America Succeeds is run by an inspired group of professionals who have a passion for excellence in education.
C. Tim Taylor
Cofounder & Executive Director
Tim Taylor is the co-founder and Executive Director of America Succeeds, bringing a unique background of executive, nonprofit, and public policy experience to the organization. Prior to launching America Succeeds, he served as the founding President of Colorado Succeeds.
Tim began his career on Capitol Hill as a Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Saxby Chambliss (GA). After relocating to Colorado in 1998, he served as an independent political consultant, Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for the Colorado Health Care Association, and founder of Open Fairways—a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and underprivileged children through the game of golf and its core values of honor, etiquette, and respect.
Tim is chairman of the board of directors for the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network and serves on the advisory board of Highline Academy Charter School. He is a fellow of the 14th class of the Aspen- Pahara Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Tim is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and earned a Masters degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Clare, son Macon, daughter Ellie and a Boykin Spaniel. Contact Tim
Jason Gaulden is the Communications Director of America Succeeds, responsible for providing communications, fundraising, and operational support to the home office and affiliates.
He is also the Founder and Principal at Gaulden Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategy, communications, and fundraising services to public and private institutions. Jason draws upon fifteen years of professional experience in varying roles: executive leadership, philanthropy, marketing, technical writing, fund development, and nonprofit board service.
Prior to independent consulting, Jason served as the Program Officer for Education at Daniels Fund, one of the largest foundations in the Rocky Mountain West. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at El Pomar Foundation, also among the largest philanthropic institutions in the region.
Jason is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, graduating with honors. He later served two terms as Chair of the University’s Alumni Board. Contact Jason
Vice President for Growth and Strategy
Eric Lerum is the Vice President for Growth and Strategy at America Succeeds, responsible for helping the organization expand its impact and reach as it grows over the next few years, and assisting existing state affiliates to improve their overall effectiveness.
Eric brings deep experience in strategic planning, partnership development, and policy analysis, having advised policymakers and state and organizational leaders for over a decade. Most recently, he led the policy efforts at StudentsFirst as the VP of National Policy, building a team of policy and legislative analysts with expertise across a broad agenda, including teacher quality, school choice, and governance reform. Before StudentsFirst, Eric served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education for the District of Columbia, where he played a lead role in local school reform efforts, including the mayoral takeover of the school system and D.C.’s successful Race to the Top application. He has also held positions as the Legislative Counsel to the D.C. Council’s education committee and as a Policy Analyst for the D.C. Board of Education.
Eric is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the Washington College of Law at American University, where he developed his passion for public education and youth justice while teaching constitutional literacy to high school students in Washington, D.C. Contact Eric
Lauren Cole is the Project Director of America Succeeds, responsible for coordinating daily operations, project planning, and supporting the home office and affiliates.
A recent graduate of Cornell University, Lauren majored in Development Sociology, minored in both education and business, and graduated with honors. Prior to attending Cornell, she served as a corps member with City Year Boston, where she worked to improve school attendance and literacy, and developed a passion for improving outcomes and opportunities for all students.