- Scott Morgan, Founder & CEO
- Deanna Harnett, Chief Administrative Officer
- Julie Cruit Angilly, VP, External Relations
- Eugine Chung, VP, Strategy & Learning (Alumna)
- Todd Forsyth, Corporate Controller
- Ryan Romaneski, Director, Partner Strategy (Alumnus)
- Gianna Shepard, Director, Alumni Leadership Initiatives (Alumna)
- Emily Msall, Director, Strategy and Learning
- Kendra Racouillat, Manager, National Communications
- Aimee Allen, Staff Accountant
- Adanna Ukah, Manager, Graduate School Fellowship Recruitment
- Emily Fritch, Manager, National Placement
- Scout Sanders, Manager, Business Operations
- Nathan Randall, Manager, External Relations (Alumnus)
- Cesar Luna, Associate, Human Assets
- Maura Tucker, Associate, Graduate School Fellowship Admissions
- Adam McKinney, Associate, Business Operations
- Kristin Famighette, Executive Assistant
- Frances McLaughlin, President
- Julayne Austin Virgil, VP, Sector Impact
- Jon Spack, VP, Development
- Leslie Gray, VP, Human Assets
- Sarah Doherty, Director, Business Operations
- Tsveta Semova, Director, Program Recruiting and Admissions Strategy
- Osayuware (Tina) Enagbare, Director, Human Assets
- Zac Cialfi, Senior Accountant
- Monique Cadle, Manager, National Programs (Alumna)
- Jennifer Chin, Strategic Marketing Manager, External Relations
- Elizabeth Dukovich, Manager, National Development
- Carrie Ozols, Manager, Selection Strategy
- Amata Small, Manager, Systems & Data
- Mary Gamber, Manager, Data & Evaluation (Alumna)
- Dawnell Powell, Associate, Sector Impact
- Julie Harrow, Associate, Systems & Data Analysis
- Eric Ortlip, Associate, Analyst Fellowship Admissions
- Jennifer Reilly, Assistant, Recruitment and Admission Operations
Southern Region Staff:
- John Troy, Executive Director (Alumnus)
- Debbie Lister, Director, DC Metro Area
- Randi Graham, Director, Texas
- Marissa Friedman, Program Manager, DC Metro Area (Alumna)
- Seth Gorenstein, Program Associate, DC Metro Area
- Tayler Torry, Program Assistant, Texas & Tennessee
Eastern Region Staff:
- Tanya Ramos, Senior Vice President, Eastern Region
- Jacqueline Bennett, Program Manager, Greater Boston (Alumna)
- Elliot Luscombe, Program Manager, New Jersey
- Natasha Jamal, Program Associate, Greater Boston
Northern Region Staff:
- Scott Rubin, Development Manager, Chicago
Western Region Staff:
- Celia Garcia Alvarado, Acting Executive Director
- La Mikia Castillo, Program Manager, Los Angeles (Alumna)
- Jeanette Wickelgren, Development Associate
Scott Morgan, Founder & CEO
Scott Morgan is Education Pioneers' Founder & CEO, based out of the Oakland office, where he leads the organization to realize its vision to identify, train, connect, and inspire 10,000 diverse leaders and managers working to accelerate systemic change across the education sector by EP's 20th anniversary in 2023.
An educator, attorney, and social entrepreneur with a strong background in creating quality educational opportunities for students, Scott began his career teaching social studies and leadership at St. Jude High School in Montgomery, Alabama, through the University of Notre Dame's ACE Program. Scott later served as the legal counsel for Aspire Public Schools, where he worked with the management team and school leaders to build a network of high-performing public charter schools throughout California. At Education Pioneers, Scott feels incredibly fortunate to collaborate with exceptional individuals and high-performing organizations that share his deep commitment to developing diverse, talented leaders to transform urban education.
Scott graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in government from the University of Notre Dame, received his Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland, and earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. Scott is a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, a board member of Beyond 12, Inc., and a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow, Class of 2010. An avid San Francisco Giants fan, Scott lives in Alameda, CA, with his wife and two daughters. Follow Scott on Twitter at @scottmorgan1.
Frances McLaughlin, President
Frances McLaughlin is the President of Education Pioneers, based out of the Boston office, where she is responsible for implementing the organization's strategy nationally to achieve EP's ambitious goals. Frances first joined Education Pioneers in 2009 as the Chief Operating Officer.
Frances came to Education Pioneers because she believes deeply that effective management and leadership – in addition to high quality instruction – are necessary for all students to reach their academic potential. Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Frances was a senior director at the Broad Foundation, a Los Angeles-based venture philanthropy, where she was responsible for the foundation's investments in organizations which build leadership capacity in public education. Frances previously served as executive vice president of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a nonprofit organization and then market leader in the fields of study abroad and international student exchange. Over the course of her ten years at CIEE, she served as chief operating officer of the organization's largest division, managing operations in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States. Prior to CIEE, Frances was the director of North American marketing and sales for EF International Language Schools, and worked as a regional director at Teach For America.
Frances graduated from Columbia College in New York City. Frances is on the board of School Leaders Network, a national non-profit focused on developing sitting principals through structured learning networks. She's active in the First Religious Society in Newburyport (UU); loves gardening, paddle boarding, and skiing; and lives in Amesbury, MA, with her husband, William Nourse, and daughter, Georgia.
Deanna Harnett, Chief Administrative Officer
Deanna Harnett is the Chief Administrative Officer, based out of the Portland Maine office, where she leads the organization's support areas of finance, human assets, and technology. She feels so fortunate to continue her career with a non-profit, education-based organization which provides support in a sector that is important for the future of our youth.
She spent the last nine years of her career at Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Portland, ME serving as Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration. CIEE is a non-profit organization and market leader in the fields of study abroad and international student exchange. Prior to joining CIEE, Deanna spent five years at Omnicare, Inc, a Fortune 500 company based out of Chicago which provides pharmacy services to nursing homes and long term care facilities, where she was the Director of Finance. Prior to that, she was the Chief Financial Officer of a Chicago based public retail company, Evans, Inc. She spent the first eight years of her career at Coopers and Lybrand where she earned her CPA.
She graduated from Indiana University with a BS in accounting and currently serves on the boards of Rippleffect (a community-based youth development organization specializing in adventure and wilderness experiences that build confidence and self-esteem.) and the Yarmouth Colts Soccer Club. She is thrilled to be in a place where camping, hiking, beaches and beautiful scenery are in her backyard.
Julayne Austin Virgil, VP, Sector Impact
Julayne Austin Virgil is the Vice President of Sector Impact, based out of the Oakland office, where she oversees efforts to develop and deploy leadership and management talent to drive transformative change, and foster the sector-wide sharing of effective practices. She joined EP in 2008 as the founding Managing Director, Chicago where she oversaw the organization's largest site launch to-date and realized 115% growth over two years.
Having personally known many children who did not have educational opportunities that would prepare them to achieve success, Julayne believes it is critical that we ensure our education system supports and inspires children to realize their full potential. Prior to Education Pioneers, she developed resources for school-based health centers in Chicago, and managed the design and development of social change communications regarding education, health, and public safety initiatives for The Ad Council in New York City. She has also served as a consultant with Deloitte and the City of Los Angeles, as well as facilitated weekend enrichment programs for teens.
Julayne graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and received a master's degree in public administration from the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California where she earned the Dean's Merit Award, and currently serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. She enjoys traveling, listening to live music, and playing volleyball competitively, but most of her time is spent with her husband experiencing the wonder of the world through their young daughter's eyes.
