Our Staff

Executive Director


As Executive Director, Todd Mann is in charge of elevating awareness of the importance and value of magnet education. Mann’s immediate background has been STEM focused. He has served as the Executive Director of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools, an association representing the leading high schools in the country that specialize in STEM approaches and outcomes, since Fall 2013.

His career spans both association management and work in the private sector. Previously, he served in a leadership role at the National Restaurant Association. He later led a large trade association in the construction industry. Mann’s business background was as an entrepreneur, having started up three companies. He was one of six people to create the concept of placing full-service bank branches in supermarkets. Subsequently, he pioneered an educational TV channel over the Internet, made possible by patenting technology from a company he took public. Mann spent the first few years of his career on Capitol Hill. 

Mann was among the first men to attend Vassar College, where he graduated cum laude and later served as a Trustee. He completed a financial executive education at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. A resident of Chevy Chase, Maryland, he served as an elected official on its Village Council. He is married to Susan Stockdale, a children’s book author and illustrator, and they have two grown children.

Todd may be reached at todd.mann@magnet.edu

Director, National Institute for Magnet School Leadership (NIMSL)

Kelly Bucherie
 recently served in the position of Assistant Superintendent/Academic Manager, where she supervised and coordinated the operations, program procedures, processes, and public relations of the Magnet Schools, Career and Technical Academies, and College of Southern Nevada High School campuses in Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. Additionally, Ms. Bucherie supervised the Department of Magnet and Career and Technical Academies, open enrollment, flexible budgeting for schools with granted autonomies, middle school curriculum initiative, and implementation of National Academies Foundation year of planning (YOP) schools. 

Her most recent work with the Public Education Foundation of Las Vegas, Executive Leadership Institute, has used her expertise in building administrative capacity with principals throughout the State of Nevada. She has further worked with the State's Regional Professional Development Program to deliver Nevada Educator's Performance Framework training to district administrators and teachers. As a team member of several previous NIMSL projects, Ms. Bucherie has consulted with districts providing program evaluation and action plans. Additionally, Ms. Bucherie was featured in WestEd's online tutorial for the Department of Education for an Evaluation Toolkit for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program.

She has served as the project manager for a MSAP federal grant and has worked to implement several magnet programs. Ms. Bucherie presents and trains locally and nationally on a variety of topics including theme integration, data dives, curriculum development, and supervision and evaluation. She also has evaluated magnet schools and programs in her previous district and at the national level. 

Kelly may be reached at kelly.bucherie@magnet.edu

Photo of Legislative and Communications Manager John Laughner

Legislative & Communications Manager

John Laughner
 joined Magnet Schools of America in 2010. He is responsible for building federal support for magnet schools by developing working relationships with Members of Congress and their staff, White House officials, representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, and other national education groups. He also manages MSA's monthly eChoice newsletter, website, and social media tools.

Prior to joining Magnet Schools of America, John was the Legislative Director for the Committee for Education Funding, the nation’s largest education coalition. In this role, he led the education community’s advocacy efforts to increase federal funding for our public education system.

Mr. Laughner has experience working in the private sector. He worked for the lobbying firm, FBA, Inc., where he identified federal grant opportunities for universities and colleges, and assisted with congressional appropriations. He was a Legislative Coordinator at Stateside Associates, where he tracked and analyzed state legislation on behalf of multiple Fortune 500 companies. John also spent two years at the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Office of the Ombudsman, where he helped resolve student financial aid disputes. He began his career in Washington, DC by working for several members of Congress.

Mr. Laughner earned his Bachelor’s degree in American Politics and Policy from the University of Central Florida, and his Master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University.

John may be reached at john.laughner@magnet.edu 

Director of Operations

Judy Shen, Events Coordinator
Judy Shen
 joined Magnet Schools of America in 2007. She currently handles all aspects of conference planning, as well as office-related operations. In addition, Ms. Shen oversees the awards programs and manages MSA website content.

Ms. Shen graduated from the University of Maryland (College Park) with a B.A. in Communications. After graduation, she taught English overseas in China to a senior class at Hwa Nan Women’s College in the province of Fujian. Upon her return to the DC metropolitan area, Ms. Shen managed her family’s restaurant and eventually worked as a Special Events Assistant for the entertainment franchise Dave & Busters. Ms. Shen joined MSA, because she strongly believes in providing the best education possible to all students.  She knows first-hand the potential each child has when they are fully engaged in something they are interested in. She has been involved in educational programming since her high school days. Starting in 12th grade, Ms. Shen managed city-run afterschool and summer programs, designed to integrate the kids and families of diverse economic backgrounds into the community.

Ms. Shen was a varsity volleyball player at the University of Maryland. She remains physically active, playing, tennis and volleyball. She also enjoys watching movies, attending concerts and spending time with her family.  A Renaissance woman, Ms. Shen has taken courses in diverse fields, including art, automotive repair, education, and piano. She has also completed a massage therapy training program. 

Judy may be reached at judy.shen@magnet.edu

Membership Coordinator

Michelle Sands joined Magnet Schools of America in the summer of 2013. She graduated from Washington University with a B.A. in Economics. After graduation, she moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area to tutor middle- and high-school students in the SAT, ACT, and SSAT. Since moving to DC, she has interned for the Women's Foreign Policy Group as well as worked full-time on a presidential re-election campaign.Michelle joined MSA because she is passionate about providing a great education to students of all backgrounds. She currently volunteers at an education non-profit, where she tutors students twice a week in reading and writing.

Michelle loves staying active in DC, and ran the 2013 Nike Women's Half-Marathon. She also enjoys outdoor movie screenings, backpacking, and plays on a bocce team.

You may reach Michelle at michelle.sands@magnet.edu 

Director of Development 

Lisa Whelan
is a sales and client services executive with a background in the packaged goods, telecommunications, and cloud computing industries.

Whelan began her career managing the New York City sales channel for Labatt Brewing Company’s top-selling US brand, Rolling Rock. After succeeding in this challenging territory, she was recruited by MCI to manage its IBM account.

While at MCI, Whelan promoted the game-changing concept of virtual meetings via MCI Voice, Video, and Data Conferencing. Consulting with IBM Education and Training, she launched IBM’s inaugural series of virtual training events and sales conferences.

Later as a Sales and Marketing Specialist for PCR Educator, Whelan sold and delivered customized data management software solutions to independent schools. She introduced them to the world of cloud computing, providing them with new database functionalities, increased efficiencies, and effective communications.

Whelan is a graduate of Emerson College with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Minor in Speech. An avid equestrian, she lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and two school-aged children.

You may reach Lisa at lisa.whelan@magnet.edu

Director of Finance

Lettie Nocera
is an accounting professional with expertise in budget management and analysis.

Nocera has a background in residential property management, working closely with community associations.  She began her career at Property Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, supervising a portfolio of residences throughout the Washington, DC metro region.  Nocera then moved to McEnearney Associates, where she focused on marketing strategy and financial planning.  She was a speaker at the 2013 Foreign Service seminar for officers planning to rent their home while overseas.

Nocera transitioned to an accounting and human resources role at Caffi Contracting in Alexandria, Virginia, where she managed payroll and accounts payable/receivable and developed strategy for employee retention. She brings superior administrative and financial management skills to Magnet Schools of America.

Nocera attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and two children.

You may reach Lettie at lettie.nocera@magnet.edu