Our Team

Our team is passionate about what we do. Our growth, progress, and contribution to the improvement of our nation’s educational quality have been the work of a creative, energetic, and responsible team committed to excellence. Click on our photos to learn how we came to NAF and go to naf.org/careers to learn more about joining the team!
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JD Hoye President
JD Hoye
JD Hoye
President

I was ‘horse crazy’ in my youth and deemed ‘college material’ by my high school counselor, so it was no surprise that I went to college with the intention of becoming a large animal vet.  Within my first year at Oregon State University, I switched species and majored in and graduated with a degree in Sociology.  I did an internship my senior year working as a counselor for young people who had dropped out of high school. Seeing the impact of the workplace in reigniting career ambitions, which drives education with a purpose, has guided my career ever since.  I have led college and career preparation initiatives at local, regional, state, federal and now national levels—always driven by the incredible impact public-private partnerships can have on young people and their futures.  I joined NAF in 2007 and remain impressed and amazed at the power of our network and the tremendous difference our network leaders make in the lives of students every day.

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Lisa Dughi Chief Operating Officer
Lisa Dughi
Lisa Dughi
Chief Operating Officer

After starting pre-med and changing my major three times at Cornell University, I graduated with a major in Marketing and a minor in Fashion. Fittingly, my career began in the fashion industry at Chanel developing marketing strategies using customer data. I went on to receive my MBA at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where I developed strategic, marketing, and analytical skills that I applied to management consulting, with projects spanning a range of industries and functions often with a data-driven solution. This gave me a great deal of experience affecting change within organizations large and small, but also made me realize that I wanted to use my experience to help make a difference. In 2012 I applied these skills to the nonprofit world by coming to NAF as a consultant to help use student data to tell the NAF story. I then served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications and led a full rebranding of the national organization and was responsible for planning, executing, delivering, and evaluating all aspects of marketing & communications. In my current role as Chief Operating Officer, I oversee the Marketing & Communications, Strategic Planning & Alignment, Finance, Research & Evaluation, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Administration functions.

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Maryanne Greenfield Chief Advancement Officer
Maryanne Greenfield
Maryanne Greenfield
Chief Advancement Officer

Although I was accepted to the Wharton School at UPenn, I really had no clear idea of what I wanted to do after I graduated. My business courses were my least favorite so I transferred into liberal arts and got a BA in Political Science. Ironically, my first job was with a bank in a commercial lending officer training program. When I wanted to change from financial services into something more creative, I did informational interviews with senior level executives to find out how to make the transition and landed in Citibank’s marketing department. Later, when I wanted to switch to not-for-profit, I talked with non-profit leaders to ask their advice on which area to pursue in the industry. I was coached to try and find a job in corporate fundraising and found my first non-profit position as Director of Corporate Relations at Citymeals-on-Wheels. I became deeply connected to the plight of the homebound elderly recognizing that their lives literally depended on the service we provided. Now hooked on mission-driven work, I decided to follow my heart and work for Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC helping underprivileged children succeed in life. I joined Memorial Sloan-Kettering where my mother had been treated for cancer, and from there went to The Rogosin Institute, where I raised funds for a new model of healthcare focused on preventing chronic disease in high need communities. My mother was my inspiration for transitioning to not-for-profit and for coming to NAF. For over 20 years, she worked in a low/middle income school and always talked about trying to get “her kids” into college despite the many obstacles they faced. In joining NAF, I feel as though I am carrying on her legacy.

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Mary Adams Executive Assistant
Mary Adams
Mary Adams
Executive Assistant

Since high school my passion has always been to work with kids. At one point I wanted a career in the juvenile justice system working with at-risk juveniles and went to work in the Criminal Records Division for Los Angeles County Superior Court. This is where my administrative career began and also took a detour. Working full-time and going to school part-time for business administration, I left Superior Court to pursue opportunities working as an administrative assistant for business management firms in the entertainment industry until I relocated to Northern California. Living in the Silicon Valley, I continued my career as an administrative assistant and then an executive assistant to the Chairman and CEO for various high-tech and startup companies in the semiconductor industry. I was honored when I received an opportunity to join NAF in 2008 as the Executive Assistant to the President. I have been with NAF since 2007 and continue to be impressed and inspired by the students.

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Marcy Aycock Manager, Design Fidelity
Marcy Aycock
Marcy Aycock
Manager, Design Fidelity

As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a teacher, then a principal – in fact, I liked to play school, but always wanted to be the principal!  Coming from a poor family of eight children, college seemed an impossible dream.  In fact, my high school counselor told me I wasn’t “college material” even though I had a high grade point average!  I set out to prove him wrong.  I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and became an art teacher.  Next, I completed a Master’s in Education Administration and became a principal.  Then, I completed an Ed.D in Educational Leadership.  During my tenure in K-12 education I worked at all levels, and always in schools with a high “at-risk” population.  After 16 years as a principal, I was selected to develop an Early College program for a community college.  This exciting work led me to NAF.  I joined NAF in 2014 as an Academy Development Manager for Region 3.

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Tiffany Barfield Director, Strategic Partnerships
Tiffany Barfield
Tiffany Barfield
Director, Strategic Partnerships

I graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Education. After graduation and being bitten by the political bug, I moved to Washington, D.C. and began my career at The White House where I held many positions, including working for First Lady, Laura Bush. While in Washington, I had opportunities to work on the G8 Summit, Republican National Convention in New York City, Bush-Cheney 2004 Campaign, Presidential Inauguration, and US Department of Health and Human Services. In 2007, I moved to New York City worked at UBS and Avista Capital Partners. After 7 years in the financial industry, I was ready for a change and wanted to pursue my passion in finding a purpose driven career. I joined NAF in 2014 as the Corporate Engagement Manager which allows me to combine my education and experience to bring partnerships of the highest level to the NAF Network!