Julie Cruit Angilly, VP, External Relations
Julie Cruit Angilly is the Vice President, Marketing Communications, where she is responsible for building the Education Pioneers brand, raising awareness about the importance of strong leadership and management in the education sector, and managing marketing and communications for the organization and organization's product offerings.
Julie came to Education Pioneers with a deep belief that all children can achieve at high levels. Recognizing that each year more and more students slip through the cracks, she is inspired to advance solutions that expedite an end-state where our education sector effectively delivers a high-quality educational experience to every student in the U.S. Julie was first inspired to work in education while studying policy at Wake Forest University and witnessing the severe inequity of K-12 education quality in the urban versus suburban areas. Prior to coming to Education Pioneers, Julie led sales, marketing and communication efforts in state charter school associations in Colorado and California, notably driving 40% + increases in sales, revenue and visibility results.
Julie holds a BA from Wake Forest University with a double major in Politics and Communications. She completed graduate work in Public Policy from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a Professional Certificate in Marketing. An avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys telemark skiing, paddleboarding and backpacking, Julie now lives in Virginia with her husband and two children after many years in California and Colorado.
Jon Spack, VP, Development
Jon Spack is the Vice President of Development, based out of the Boston office, where he builds and advances relationships with education champions across the country to ensure EP has the resources necessary to build a network of 10,000 leaders by 2023.
An Education Pioneers alumnus, Jon joined the EP team from Spark, a national nonprofit that addresses the high school dropout rate early by matching middle school students with volunteer mentors in one-on-one workplace apprenticeships. At Spark, Jon spent over five years as a founding member of the leadership team and most recently as the Chief Growth Officer, where he led the expansion of Spark from one site in Redwood City, California, to additional sites in Los Angeles (2010), Chicago (2011), Philadelphia (2012), and Oakland (2012). Prior to Spark, Jon had a nine-year career at Citizen Schools, where he began as a Teaching Fellow, and went on to become one of 50 professionals selected for the Boston Future Leaders Program, sponsored by Harvard Business School. In 2005, Jon moved to California to launch a new Citizen Schools program at Monroe Middle School in San Jose. For his Education Pioneers Fellowship in 2008, Jon supported Summer Search in the Bay Area through an intensive five-year strategic planning process.
Jon graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in history and received an MS in Non Profit/NGO Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as the founding chair for the Bay Area Alumni Board for Education Pioneers and is on the National Staff Alumni Advisory Council for Citizen Schools. Jon lives in Brookline, MA with his wife and daughter.
Eugine Chung, VP, Strategy & Learning (Alumna)
Eugine Chung is the Vice President of Strategy & Learning, based out of the Oakland Office, where she is responsible for ensuring Education Pioneers is guided by a strategy that enables us to maximize our impact, respond to our partners' needs, and adapt based on findings from evaluation.
An Education Pioneers alumna, Eugine is a firm believer in EP's mission and the powerful impact it can have in providing a path to individuals who want to make a difference in education. With a passion for developing leaders who can bring transformative change and ensuring every child receives a high quality education, Eugine joined Education Pioneers in 2011. Prior to working in education, Eugine was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. For seven years, she served clients in Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, and the U.S. with a focus on organization transformation, leadership development, and education. Her U.S. education sector clients included Seattle Public Schools, Palo Alto Unified School District, KIPP Bay Area, and Breakthrough Collaborative.
Eugine holds both a BA in Business Administration and a BA in Applied Statistics from Yonsei University, where she graduated with highest distinction. She received both an MBA and a Master's degree in Education from Stanford University. A native Korean who grew up living in six different countries attending nine different K-12 schools, Eugine now lives in San Francisco with her husband and her two children.
Leslie Gray, VP, Human Assets
Leslie Gray is Vice President of Human Assets based out of our Oakland office, where she and her team are committed to consistently develop, implement, and support, the programs, policies, and processes that support our staff. Prior to Education Pioneers, Leslie spent the last several years working with Charter Management Organizations, and is excited EP's mission to achieve quality education for all students by cultivating leadership talent in the Education Sector.
Leslie has a background in Organizational Psychology, and started her career with an emphasis on leadership development and selection with a worldwide management consulting firm. Prior to EP, Leslie led the Human Resources function for the largest Charter Management Organization in California, as HR Director at Aspire Public Schools. She also previously served as HR Director at KIPP Austin, in Austin Texas where she received her first opportunity to align her passion for Education Reform with her career, and she has not looked back!
Leslie graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Psychology, and received her Masters of Industrial Organizational Psychology from San Jose State University. Outside of work, Leslie enjoys exploring Oakland with her husband, son, and friends.
Todd Forsyth, Corporate Controller
Todd transitioned to Education Pioneers following an extensive career in both for-profit and not-for-profit accounting. He is very excited to join EP's extremely talented group of colleagues on their quest for positive, impactful change within the K-12 education sector.
Prior to joining EP, Todd spent seven years as the Accounting Manager for Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) where he led coordinated efforts to integrate accounting systems, streamline processes and provide analytical data key to strategic planning and decision making. Prior to working with CIEE, Todd was co-owner of a retail business and founder/operator of a small-business consulting service located in Portland ME. Earlier in his career, Todd worked in the healthcare sector as the Assistant Controller and Controller of two specialty healthcare facilities in Florida and Louisiana. He also spent two years in Uruguay with the Peace Corps as an Environmental NGO Advisor. Todd is currently the President and co-owner of Nomads, Inc., a retail shop located on the waterfront in Portland Maine specializing in clothing and travel equipment for people on the move.
Todd received his BS in Managerial Accounting from St. John Fisher College in Rochester NY and his MBA from the University of Washington in Seattle WA. He currently serves on the Circle of Directors of One Tree Wholistic Learning Center in South Portland ME. Todd spends any free time enjoying the beautiful mountain and coastal wilderness of Maine with his wife and two young children.
Sarah Doherty, Director, Business Operations
Grounded in a commitment to provide every child with the quality education they deserve and a belief that talent has transformative potential, Sarah joined Education Pioneers. She is grateful to contribute to a leading, high-growth organization in education reform, and is encouraged by the talent, commitment, and energy of her colleagues.
Prior to joining the Education Pioneers team, Sarah spent six and a half years as a Consultant with Mercer’s Human Capital business advising clients on a range of HR issues including compensation strategy, program design and performance measurement. She had a broad client portfolio spanning mid-size non-profit and healthcare organizations to Fortune 500 technology companies. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, holding a BA in Global Business.
Ryan Romaneski, Director, Partner Strategy (Alumnus)
Ryan Romaneski is the Director of Partner Strategy based out of the Oakland office, where he serves as the primary agent responsible for developing and optimizing the organization's comprehensive partner strategy, managing a national portfolio of key partners, and overseeing the implementation of these efforts across the 20+ cities in which Education Pioneers works.
An Education Pioneers Alumnus, Ryan joined the team following an engaging Fellowship experience designing and implementing a program evaluation pilot for the Boston Public Schools. While at BPS, Ryan successfully developed a strategy to align school-based partners with key district priorities, evaluate the impact of partners on both academic and non-academic student outcomes, and pilot the process across seven organizations in 14 BPS schools. Prior to his Fellowship, Ryan spent five years as a classroom teacher, and worked for nearly a decade in the private and nonprofit sectors, where he cultivated his talents in project management, strategy development, and partnership engagement.
Ryan graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Whitman College with a degree in politics, and was named Charles Willie Fellow while completing his master's degree in education leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. When not working, Ryan enjoys running marathons, traveling to exotic places, and cooking spicy food.
