Our Staff

Photo of Executive Director Scott Thomas

Executive Director


Todd Mann's
 career combines 17 years of business experience and 18 years of association leadership. He is the President and CEO of his own consulting group that he founded in 2012. In this capacity, he works with trade association and professional society CEOs to create business partnerships that diversify income streams and drive value for members. In just two years, his client base has grown to twelve organizations including the National Consortium of Secondary S.T.E.M. Schools, the American Counseling Association, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Mann achieved his first commercial success as one of six people to create a company that placed full-service bank branches inside supermarkets (an industry he knew well from his eight years with the Food Marketing Institute). This concept revolutionized banking by having bank branches open at night and on Saturdays and Sundays.

He was COO of a startup that created a commerce exchange that allowed commercial construction industry wholesalers to order parts from manufacturers electronically. After this company was acquired, Mann became CEO of a company that pioneered an educational TV channel over the Internet, made possible by patenting technology at another company he ran and then took public.

In 2002, Mann was recruited by the National Restaurant Association to become Senior Vice President of Business Development. Acting in the spirit of an entrepreneur-in-residence, Mann directed the growth of membership and reoriented sponsorship activities to make them value rather than cost-based, thus dramatically increasing these dollars. Taking advantage of his entrepreneurial acumen, he created unique business partnership programs that catapulted the association’s non-dues revenue.

In 2008, Mann became the first-ever COO of Associated Builders and Contractors. While running the $24 million organization, he put in place the same type of structure he initiated at the restaurant association – a process for vetting new ideas that included members and chapters. This new arrangement created buy-in for non-dues programs and, as a result, significantly increased their success from the start.

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 and received his CAE in 2006. He is an active participant in ASAE and serves on the Board of digitalNow. 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 educational 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 most recently 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