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Brenda Barry Vice President, Corporate Engagement & Relations
Brenda Barry
Brenda Barry
Vice President, Corporate Engagement & Relations

Dolphin Trainer, Astronaut, News Anchor were all on my list of desired occupations growing up. In high school I excelled at math and science so I my high school guidance counselor guided me to pursue a major in Engineering. I attended UC Davis and after one semester in the School of Engineering, I knew I needed to change my path. Three declared majors later, I graduated with a degree in Economics and a minor in Psychology. I landed my first job through an internship I had with a national marketing consulting firm. Six years later, I changed course when an opportunity arose to help create a non-profit focused on bringing business and education together to better prepare students for 21st Century jobs. I’ve been invested in working with public-private partnerships to better the lives of young people for over 25 years. I joined NAF in 2010 and am honored to work with amazing people committed to helping students realize their full potential and helping employers find diverse, qualified talent.

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Laura Beaubien Senior Accountant
Laura Beaubien
Laura Beaubien
Senior Accountant

When I was a junior in high school, I knew I had to start deciding on a college major.  For me, it was based on what I loved to do and if there was a demand for it in the workforce.  I took a computer programming class and dropped out after the first day.  Then I tried Bookkeeping and knew I wanted a career in the finance field.  I graduated from College of Westchester with my Associate’s in Occupational Studies in Accounting and realized that the job market was very competitive and required an education beyond a 2-year degree.  I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Accounting from Sacred Heart University.  I now have over 20 years’ experience in accounting.  I also just recently obtained a Certificate in Not-for-Profit Accounting & Governmental Report from New York University.  I am a Senior Accountant in the Finance Department.

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Tara Bellevue Managing Director, Network Engagement
Tara Bellevue
Tara Bellevue
Managing Director, Network Engagement

I was a little girl from South Carolina with big dreams and an adventurous spirit. Future Teachers of America, Debate Club, French Club, Marching Band and the Math Club were all indicative of my future endeavors. I graduated high school wanting to be a business executive. I obtained a degree in Business Administration, and worked as a Marketing Communications Manager for an international telecommunications company. With a shift in the economy, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education with a focus on business education and mathematics. This led to a series of opportunities to shape the minds of young people as an award winning teacher, building level administrator, district level administrator and most recently President Elect for Business Teachers Association of New York State. I have had the pleasure of working for the largest school district in the US where I was responsible for aligning operating policies and procedures to federal legislation, state grant funds and NYSED policies. Through NAF, I am dedicated to engaging and empowering all students through STEM education.

 

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Joshua Benfield Manager, NAFTrack Integration
Joshua Benfield
Joshua Benfield
Manager, NAFTrack Integration

I was attending Appalachian State University majoring in Business Administration focusing on banking and finance when I realized that I wanted to work with young people and have a positive impact on the next generation. After college, I was able to use my degree and interest in helping young people by becoming a high school business and marketing teacher. During my time as a teacher, I led a NAF Academy of Hospitality & Tourism. After completing a Master’s Degree in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, I took the NAF educational design to the next level in my district, becoming an Academy Coordinator and overseeing the opening of five additional academies in three years. I joined NAF in 2015 because I believe in NAF’s mission and am excited to see the impact our network is going to have in preparing students across the country to be future ready.

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Umang Beri Director, Systems & Data Applications
Umang Beri
Umang Beri
Director, Systems & Data Applications

I was born in India where the education system was all about exams. As a child, I lived briefly in Baghdad where I attended an international school before moving back to India. In my teenage years, my family moved to Amsterdam where I studied in the IB system, and realized the importance of a really good education. I moved to the United States in 1999 and decided to go to the University of Rochester, New York, to double major in Computer Science and Economics, where I developed my passion for building online tools. Shortly after I graduated, I joined NAF in New York City. During my time here, I have helped develop multiple online systems including data tracking systems and databases to better serve our network and our staff. Through these systems, NAF has been able to track the growth, success and challenges of its network to better provide support to academies, as well as develop proof points to support NAF’s continued success.

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Ira Berkowitz Chief Financial Officer
Ira Berkowitz
Ira Berkowitz
Chief Financial Officer

Growing up in Brooklyn, my career aspirations ranged from baseball player to doctor to lawyer. My dad was an Accountant and while in high school, I took a few accounting courses which came naturally to me. When it came time to choose a major at Brooklyn College, “lottery winner” was not an option, so I went with accounting. I started my career in public accounting in a medium size firm and then moved on to a “Big 8” firm. I tried my hand on Wall Street as a bank auditor and then in investment banking. After two years of all too frequently watching the sun come up from my office window, I finally found the non-profit world as a way to utilize my skills to make a difference in peoples’ lives while maintaining the work-life balance. After 9 years as CFO for cultural institution in Chelsea, I joined NAF in 2009 and it was the best career move I have ever made.

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Helen Blanch Vice President, Network Development & Implementation
Helen Blanch
Helen Blanch
Vice President, Network Development & Implementation

As the daughter of Cuban immigrants, my life has been filled with many “firsts”.  First generation American (who didn’t learn English until I started school); first in my family to graduate from high school…then college…then on through two more degrees.  I grew up in Miami, enrolled in the very public school system from which I would eventually retire as an Assistant Superintendent after a 30 year career.  Along the way I had mentors who provided guidance at key life-junctures, including the high school counselor who convinced me I was college material, then helped me attain a scholarship, the administrator who insisted I did have leadership potential and promoted me to my first supervisory position, and the superintendent who charged me with leading the district’s secondary school reform effort.  I joined NAF in 2013 because I believe in our mission that preparing young people for future success should not rely on a serendipitous route such as mine, but be purposefully guided.

