Our Partners

Axis Talent Partners is a collective of independent talent and education experts who have spent the majority or entirety of their careers working in to improve outcomes for students.  We are a uniquely structured firm whose partners believe in and reflect the communities our clients serve.  We are as committed to supporting education organizations with talent solutions as we are to increasing the diversity of leadership within the education sector.    

Our combined international network includes highly talented, mission-driven instructional leaders, and education, government, non-profit and private-sector professionals.


Laura Donald founded Axis Talent Partners because of her passion for helping organizations and candidates find the right fit, in the service of improving life outcomes for students. Laura has worked in the education sector for over fifteen years, beginning her career as a middle school guidance counselor in Hawaii.  After teaching fourth grade English Language Development in California and co-teaching third grade at an East Harlem charter school, Laura served as Education Director with The Children’s Aid Society at a Harlem community center. Later, Laura joined Education Pioneers as NYC’s first Program Director, responsible for recruitment and selection, career coaching, program design and facilitation and partnership development. Laura also served as the first Director of Network Recruitment at Achievement First Charter Schools, where she oversaw the recruitment of key senior academic and administrative positions for their network support office. Laura received her BA from San Francisco State University and her graduate degree in Education from New York University, focusing in education policy and school reform.  She and her family live in Brooklyn, New York.

Leniece F. Brissett launched her career in education as a Teach For America corps member working to ensure all children have the opportunity to receive an excellent education. She founded Compass Talent Group, a search firm specializing in connecting professionals with education organizations, as a systems-level approach to addressing educational equity. She believes investing in top talent, is a primary driver of improved outcomes for organizations and by extension, most importantly, our students. Prior to founding Compass Talent Group, Leniece was the Texas State Director of Education Pioneers in which she developed and managed a portfolio of 23 education partnerships with charter schools, foundations, districts and non-profits. In this role, she placed talent for the following partner organizations: The New Teacher Project, Houston Independent School District, Houston A+, Educate Texas, KIPP and Texas Education Agency to name a few. She holds a Master of Science from Bank Street College of Education and a Master of Arts from Columbia University Teachers College.

Ron Rapatalo’s career vision is coaching, connecting and inspiring others to find their best selves through healthier living, increased mindfulness/interconnection and stronger intention/strategy. Ron has been a talent shepherd for 10 years, recruiting and selecting hundreds of candidates to become education leaders. He currently consults, leading and supporting hiring searches for school districts and non-profits. Ron is also a coach, giving career advice on how to navigate career transitions and present oneself from networking to interviewing. He also supports others on how to live healthier lives. Ron believes in the power of connecting with others to support, nurture and develop our talents. Ron is an active member of the NYU alumni community, serving as Vice-President of the NYU Alumni Association, co-founder of the Multicultural Alumni Group, co-chair of the Marketing and Communications committee, and a Young Alumni Leadership Circle patron. He is also an iMentor volunteer.

In his spare time, he loves spending time with his wife Shanita and baby Sofia, whether it's watching reality TV, enjoying Family Feud, or devouring favorite movies/shows on Netflix. He's also an avid yoga practitioner, meditator and kick-boxer. A native New Yorker, he's a rabid New York Yankees and New York Giants fan.

Maia A. Blankenship is an Executive Director at The Achievement Network. She serves as an organization wide leader for the national nonprofit with specific oversight of the DC Network which supports over 70 school partners in data driven instruction through the use of interim assessments and tools that support instruction. Maia brings over 15 years of experience with process improvement, strategic planning, organizational design and talent strategy to the education sector. As an independent consultant she is passionate about supporting school districts, charter schools and education organizations with recruitment, talent management and retention planning.

In 2011, Maia served as the Director of Human Capital Strategies for the School Turnaround Group at Mass Insight Education where she was responsible for supporting district clients with addressing human capital challenges related to staffing, recruitment and selection. Prior to that, she was the Director of Staffing and Recruitment Services at DC Public Schools. Earlier in her career, Maia supported the strategic initiatives of the Executive Team at College Summit. As the Founding Managing Director of Education Pioneers, she launched the DC Metro Area office and tripled the size and impact of the program in just over two years, while playing an integral leadership role in developing and executing a national recruitment strategy to attract candidates of color. Maia resides in the District of Columbia and serves as the Parliamentarian for the GeorgiaAvenue/ Rock Creek Family Support Collaborative. She obtained a Bachelors of Science from Spelman College and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

With Ky Adderley, what you see is what you get. He’s a liaison for people—a persistent link between their good, better, and best.  A Teach for America alumnus who was named Outstanding New Teacher of the Year in 2002, Ky has worked in the trenches as a sixth-grade teacher in Washington, D.C. Public Schools, and at the helm as the founding principal of KIPP AMP Academy, in New York City. A Philadelphia native, Ky then became a full-time education consultant, most recently focused on building unique learning models in Brazil.

In 2011, Ky formed The Adderley Group with a goal of providing world-class expertise in education leadership training and school reform. His clients are drawn to his experiences in various education settings, his passion, and his ability to connect people using a substantial network.  As leadership consultant for Trevo and Sistema Elite Escolas, he leads new and seasoned pedagogical teams to implement best practices throughout schools. He has been the lead consultant in the opening of an Olympic-development school for Rio de Janeiro students preparing for college abroad. He also has traveled to South Africa with EdVillage, an organization working to increase the number of quality schools available to low-income children worldwide, to conduct school reviews and training for teachers and principals.  Ky is a Georgetown alumnus, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from National Louis University.  Ky lives in Rio de Janeiro with his wife, daughter, and Rhodesian Ridgeback dog.