Alpha Education - Advisors


James Sparkman

James Sparkman (San Francisco) 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.

Tom Morsch

Tom Morsch (Chicago) specializes in public-private partnership transactions following decades of experience with innovative public finance strategies. Most recently, Tom was a partner and Managing Director of Public Finance Management (PFM), the largest US public finance advisory firm, where he co-led the firm’s public-private partnership (P3) practice. Tom has advised owners on many large infrastructure and P3 transactions in the US and globally in the transportation, higher education, hospitality, energy and gaming sectors. Recent client engagements include student housing P3s for a number of large universities including the Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, the University of Massachusetts, the University System of Georgia, and the University of South Florida. Additionally, Tom worked with Oliver Wyman (formerly Mercer Management Consulting) specializing in P3 and infrastructure and with Marsh, Inc. as the Midwest real estate practice leader. Earlier in his career, Tom spent 13 years working for the Governor of Illinois during which time he was appointed by the Governor and served for 6 years as the Executive Director and CEO of the Illinois Tollway system where he oversaw the development of infrastructure projects in excess of $1 billion.

Erik Heyer

Erik Heyer (Washington D. C.) is a respected education leader, business manager and social entrepreneur. Over the past two decades, he has played key roles building, managing, and advising numerous high-quality education organizations including colleges, universities, private schools, charter schools, school districts, special education programs, online and education technology companies, and education focused investment firms. Erik’s roles in finance have included work with Goldman Sachs, New Mountain Capital, and Bridges Fund Management, a global pioneer in the field of social-impact investing. Mr. Heyer 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 Education Design Lab, Capital Education Group, The Siena School, Victory Schools, the International Dyslexia Association, Springboard Education, and Calvert Education.

Kathy Charlto

Kathy Charlton (New York) 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.

Melanie Jordan

Melanie Jordan (San Francisco, CA) provides administrative and marketing support services for Alpha Education. Previously, Melanie worked as an analyst for NextGen Consulting (NGC) where she advised a range of institutional clients including Teach for America. Melanie received her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Berkeley and is an inducted member of Phi Beta Kappa.