GCI Staff

Amy Pedotto     Executive Director

Amy Pedotto

Amy Pedotto has worked in communications and business development in the non-profit sector focused on raising awareness and support for public policy research and human service initiatives. She has bachelors’ degrees in Journalism and Spanish from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in International Policy and Management from the University of California, San Diego.

Contact: apedotto@azgci.org


Dave Wells, Ph.D.     Research Director 

Dave Wells

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.  His annual report on the state budget is published in the California Journal of Politics and Policy.  Dave is one of Arizona’s most prominent policy experts.  He has authored research for GCI in many areas including Medicaid expansion, evaluating the impact of a higher minimum wage, analyzing education funding in Arizona, and helped develop proposals for improving charter school accountability and transparency.  His research has been touted in places as ideologically diverse as Mother Jones and Fox News and he frequently appears in Arizona media to share GCI’s latest research.

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 a Master’s in Public Policy from Arizona State University and a Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Arizona. He currently works as a research analyst in the higher education sector. 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

Sal Schroeder

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

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

Allison Jue

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

Curt Cardine is a retired educator with 45 years of experience in both districts and charter sectors in multiple states. He has served as a superintendent, principal, adjunct faculty member, company CEO and teacher.

Mr. Cardine has expertise in school law and school finance. He has over 1,200 hours of post-graduate studies in the areas of school law, school finances, and leadership and change and has presented on these topics at conferences.

He has written two books on charter schools published by Rowman and Littlefield. He has a Master’s in Organization and Management with post-graduate work in leadership and change. He has been a national presenter at the American Leadership Conference and was regional leader for the Coalition of Essential Schools.