The Grayson School hosted a special screening of the award-winning film, Most Likely to Succeed in September 2015.  Please visit our Calendar for upcoming events on various topics related to gifted education and high ability learners.  

The Grayson School invites you to attend a special screening of the award-winning film, Most Likely to Succeed, written and directed by Greg Whiteley at the newly renovated Roxy Theater in Rittenhouse Square on Monday, September 28th, at 7:00 p.m. After the screening, a discussion panel will follow composed of local education and innovation experts. Kristen B. Slaoui, Ph.D., is Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for GlaxoSmithKline, and has worked closely with bright graduates of our current educational system; Joe Mazza, Ed.D., is the Leadership Innovation Manager at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and a former public school principal; and Rich Sedmak is Founder and CEO of Schoolyard Ventures, which creates personalized, inquiry-based educational experiences for students.

“Most Likely to Succeed” examines our current educational system in the United States. Created during the start of the industrial age, it was highly regarded throughout the world in its day. However, while the world around us has transformed, the U.S.’s educational system has remained mostly stagnant: schools are trying to teach skill sets that serve students while they are in school, yet do not prepare graduates for today’s global economy and job market. This documentary focuses on the story of one school that is rethinking the concept of a traditional school experience. While following students, parents, and teachers, the audience joins in considering the question: what sort of educational environment is most likely to succeed in the 21st century?

This screening was made possible by a generous donation from the Philadelphia Film Society, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to promoting film as a powerful means for strengthening community education, understanding, and outreach. 

Panelist Bios

Kristen B. Slaoui, Ph.D.

Kristen B. Slaoui, Ph.D., is Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the Head of Business Development and Licensing with Stiefel, a specialty dermatology company and part of GSK. She has spent fourteen years with GSK, first in the research labs, where her work in pulmonary disease resulted in the discovery of the active agent in the recently approved medicines Anoro™ Ellipta™ and Incruse™ Ellipta™. She holds multiple patents, has authored more than 40 original peer-reviewed publications, and has an ongoing role as a peer reviewer for a dozen established medical journals. Since joining GSK’s Business Development teams in 2006, she has executed nearly $11 billion worth of deals and acquisitions, including the $3.6 billion acquisition of Stiefel Laboratories. Dr. Slaoui earned Bachelor’s degrees in both Biology and Classical Studies from Gettysburg College. After winning a pre-doctoral Research Training Fellowship grant award from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), she earned her Ph.D. in Physiology from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she was an NIH Pre-Doctoral Fellow. Following conferral of her degree, she won an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Washington. After her term in Seattle, she accepted a position in Respiratory Drug Discovery at GSK, but continued her commitment to academic research by spending over a decade as an adjunct assistant professor at her alma mater, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD.

Rich Sedmak

Rich is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and educator. At the age of fifteen, Rich started an electronics liquidation business out of his parents’ home. Over the last fifteen years he has founded, invested in, and advised numerous early-stage startups.

Currently, Rich serves as the Founder and CEO of Schoolyard Ventures, which believes that a great education should inspire a love of continuous learning and instill in each student the ability to deal with a world filled with uncertainty. Schoolyard Ventures has built an educational experience for middle- and high school students in Philadelphia that is personalized, inquiry based, action-focused ,and 21st -entury relevant. Since 2009, the team at Schoolyard Ventures has helped over 700 students launch businesses and non-profits.

In addition, Rich has served as an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania and currently serves on the boards of several nonprofits.

He is an avid collector (and reader) of rare books and has a specific interest in historical books that attempted to make predictions about the present.

Joe Mazza, Ed.D

Dr. Joseph Mazza is a lifelong learner, leader, and innovator. Joe currently serves as the Leadership Innovation Manager at The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In this role, Joe works with faculty, students, and alumni of the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. In addition to his work at Penn, Mazza is internationally recognized as a leader in family-school partnerships and engagement, including his service as an advisor on these topics to the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C.  Prior to serving in these roles, Dr. Mazza enjoyed a distinguished career in K-12 public education as a teacher, principal, and district office leader, including several years as principal/lead learner at Knapp Elementary School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Mazza has now extended his work in the areas of technology, innovation, and leadership into the business sector through his company, c64KID INNOVATIONS. Joe established this innovative, service-oriented venture as a way to support small businesses seeking to grow their client bases and extend the reach of their products, services, and resources. As an accomplished digital strategist with a proven track record of success, Joe provides social media coaching services designed to meet the unique needs of the clients he serves, equipping them with up-to-the-minute information, market research, and innovative (high- and low-tech) strategies they can use to maximize their productivity.

Mazza earned his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he holds a Master’s degree from National Louis University and a Bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. Please connect with Joe via Twitter (@joe_mazza), his website (, and email (