GCI Staff

Amy Pedotto     Executive Director

Amy Pedotto has worked in communications and business development in the non-profit sector. Her passion is achieving recognition and support for the valuable contributions made by organizations that improve the health and well-being of individuals and the broader community. She has bachelors degrees in Journalism and Spanish from Arizona State University and a masters degree in International Policy and Management from University of California San Diego.

Contact: apedotto@azgci.org


Dave Wells, Ph.D.     Research Director 

Dave Wells helped found the Grand Canyon Institute in 2011.  He holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Public Policy and has been on the faculty of Arizona State University since 1998.  He is also the Arizona representative to the Western States Budget Roundtable for the Western Political Science Association, succeeding David Berman.  His annual report on the state budget is published in the California Journal of Politics and Policy.

Contact: (602) 595-1025 ext. 2  •  dwells@azgci.org


Max Goshert, MPP     Associate Director

Max Goshert has a rich history working to better the lives of his fellow Arizonians.  He holds Master’s in Public Policy from Arizona State University and a Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Arizona. He currently works at a national non-profit assisting municipalities and other organizations in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Southern California to expand their emergency preparedness programming and improve drowning prevention in their communities. Previously, Max served as the chairman for the Coalition to Recall Diane Douglas, leading over 1,300 volunteers to collect tens of thousands of signatures state-wide with the goal of setting a higher standard for the leaders of our education system. 

Contact: (602) 595-1025 ext. 12  •  mgoshert@azgci.org


Salomae Schroeder     Director of Operations

Salomae Schroeder is a former Senior Executive Assistant to the president of a financial company. Sal then formed her own personal assistant/concierge company, My Gal Sal, where she provided an array of confidential personal assistant and secretarial services to many clients in Arizona, including the Grand Canyon Institute. She loves playing with food and also provides full service catering services, currently serving as the exclusive caterer to O’Connor House (Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s original adobe home relocated from Paradise Valley to Tempe Papago Park). Sal also recently opened her very own bakery and catering kitchen (a dream of hers since childhood). Sal is also an active volunteer for various domestic violence groups and an advocate for animal rights.


Zak Ghali, MPP     Research Associate

Zak Ghali is an Arizona native with experience on political campaigns, lobbying, and conducting policy research and analysis. He received his Master of Public Policy from Arizona State University in Spring 2018, where he wrote his capstone, “The State of Working Arizona,” which analyzed economic inequality in Arizona and proposed policy changes. Zak is a Valley Leadership Accelerate alumni and was recognized with the Ed Pastor Civic Leadership Medallion for his work on voter registration and political engagement. His research interests include economic policies, criminal justice reform, and voting rights.


Alison Jue     Research Associate

Alison Jue is a current undergraduate student at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She is currently pursuing a dual major in Politics and Legal Studies and enjoys taking classes regarding government and public policy. Alison is most passionate about education policy and hopes to earn a JD or Master in Public Policy.



Research reports, policy briefings, guest editorials, newsletter articles, etc. are produced through a network of Fellows contracted by the GCI. Fellows are scholars or recognized experts in particular fields of study as determined by the GCI. The GCI Research and Publications Committee serves to provide guidance related to research methodology and content during the Fellow’s preparation of the research product.

Once completed and approved by the Committee, the GCI arranges for distribution of the research product to appropriate media, policy makers, stakeholders, and the general public.  If you have an interest in being a GCI fellow, please feel free to contact us at dwells@azgci.org with more about your expertise and background.

Curt Cardine     Fellow

Curt Cardine is a retired educator with 45 years of experience in both the Public and Charter Sectors. He has served as a superintendent, principal, company CEO and teacher. Mr. Cardine has expertise in school law and school finance.
His master’s degree is in Organization and Management.

Karen Smith     Fellow