About The Civic Circle

The Civic Circle is a Silver Spring, Maryland-based nonprofit that brings civics alive for very young children with music and drama shared in assembly and after-school programs. For more information, please contact Eliza Newlin Carney at ecarney@theciviccircle.org.



Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a longtime Washington writer, editor and columnist specializing in democracy issues. She is a columnist and former senior editor for The American Prospect, and previously held senior positions at CQ Roll Call and National Journal. The Civic Circle grows out of Carney's passion for democracy, and for cultural and civic life in Silver Spring, where she has lived for more than two decades. She is the Civic Circle's Founder and President.


Michael L. Amilcar

Michael Leslie Amilcar is the owner and CEO of Cook Ross Inc., a certified woman-owned diversity and inclusion consulting firm based in downtown Silver Spring. She has more than two decades of experience helping mission-driven organizations plan strategically, adhere to diversity best practices, and expand their profitability, performance and value. She is the Civic Circle’s Vice President.


Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Director of Exchange and Training at World Learning, a nonprofit that provides international education through exchange, training and study abroad programs. He has 22 years of nonprofit leadership experience advancing community development, youth empowerment and economic growth in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere. He has also taught English as a Second Language and musical theater at the high school level, and is a former Peace Corps volunteer.


Manuela Ekowo

Manuela Ekowo is policy manager at The Impact Project, a nonprofit that advances progressive economic and democracy policies in 10 states. Her previous posts include media associate at ReThink Media, where she provided strategic communications for organizations working to strengthen our democracy, and policy analyst at New America, where she focused on the use of technology to improve student academic achievement. She is The Civic Circle's Secretary.

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Ritchie Porter

Ritchie Porter is a longtime Washington area drama instructor, theater director, actor and playwright. For the past 18 years, he has served as theater director and drama instructor at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, where he also has served as the Chair of the Performing Arts Department. He has taught drama at numerous schools, camps and after-school programs in the greater Washington area. He also is a longtime actor and director with the Silver Spring-based Lumina Studio Theatre.


Tami Mark

Tami Mark is a leading public health expert specializing in behavior health care financing and services. As health economist and senior director at RTI International, she leads research projects to improve the financing, organization and delivery of mental and substance abuse services. She also serves on Montgomery County’s Mental Health Advisory Committee, and on the board of Cornerstone Montgomery.


Jeffrey Walker

Jeffrey Walker is an educational program manager and youth advocate. He is a consultant to Maryland MENTOR, and is director of operations at Drugnet Enterprises, which employs "edutainment" to keep kids drug free. He previously was Silver Spring-based program manager for the Latin American Youth Center, and has led multiple grant-funded projects in Montgomery County.


Tony Nam

Tony Nam is finance director at Indivisible. He previously served as senior campaign financial manager with the Center for Community Change, a national nonprofit focused on community organizing and economic justice advocacy. He is also a Washington-based actor who has worked with many of the region’s top theater companies, as well as in film, commercial and voice-over. He is The Civic Circle's Treasurer.



Mady Chalk

Mady Chalk is a senior consultant at The Chalk Group with extensive experience in strategic planning and leadership development, including civic education, for nonprofit organizations. She is a well-known behavioral health expert focusing on quality and improvement in the organization, financing, and delivery of mental health and addiction treatment services. In her current post, she consults to Medicaid agencies as well as private and public health plans.


Carson Henry

Carson Henry is the association executive for social responsibility with the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, overseeing volunteerism, social services and equity efforts. Carson has executive leadership experience with various types of community-building organizations. Carson also serves on the Nonprofit Montgomery board of directors and in leadership of the Downtown Silver Spring Rotary Club.


Theodore Goldstock

Theodore Goldstock is a business attorney with Lerch, Early, & Brewer Chtd. in Bethesda, practicing in the areas of corporate law, commercial transactions and commercial litigation. He also has extensive experience advising nonprofit entities on all aspects of their governance, including mergers, joint ventures, and obtaining exemptions from income tax.


Margo Reid

Margo Reid brings decades of experience as a writer and producer in documentary film to her current consulting work with Capacity Partners in nonprofit governance, strategic planning, and consensus facilitation. Her clients include arts, social service, and educational organizations. Volunteer work includes board positions with Glen Echo Park Partnership, Bethesda Cares, and Community Bridges. Her work to advance social action through film included the Oscar-nominated documentaries BULLY, and How to Survive a Plague.



Trevor Schmutz

Trevor Schmutz

Trevor Schmutz is a Masters of Public Policy candidate at George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School. He joins The Civic Circle as a Program Development Specialist and AmeriCorps VISTA team member. He has a background in nonprofit arts management, and brings a passion for equity and inclusion in democracy to The Civic Circle.

Amrit Mann

Amrit Mann

Amrit Mann is The Civic Circle’s intern. She is a student at the University of Maryland studying psychology and law, and hopes to open her own nonprofit someday. She has worked and volunteered at several nonprofits in the D.C. area and has a strong interest in nonprofit management, entrepreneurship, democracy, and civic health.


Donna Elaine Miller and Jon Baker, songwriters for Sesame Street, Sea World and Universal Studios. They shared their award-winning song "A United State of Humanity" with Civic Circle students in a class session on civility ("Listen!")


Molly WilsonBecky Hay and Donna Delgado, from the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County. They shared strategies and led role-playing games on the topic of peaceful conflict resolution as part of our unit on civility ("Listen!").


Montgomery College Student ambassadors Alva Smith and Brandan Buckner addressed Civic Circle students on the topic of voting (Choose!). They discussed the voter registration process, how they selected candidates, and why voting matters.


Blair High School students Anika Seth, Marijke Frieman, Maia Egnal and Kathryn LaLonde visited The Civic Circle from the Silver Chips newspaper. They shared lessons about news gathering and fact checking in a unit on news literacy (Learn!).