Board Chair

Mark Otto founded Friends of Facing History school in 2017 after serving the school from 2005-2016 in various capacities including teacher, Assistant Principal and Co-Principal. His experience at the school inspired him to find ways to raise funds that will ensure all students have access to critical opportunities no matter where they come from. In 2016 Mark transitioned to a new role in the NYCDOE as Director of Special Education at Brooklyn North and currently serves as the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in the Office of Nonpublic Schools. In addition to his work in education Mark has served on various nonprofit boards including the School Reform Initiative and Harlem Pride.



Gillian Smith



Board Member

David Ross is a Senior Mediator at Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS). He specializes in resolving complex two-party and multi-party cases and regularly handles high profile cases involving celebrities, politicians and CEO’s of large corporations. He also teaches Basic and Advanced negotiation courses at Columbia University Law School.  David has been running a Mentoring Program for Facing History School twelfth graders since 2013. He has served on the Boards of The Cathedral School (2000-2005) and NYU Law School (2020-present) and other non-profits such as The Rainforest Alliance, Search for Common Ground and The Convergence Leadership Council based in Washington DC.


Board Member