Our Leaders

Leila Centner

Co-Founder

Leila Centner is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Centner Academy, a progressive independent ‘happiness’ school that combines a deep commitment to emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and happiness with a challenging curriculum featuring language immersion, entrepreneurial thinking, problem solving, creativity, and collaboration. Using a strengths-based approach to learning, all Centner Academy students and teachers have opportunities to do what they love across the curriculum through project- and problem-based learning. Centner Academy’s mission is to promote:

 

  • Happy, thriving students
  • Rigorous curriculum that engages students
  • Mindfulness and emotional intelligence
  • Effective foreign language acquisition
  • Project- and problem-based learning
  • Entrepreneurial thinking
  • Personalized learning journeys
  • Habits to optimize neurodevelopment

 

Centner Academy’s curriculum philosophy was developed by a team of seasoned educators to meet the needs and expectations of globally minded families. Our intention is to shape future adults who are not only confident and poised to succeed, but who also have the character and skills needed to make the world a better, kinder, and more loving place for all.

Leila is on a personal mission to save the children by providing a happy, safe environment where kids can be kids.

For many years Leila Centner was the Chief Financial Officer of Highway Toll Administration (HTA) until it was sold in March 2018. Prior to her work with HTA, Leila held several high-level financial roles with Arthur Andersen and Deloitte & Touche, overseeing engagements with multi-billion dollar accounting clients. Leila’s greatest joy comes from being part of humanitarian organizations such as Convoy of Hope and the Centner Foundation, which she co-manages with her husband David. A proud mother of two daughters, Leila graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern California’s School of Accounting and received her MBA from the University of California.

David Centner

Co-Founder

David Centner is a successful inventor, serial entrepreneur, tech visionary and philanthropist, with pioneering ventures in Web development, online marketplaces and electronic toll collection. Mr. Centner has had 4 successful exits with technology companies that he founded and led.

In 1994, Mr. Centner founded one of the world’s first Internet development and “interactive advertising” agencies, K2 Design. As its chairman and CEO, Mr. Centner at age 30 guided K2 Design through a successful 1996 IPO and eventual profitability. K2 Design was the first of its kind to be inducted into the prestigious American Association of Advertising Agencies.

In 1996, Mr. Centner founded and incubated CLIQNOW!, a leading online ad network, which was sold the following year to pre-IPO 24/7 Media.

In 1997, Mr. Centner founded and was CEO of MaterialNet, the world’s first reverse-auction, buyercentric business-to-business e-marketplace for raw materials. MaterialNet was acquired by Perfect Commerce in 2002.

In 2002, Mr. Centner founded, self-financed, wrote the first generation of code, and invented patented devices for Highway Toll Administration, LLC (HTA), the first and largest provider of vehicle tolling solutions in the world. At the time of its sale in March 2018, HTA, 100% owned by Mr. Centner, grew to oversee the tolling interests for approximately 4 million vehicles annually. HTA was acquired by private equity firm Platinum Equity investing from their $6.5 billion global buyout fund, Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV.

Mr. Centner is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business with a major in Entrepreneurial Management. Mr. Centner was born and raised in Miami, Florida.

Bianca Erickson

COO

Bianca believes we are all here for a reason and that we each have specific, unique gifts to contribute to this world — for humanity and our planet at this moment in time. When we each bring forth our individual gifts and live with a sense of deep meaning and purpose, is when we feel the best — the most fulfilled and happy, not to mention it is when we are doing the most good for others.

Centner Academy provides our children with the practices to uncover and explore their unique talents and gifts, their sense of meaning and purpose. Our world needs healing and our children’s approach to life will greatly impact the future of humanity.

Bianca graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Master’s degree in Epidemiology and Cum Laude with Honors from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor’s degree and a double major in Psychology and Spanish.

Dina Scellato

Preschool Principal & Director of Curriculum

Dina is excited to bring her commitment to education and focus on the whole child to a school that embodies the same philosophy. Dina’s experience and passion are in direct alignment with the mission and vision of The Centner Academy.

A passionate educator for twenty-eight years, Dina holds a Masters Degree in Education and Teacher Leadership and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Psychology. She obtained teacher certifications from the states of New Jersey and Florida with a Gifted Education Endorsement. Dina has vast knowledge and professional development experience from Harvard Graduate School of Education, specifically Project Zero with Professor Howard Gardner, Gifted Education coursework through the College of William and Mary, and continuous training in Conscious Discipline spanning over two decades.