Tsveta Semova, Director, Program Recruiting and Admissions Strategy
Tsveta joined Education Pioneers in October 2013 because of her belief that all children should have access to high-quality education. She is excited about the opportunity to contribute to executing the vision and effecting the great impact of Education Pioneers' work.
Tsveta spent the last nine years of her career at the Council on International Educational Exchange where she most recently served as the Director of High School Scholarship Programs and New Program Development. In this role she managed operations, sales and admissions for scholarship and language programs, and leveraged new and existing international partnerships among multiple programs. Coming from a long family line of educators in her native Bulgaria, she truly believes in the transformative power of accessible, high-quality classroom experience for all children.
Tsveta holds a bachelor's degree in International Tourism as well as a master's in economics from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Gianna Shepard, Director, Alumni Leadership Initiatives (Alumna)
Gianna Shepard is the Director of Alumni Leadership Initiatives based out of the Education Pioneers Oakland office, where she oversees the engagement of EP's network of nearly 2,000 Alumni and supports their effectiveness in the education sector, from securing the first job post-Fellowship through advancement into increasingly senior, high-impact roles.
An Education Pioneers Alumna, Gianna believes in the power of talent to transform education and was excited to join the EP team after three years working in executive search at Heidrick & Struggles, where she served as a member of the Education & Social Enterprise practice, conducting searches across functional areas on behalf of varied clients in the arts, education, non-profit, and philanthropic arenas. Gianna was inspired to enter the human capital field after her Education Pioneers Summer Fellowship, during which she consulted with the Strategic Projects team of the Oakland Unified School District to focus on improving the efficiency and efficacy of the principal hiring process, as well as developing a principal recruitment strategy. Earlier in her career, Gianna oversaw fundraising and development for ODC/Dance, a non-profit arts organization in San Francisco. She remains involved in the arts by serving on the board of Dancers' Group, a nonprofit service organization that promotes the visibility and viability of dance in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Gianna holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Yale University and a master's in business administration from New York University's Stern School of Business. While at Stern, she was instrumental in launching several curricular and co-curricular offerings related to the social sector, for which she received Stern's Alex Aurbach Award for School Service and an NYU President's Service Award. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Gianna remains an avid Denver Broncos fan, as well as a karaoke enthusiast.
Osayuware (Tina) Enagbare, Director, Human Assets
Tina joined Education Pioneers because she was drawn to its mission, vision, and values. Her background reflects a passion for protecting children by ensuring they have access to a quality education & the tools and resources that support their personal and professional development. As a member of the Human Assets team, she is excited to support the thriving, sustainable growth of Education Pioneers through the development of strategic human capital programs for the organization's internal talent.
Most recently, Tina worked for BMO Capital Markets where she led the firm’s 8-week summer development program for US junior professionals. Prior to that, she evaluated and developed corporate salary structures and executive pay programs for Towers Watson & Co.’s Chicagoland clients and worked as an Associate at Aon Corporation in Communications Consulting, Corporate Compensation, and as an HR Generalist. Outside of work, she is a passionate community philanthropist and has worked with INROADS Chicago, Chicago Cares, and The Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League.
Tina’s passion for excellence in education and development was fueled by her college experience as an Instructor for Temple Youth VOICES, a youth civic engagement program focused on education, leadership development, and collaborative research. Tina earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business and Human Resources Management from Temple University and maintains a Professional Certification in Human Resource Management.
Emily Msall, Director, Strategy and Learning
Emily joined Education Pioneers because she believes that collaborative and diverse leaders can have a transformative impact on urban education. She is excited to work with the EP team to inspire and develop emerging leaders committed to education reform.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Emily served as a Teaching Fellow at Citizen Schools, where she developed and led out-of-school time educational programming for students in the Roslindale and Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston. As a Teaching Fellow, Emily supported a team of 15 sixth graders as they transitioned into middle school and partnered with adult volunteers to design and teach hands-on learning projects. She also worked with Citizen Schools' Staff Alumni Engagement Team, coordinating the organization's efforts to mobilize and support former staff members as they continue their careers in education. Emily is a graduate of Columbia University, where she earned a BA in English.
Zac Cialfi, Senior Accountant
Zac Cialfi is the Senior Accountant based out of the Portland Maine office, where he provides internal financial support to help EP's front line teams advance the organization's mission to improve educational opportunities for millions of students across the U.S.
With over 10 years of nonprofit experience, Zac joined the EP team most recently from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a Portland-based nonprofit that runs study abroad and international exchange programs across the world. Zac comes from a long line of educators and is thrilled to have finally found a way to contribute to the field in his own way.
Zac graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in business administration, and aims to pursue a master's degree in accounting. In his free time, Zac enjoys cruising around Maine on his motorcycle, barbecuing, and spending time with his niece and nephew.
Kendra Racouillat, Manager, National Communications
Kendra joined Education Pioneers because she believes that education is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and meaningful sectors to work. As Manager of National Communications, Kendra works to raise Education Pioneers' visibility to ensure that the nation's best and brightest leaders and managers continue to choose high-impact career paths in education and that all of America's students receive a world-class education that prepares them for college, career, and life.
Kendra started her career in communications at The Broad Foundation, and later served in various capacities at The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. She received her BA in English from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude and with highest departmental honors.
Monique Cadle, Manager, National Programs (Alumna)
Monique joins Education Pioneers us after being a 2013 GSF Bay Area Fellow, where she was placed at NewSchools Venture Fund to design a data collection system to measure teacher effectiveness and its impact on student achievement and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to provide recommendations on evaluating the quality of teachers developed by Learning to Teach Fund ventures. Prior to becoming an EP Fellow, Monique spent three years at Deloitte as a Human Capital Consultant where she worked for state and federal agencies to help them solve issues around program design, organizational assessment, and training. She transitioned into education because she believes that a great education is one of the most impactful ways to gain access to opportunities that may not otherwise be available.
As Manager, National Programs, Monique is charged with improving and streamlining internal processes, overseeing the implementation of pilot initiatives, and creating support structures that alleviate the workload of regional teams. She functions as a “special projects” manager, of sorts. Monique also project manages the Yearlong Graduate School Fellowship and engages team members across the organization in a cycle of continuous improvement.
Monique holds a Masters of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and received a Bachelors of Arts in International-Intercultural Studies from Claremont McKenna College.
Aimee Allen, Staff Accountant
Aimee brings 20 years of accounting experience in both for profit and nonprofit organizations. She began her career working with the largest motorcycle dealership in New England compiling all daily/monthly financials, handling inventory, as well as working with the customers as a finance/loan officer. After 12 years, she transitioned to the nonprofit side of the business and began working as an accounting specialist for a property management company that provides affordable housing to low income residents of southern Maine. Whether receiving rent checks, processing invoices or completing the yearly audits she has always done so with the satisfaction that she is touching someone's life and doing something good for the community. Most recently, Aimee worked with a small accounting firm as a staff accountant/payroll specialist where she processed financials and payroll for 15 client companies. When she is not working her accounting magic, Aimee enjoys all the wonderful things the seasons of Maine offer such as running, hiking and swimming in the summer months with her family as well as taking her young son skiing in the winter months.
Jennifer Chin, Strategic Marketing Manager, External Relations
Jennifer joined Education Pioneers because she believes having access to a high-quality education is every child's fundamental right. It will take talented, ambitious leaders to make educational equity a reality, and Jennifer is inspired by EP's mission to find and grow those leaders.
