Mindy Binderman is the founding Executive Director of GEEARS: The Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. Mindy leads GEEARS’ efforts to inspire and provide leadership for a statewide movement on early learning and healthy development for children ages birth to five. Mindy serves as GEEARS’ lead advocate, fundraiser and spokesperson. She partners with the Board of Directors on strategic planning and works to strengthen relationships with community partners.
Mindy has had an extensive career in advocacy and government relations for nonprofits and corporations in Maryland and Georgia. She served as Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the Baltimore Jewish Council and as Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Maryland before establishing her own successful lobbying firm based in Annapolis, Maryland in 1999. For several years, Mindy also served as adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University where she taught a graduate level seminar in advocacy. Prior to coming to GEEARS, Mindy served as the Advocacy Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children from 2007-2010.
Mindy was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2004 by the Maryland Daily Record. She was the recipient of a Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta’s Social Enterprise Initiative scholarship in 2015 and completed the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program.
Mindy is a member of the Leadership Atlanta class of 2012 and is currently chairs the School Governance Council of North Springs Charter High School. She serves on the advisory board of Jumpstart and is a board member of Voices for Georgia’s Children and Limmud Southeast, an organization devoted to Jewish learning.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Mindy received her BA from Newcomb College, Tulane University and her JD from the American University’s Washington College of Law. Mindy is married to Warren Binderman and has three children.
Lisa Dwyer Director of Special Projects & Partnerships
Lisa serves as GEEARS Director of Special Projects and Partnerships. As such, she will manage the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club program, bus tour, and other partnership activities.
She is on the Board of the Atlanta Speech School, is the President of the North Atlanta High School Foundation for Atlanta Public Schools (APS), and has spent many years supporting early childhood and public education through her work in APS schools and other community endeavors. Lisa has served on the Prevent Child Abuse Georgia Advisory Board, co-president of Sutton Middle School PTA, president of Sarah Smith Education Foundation, sponsorship co-chair for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Hope & Will Ball, the Women’s Community Leadership Alliance, and on the boards of Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Trees Atlanta, her Local APS School Council, and most recently, Livable Buckhead. She is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta, of which she was president in 2011-2012. Prior to GEEARS, Dwyer managed project operations for Constella Group, a contractor for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Hanah brings to GEEARS a range of early childhood and research experience. A former educator, Hanah received her B.A. in Psychology and Educational Studies from Emory University, her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University, and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Georgia State University. Hanah’s research experience spans a number of areas, including early language and literacy development, parent-child language interaction, program evaluation and fidelity, and health literacy. In addition to her responsibilities at GEEARS, Hanah teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology, education, and child development.
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hanah lives in the Grant Park area of Atlanta with her husband and young son.
A graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. Degree in Business Administration, Colette serves as the Office Manager for GEEARS. The Administrative Professional brings with her 20+ years’ experience from the private sector, government and non-profit industries. She specializes in organization and administrative support services, project management, program and event coordinating. With her highly effective management and broad range of skills, Colette’s mission is to assist GEEARS in operating more effectively and efficiently while simultaneously increasing their productivity.
In addition, she uses her skills as a Clutter Consultant. Cleaning clutter is a process of assessing all the things in your environment in terms of the practical purposes that they serve. Many people are looking for a lasting change in their relationship to their physical environment that leads to greater effectiveness, productivity, spontaneity, creativity, fulfillment, and peace of mind in their lives. Colette enjoys sharing how you can transform your ways with clutter so your environment can nurture and support you on an ongoing basis.
The Atlanta native and mother of two adult sons is also a professional singer who enhanced her vocal talents and training under Andrew Terry, an Alumnus of the New England Conservatory and The Julliard School of Music. With this extraordinary gift of vocal abilities and a passion for performing; organizations locally and abroad enjoy the motivated energy and inspirational uplift they receive when Colette sings. When she’s not singing or volunteering, her favorite pastime is reading a good book; she spends the rest of her time enjoying her grandchildren.
Born and raised in Georgia, Vett is passionate about improving early education in the state. Vett has experience in strategic communications and public relations in both government and non-profit sectors. She earned her B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communications and her M.S. in Public Policy, with concentrations in Education and Health Policy, from Georgia Tech. Vett also earned a Spanish minor, and speaks Spanish fluently. Before joining GEEARS, Vett worked in the communications offices at the University System of Georgia, the City of Atlanta, and the Office of the Governor.
Vett lives in Downtown Decatur, and enjoys anything that requires creativity or involves good food.
Shaun is excited to join the GEEARS staff this summer as a member of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. He moved to Atlanta in Fall 2015 to pursue a Juris Doctor at Emory University. Through courses, research, and internship opportunities, Shaun has developed skills and knowledge in policy analysis and formation, program evaluation, strategic planning, and legislative advocacy.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, he graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Education. As an undergraduate, he was an active member of local nonprofits and organizations in the Northwest Arkansas community, such as Fayetteville Boys and Girls Club, United Way of Northwest Arkansas, Special Olympics Arkansas and Fayetteville Public Schools.
While in Atlanta, Shaun has been an active member of the Emory Law Public Interest Committee and has held internships with the University System of Georgia and the Office of State Senator Elena Parent. Outside of law school, he is a dedicated public servant and has volunteered with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, LiftUp Atlanta, Habitat for Humanity and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
Shaun looks forward to being a part of the GEEARS team and assisting the staff in developing equitable and innovative policy solutions with local officials and community partners to further advance early childhood education in Georgia.
Laura Bennett is a rising Junior at Emory University. She plans to double major in Human Health as well as Psychology and Linguistics. Ultimately, Laura would love to do research and affect public policy regarding health disparities in marginalized populations, mental health, mass incarceration and its impact on public health, obesity prevention, the intersections between health and education, dietary behavior on chronic disease, reproductive health rights, and drug policy.
Laura’s personal mission in life is to make the world more loving, compassionate, and open-minded. On a day-to-day basis, she strives to do this by forming strong, supportive relationships built on these principles. She aims to make the lives of those around her happier, healthier, and easier in any way that she can. She is an activist at heart and her goal, in everything she does, is always growth – for the world, for those around her, for herself.
Laura was born two months premature so she has seen, from her own experience, how crucial early education is for the developing brain. The prospects for babies that are born so small and premature, statistically, are not good. Fortunately, she never faced the developmental issues that many premature children face. According to her, she owes her success to her mother, who is the director of a preschool, teaches early childhood development, and was able to use everything she knows about the developing brain to ensure that Laura was not behind. Laura is excited to be an intern with GEEARS because she would like to have the opportunity to do that same thing for other children, or to at least be able to spread the knowledge about early education that she grew up with to other families and communities.