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Katherine Blasik Vice President, Research & Evaluation
Katherine Blasik
Katherine Blasik
Vice President, Research & Evaluation

I exceeded my parents’ history by completing high school and college but my path was not well defined until my high school pre-calculus teacher said I should study mathematics. She told me of options, expectations, success strategies, and called to ensure I was on track. The example is the strategy I follow…learning from others, deciding how it applies, and determining next steps…the research side. With four college degrees including a Ph.D. and training in project management/strategic planning, I have also placed priorities on community and family. My life includes giving back to others, much like my pre-calculus teacher …or like a call to give back to high school students through NAF’s work in college and career preparation as the Vice President of Research and Evaluation. When asked about my background, I share that I am living a path that has value beyond me.

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Andria Blatt Director, Human Resources
Andria Blatt
Andria Blatt
Director, Human Resources

As a freshman at Messiah College, my intention was to major in accounting. When speaking with my faculty advisor, it became apparent that I wanted to pursue a profession where I interacted frequently with people. That day I changed my major to Human Resource Management and never looked back. After two paid internships and completing my Bachelor’s Degree, I began my first full-time role with an executive search firm. Thereafter, I went on to work for New York University, holding several positions within Human Resources. While there, I attained my Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. With a solid foundation as a generalist in HR, I sought a position where I could be more closely connected to the mission of my employer. This is what eventually led me to work for NAF. Making a valuable difference in the lives of high school students is one of the most rewarding benefits the organization offers.

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Patricia Brown Assistant Vice President, Corporate Relations
Patricia Brown
Patricia Brown
Assistant Vice President, Corporate Relations

I once heard someone say “if you allow yourself to get close to the urgency, the urgency will change you”.  My personal background has placed me in the center of that urgency all my life.  The youngest of nine siblings, yet the first to attend college, I saw a great deal of untapped potential in my personal environment.  I was fortunate enough to have teachers who saw my potential and provided opportunities that lead me to obtain a degree in Chemical Engineering UT, Knoxville.  My early career was with Procter & Gamble, where I worked for almost a decade.  I left to found a non-profit for youth in a high-needs community in Cincinnati.  My contributions opened doors at KnowledgeWorks where I engaged communities in the small schools movement; at Strive, where I helped to develop the cradle to career collect impact framework, and now at NAF, where I have the privilege of providing opportunities to youth to help them realize their potential.

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Brooke Buchanan Director, Administrative Services
Brooke Buchanan
Brooke Buchanan
Director, Administrative Services

After graduating from Tufts University, with a degree in Sociology, I moved to New York and began my career working as an event planner, mainly planning for non-profits. After working in events for five plus years, adding weddings and parties to the mix, I realized that my passion was in helping non-profits successfully deliver on their missions. Having only worked with Development departments of my nonprofit clients, I returned to school to expand my knowledge of nonprofit work and earned an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management & Policy from Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU. I came to NAF as a temporary employee working with the Institutional Advancement team before moving to the Communications Department. When a position became available that enabled me to work with all departments within NAF, I was thrilled. My past experiences with various departments within NAF provided me with the background that has been invaluable to my current role.

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Dee Chambliss Director, Network Evaluation
Dee Chambliss
Dee Chambliss
Director, Network Evaluation

I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher, but entered college with plans to become a pharmacist after being told by my high school counselors, “You can do so much more than teach!”  Pursuing a liberal arts degree in Biology, I worked with young people in summer camps, prepared science labs for my department, and conducted research.  I realized that I was meant to be a teacher and added a teaching credential to my B.S. degree.  I taught high school and college science classes for many years before transitioning to various leadership positions in education at the district level, in government, and in the non-profit community supporting STEM education with Communities Foundation of Texas.  Along the way, I obtained additional credentials, including a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology, a Specialist’s degree in Education Leadership, and a Doctoral degree in Education. I guess, in a way, my high school counselors were right.  As a teacher, I would indeed do so much more than teach!

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James Cole Manager, Corporate Relations
James Cole
James Cole
Manager, Corporate Relations

Unsure of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I decided to study something I thought would valuable in any career, landing on business and marketing at Sacramento State (California State University-Sacramento). During college, I held administrative roles in Public Relations before shifting to a role in the education field, working for LEED (Linking Education and Economic Development). Over the next few years, I continued to explore my interest in effective communications between business and education. Before joining NAF, I worked for the San Francisco Unified School District supporting career and technical education programs, including NAF academies to help bring the business and education worlds together through work-based learning and business engagement in their future employee pipeline. I also consulted organizations creating employer manuals and state-level work-based learning plans and implementation toolkits. I continue this work today as a member of the corporate engagement & relations team.

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Margaret Deason-Coughlin Development Associate
Margaret Deason-Coughlin
Margaret Deason-Coughlin
Development Associate

When asked in high school about my career aspirations, I would say that I wanted to be a social worker, though I had a limited notion as to what that entailed. In my first year at the University of Alabama – Birmingham, I was still contemplating social work when I took my first sociology course. My professor instantly garnered my interest, and I thought I had finally figured it out– I wanted to be a professor of sociology. As an undergraduate, I worked as a Research Assistant for my university’s Sociology Department, reinforcing my interest in the field. I interned on the successful reelection campaign of Congresswoman Terri Sewell and for the Alabama Association of Nonprofits, training local nonprofits in best practices. After college, I worked at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) on a fellowship program that supports graduate student fellows as they matriculate through PhD programs. This experience gave me an inside look at the process for earning a PhD and becoming a professor, along with the realization that this career path wasn’t for me after all.