Jennifer's previous experience has taken her across the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, promoting education reform and social impact. Most recently, she worked with Google's K-12 Education Outreach team to develop a pilot program that drove human capital knowledge sharing between the corporate and education sectors. Before that, she worked on Net Impact's central marketing and communications team.
A lifelong bookworm, Jennifer first became involved in education as a way to spread her love of reading - volunteering her time as a kindergarten reading tutor in East Palo Alto, CA. Jennifer holds a BA in Communication and English Literature from Stanford University.
Adanna Ukah, Manager, Graduate School Fellowship Recruitment
Adanna joins Education Pioneers as part of her commitment to increasing innovation and diversity in Education Management.
Adanna has demonstrated a continued interest in institutions that support learner success as part of the Big Picture: optimization of America's education sector. As an undergraduate, she spent three years working in Yale's Admissions Office, where she coordinated programs to engage and recruit prospective students from under-represented backgrounds. This interest in project management led her to join the Solutions group at ConnectEDU, an education technology company where she served as an Account Manager for access organizations and government agencies, using academic and behavioral data to inform tactical planning and statewide software implementation in Louisiana and Michigan. She holds a BA in Political Science from Yale University.
Elizabeth Dukovich, Manager, National Development
Elizabeth joined Education Pioneers because of her belief that everyone deserves access to high quality education regardless of their social and economic background. She grew up with stories about her great-grandmother learning to read by spying through the window of her brothers' school in rural Lebanon and is profoundly grateful for the education opportunities in her own life. Elizabeth is excited to fuse her corporate experience, academic background, and deep passion for education to help Education Pioneers fulfill its important mission.
Elizabeth holds an MA in History with a specialization in Comparative Genocide from California State University, Sacramento and a BA in History from the University of California, Davis. In 2011, she presented original research on the Armenian Genocide to a group of scholars, students, and diplomats at the Third International Conference on Genocide. She served as an Associate Editor for the Clio History Journal and finished her graduate career with multiple publications. Elizabeth has ten years of experience in the background screening industry where she held numerous responsibilities, including customer service, sales support, account management, and both internal and external communication. Before joining Education Pioneers, she served as the System Transition Manager for Employment Screening Resources (ESR), coordinating client-facing communication, logistics, and support for a large software platform migration.
Emily Fritch, Manager, National Placement
Emily joined Education Pioneers due to her passion for increasing academic excellence in public education and motivation to bring innovative change through empowerment. She believes that every child deserves a quality education and is excited to work with an organization that is making this a reality.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Emily worked at PATH, a global health non-profit located in Washington DC serving developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In this role, she worked as a Program Assistant supporting and managing maternal and child health and nutrition projects around the world. She also worked on project start-up and implementation, business development and grant writing for a variety of international donors, and partner collaboratives. Prior to PATH, Emily worked as a Research Assistant at the George Washington University School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Department. Emily received her BA in Psychology and minor in Political Science from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Carrie Ozols, Manager, Selection Strategy
Carrie joined Education Pioneers because she is passionate about education reform and closing the achievement gap. She is excited to impact the pipeline of talented and dedicated future education leaders.
Carrie started her career in the classroom as a Teach for America corps member teaching 6th grade in Camden, New Jersey. Working within a school increased her passion for affecting education on a larger scale. Since teaching, she managed an AmeriCorps Program working with recent graduates to engage youth and adults in their communities. Most recently, she recruited, trained, and developed instructors throughout New England for a test preparatory company.
Carrie received a Bachelor of Arts in economics and international relations from Connecticut College and a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Scout Sanders, Manager, Business Operations
Scout joined Education Pioneers because she is passionate about increasing academic excellence as a tool for economic and social equality. She is excited to work in the Bay Area office to help recruit new talent and bring innovative ideas to the field of education.
Scout graduated from Stanford University in 2011 with a degree in Economics. At Stanford, Scout directed Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE), an all-female student group that mentors 7th and 8th grade girls in East Palo Alto, CA. Scout interned at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office for Civil Rights, where she analyzed teacher quality and student demographic data from the nation's largest school districts. She has also served as a Summer Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a progressive policy think tank for college students. Outside of work, Scout tutors high school students for the SATs and is excited to explore mentoring opportunities in the Bay Area.
Amata Small, Manager, Systems & Data
Amata joined Education Pioneers because of her longstanding commitment to education equality and public service.
In 2006 Amata served a 10-month commitment with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps working on hurricane recovery projects in Louisiana and Mississippi. Following her service, she returned to the Bay Area where she worked as a nanny for four years before returning to school to complete her bachelors at the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley, Amata ran the student group Education Undergraduates, a mentorship program that connected graduate and undergraduate students with similar interests in order to support career exploration and professional growth. She also served as a research assistant in the Infant Studies Lab investigating whether infants respond with differentiated behaviors to distinct emotions, such as joy and disgust.
Amata graduated with Highest Distinction from the University of California, Berkeley with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education.
Nathan Randall, Manager, External Relations (Alumnus)
Nate Randall is the national External Relations Manager based out of the Oakland office, where he focuses on telling the EP story to mobilize current and future champions. Previously, Nate worked to attract graduate students to the education sector as a member of the EP Recruiting and Admissions team in Boston.
An Education Pioneers alumnus, Nate joined the EP team following a deeply rewarding Education Pioneers Fellowship experience at the Houston Independent School District. There, he worked with the Assistant Superintendent to develop strategy and training resources for a new online mentoring program that paired high school students with local industry professionals. Prior to his Fellowship, Nate spent two years as an English teacher in Crema, Italy, and another two years in a variety of functions at Northwestern University, including health promotion and wellness, undergraduate admissions, assessment, and change management.
Nate graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in film and media culture, and received a master's degree in higher education administration and policy from Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy. Outside of work, Nate enjoys exploring California's mountains and coastline.
Mary Gamber, Manager, Data & Evaluation (Alumna)
Mary Gamber is a Manager of Data & Evaluation on the Strategy & Learning Team based out of the Education Pioneers Oakland office, where she focuses on measuring the effectiveness and impact of our organization.
An Education Pioneers Alumna, Mary joined the EP team as a full-time staff member following her placement as an Analyst Fellow on the Strategy & Learning Team. As a Fellow, Mary supported the development of our five-year strategic plan, focusing on using data to assess our current and future impact in the education sector. Prior to her Fellowship, Mary spent two years in the Federal Strategy & Operations practice at Deloitte Consulting where she helped federal agencies gather and analyze data to make informed decisions, and supported a policy advocacy pro bono project with Urban Alliance, a youth workforce development program.
Mary graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Religion and a certificate in Values and Public Life. In her free time, Mary enjoys cooking, sailing, and traveling.
Cesar Luna, Associate, Human Assets
Cesar Luna believes that Education Pioneers is heading in a positive direction at a rampant speed and is excited to be a part of the organization's successful growth.
Cesar has dabbled in unique mix of professional fields including: lobbying, nonprofit, education, and most recently he completed a two-year term as a Field Representative for a now-former Member of the California State Assembly. While immensely grateful for the substantive experience that he was afforded with the State Legislature, Cesar is enthused to bring his diverse slate of experiences to his long-time passion of the Human Assets field.
Cesar is a firm believer that "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" and therefore he uses his spare time, albeit scarce these days, to loyally follow the San Francisco 49ers, strum his acoustic guitar and attend a multitude of local stand-up comedy shows. Friends of Cesar would describe him as an easy-going professional who is curious to learn as much as he can about the world around him.
Cesar Luna is 2010 graduate of the University of the Pacific with a BA in Political Science and is currently working towards completing his M.S. in Human Resources Management at Golden Gate University.
