Dr. Carol Wertz - Director/Professor

With over 35 years in education, Carol has developed a wealth of experience in a variety of areas. She has taught every grade level from pre-K to adult, both in the United States and overseas. She spent 15 years as a professor at Simpson University where she oversaw the masters’ and credentialing program in Korea, directed multi-million dollar grants, and trained future teachers in best classroom practices in the areas of language arts and multicultural education. She is now an educational consultant, working with a number of schools.

Mike Freeman - Superintendent/Principal

Mike Freeman has been serving as the Superintendent/Principal of the Grant Elementary School District in Redding, California since the summer of 2012. Mike’s experience in public education spans 19 years and ranges from teaching high school Spanish, working as an Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, and now as a Superintendent. In his current position as Superintendent of the Grant Elementary School District, Mike oversees all aspects of the school district, that serves over 600 students from preschool through 8th grade. Among his accomplishments, Mike was named Shasta County Superintendent of the Year for 2015. While he was at Mountain View Middle School, the school was recognized as a California Distinguished School. During his leadership at Grant, the school received the top Academic Performance Index (916 - 1000) for the county.

Steven Mitchell - Teacher/Trainer

Steven Mitchell is a retired middle school teacher. For thirty-one years he specialized in arts education. He was a drama and visual arts teacher in Redding, CA as well as a drama teacher/trainer and curriculum writer for The California Arts Project and the Northeast California Arts Project for twenty years. He enjoyed many years coaching teachers, K-12 in the student teaching program at Simpson University as well as being a consultant teacher/trainer in the humanities and a trainer in drug-free school programs throughout Northern California for a decade.  His gift is infusing creativity, passion and education to young people through the arts in a journey that provides each participant with fun, challenge and new directions in personal growth and betterment.

Andy Mills - Teacher/Trainer

Andy Mills is a multiple grade level teacher with 15+ years of experience in U.S. education.  He focuses on best classroom practices through effective classroom management, high expectations, and student leadership development.

Rajiv Patnaik - Founder/President Zedbridge

Rajiv Patnaik born in Kolkata, moved to Redding, California in 1989, where he lives with his family. Rajiv is the founder/President of Zedbridge and the President of HCS Elementary School in Kolkata, India.

Rajiv has 15+ years as a senior leader in the nonprofit world gaining global experience directing organizations and multi million dollar projects in multiple service sites. In addition, Rajiv continues to serve as a consultant to organizations to improve performance management in institutional care, relief and development projects.

Research has shown that 250 million students around the world can’t read, write or count. Zedbridge, is on a mission to change these statistics by drawing on experience over three decades at a school for underprivileged children in Kolkata, India. Our Alternative Education Model leverages technology to equip unresourced schools with a high quality education program that allows students to discover and achieve their full potential.

Zedbridge was established in 2014 as a 501(c)(3) organization to provide affordable high quality education for the underprivileged students of HCS Elementary school in Kolkata, India. While developing the educational program for HCS, a new vision for a pre-packaged educational program that can be used by schools serving underprivileged children around the globe started to form.

Zedbridge began in early 2013 after the passing of then current President/Principal Zachariah Patnaik. Zedbridge - “The Zachariah Education Bridge” was founded in honor of the late Zachariah Patnaik.

Zac, having very humble beginnings, personally experienced the importance of good education. He learned how education can help ignite a child's' dreams and desires. He also witnessed how easily those same dreams and desires could be extinguished when a child is engulfed in a life of poverty. Zac’s mission became one of how not only to ignite the fire of dreams and desires, but how to provide the discipline and perseverance to make this a reality.

With this belief as his motivation, he ran HCS Elementary for 27 years with enrollments that have peaked at over 700 students. Zachariah Patnaik passed away in February of 2013 and since then, his son, Rajiv Patnaik, has taken on his father’s mission.