What I liked about my work at SSRC was the opportunity to encourage and witness our fellows’ progress and subsequent scholarly work. This interest in supporting the educational advancement of students is what drew me to NAF, and I’m excited to be working for a cause that I’m passionate about.

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Colleen Del Terzo Manager, Professional Development
Colleen Del Terzo
Colleen Del Terzo
Manager, Professional Development

At age four, I started dragging a small suitcase full of books all around the house while telling everyone that I was going to school. My mother was a teacher; so, I wanted to be a teacher too. I have always enjoyed school but as a struggling reader, I had to study long and hard to get good grades. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and started teaching science after graduation. When I moved to Florida, the education system did not recognize my bachelor degree and I had to attain a Bachelor of Arts at Florida International University in order to obtain teacher certification. I continued to teach in parochial and private schools until I earned my Master in Science Education credentials. In the public school system, I have been a teacher, principal, and district administrator. With encouragement from my mentor and boss, I completed a Doctorate in Instructional Leadership at Nova Southeastern University. After 42 years in education, I am excited to be a part of the NAF team as we prepare high school students to Be Future Ready!

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Colleen Devery Assistant Vice President, Strategic Alignment
Colleen Devery
Colleen Devery
Assistant Vice President, Strategic Alignment

I went to American University and studied areas that interested me without a very clear view of how they would lead to a career. I started out as Russian major after learning the language in high school and doing a home stay there. Pretty early on, I decided to change my major and ended up earning B.S. in Computer Science. While I was in college, I had a work study job with a center within the university that brought together UN agencies, NGOs and government officials around a wide range of international development issues. From that experience, I decided to focus my career in the nonprofit sector and dedicate my energies to making the world more of the place I want it to be. I worked at Girls Inc. for nine years and learned so much about fundraising, strategy development, and nonprofit management. I joined NAF in 2006 and have been lucky to play many different roles as the organization continually grows its impact and ambitions.

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Kevin English Director, Network Design
Kevin English
Kevin English
Director, Network Design

In high school I purchased my first car, a 1969 Plymouth roadrunner bright orange with a 383 V8. This fueled my love for doing hands-on activities. As I worked on my car, I thought that being a mechanic was in my future.  I also loved to cook and studied Culinary Arts in high school, running a student run restaurant on campus.  I was also high involved in Future Farmers of America and competed in public speaking. Upon high school graduation I had two scholarship offers, one to study to be a chef, the other to be a teacher.  I took the teacher scholarship and graduated from of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Education in 1986 and a Master’s of Science in 1991.  I worked as an agricultural educator, construction trades instructor and engineering instructor in the Peoria Unified School district in Arizona for 30 years before joining NAF in 2013, where I continue to support the growth of young people.

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Jeanne Friedman Managing Director, Network Engagement
Jeanne Friedman
Jeanne Friedman
Managing Director, Network Engagement

I wanted to be a dentist, but I became an educator. No regrets, this decision enabled me to have a career in public education that spanned more than a quarter of a century. I was a teacher and an administrator at both the elementary and secondary levels. I also taught post-secondary courses. I did veer from education in graduate school by enrolling into a liberal arts program where I received a Master’s degree in Speech Communications. Mid-way into the process, I was presented with two offers: 1) a teaching fellowship at Penn State and 2) a teaching position in a public school system; I accepted the paid salary of $6,000. Throughout the years, I completed my MA and Ed.D degrees and retired from public education. I opened an LLC and found myself working part-time with NAF academies. In 2010, I joined NAF and have the privilege of being a Managing Director for Network Engagement.

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Jennifer Geisler Network Solutions Lead Specialist
Jennifer Geisler
Jennifer Geisler
Network Solutions Lead Specialist

I graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. I originally planned to study broadcast journalism, but quickly learned that public speaking was not my strength. My love for interpersonal communications led me to my first job in the human resources department of a large financial institution, Bankers Trust. I spent eight years at Bankers Trust in various roles before making the difficult decision to leave the work force and focus on raising my three young children. After eight years at home, I was excited for the chance to join NAF in 2010 — a new commitment for me, supporting both education and the future of underserved children. Since 2010 I’ve been fortunate to serve the NAF network, which has given me the opportunity to help others and strive to make a difference.

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DeAira Handugan Assistant Director, Future Ready Labs
DeAira Handugan
DeAira Handugan
Assistant Director, Future Ready Labs

I double majored in Family and Consumer Science and Business Management at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA where I also received my Master’s in education. I taught Family and Consumer Science, which included NAF academy courses, at a high school in the Seattle from 2010-2015. My favorite part of teaching was building relationships with my students and witnessing how the relationships impacted their desire to learn content in my courses. The NAF curriculum, business partners, and cross-cultural projects challenged my previous perspective about teaching and prompted me to begin a doctoral program in Educational and Transformative Leadership at Concordia University. As a teacher, I was able to witness how NAF positively affected students in academic and career success in ways I could not have imagined.

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Kate Haydon Director, Design Implementation
Kate Haydon
Kate Haydon
Director, Design Implementation

I started as a Finance major at Oklahoma State University, ended up with a Clothing, Textiles & Merchandising degree. Discovering retail wasn’t for me, I returned to college and got my Master’s degree and teacher’s certificate in Family and Consumer Sciences. Finally, after several years, I was in the right spot, doing something I loved.