Dawnell Powell, Associate, Sector Impact
Dawnell joined Education Pioneers because her passion for developing leaders and creating educational equity for all.
Dawnell has worked in various capacities in the education sector and most recently worked at A Better Chance as a Northeast Program Associate. At A Better Chance, she performed outreach to students of color for recruitment, referral and placement at over 300 independent and top public schools in the country. She also managed communication for the region, increased participation in a parent support program by 80%, managed social media platforms, and oversaw marketing and logistics for more than 30 annual events. Prior to working at A Better Chance, Dawnell was a Harriet Newhall Fellow at the Mount Holyoke College Office of Admission and a substitute teacher for New York City's Department of Education.
Dawnell earned her BA in Psychology and Education from Mount Holyoke College.
Maura Tucker, Associate, Graduate School Fellowship Admissions
Maura joined Education Pioneers because she is truly passionate about education as a powerful lever for social justice. She is excited to work with the energetic EP team to change the look and feel of education leadership in the U.S.
Maura joins Education Pioneers after working in operations for Addgene Inc., a rapidly growing non-profit library for DNA research materials. At Addgene, Maura was involved in expanding the organization's presence in Asia and strengthening operational processes to better serve scientists around the world. Most recently, she worked with an environmental group to help elect Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Maura is a graduate of Wellesley College, where she earned a BA in Peace and Justice Studies. Outside of work, Maura is an active member of the Cambridge Running Club, a college essay tutor at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, and a member of the Board of the Cambridge YWCA, a group that provides low or no-cost housing for over a hundred women in her neighborhood.
Julie Harrow, Associate, Systems & Data Analysis
Julie joined Education Pioneers because she believes that quality education for every child is the basis of a strong community. She is passionate about the transformation of the education sector by talented leaders who make data driven decisions and apply innovative solutions.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Julie served as a consultant at Stroud Consulting, an operations and management firm that helps organizations to identify and realize opportunities in their business and achieve breakthrough results. With Stroud, Julie led client teams to strategically deliver millions of dollars annual savings, built tools to analyze data and drive business decisions, and facilitated workshops on problem solving tools and effective organizational mindsets. She is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a BS in Civil Engineering.
Adam McKinney, Associate, Business Operations
Adam McKinney is the Business Operations Associate based out of the Oakland office, where he is responsible for IT administration and technology on/offboarding.
Adam joined Education Pioneers in order to become a member of a team that attracts talented, dynamic leaders to careers in education, and is thrilled to work alongside passionate colleagues who are committed to narrowing the K-12 achievement gap. Prior to transitioning to EP, Adam worked in higher education administration for UC San Diego's International House. While at UCSD, he coordinated and staffed 300+ annual events, oversaw the extensive renovation of a multipurpose space, and administered a program for visiting scholars and faculty in residence.
Adam graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego with a BA in International Studies. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he enjoys exploring new destinations and better acquainting himself with the pristine backcountry of the western United States.
Eric Ortlip, Associate, Analyst Fellowship Admissions
Eric joined Education Pioneers with the belief that providing equitable access to quality education opportunities for all children is one of the key challenges the US faces in the 21st century. He is excited to be a part of an organization that is attracting the talent necessary to tackle that challenge head-on.
Eric comes to Education Pioneers with a background in government. As a special assistant and staff analyst in the Massachusetts State Auditor’s Office, he worked in a variety of project coordinator and operational roles, in addition to contributing to the office’s work in the health care policy field. It was Eric’s exposure to health care policy that further sparked his interest in social issues, including education reform.
Eric received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Northeastern University in Boston.
Kristin Famighette, Executive Assistant
Kristin joined Education Pioneers because of her belief that everyone deserves access to high quality education regardless of their social and economic background.
Kristin joins Education Pioneers after working in national operations for Stand for Children, an education advocacy non-profit. At Stand, Kristin was focused on operations, internal communications, knowledge management and rolling out new initiatives across the organization. Kristin has had the opportunity to lend her time to many important organizations such as Roxbury Youthworks, Horizons for Homeless Children, Letter Land, Birthday Wishes and Barefoot Books' Literacy Programs.
Kristin is a graduate of Northeastern University, where she earned a B.S. in Political Science. Outside of work, Kristin creates locally-inspired baby clothes and takes advantage of the local trails with her family.
Jennifer Reilly, Assistant, Recruitment and Admission Operations
Jennifer joined Education Pioneers because she is passionate about improving the education system in order to enable children to reach their potential. She is excited to join the Education Pioneers team and help improve the education system by placing the best professionals in impactful roles.
Jennifer joins us after working in the network team at BzzAgent, Inc., a word of mouth marketing organization owned by dunnhumby. While at BzzAgent, Jennifer was involved in developing a streamlined campaign recruitment process that increased client satisfaction and ensured agents were properly placed in relevant campaigns. She also managed the health and activity of a network of over one million agents spread across the US, Canada, and the UK. Jennifer is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned a B.A. in English Literature.
John Troy, Executive Director (Alumnus)John Troy is the Executive Director of the Southern Region, which includes Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and the Washington, DC Metro Area. In this role, he sets strategy, manages donor relationships, and oversees regional operations to scale and enhance Education Pioneers' regional programs.
An Education Pioneers alumnus, John believes that talented leaders are necessary to ensure every child receives an exceptional education. John spent his summer fellowship at Achievement First Charter Schools, where he wrote a new business plan that both guided the organization's rapid growth and served as a fundraising tool to make that growth possible. John began his career as an investment banking analyst at Citigroup in New York. Out of a desire to utilize his business skills to benefit the local community, John switched to the non-profit sector where he ran a community service non-profit named EPIC Adventures, served as the Director of Community Service and Finance at The Journey Church in Manhattan, and helped start Church Leader Insights, an organization dedicated to equipping pastors with the leadership and organizational skills necessary to effectively run their churches.
John graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and received a Master's of Business Administration from Duke University, where he served as President of the Net Impact Club. John lives with his wife Ashley, young daughter Grace, and yellow lab Jasper in Austin, Texas, where they enjoy hiking, kayaking, and great Texas brisket.
Maya Bugg, Director, Tennessee
Maya joins Education Pioneers with over a decade of experience in leading high-impact initiatives throughout the education sector. With a focus on serving under-privileged students and communities, Maya’s dedication lies in her belief that access to a transformative education should not be solely the privilege of some, but instead the right of all. Maya began her career as a classroom educator, teaching for several years in North Carolina. Afterwards, Maya transitioned out of the classroom to work with a highly-ranked state institution of higher learning, where she led the strategic plans for and evaluation of the university’s efforts to attract students of color and males into the field of education. Most recently, Maya held the position of Director for Citizen Schools where she supported school/district level leadership as a strategic partner in their school turn-around efforts and co-managed relationships with high-leverage community and corporate partners/advocates. At Citizen Schools, Maya also had the privilege of selecting, coaching and assessing cohorts of new educators.
Maya has also worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education, as one of the inaugural members of the prestigious Teacher Ambassador Fellowship (TAF)—having been selected as 1 of only 25 out of over 1100 educators across the nation. Her consultancy work with the Department focused on teacher effectiveness, national college-readiness resources and family engagement policies. Additionally, Maya was the co-founder of the award-winning Uniting Pedagogies of Leaders Invested in Transformation Now (UPLIFT Now!), where she supported and trained educators throughout the country in their implementation of Culturally Responsive Curricula at both the classroom and school levels.
