Alpha Education - Advisors


James Sparkman

James Sparkman currently leads a national practice representing colleges and universities exploring long-term private sector partnership opportunities. Prior to founding Alpha Education, James spent a decade as an investor, advisor and senior executive working with a range of postsecondary education companies. Previously, James was the co-founder of HigherMarkets, a venture-backed university SaaS company which was acquired by Jaggaer. James also held early executive roles at private equity firm New Mountain Capital and student lender Cognition Financial. James began his career as a public school teacher in Brooklyn, NY where he was a member of the first class of Teach For America. James received his B.A., cum laude, from Middlebury College and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Erik Heyer

Erik Heyer has been involved with investing in, creating, and leading education organizations for over 15 years. Most recently, he served as Executive in Residence at Bridges Ventures, a UK-based social impact private equity firm. Previously, he was Entrepreneur in Residence at the Education Design Lab, a non-profit supporting innovation in higher education where he now serves on the board of directors. Erik is founder and chairman of Capital Education Group, an autism services organization that operates The Auburn Schools and Little Leaves behavioral therapy. He is also founder and chairman of The Siena School, a national leader in dyslexia education. Previously, Erik helped to create and grow Victory Schools, a national leader in the charter school and public education reform movements. In 2003, he was awarded a Broad Fellowship in the Broad Foundation Superintendents Academy. He began his career with Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan, before joining New Mountain Capital, a leading private equity investment firm. Erik holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in systems engineering with high honors from the University of Virginia. He has served as a trustee or director of the International Dyslexia Association, the Institute for Excellence & Ethics, the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County, and Calvert Education Services, one of the nation’s oldest homeschooling organizations and a leading online learning platform.

Kathy Charlto

Kathy Charlton has over 25 years of management experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Most recently, she served as Director of Online Initiatives at Columbia Business School and, prior to that, was Vice President and General Manager of Medical Education at Kaplan where she held various senior management positions for over a decade. Previously, Kathy was a country manager for Cargill Vietnam and Managing Director and Partner of Ashta International, a pioneering consulting and investment concern in post-war Vietnam. She began her career as the Manager for Asia Programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE). Kathy received a B.A., with honors, from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She is an advisor to, a leading medical education platform provider, and to Greenwich Education Group on its China operations.