I wasted a lot of money and time chasing careers I was not cut out for. What I lacked throughout my education was career guidance. Not one person tried to help me match that with career possibilities with my interests. I finally became a teacher at the age of 32 with a clear mission: To help students find their way. And as a CTE teacher in Oklahoma, that’s just what I did. When I found out our school was going to become a career academy, I loved the idea: an even BETTER way to help kids find their way. I became the site coordinator, gathered up a team and launched the health sciences academy at my high school.

By 2014, the Oklahoma City Public School District had 10 open academies and decided they needed someone at the district level to provide support and equity among all schools. So I jumped – what a great way to help MORE kids find their way. We launched two more academies as well as a district advisory board.

I am thrilled to be a part the NAF family to provide support and tools to help academies achieve their goals and to help their students find their way to the perfect match.

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Mike Henson Director, NAFTrack
Mike Henson
Mike Henson
Director, NAFTrack

Athletics have always been a huge part of my life, so becoming a teacher/coach when I graduated from Fresno State was a natural transition. After coaching football for 17 years, with a slight detour in elementary education and receiving my Masters in Education Administration, I became an administrator in 1990 in the Porterville Unified School District, which provided me with a range of experiences and exposure to leadership methods and styles directed at meeting the educational needs of disadvantaged students.  I returned to PUSD in 2004 as Principal of Strathmore High School and began my journey in the development of career-themed academies.  I was fortunate to be involved in the development of Harmony Magnet Academy, one of the NAF’s first 13 Academies of Engineering.  I retired from PUSD in 2010 and came to NAF to lead the regional team pilot in California. I joined NAF in 2010 and look forward to meeting the upcoming challenges of our ever-growing network.

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Grady Lane Managing Director, Network Engagement
Grady Lane
Grady Lane
Managing Director, Network Engagement

Being the first to graduate from college in my family, education was not a typical topic around the dinner table. Discovering what you liked to do and determining what you were good at was. I was good at ‘school’ so my high school counselor advised me to go to college. I attended Abilene Christian University in Texas, and majored in Political Science, where I had the vague idea to become an attorney. While attending law school in California, I realized the classroom observations and teacher job shadows that I participated in, while taking a few undergraduate elective education courses, were all pointing me to what I enjoyed and was good at – teaching. After 15 years of classroom experience, I decided to pursue the pathway of becoming an administrator. I wanted to support students in finding their career goals, based on their passions and interests. I completed my Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at California State University, Fresno with the support of mentors and colleagues. I was introduced to NAF as a partner, in supporting college and career pathway development, during my times as a District Administrator for Fresno Unified School District. Today, I am excited to be a part of the NAF team that supports districts, corporate, and civic partners in providing students with the opportunities to find out what they like to do and what they are good at!

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Ravi Hunter Operations Associate
Ravi Hunter
Ravi Hunter
Operations Associate

After graduating from high school, I worked as a Mail Room Clerk for a financial bank. My responsibilities ranged from handling incoming, inter-office, and outgoing mail to maintaining mailroom equipment, postage, and related supplies, and managing the maintenance of general office equipment and inventory. As my time with the bank progressed, additional responsibilities came under my task list, including reception and record keeping duties. I came on to NAF as a temp in April of 2014 before joining full-time in September 2015 where I apply these skills to the nonprofit world as an Operations Associate. This position maximizes operating efficiency by providing the highest level of customer service and identifying and implementing process improvements that result in a more productive and cost effective work environment.

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Christel Kaufman Director, Network Evaluation
Christel Kaufman
Christel Kaufman
Director, Network Evaluation

I finished degrees in Health Education and Psychology completing an internship with emotionally disturbed children and after graduation, worked as a psychiatric hospital therapist.  I later returned to school to study Early Childhood Education, working in the field for a number of years and then in parent education.  My work with teenage parenting inspired me to return to pursue a Master’s Degree in Planning and Public Policy. I was fortunate to land a paid internship with the State Commission on Children and Families in Oregon, where I was then hired full-time.  From there, I accepted a position as a teacher of Health Education and Family and Consumer Sciences and Director of district Teen Parent Programs and Early Childhood Education. After five years I returned to the university to get my principals license completing an internship at a High School, then became an assistant principal for 2 years, then a district substitute principal for 4 years.  With pleasure I joined NAF in 2006.

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Ilona Khaytsis Staff Accountant
Ilona Khaytsis
Ilona Khaytsis
Staff Accountant

I was born and raised in the Ukraine. Originally, I was inspired by my mother, who is a Russian poet and writer, and because of her I have always been passionate about classical Russian literature. Since high school it was my desire to become a literary critic by analyzing and expanding my education and knowledge of literature. This would probably have been my chosen profession had my family not immigrated to America when I was twenty years old.

I enrolled at Brooklyn College and since Russian was my primary language, I needed to perfect my English writing and verbal skills to pursue a B.S. in literature. Simultaneously, I had to meet the curriculum requirements of elective courses in Science, Math, Economics and Finance. These courses had a huge impact on me and greatly influenced my passion and current professional life in finance and accounting. As I expanded my knowledge and expertise, I realized that my newly gained attributes were second nature to me and that my quantitative and analytical skills in financial analysis and accounting would provide value to any company.

While in college, I realized that accounting and finance is always straight-forward and logical. This has maintained my passion for financial analysis and has drawn me towards business and finance as routes of endeavor. I am dedicated and driven to continuously improve my analytical skills and knowledge of various types of information and data.