Maya earned her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Maya also is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), a recognition obtained by less than 3% of educators throughout the United States. She is also proud to serve on the Executive Board for the Ase Academy in Philadelphia, PA.
Debbie Lister, Director, DC Metro Area
Debbie joined Education Pioneers because she believes strongly in the mission of transforming education and inspiring the next generation to do the same. She understands that talent and leadership are necessary to bring about big change. She believes education is the great equalizer and that all children deserve the opportunity to have a quality education.
She comes to Education Pioneers from America’s Promise Alliance, where she set the strategy for mobilizing 400 national partners to end the dropout crisis. Prior to America’s Promise, she worked for the CityBridge Foundation, leveraging the assets and talent of corporate partners to support local nonprofits and schools in DC. Her previous experience includes City Year, Points of Light Foundation and the Institute for Educational Leadership. Debbie served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lithuania.
She earned her MPA from American University and a BA from University of Florida. She currently serves on the board of a public charter school in Anacostia. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.
Michael Richard, Director, New Orleans
Michael Richard /reeshard/ joined Education Pioneers to support the continued compelling educational transformation taking place in New Orleans and around the country. A committed advocate for equity in educational opportunities, he knows that an infusion of top talent is a needed catalyst to address the opportunity gaps that currently exist in education.
Michael comes to Education Pioneers from a career in teaching and school leadership. His teaching included stints at the university level, at charter and district run schools in Chicago with Teach For America, and two years at the American School of Guatemala in Guatemala City. Drawn back home to Louisiana by the education reform efforts, Michael completed New Schools for New Orleans school incubation fellowship. He then lead the chartering and launch of one of New Orleans’s “transformation” charters, more than doubling scholar proficiency rates.
He holds a BA in Philosophy from Northwestern University and an MA in Teaching from National Louis University. He is married and the father of two wonderful daughters.
Randi Graham, Director, Texas
Randi joined Education Pioneers to build upon her 9 years of experience in career advising, recruiting, and marketing to develop and grow the next generation of leaders in the Education Sector. She believes that attracting the top talent from the country's best graduate schools into operational roles in education is key to closing the education gap in Texas and throughout the country.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Randi served as the Sr. Associate Director for Full-time MBA Career Management at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. While there she managed career development programing and advising for all students in the Full-time MBA program. She also worked closely with students interested in Education and Social Impact to expand the school's programming and relationships in these areas and to better understand the challenges in attracting more talent to this space. Randi also has experience analyzing markets for growth opportunities for IBM and Scholastic Education, including experience developing tools and assessing the market for teacher training for Pre-K. Early in her career, she also spent 2 years working in the nonprofit sector in Rome, Italy before returning to the US for business school.
Randi holds a BA in Classics and Classical Archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from the Yale School of Management. She lives in Houston with her husband and three dogs.
Laura Fogliano, Associate Director, Development (Alumna)
Laura, an alumna of the 2008 cohort of our Graduate School Fellowship in the DC Metro Area, was delighted to have the opportunity to once again work closely with the DC Metro Area site team - first as a short-term Program Consultant, and now as the Development Manager for the site. Prior to rejoining Education Pioneers in Spring 2011, Laura had spent the previous three years working in the District of Columbia Public Schools administration after a transformative summer Fellowship experience with the organization. While at DCPS, Laura developed and oversaw processes and procedures related to special education dispute resolution, and launched and expanded new programmatic offerings for students with disabilities. She is thrilled to now leverage her resourcefulness, thought partnership, and project management skills to ensure that the DC Metro Area Education Pioneers site is well-positioned to continuously increase its local impact on key education organizations and the students they serve.
Laura’s passion for increasing academic excellence in public education was sparked by her experiences working with children with autism the summer before she left for college. She spent her undergraduate career at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, studying Psychology and Religion and continuing to provide classroom- and home-based educational interventions to students with autism and severe emotional and physical disabilities. After moving to Washington, DC to pursue her Master of Public Policy degree at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, her work with special education legal advocates and supplemental service providers serving local families grounded her policy and management studies in the realities of her underserved clients. Laura believed then, and believes now, that the amazing students in her adopted city deserve – and can, through bold collaborative action, receive – an excellent education from their public school system.
Marissa Friedman, Program Manager, DC Metro Area (Alumna)
Marissa joined Education Pioneers driven by the belief that transformative change within education is a direct result of collaboration from leaders with a wide array of diverse backgrounds and experiences. An Alumna of the Graduate School Fellowship, she understands the power of the Fellowship first-hand and has a great sense of excitement to play a role in ensuring future Fellows have a similar experience and develop as leaders working towards ensuring all children have the opportunity for a high-quality education.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Marissa worked for Mass Insight, working with districts nationally to focus on improving their lowest-performing schools through the professional development and capacity building of school and district leadership. Marissa spent her 2011 Fellowship with the Houston Independent School District, where she managed an internal communications project resulting in the adoption of improved communication processes and tools by the District's leadership. Immediately following the Fellowship, Marissa was a member of the External Relations team at Achievement First, supporting student recruitment, advocacy and community engagement. Marissa began her career managing social marketing campaigns working with clients ranging from the U.S. Department of Education to a community language academy while living in Madrid, Spain. Marissa has a MS in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School for Public Engagement and received her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Communications, Law, Economics, and Government) from American University.
Kendall Toarmina, Program Manager, Southern Region
Kendall joined Education Pioneers because of her belief in the transformative power of education. She is excited to be part of an organization working to ensure that all children receive a world class education.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers she completed a J. William Fulbright scholarship, spending a year in Argentina teaching English language and American culture. During this time, she taught courses at a local college, led discussion-based teacher training activities, and assisted with conferences and other activities sponsored by the Argentine Ministry of Education. In her spare time, she volunteered at area elementary schools and high schools and founded a web-based study group for English learners of all ages.
Kendall holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University in Hispanic Studies and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. While at Rice, she is proud to have served as president of the Native American Student Association as well as a student board member of Houston Hillel.
Seth Gorenstein, Program Associate, DC Metro Area
Seth joined Education Pioneers because he wants to play a role in attracting top management and leadership talent to the public education sector. As a former elementary school teacher, Seth knows how leadership outside of the classroom influences success within the classroom. He is thrilled to be with an organization that is developing a new generation of education leaders.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Seth worked in the DC education policy and nonprofit spaces in many different roles, including as a policy fellow at the DC State Board of Education, as a development intern at Playworks Washington, DC, and as an advisory board member for First Book-DC. After acquiring a taste for crawfish and an ear for brass band music while teaching in Baton Rouge, LA after college, Seth moved to Washington, DC to teach fifth grade math and science at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School. He will always be proud of how his students demonstrated their solar energy knowledge by constructing solar ovens for their final science project. The s'mores his students made were really good, too.
Seth has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Drew University, where he was the editor-in-chief of his campus newspaper. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration part-time at American University's School of Public Affairs.
Melissa Reynolds, Development Assistant, Southern Region
Melissa joined Education Pioneers because of her belief that all children deserve a high-quality education. As a former classroom teacher, she has seen first-hand the ability of all children, regardless of economic or social status, to succeed when given the right leadership and tools. She is excited to be a part of an organization that utilizes the power of leadership to transform the education sector.
Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Melissa worked as a Research Intern at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. She contributed to several research reports and publications, as well as authored several posts for the organization's newsletter and blog. During this time, Melissa also had the opportunity to dive into development work, which sparked her interest in the field. Melissa is a proud Alumna of Teach For America; she was a 2011 Corps Member in Atlanta, Georgia and taught pre-Kindergarten for two years. Her students motivate her every day to continue working for education reform.
Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Earth and Ocean Sciences from Duke University. While at Duke, she was also a member of the Varsity swim team.
Tayler Torry, Program Assistant, Texas & Tennessee
Tayler joined Education Pioneers because of her passion for public service and providing a well-rounded education for underserved populations. She believes that both communities and students should be supported in efforts to close the achievement gap.
Before coming to Education Pioneers, Tayler served in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps as a corps member and team leader, completing service projects in California, Montana, Oregon, and Utah. She also participated in disaster recovery projects in New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy. During her service, Tayler partnered with various community and education based non-profits to improve programming and facility infrastructure.
Tayler earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Texas A&M University. She was heavily involved in the Department of Multicultural Services, where she was the Executive Director of ExCEL (Excellence Uniting, Culture, Education, and Leadership).
Tanya Ramos, Senior Vice President, Eastern Region
Tanya Ramos is Senior Vice President of the Eastern Region, based out of New York, where she is responsible for overseeing EP's work in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the Greater Boston Area. She joined Education Pioneers in late 2011 and is responsible for our expanded work in New Jersey, and our expansion into Connecticut, as well as securing EP's largest regional grant, to date, to support this growth.
Having grown up in a low-income community, she has devoted her career to improving educational opportunity and life outcomes for young people in New York City's most disadvantaged communities for more than a decade. Prior to joining Education Pioneers, Tanya served as Literacy, Inc.'s (LINC) Executive Director; first successor to the Founding Executive Director. Tanya also served as Senior Manager of Strategic Corporate Partnerships at The Taproot Foundation, Director of the College Career Advisement Program, for ASPIRA, and was Director of the E.X.C.E.L. (Educational Excellence Creating Empowered Leaders) Program at the Children's Aid Society (CAS).
Tanya graduated from New York University with her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from and her Master of Science in Urban Policy and Management from New School University. She is a graduate of the Executive Level Program at Columbia Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, a recipient of an Annie E. Casey Foundation Award, a Jacob Kaplan Scholar, and an alumna of the Civic Leadership Development Program (Coro) and INROADS. Tanya lives in New Jersey with her husband Gil, her daughter Ava and her son, Ethan Puig who she refers to as EP!
Kara Grieco, Director, NYC, NJ, CT (Alumna)
Kara Grieco joins the Education Pioneers Eastern Region team with over 10 years of public service experience working on issues of equity and access in school funding, schools of choice, charter school governance, teacher quality, parent education, and healthy school food.
Kara most recently served as the Director of Partnership Development at Revolution Foods, a mission driven social enterprise that seeks to increase access to healthy food for all children. Kara was a founding leader for the New Jersey region where she led expansion of the organization into New York and Pennsylvania, diversified program offerings, and tripled the number of meals served daily. Previously, Kara served as the Director of Business Development for Victory Education Partners (formerly Victory Schools) where she was responsible for charter school development, board capacity building, grant writing, marketing and corporate communications. She began her career working as the Public Relations and Community Outreach Aide for a state senator in New Jersey.
Kara is an alumna of EP NYC 2010 cohort and was a founding EP NYC Metro Area Alumni Board member. Kara also serves as founding member of Leadership Scholars Alumnae Board at Rutgers University Institute for Women’s Leadership. Kara received an MPA from New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA from Rutgers University - Douglass College.
Jacqueline Bennett, Program Manager, Greater Boston (Alumna)
Jacqueline Bennett (GSF 2010 LA) is the Program Manager, Greater Boston. In this role she manages fellowship and related programming for the Greater Boston area.
An Education Pioneers alumna, Jacqueline came to education and Education Pioneers because she believes that all children are capable of success and that ensuring the right people and the right supports are in place will allow this success to happen. Before joining the Education Pioneers staff, Jacqueline worked for the early education nonprofit Jumpstart, where she served in a program management capacity and recruited, trained, and supported college students during their year of Jumpstart service. Jacqueline also previously was an Education Pioneers Graduate Student Fellow in the Office of the Chief Academic Officer at Los Angeles Unified School District and taught second grade in Las Vegas as part of Teach For America.
Jacqueline graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a degree in Educational Equity and Theater and received a Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. When not working, Jacqueline participates in community theatre and cheers on her favorite sports teams.
Marianne Nieman, Associate Director, NYC, NJ, CT
Marianne Nieman joins the Education Pioneers team with the belief that drawing talent to the educational leadership field is a key in closing the education gap, and is excited to bring her experiences to the Eastern Region team. Her career in education began as a second grade teacher in Atlanta through Teach for America. Interested in looking at education from a global perspective, Marianne moved to Saga, Japan as part of the JET Programme where she taught high school English. Alongside teaching she became an advisor for other English teachers in her region, providing leadership, professional development, and support. She has also spent time volunteering with non-profit organizations working in education around Southeast Asia. She most recently worked at Mercy Corps, running the operations and public programming at an education space. Marianne received her BS in Biology and Psychology from Tulane University and her M.A. in International Education from New York University.
Elliot Luscombe, Program Manager, New Jersey
Elliot Luscombe joined the Education Pioneers team because of his conviction that the challenges facing the education sector cannot be addressed without an infusion of new talent and interdisciplinary perspectives into the field.
He comes to Education Pioneers with a background in social work, youth development, and program management. He previously worked as a consultant, with various non-profit organizations and the New York City Department of Education, focusing on design, implementation, and management out-of-school time programs for adolescents in over 20 middle and high schools.
Elliot holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication from Stanford University as well as a Master’s in Social Work from the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Portia Newman, Program Manager, Connecticut (Alumna)
Portia Newman joined Education Pioneers because she believes that education has the power to create avenues of opportunity for all students. She believes these opportunities are supported by thoughtful individuals who are committed to serving as agents of change within the Education sector.
She comes to Education Pioneers with a background in early childhood teaching and as a College Adviser with a national college access program. Portia's experience has allowed her to work with amazing young people in very unique ways. She is a 2013 EP Alumna who is passionate about mentoring youth, supporting Education leaders, and advocating for change.
Portia earned a BA in Child Development and Family studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Natasha Jamal, Program Associate, Greater Boston
Natasha joined Education Pioneers because of her commitment to education reform and belief that strong sector leadership and management is key to creating the reform students across the country deserve.
She comes to Education Pioneers from Year Up, where she served as National Board Liaison. Here, she project managed Year Up's Annual Governance Summit and worked closely with senior leaders on board engagement efforts. While at Year Up, she also had the opportunity to tutor, mentor and coach several of the outstanding young adults the organization serves. Prior to Year Up, Natasha earned her MA in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies from Stanford University, and began her career in education working with special needs students. She received her BA in International Studies from Vassar College, where she also served as a Student Fellow and Writing Consultant.
Rebekah Romingquet, Program Associate, NYC, NJ, CT
Rebekah joined Education Pioneers because she believes in education equality and promoting opportunities for those who aspire to be leaders in education. As a product of the San Francisco Public Unified School District, she understands first-hand the effects of a faulty leadership system and is excited to be part of an organization that is working to change that. She is based in the New York City office, where she supports a successful “dream” team that works to infuse top tier talent in education leaderships through creative and innovative action.
Rebekah holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego in Communication with a minor in Political Science. While at UC San Diego, she worked with student-led organizations focused on outreaching and empowering high school students to strive towards higher education. She proudly led the public relations and community outreach for several student-run productions and events for the greater San Diego community. Prior to joining Education Pioneers, she worked for a technology startup in her hometown of San Francisco.
