Board of Directors
Exalt has assembled a passionate and skilled Board of Directors comprised of distinguished civic leaders, business executives, philanthropists and educational professionals. The Board sets policy, governs the non-profit corporation’s activities, and holds its leadership accountable for all aspects of fiscal health, organizational operation, and academic performance.
Bonnie Johnson, Chair
Bonnie Johnson is an attorney whose practice areas include general corporate and commercial law, employment law, nonprofit law, and appellate advocacy. Before joining the Arkansas Bar, Ms. Johnson worked for nonprofit organizations for twenty-five years.
Ms. Johnson earned her Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration degrees with high honors at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) William H. Bowen School of Law and the UALR Institute of Government. She clerked for two years for Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Ms. Johnson is an active community volunteer whose work includes founding the Jennifer L. Carson endowment, a scholarship for single parents who are students at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, serving on the Arkansas Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council, and working with the Arkansas Repertory Theater.
Benjamin J. Lindquist, Vice Chair
Benjamin J. Lindquist is the program director for the Character and K12 Education Programs at the Kern Family Foundation. In this capacity, he helps build partnerships and shape strategy surrounding the education and character formation of children and youth.
Before joining the Kern team, Mr. Lindquist served as the founder and chief executive officer of Exalt Education for six years. Prior to founding Exalt, Mr. Lindquist was Partner and Vice President of the Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF), a social venture capital firm that he helped start in the spring of 2005. CSGF provides growth financing and strategic guidance to high-performing public charter school networks. During his tenure, Mr. Lindquist played a key role in managing most aspects of CSGF’s investment and portfolio development activities.
From 1997 to 2002, Mr. Lindquist was Co-Executive Director of the Chicago Charter School Foundation (CCSF), an operating foundation that oversaw one of the largest and highest-performing urban charter school organizations in the nation. During Mr. Lindquist’s tenure, CCSF pioneered a unique contract-out model to operate a growing public school network with campuses across several Chicago communities. Over a five-year period, CCSF grew from three to six campuses that now serve more than 3,200 students in grades K-12.
From 1995 to 1997, Mr. Lindquist worked for The Education Industry Group, a publishing and consulting firm that tracked entrepreneurial activity in education. As Lead Writer of The Education Industry Report – a trade publication with a subscription base of prominent educators, corporate executives, policy leaders and investors – he authored cover stories on dozens of education trends, including distance education, home schooling, school choice, and contracting for services. He also published dozens of articles on education organizations nationwide and profiled many newsworthy educational leaders.
Mr. Lindquist graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in English from St. John's University in Central Minnesota. He earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU). During his time at CU, Mr. Lindquist specialized in Entrepreneurship and led a team that took first prize in the CU New Venture Challenge, a university-wide business plan competition that included startup ventures in biotechnology, electronic media, education and other arenas. Mr. Lindquist used the prize money from the business plan competition to help launch the first school in the Exalt Education network.
Jeffry Laux, Treasurer/Secretary
Jeffrey Laux brings four decades of real estate experiences spanning a broad range of disciplines. Since the mid 1970’s Jeff has been active in real estate brokerage, development , leasing, ownership and finance. His work has included multiple sectors of the market including office, residential, industrial, multifamily, commercial, hotel, commercial and retail.
Projects have involved new builds, renovations, high-rise and historic restorations. His portfolio of projects is well in excess of one million square feet and includes over a dozen large-scale projects. These include the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, the Calhoun Beach Club, the People Serving People building, the 514 Building, St. Anne’s Senior Housing, the William McGee Building, and the TCF Tower. Jeff’s work has been recognized by the Minneapolis Historic Preservation Commission and two of his projects were listed by the Department Of The Interior on the National Register Of Historic Places.
Most recently, Laux has transitioned from directing prominent projects in the business and hospitality sectors to focusing more time in non-profit leadership and the development of charter school facilities.
Jeffrey Laux is a graduate of De La Salle on Nicollet Island, completed undergraduate real estate coursework at the University of Minnesota, and is a graduate of the Building Owners and Managers Institute. He has been on the Board of Minneapolis-based non-profit People Serving People for over 30 years where he oversaw a $6 million capital campaign as chair. He is currently a trustee for the Church of St. Anne St. Joseph Hein in North Minneapolis, was a founding board member and serves as president of St. Anne’s Educational Foundation and founded St. Anne’s Community Development Corporation. He was awarded the Business Journal’s Best Overall Real Estate Development Award in 2006 for his Historic Ivy Tower Project.