I have spent most of my career working for nonprofit organizations. By working as an Accountant for nonprofit organizations, I am getting an opportunity to make a difference by giving back to my community.

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Irene Lynn Chief of Staff, Internal Affairs
Irene Lynn
Irene Lynn
Chief of Staff, Internal Affairs

I have been fortunate to have a rich and rewarding career.  My post-secondary education was at High Point University where I acquired some skills that have served me well.  That is, I learned to think, analyze, write and develop a capacity to continue to learn.  I worked in a number of different Department of Labor programs until I found my real passion, which is for youth — particularly those most vulnerable.  Every job was a learning experience.  After leaving DOL, I was able to continue to work on youth issues in the non-profit sector focusing on workforce preparedness. At NAF, I have been able to continue much of the work that I valued during my Department of Labor career, which was the School to Work Initiative, jointly administered by the Departments of Education and Labor.  I certainly never would have expected when I got out of college that I would follow this career path, but I am glad I did.

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Nora Proujansky Administrative/Human Resources Coordinator
Nora Proujansky
Nora Proujansky
Administrative/Human Resources Coordinator

I grew up in rural Western Massachusetts and my own education experiences at Greenfield Center School and Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter High School lead to my interest in education. While studying at Eugene Lang: The New School for Liberal Arts as an undergraduate I focused my studies on 19th century American history, specifically early feminism. I also worked as a nanny after class and interned at two schools — one public and one private. I later interned at the New York Historical Society. I learned a lot at my internships, mainly that I didn’t want to be a historian or a classroom teacher. But I would never have known that without the hands-on experience. Following graduation, I worked restaurants and eventually rose to become the general manager of a small Brooklyn-based restaurant group. My experience there taught me many things: patience, empathy, understanding, and the ability to think on my feet (literally and figuratively!) I am excited to be working with NAF!

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Sarina Mathai Corporate Relations and Engagement Specialist
Sarina Mathai
Sarina Mathai
Corporate Relations and Engagement Specialist

Like many kids growing up with Boston sports, I wanted to be a sportswriter. I went to Tufts University and majored in English and History with that in mind. Thanks to the connections I made at a summer journalism program, I had the opportunity to work in the Boston Globe’s Sports department starting my freshman year of college and I continued to work there through college and after graduation. During my senior year at Tufts, I worked for Jumpstart, an early education organization that recruits and trains local college students to work with preschool children in low-income neighborhoods. My time as a Jumpstart corps member sparked an enthusiasm for the education field. I moved to New York knowing how many opportunities there were in the education field in the city, and was lucky enough to discover NAF.

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Ana Morrison Network Solutions Specialist
Ana Morrison
Ana Morrison
Network Solutions Specialist

After graduating high school in Lima, Peru I worked in the marketing department for Schering Corporation before becoming assistant to the CEO and President at Bristol Myers Corporation.  Four years later I decided to continue my education at Universidad del Pacifico in Lima majoring in Administration.  During that time I had the opportunity to study abroad at Cornell University. After graduating, I moved to California and worked for the California Interscholastic Federation State Office, the governing body of high school athletics for the state of California. This was my first time working for a non-profit organization, and during these very rewarding 15 years at CIF I developed a passion for the education field.  In 2011, I joined NAF as the Network Liaison for the Western Region providing customer service and support on our data systems to our academies.  Working for NAF fulfills my passion for helping students achieve educational success.

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John Poulos Web Developer
John Poulos
John Poulos
Web Developer

I attended the University of Notre Dame and New York University, where I received degrees in English and Journalism respectively, before transitioning from a career as a music critic and magazine editor to one in web development. After a short time, as web developer and technology coordinator for an educational collaborative, I worked as an intranet developer for a tech company outside of Boston. Additionally, I developed sites for writers, actors, artists, and comedians in Los Angeles. I had always wanted to return to New York and decided I wanted to work for an organization that was contributing some good to our increasingly troubled world. As the son of a second-grade teacher and as someone who has helped raise a child with learning disabilities, I’ve always valued education and have always had a great admiration for educators. I am honored to join the Information Technology team at NAF!

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Kellen McCoy Alumni Relations Specialist
Kellen McCoy
Kellen McCoy
Alumni Relations Specialist

Graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in philosophy in 2013, I found myself pulled in disparate directions, unsure of which path to follow. I had studied vocal performance through the University since I was ten, and a part of me was sure that music was my calling. However, from a young age, I have also been passionate about changing the world around me. The University of Michigan afforded me opportunities to work with various non-profits, including Greenpeace, Will Work For Food and the SafeHouse Center Domestic Violence Project, so another part of me was convinced public service and non-governmental work was my path. I first followed what I considered a traditional direction, using my writing and public speaking skills to begin a career in communications and public relations. I sharpened my skills at Sard Verbinnen and Company, a public relations firm, and later ClassPass, a San Francisco based startup. After realizing that I could no longer neglect the piece of me that wanted to pursue music, I quit my job to work as a musician full time. After that life-changing experience, I am thrilled to now be working at NAF, pursuing my passion of building up communities and giving low-resource students the tools they need to choose their own path as I did.  I also continue to pursue my passion for music – but on the weekends this time!

