster. Cummins formed PSARTS and New Roads School as well as TREE Academy and a number of charter and public schools in the Los Angeles area. His enduring vision has been to create innovative, independent and progressive educational experiences for all students. Cummins is a writer and poet of over 14 books, including “Confessions of A Headmaster.”
ETHAN YI DONG (President)
Pianist, Ethan Yi Dong, was first discovered by legendary conductor, Herbert Zipper who brought him to the Crossroads School for Arts and Science in Santa Monica on a full scholarship. After graduating from New England Conservatory and Yale University, Ethan returned to Southern California and served as the president of the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) Orange County North branch. His expertise in music education has led to his appointment as the music director of the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute (EMMI) at Crossroads School where he attended high school. He is currently on the board of directors at the Lake Como International Piano Academy. In 2003, Ethan founded Opus119 - the school of music, his passion for a meaningful, quality education has led him to bring the proven middle and high school model to Orange County.
TEDD WAKEMAN (Director of Middle and High School)
Tedd Wakeman has been working with children in education, recreation, and research for over two decades. He worked locally with LAUSD in South Central LA, teaching at the elementary and middle school levels for 14 years, while concurrently traveling the country developing and implementing STEM curriculum for Nike/Eco Educators.
In addition, Tedd taught extensively across the globe. He worked in the Republic of the Maldives, teaching English to groups of adults from over 25 nations while diving the local coral reefs as a PADI dive master. In Bali, he lived and worked among Indonesian farmers, learning permaculture practices while utilizing a distance education program created through Queensland, Australia, to educate local teenagers. Tedd went on to spend two years teaching in Costa Rica while exploring local rainforest ecosystems.
After these varied approaches and experiences in culture and education, he returned to Los Angeles and joined the GameDesk team in founding the revolutionary PlayMaker School. PlayMaker gained notoriety for its unique approach to 21st Century learning and game-based curriculum and was featured on the PBS News Hour. PlayMaker was housed at New Roads School, where Tedd and Paul Cummins continued to build on their long-standing relationship. Wakeman has delivered keynotes, spoken on panels, and presented at numerous conferences, including LA’s General Assembly, Progressive Educators Network, California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), Playful Learning Summit, and Game Learning Society. He sits on the advisory boards of Cerritos Community College and Galileo Innovation Camps.
His most recent endeavor was the founding of the Sycamore School in Malibu with fellow thought leaders, AJ Webster and Christy Durham. At Sycamore, his team helped to preserve the spirit of creativity and curiosity while developing young problem solvers who possess the desire and skill to innovate in the 21st Century. It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that he joins Opus119 in an effort to revolutionize an approach to thinking and learning that engages and ignites young minds while preparing them, not for our collective past, but their unique and individual futures.