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Retreat Panelist Bios

Albert M. Adams, EdD
Al Adams received his BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania, M.A.T. from The Colorado College and EdD in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  He retired as Head of Lick-Wilmerding High School (LW) in San Francisco in 2011, after twenty-three years in that capacity.  From 1970 – 1980 Al was a teacher, coach and administrator at The Colorado Springs School, when he was also a founder of the K-6 Children’s School.  Following his graduate studies, he was Head of The Cambridge School of Weston (MA) from 1983-1988, during which time he founded the national Network of Progressive Educators.

Al is best known in the broader independent school world for his articles, presentations and workshops on educational leadership, strategic planning, LW’s Flexible Tuition model as well as its innovative diversity/inclusion initiatives and for advancing an institutional commitment to public outreach. Lick-Wilmerding is recognized as a leader among independent schools in the realms of (1) access, inclusion and student success (2) its Head, Heart, Hands curriculum and (3) modeling what it is to be a private school with public purpose.  

Today, Al advises independent school boards and heads on matters related to strategic planning, governance, diversity and public purpose.


George Cachianes
George Cachianes has authored and been teaching a two-year biotechnology program at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco since 1995. Prior to teaching, he spent 15 years doing research in molecular biology at Columbia University, UCSF, Stanford University, and 8 years at Genentech, Inc. George’s goal is to motivate students to pursue a career in science. His program emphasizes the applications, implications, and limitations of current research. His teaching style employs inquiry learning, in which students construct knowledge for themselves through asking questions and experimentation. George teaches 5 sections of biotech at Lincoln, with 150 students studying the subject each year. Many of George’s former students now work in the biotechnology industry, and academic research labs. In his spare time, George enjoys backpacking, white water rafting, the desert southwest, and the Arts.


Maggie Johnson
Maggie Johnson is Director of Education and University Relations for Google. She manages all technical training and content development, and information management programs for Google engineers and operations staff, as well as Google’s K12 educational programs in STEM and computer science. She also manages the University Relations area, building strategic research partnerships with faculty and labs globally. Prior to Google, Maggie was a faculty member and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University.


Helen R. Quinn
Helen Quinn is Professor Emerita of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. She received her PhD in physics at Stanford in 1967.  She has taught physics at both Harvard and Stanford. Helen is an internationally recognized theoretical physicist who holds the Dirac Medal (from the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy), the Klein Medal (from The Swedish National Academy of Sciences and Stockholm University) and the Sakurai Prize (from the American Physical Society). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science and the American Philosophical Society. She is a Fellow and former president of the American Physical Society.  She is originally from Australia and is an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia.

Helen is Chair of the US National Academy of Science Board on Science Education (BOSE) . She served as a member of the BOSE study that developed the report “Taking Science to School” and led the committee for the “Framework for K-12 Science Education”, which is the basis of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that have now been adopted by multiple states in the US.