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Caroline Mosley Director, Marketing
Caroline Mosley
Caroline Mosley
Director, Marketing

Ever since I took a human rights class in high school, I have been interested in helping solve the biggest challenges our world faces. This fueled my decision to major in Political Science and minor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. While at Miami I became President of an ethics debate team and served as Philanthropy Chair and Recruitment & Marketing Vice President for my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. After graduating magna cum laude, I interned at Global Poverty Project and worked as a Leadership Consultant for Alpha Delta Pi, facilitating leadership development and developing strategic recruitment & marketing plans at colleges across the country. I eventually returned to my hometown of New York City to pursue my passion for non-profit work as part of the marketing & communications team at NAF! Outside of work, I volunteer as a committee member for New York Women in Communications and as the northeast region Philanthropy Director for Alpha Delta Pi Foundation, overseeing the fundraising efforts of 25 collegiate chapters.

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Glynis O’Leary Director, Corporate Relations
Glynis O’Leary
Glynis O’Leary
Director, Corporate Relations

I grew up in a family of educators, so I was always drawn to working in and with schools.  After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in English and Postcolonial Studies, I joined the New York City Teachers Fellows.  I earned my MSEd from CUNY-Lehman College and spent five years as an English teacher in the NYC schools, teaching primarily 12th graders.  I was struck by how my students’ demeanor changed as the year progressed: the initial confidence and excitement would gradually give way to fear of what would come next, especially for those students who were not planning to matriculate to college right away.  This inspired me to learn more about career learning programs and the ways in which these programs can successfully partner with schools to create amazing opportunities for students.  In the six years since leaving the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and for several organizations committed to college and career readiness and to giving students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.  I am excited to be part of the NAF team and to work with our incredible corporate partners in order to transform the educational experience for NAF students.  A life-long learner, I am currently pursuing my Master of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College.

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Fred Press Network Solutions Specialist
Fred Press
Fred Press
Network Solutions Specialist

I knew in 7th grade that I would be a high school teacher, but my dad wasn’t happy with that choice; “Teachers don’t make no money”, he said.  My mother, a school clerk, opined that I’d probably make a good principal since I spent so much time in the principal’s office. Miss. E, my Latin and English teacher became my mentor. She encouraged my desire to be a teacher and planted the seeds that I would cultivate and nurture into a successful and satisfying career in education.  Years later, as a high school teacher, I became a mentor to those students I refer to as “good bad kids”. I spent 35 years in urban high schools, 25 years teaching.  My most memorable experience was 33 years teaching ESL, 3 hours a night, 3 nights a week to foreign adults.  I took that position at $5.00 an hour to supplement my $4,000 teacher salary.  My father was right; teachers didn’t make a lot back then.  It was a labor of love for someone who loves teaching.

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Dana Pungello Director, Communications
Dana Pungello
Dana Pungello
Director, Communications

From a love of creative writing, grew a passion for all things communications. After graduating with honors early from the University of Massachusetts -Amherst with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and minor in Spanish, I was lucky enough to find my place in the non-profit community early on, beginning with an editorial internship in college with Alcoholics Anonymous before launching my career at a county-wide arts organization working in the communications department. I then joined a communications consulting firm serving many non-profits’ strategic communications’ needs before bringing my expertise in-house at NAF where I have been a leader in growing awareness of a national brand since 2010. I’ve continued to grow in communications and received a Master’s degree in corporate communications from Baruch College in 2016.

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Brooke Rice Director, Future Ready Labs
Brooke Rice
Brooke Rice
Director, Future Ready Labs

As a child, I loved to play school with my friends, but the thought of becoming a teacher did not occur to me until my guidance counselor encouraged me to apply for a teaching scholarship to pay for my college education. I always had an interest in advertising and a visit to North Carolina State University showed me that I could combine these two options into one major: Business and Marketing Education. My passion for education served as the impetus of various degrees (including teaching and school administration) with the goal of serving in the area of educational reform. After 10 years of teaching marketing and opening a NAF Academy of Hospitality & Tourism in my school, I decided to join NAF as an Instructional Manager and am excited to lead NAF’s latest venture as Director of Future Ready Labs.

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Andrew Rothstein Executive Vice President, Special Projects
Andrew Rothstein
Andrew Rothstein
Executive Vice President, Special Projects

The son of passionate civil rights parents, family did much to bring people together. Some helped. Some didn’t. One failure was particularly dear to my father and was a huge disappointment to him. So I committed to making a social difference that my father would appreciate. My mother’s passion for education pointed me to major in speech therapy at Northwestern University. While there, I got interested in studying learning disabilities and got a Master’s at UNC-CH. On to teaching (international schools), a doctorate (NYU), administration (special school for students with physical disabilities), writing books, and consulting. Wanting more impact, I heard about NAF and its need for a new curriculum. Loved the mission, got lucky, and got in. The curriculum was the start, but I envisioned a student certification system that would demonstrate what we want NAF graduates to be and mirror our design. You know the rest, so far.

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Bob Saludo Web Developer
Bob Saludo
Bob Saludo
Web Developer

Born in the Philippines, my family moved to America when I was a baby. I was raised in the beautifully diverse city of Jersey City, NJ, right across from New York City. My high school experience was not an easy one as the school district was not exactly known for its academic strengths, but I was surrounded by people who saw how education and opportunities greatly improved their lives no matter their socioeconomic standing. With this positive influence on me, I was driven to work hard. I liked to create things and found that computers were an easy and affordable way to do so. I attended NYU for college where I obtained an undergraduate degree in Computer Science. During college, I secured an internship with an educational company that helped kids read nonfiction literature. Briefly, I worked as a Software Developer at Zappos in Las Vegas after graduating a semester early, before coming back to New York to work at NAF and continue supporting the education community.

