Students in classroom
"If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees, if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people."

— Chinese Proverb
Students in classroom

Who We Are

Cynthia Johnson
President, ReThink Higher Ed®

Cynthia JohnsonCynthia Johnson is a featured educational innovator in the recent book, The Power to Spring Up: Postsecondary Education Opportunities for Students with Significant Disabilities, by Diane Katovitch. She was interviewed by Time Magazine for a proposed article in the series Innovators: Forging the Future for her cutting edge work as the founding director and idea person behind the first accredited degree program for students challenged with learning and intellectual disabilities.

Cynthia created ReThink Higher Ed® to offer individual courses or the entire Passport Program to educators and parents in high School programs, private academies, charter schools. postsecondary programs, homeschooling associations, and parent-driven educational start-ups. In 2006, she was invited and testified before the U.S. Department of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education regarding the need for programs across the nation for students challenged with intellectual and learning disabilities. In 2010, Cynthia was contacted and interviewed by the U.S. Department of Education regarding her expertise for the Transition Programs for Students With Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) grants that were recently awarded throughout the United States.

Cynthia holds a Master of Educational Administration with emphasis on higher education and adult learning theory, has done post graduate work in Brain Research in Education, and is also a Certified Mediator Practitioner in Washington State. She has extensive teaching experience, including many of the Passport Program courses, and also students from preschool to senior citizens.

Cynthia has a comfort level with the media, public speaking and has been interviewed by various national media and educational journals including National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, Inside Higher Education, University Business Review, The Seattle Times, and KIRO Television. Recently, she recently was a member of the Task Force on the High School Financial Planning Program for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) and was the featured speaker for the Social Security regional meeting held in Seattle. Cynthia was a featured speaker in April, 2008, at the Rhode Island Transition in the Ocean State Conference, Rhode Island Department of Education, Office of Diverse Learners, and the Offices of Rehabilitation and Human Services. In 2007, Cynthia presented at the University of Washington's Innovative Technology for Autism Symposium.

Media Interviews with Cynthia as Venture Director:

Seattle college program for special needs adults
October 17, 2005, National Public Radio All Things Considered

KIRO News: One-of-a-Kind Program
October 12, 2005, KIRO Television

A Degree of Their Own
October 2005, University Business Review

Jackie L. Booth, Ph.D.
Curriculum Designer
Jackie Booth, Ph.D.Jackie L. Booth, Ph.D. has spent the past 30 years working with various organizations, institutions and individuals to design, teach, manage and implement effective educational programs for preschoolers through senior citizens. She holds degrees from Brigham Young University (Journalism/English Education), Southern Illinois University (Curriculum and Instruction) and the University of South Florida (Interdisciplinary Education/Curriculum Design).  She began her career as a newspaper reporter before becoming a middle school English teacher, including a four-year contract with the U.S. Department of Defense schools in Germany.  For nine years she served as the Associate Director of the USF Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education where she taught several graduate level classes for teachers and developed award-winning curricula in economics.  During her time at the university, she also wrote and acted in three educational series still being broadcast on the public education channel in Tampa.

In 1997, she started an educational design firm that provides curriculum, training, media, and website support to thousands of teachers in Florida, Illinois and New York. Her current educational projects include Start With Success ( a comprehensive resource for new and substitute teachers in Florida, the Florida State Victim Assistance Academy (professional development for law enforcement, victim advocates and legal aid professionals held in conjunction with the independent colleges and universities throughout the state), Junior Achievement Worldwide fifth grade program focused on math, science and engineering and Your Community Plan, a high school interdisciplinary program about community planning in conjunction with the American Planning Association.

According to Jackie, the best part about working in education is the opportunity to constantly explore new ideas, concepts and processes while connecting to people engaged in the exciting learning experience.

Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D.
Workforce Trainer, Faculty Trainer
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D.Jonathan Deutsch is Associate Director, Center for Economic and Workforce Development at Kingsborough Community College and a senior fellow of the Institute for Virtual Enterprise of the City University of New York, an institute charged with developing student success through active learning interventions in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and sustainable leadership.

From his first job as a cook and job trainer at a summer camp for children and adults with developmental disabilities, he has been an advocate for learners of all abilities.

Deutsch earned his Ph.D. from The Steinhardt School of Education at New York University, studying social and cultural aspects of food and is a graduate of Drexel University and the Culinary Institute of America. He has published in such publications as the Journal of Leadership Education, the Journal of Hospitality, Tourism Education, and Food and Foodways and is Education Editor of the journal Food, Culture and Society. Contact him at

Christine Johnson, Ph.D.
Organizational Designer
Christine Johnson holds a Ph.D. in Social-Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California with an emphasis on Organizational Development. For 25 years she has been developing and remodeling organizational cultures. She works collaboratively, enabling clients to achieve their goals for productive work environments.

Christine’s clients include Kaiser-Pemanente, Agilent Technologies, and, most recently Summit Charter High School in Redwood City, California.

Christine has been on the Board of The Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, California ( focusing on program evaluation, human resource development, and strategic planning.

George Lynn, MA, MPA, LMHC
Parent Trainer, Faculty Trainer
George Lynn, MA, MPA, LMHCGeorge Lynn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor from Bellevue, Washington who has pioneered the use of psychotherapy for adults and children with neuropsychological issues. He has lectured internationally on the subject, has written three popular books on parenting children with challenges, and holds Masters degrees in psychology and public administration.

His career as a psychotherapist and writer spans twenty-two years and includes extensive teaching and publication accomplishment. George has taught at the graduate level at Antioch University, the University of Puget Sound, and Chapman College, has had articles featured in several national magazines including: Bipolar Magazine, The Family Therapy Networker, and Hope. He has appeared on National Public Radio several times and he has been a keynote speaker at various educational conferences in the United States and England.

Since 1991, George has focused attention on the powerful impact of brain chemistry in the process of personal change and development. He subsequently developed a practice specialty working with individuals challenged with ADD, Tourette Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Asperger's Syndrome.

George is author of Survival Strategies For Parenting Your ADD Child, Dealing With Obsessions, Compulsions, Depression, Explosive Behavior, and Rage (Underwood Books, 1996), Survival Strategies for Parenting Children With Bipolar Disorder (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2000), and Genius! Nurturing the Spirit of the Wild, Odd, and Oppositional Child (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2005). His website is

Jacob Schwarz, J.D.
Legal Consultant

Jake is a  founder of Pacific Crest Law Partners in San Francisco and was a partner with Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California. He focuses on representing emerging growth and high technology companies.  His practice includes advising clients with respect to business formations, licensing and joint ventures, intellectual property protection, and employment law counseling.  His clients include tech companies in industries such as software, semiconductors, systems integration, environmental sciences, aeronautics, and biotech, as well as businesses in educational services, retail, and real estate development and management.

Jake began his legal career as a commercial litigator with the San Francisco office of an international law firm. His professional and civic activities include the Santa Clara Country Bar Association, Palo Alto Area Bar Association, and Volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. His court admissions include California State Courts, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Northern and Central Districts of California. He is a member of the Bar of California and is a frequent guest speaker at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. He has also been a presenter at the Center for International Legal Studies’ international law seminar in Kitzbühel, Austria.

Jake has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College (magna cum laude).