Education Advisory


Jackie Avallone

School Director, English + Social Studies Educator

Jackie Avallone has a B.A. in English from Florida State University and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University, where she earned a "Master's Program Student of the Year" award. She has been involved in education for over 20 years as a classroom teacher and administrator working with students from preschool through high school. Prior to joining the Accelerator team, she worked as the director of a private school in Raleigh for six years.  Her life experiences include the exciting challenges and personal rewards of being involved in education while living in Congo, Kyrgyzstan and Israel.

Jackie believes educating students means not only fostering intellectual growth, but nurturing the critical-thinking skills necessary for children to become thriving world citizens. Jackie enjoys traveling, reading, biking and spending time with family and friends.




Cindy Copolo is a teaching coach and project evaluator for school districts across the state. Since 1986, she has taught math, chemistry, biology and computer science in Chapel Hill and Durham. Cindy was on the faculty at the School of Education at UNC Chapel Hill during 1994-2000. She was also the Project Director of the North Carolina Leadership Network for Earth Science Teachers, a National Science Foundation funded project. Cindy has received multiple grants and published papers on her work. She is passionate about innovating curriculum through applied and experiential learning.

She has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from UNC Chapel Hill and a Masters of Science in Human Nutrition and Foods at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a B.A. in Biochemistry at University of Virginia.

Cindy and her husband Tom have a son who will be attending the Accelerator School.


chris Mumford

education Director

Christopher Mumford is a co-founder and curriculum developer of the Accelerator School. Chris teaches innovation, design thinking and entrepreneurship at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC - Chapel Hill.  He serves as the director of several projects in education and healthcare. In 1998, he co-founded Babycare - early childhood education training centers in China. He also co-founded the Chinese language www.yaolan.com, one of the largest parenting website in the world.

During the last 15 years, Chris founded several businesses in the US and Asia. He served in roles as CEO, CFO, COO, VP Sales and VP Design while raising over $30 million from VC and Private Equity. Chris was an investment banker for 5 years.

He grew up in Chapel Hill NC where he graduated from UNC-CH with a degree in Philosophy with Honors. Chris has two children with his wife Joelle Permutt. He enjoys triathlons, cyclocross, mountain biking, fly fishing, improv and coaching. One day, he hopes to finish editing his novel about his experiences wandering the world.


terry Ransbury


Terry Ransbury is a co-founder of the Accelerator School. He is a serial entrepreneur with 30+ years in the medical device industry, primarily in Silicon Valley. He is currently the President of Nocturnal Product Development LLC located in Durham. Two years ago, Terry started an online ballet school in Cary that served as a precursor to the Accelerator School.

At the Accelerator School, Terry is responsible for corporate development and finance. he will serve a Speed Coach and also teach engineering as one of the school's subject matter experts.

Terry is a graduate of Duke University with degrees in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering. He is married to Wendy Ransbury with three children. Their oldest child, Hayden, attends Engineering School at the University of Alabama. Their middle child, Sydney, is an aspiring ballet dancer in Orlando. Calvin, their youngest son, attends the Accelerator School.


randee Haven-o'donnell

middle school science educator

Randee is a science educator at Durham Academy and the Academic Director of Duke Action Science Camp for Young Women.   She taught in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. In 1990, Randee was awarded Orange County and North Carolina Soil and Water Conservation Teacher of the Year. She is a diversity trainer and curriculum writer.  Randee is a Leadership Triangle alumna in addition to having served as Board Secretary. After serving on the Carrboro Planning Board and other municipal Advisory Boards. She was elected and began serving on the Board of Alderman in 2005. 

Randee was born in New York City. She and Gerry O’Donnell moved to Carrboro, NC in 1978.  They have an adult son, Aran. Randee is a graduate of Stony Brook University and holds a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education.


ted zoller

Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Ted Zoller oversees the teaching and outreach programs of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Ted oversees Launch Chapel Hill, a new venture lab that supports UNC startups. He is a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he previously served as a vice president.

He is president of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the largest independent, professional academic association in the world dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship.He serves on the boards of Idea Fund Partners, Rex Health Ventures, Southeast TechInventures, the executive committee of Council of Entrepreneurial Development and the national board of the Specialist People Foundation.

Ted is a former associate dean. He was founding director of economic development at the College of William & Mary, where he developed Jefferson Park, an advanced technology research park. He received his PhD from UNC, master’s degrees from the University of Virginia and Syracuse University, and a dual bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary.


Soccer Advisory

john Kerr

duke soccer coach

John Kerr is the coach of the Duke Blue Devils. Kerr, a 1987 graduate of Duke who captained the Blue Devils to the 1986 national championship, returned to his alma mater following nine seasons as the head coach at Harvard University. While with the Crimson, John compiled a ledger of 81-57-13 and earned trips to the NCAA Tournament in his last two campaigns.

John went on to play for the U.S. National Team, where he saw action in 17 matches and tallied two goals from 1984-95. Following graduation in 1986, John became the first American to play in the English Premier League when he signed on with Portsmouth. Later, John played in England, Ireland, France, Canada and US, including a 1992 title with the San Diego Sockers.

John has coached at the youth, high school, collegiate and professional levels in both England and the United States.Born March 6, 1965 in Toronto, Canada, John is married to Tracy Kerr, who was a soccer standout at Virginia in the early 1990’s. The couple has twins, Cameron John and Alexandra Catherine, and another son, Drew.

Steve Nicol

Soccer analyst for espn fc

Steve Nicol is a Liverpool FC soccer legend and currently a soccer analyst for ESPN FC. Previously, Steve was the longest-tenured coach in Major League Soccer and is regarded as one of the top tacticians and evaluators of soccer talent in this country.

During his playing days, Steve gained worldwide fame while playing for Liverpool FC in England's top division before moving on to play for Notts County, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers. While with Liverpool, Steve made 467 appearances as a defender and midfielder and scored 46 goals. He was at the heart of a Liverpool side that won four English League Titles, three FA Cup Titles and the 1984 European Cup. In 1989, his importance to the team was honored when Britain's soccer writers named him Footballer of the Year. Between 1984 and 1992 Steve appeared 27 times for the Scottish National Team, and started for his country at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Steve's coaching career began in 1995 when he was named player/manager at Notts County. Four years later, he arrived in New England as a player/assistant coach with the Boston Bulldogs. Steve holds a USSF “A” coaching license.