Sara Guderyahn, Senior Director, Chicago and Midwest
Sara joined Education Pioneers with the desire to leverage her policy and partnership-building expertise to help create systems change in the education reform sector.
With ten years of professional work experience, Sara Guderyahn has a strong track record of building powerful networks, developing strategic partnerships, reaching out to public forums and engaging the social entrepreneurship and philanthropic sectors. In her seven years with The Sheridan Group, Sara partnered with non-profits in both the domestic and international sectors. Some of her accomplishments include launching the nation's first advocacy coalition against human trafficking, developing and passing federal policy authorizing state waivers to utilize federal funding to develop innovative alternative services for children in the foster care system and the renewal of a competitive program to provide accessible materials for students with disabilities.
Prior to coming to The Sheridan Group and as part of the ContactTrust in Cape Town, Sara helped bridge the divide between South African parliamentarians and newly formed nongovernmental organizations, building advocacy capacity for the organization's portfolio. Domestically, Sara worked for Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and focused her work on education and health care.
Sara has her undergraduate degree in government and economics and holds a Masters in Applied Political Science from American University.
Scott Rubin, Development Manager, Chicago
Scott joined Education Pioneers because he strongly believes that each child has a fundamental right to a first-rate public education. He sees Education Pioneer's program as an excellent opportunity to make real, systemic change in our education infrastructure that will eliminate the achievement gap in our public schools.
Scott has spent the past several years managing fundraising operations for challenger political candidates seeking public office. He most recently was the Deputy Finance Director for Jessica Ehrlich's bid for U.S. Congress in St. Petersburg Florida. Previously, Scott also had the opportunity to work for Susan Bysiewicz's race for U.S. Senate in Connecticut and for a series of state-level candidates in Wisconsin.
Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a student, he worked in program management for the Office of Student Affairs, in administration for the UW Hospital Cancer Clinics and in the legislative offices for several elected officials.
Scott is a proud product of the K-12 City of Pittsburgh public school system, and desires that all students are afforded the same opportunities to learn and grow that he was given as a child.
Annie Davis, Program Manager, Chicago
Annie began her career in education at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame where she majored in English Literature and Writing and minored in Secondary Education. She quickly learned about the injustices in the education system when partaking in several internships across the South Bend and Mishawaka School Districts. It was then that she realized that good teaching was integral to a good education for all children, and she wanted to impact the lives of students in that capacity. After graduation, Annie began teaching in the suburbs of Chicago, and she eventually moved to the Noble Network of Charter Schools at Chicago Bulls College Prep where she taught English and Theatre for the past two years.
Annie joins Education Pioneers because her passion and determination drive her to ensure that all students are guaranteed the opportunity to an excellent education. Although she enjoyed being a part of the classroom setting, she knew that after an interim position at EP that she wanted to be a permanent part of the conversation in education policy and reform. She is excited to use her experience as a classroom teacher to engage policy makers in the conversation of an equitable education for children.
Celia Garcia Alvarado, Acting Executive Director
Dr. Celia Garcia Alvarado is the Acting Executive Director of the Western Region, based out of Los Angeles, where she is responsible for overseeing EP's work in California, Colorado, and Washington. She joined Education Pioneers in 2013 as the Senior Director overseeing all programmatic work for the Western Region.
Celia joined Education Pioneers because she is passionate about coaching and developing leaders who want to play a critical role in driving systemic change in the education sector. She began her career as an educator in LAUSD and was named Teacher of the Year in 2003 for her district. Prior to joining Education Pioneers, she was a Managing Director on the Teacher Leadership Development team at Teach For America-Los Angeles, and was responsible for supporting close to 300 corps members who collectively taught approximately 22,000 students in low-income communities across Los Angeles county.
Celia received her BA from Stanford University, her Ed.M. from Harvard University, and Ed.D. from UCLA. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Loyola Marymount University's Graduate School of Education and serves as a founding board member for RISE Colorado, a family advocacy organization. Celia is married to Jorge and they have two daughters, Maya and Sofia.
Janine Chen, Program Manager, Bay Area (Alumna)
Janine Chen joined Education Pioneers because she is committed to attracting and developing talented leadership for every level of the education sector. An alumna of the Bay Area Graduate School Fellowship, Janine comes to us from Rocketship, where she was the Leadership Development Design Specialist. At Rocketship, she designed and managed, Emerging Leaders, a teacher leadership program and also created and executed workshops for the principal preparation program. Prior to that, Janine also had the opportunity to intern for the Chief Academic Office for Boston Public Schools and was a Program Manager for New Leaders where she collaborated with former principals and superintendents to execute professional development for aspiring principals. Janine is an alumna of the 2011 Bay Area Graduate School Fellowship. She earned her BA in Urban Studies from Stanford University and her Master's in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
La Mikia Castillo, Program Manager, Los Angeles (Alumna)
La Mikia is a 2010 Education Pioneers alumna (Los Angeles cohort) who worked as a consultant with EP prior to joining the team as a full time staff member. Having worked as a community organizer in the labor movement, a policy analyst and grant maker in the public health field, as well as an advocacy coordinator and researcher, La Mikia brings many passions and unique perspectives to conversations around educational equity and closing the opportunity gap.
A Los Angeles native (who takes public transportation everywhere!), she has a "love-challenge" relationship with her hometown, and is committed to playing a key role in transforming the city. She regularly engages in stimulating discussions around race, class, politics and the like, and is often found challenging the status quo.
La Mikia received dual master's degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning from USC's Sol Price School of Public Policy, and completed double majors in Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies and Planning at UC San Diego.
Yolanda De La Paz, Program Manager, Denver (Alumna)
Yolanda comes to Education Pioneers having been a 2013 Graduate School Fellow in Los Angeles. She joined EP because she believes in attracting top talent that can transform the education sector. Most recently, she was a consultant for Education Pioneers' Recruitment and Admissions team. Prior to her work at EP, she was the Director of External Relations at the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in San Francisco. At Coro, she led recruitment and development for its leadership training programs. Yolanda earned her BA in Political Science and Education from U.C. Berkeley and her Master's in Public Policy at the University of Southern California. She is native of the San Francisco Bay Area and an alumna of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.
Jeanette Wickelgren, Development Associate
Jeanette was drawn to Education Pioneers because of her passion to help underserved youth and her belief that the best way to solve any problem is to get motivated people working on it together.
Before coming to Education Pioneers, Jeanette was doing Neuroscience research, first at Rockefeller University in New York City and then at University of California, San Francisco where she got her Master of Science degree. She never lost sight of her passion for working with children. She has taught science, language and the arts to at-risk youth ranging from 2-17 years old in three countries in both English and Spanish. She most recently was involved in volunteer teaching at public schools in San Francisco. In addition to her Master's, Jeanette holds a Bachelor's degree in Neurobiology from Harvard University.
Laurel Laidlaw, Program Associate, Bay Area
Laurel Laidlaw is the Program Associate, Bay Area. In this role she works alongside the Western Region team to ensure exceptional execution of our Fellowship and Alumni programming in the Bay Area.
It is her deep belief that the right leadership can transform the education system into one that effectively engages our diverse students and increases the opportunity that lies before them. Laurel brings with her experience in both project management and advocacy from her roles with KaBOOM! as a Project Manager and with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua where she partnered with the Ministry of Education to establish entrepreneurial education courses in secondary schools.
Laurel graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in International Business and a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. In her free time, she enjoys the views from the tops of mountains, good conversation over coffee, and San Francisco's park culture.