Chris Baker

Dan Rankin

In 2016, Dan and his wife Erin were both lawyers, raising an 8-year old academically talented daughter. Both passionate about education, they carefully assembled a variety of educational experiences for her. They found an abundance of typical school courses like math, science and languages as well as alternative courses like music and crafts. They were all valuable in their own way, but none addressed what they felt was an essential piece of the educational puzzle – direct training for the type of skillsets that would set their daughter up for success in the future of the information age. They knew that she, like all young people, would have to build specific skills to thrive in an era with unlimited information and computing power at her fingertips. She would need – like top employers are already demanding – serious development in critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and complex problem solving.

Dan asked Chris – his friend of 20+ years whose background was in non-profit leadership – if he had come across a program like this. He hadn’t. Together they were surprised at the service gap for critical skills development. Upon further research they found out why what is known as ’21st century skills’ development was so rare – to be effective required top-notch teachers, small class sizes and an element of personalization in delivery. Experts would need to be engaged to ensure the course content adhered to a framework built on best practices in educational pedagogy, and courses would need to be developed around open-ended challenges requiring creativity and collaboration to solve. Oh, and it would have to be fun. These were all difficult and expensive things to do, and near impossible for the typical one-to-many online teaching models. So they decided to give it a shot.




Caroline Wise, EdM, Kansas, USA

Caroline is an experienced and passionate teacher specializing in the delivery of gifted and talented education both online and in the classroom. She is focused on creating safe and comfortable environments that allow students to take risks, build connections with others and train new skills. Her certifications include Gifted Education, Social Studies, and English Language Arts. She holds a Master's Degree in Gifted Education and a Minor in Theatre. Caroline brings her teaching talents to braintrain as conductor for a variety of ventures.

Brian Oshiro, EdM, Colorado, USA

Brian is an Academic Director with a Masters in Education from Harvard University. He is experienced in leading academic teams at all levels of their development. He has advised the federal governments of several countries on skill development for young people. Brian is a dedicated teacher, teacher trainer, and lifelong learner of all things education related. Currently, Brian serves as Chief Education Officer for Teach21 Group. Brian is bringing his expertise to braintrain to help us build pedagogical frameworks focused on training key skills. Watch Brian’s excellent TED talk about encouraging critical thinking in the classroom here:

James Wheeler, Abu Dhabi, UAE

James is an experienced leader in education policy and management. He first served the Ontario government by leading several high value projects in the Ministries of Education and Colleges & Universities. He was then recruited by the Abu Dhabi Government (United Arab Emirates) as a senior education policy specialist where he finalized and implemented a regulatory framework that now governs all aspects of the Emirate’s USD $1B private school sector. He has also held senior business operational roles in two major UAE school groups that have a combined population of over 14,000 international and domestic students. James is a sought-after expert on private school business development, regulation and management, having advised investment and international education groups in Canada, USA, UK, and throughout Asia.

Omar Shahryar, PhD, Paris, France

Omar is an award-winning composer, facilitator, and peace-maker working for opera companies and arts festivals around the world. His internationally acclaimed opera about young people's reactions to extremism, A Shoe Full of Stars, won the YAMAward Prize for Best Opera for Young People 2018. Omar is the Artistic Director of Opera Schmopera, an opera company for young people, and a board member for Tête-à-tête Opera Company and the European Network of Opera, Music, and Dance Education (RESEO). 2020 saw Omar finish his PhD thesis in the Composition of Opera for Young People at the University of York funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Omar brings his creative and teaching talents to braintrain as the conductor of Songwriter’s Workshop.