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Courtney Savoia Public Relations Specialist
Courtney Savoia
Courtney Savoia
Public Relations Specialist

I had a knack for asking questions since I was young. When it came time to choose a college major, I knew that journalism was the correct path for my future. I’d be able to document unique experiences, speak to decision makers, and take a journey through all the disciplines I was interested in, all with just a pen and paper in hand. After graduating from Marist College in 2010 with a degree in Communications and a few internships in media under my belt, I began working in the non-profit practice of a public relations firm with clients such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and the Fortune Society. I was proud to play a part in telling their story and bringing much needed recognition to their efforts and achievements. I am pleased to continue my career in the nonprofit arena and shine a spotlight on NAF’s mission and prestigious work and accomplishments.

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Patricia Smith Director, Evaluation & Continuous Improvement
Patricia Smith
Patricia Smith
Director, Evaluation & Continuous Improvement

I was great at acting in high school and received a scholarship to attend Va. Commonwealth University.  I felt drawn to education and received an MS ED in early childhood education from City College of New York (CUNY). After teaching and leading in private schools for ten years, I turned my attention to urban education. I spent four years as a research associate in CUNY’s Institute for Research in the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean conducting national research to address human rights and equity issues in rural and urban education. I completed doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern University in Curriculum Development and Systemic Change. My research activities continued at Brown University where I worked to roll out federal legislation in New England and develop a high school reform model.  NAF partnered with several of our high schools in Providence. Fortunately, I was invited to join NAF where I am currently serve on the research team.

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Cassandra Soler Executive Assistant to Chief Operating Officer
Cassandra Soler
Cassandra Soler
Executive Assistant to Chief Operating Officer

During my senior year in high school, I thought I wanted a career in the federal government. After graduation, I began my journey working full-time as an office secretary for U.S. Customs Service. During that time, I attended University of the District of Columbia part-time, taking coursework and switching majors not sure if I wanted to pursue Personnel Management as a profession. Dissatisfied with government life, I wanted to make a career change. So, I quit my government job and during my soul-searching, I worked as record store clerk. During those 3 months, a unique opportunity opened for me there as an Administrative Assistant to General Manager and Record Store Manager. For 3 years, this experience gave me better appreciation for record retail operations while still enjoying the office administration side for one of the most successful brick and mortar stores during its time, Tower Records. After 3 years’ there, I left the retail business to work in the administrative offices for a student hosteling organization in DC. Eventually I decided to move to NYC in 2001, so I packed my bags and continued my journey in the office administration field. My experiences lead me to various great opportunities in the for-profit and non-profit world in the arts, investment consulting, children’s social services before joining NAF, a great organization enhancing college and career readiness of future leaders and entrepreneurs.

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Danielle Spitzer Assistant Director, Development
Danielle Spitzer
Danielle Spitzer
Assistant Director, Development

I distinctly remember standing at my University orientation when a counselor asked me, “What is your major? What would you like to do for your career?”  I already answered her silently in mind: I’m 17 and I don’t have a clue. She said, “you seem to be a people person and very outgoing, how about Mass Communications?” That’s how I landed in the Public Relations track with a Communications Studies minor. I wasn’t entirely in love with either, so I chose to get a Marketing Certificate. I knew the only way to see if I was a good fit within the PR field was to experience it. Two PR internships later, it still didn’t feel completely right. Through my internship at a boutique PR firm I became close with one of their clients who asked me what I really wanted to do. I told her I think I’d like producing events for a great cause. She connected me to her friend who worked at a major event company. I interned there for several months and was connected to their client, Keep a Child Alive (KCA). I went to work at KCA planning their annual gala, the Black Ball. This opportunity led to an expansion of my responsibilities to include community events and working with major donors for over 10 years in support of children and families internationally. I’ve always been passionate about education and when I discovered NAF, I immediately connected with the mission as I personally know how valuable work-based learning can be in a student’s future.

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Trudy Stallings Director, Development
Trudy Stallings
Trudy Stallings
Director, Development

I thought I would be a writer, and I am, just not the kind of writer I imagined. After spending my high school and college years focused on athletics and school, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in need of some work experience, which I gained through volunteerism. I interned in the public relations office at the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill, the North Carolina Writers Network, and the University of North Carolina Press before coming to New York to pursue a Master’s Degree and work in publishing. Having landed in trade sales instead of editorial, I continued to volunteer to gain experience and pursue work closer to my interests, which led me to grant writing. I liked grant writing, and I liked working in the non-profit, all-hands-on-deck environment. Fast-forward 18 years, and I’m thriving in the very fast-paced institutional advancement department at NAF supporting a cause that I believe in and that gives me to hope for the career prospects of the next generation.

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Kearney Staniford Chief of Staff, External Affairs
Kearney Staniford
Kearney Staniford
Chief of Staff, External Affairs

I was an English major in college and was fairly certain that I wanted to be a journalist or a teacher. While attending Trinity College in Hartford, I had an internship with The Hartford Courant. It was everything a good work-based learning experience should be: paid, challenging, and fun. After graduating, I got a job with CBS News – the only problem was that it was in sales! I realized quickly that the television world was not for me and reverted back to the idea of teaching. The school where I hoped to work only had an opening for a Capital Campaign associate. I had no idea what that was, but it turned out to be the first step on my road to having a career I was passionate about.  Nearly 20 years later, I am fortunate to have built a career developing resources and strategies for leading non-profits, including NAF, whose students are among the most remarkable young people that I have ever met.

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Anne Stanton Advisor
Anne Stanton
Anne Stanton
Advisor

A passion for theatre dominated my high school and college years – explaining my BFA for NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Walking down that path led me to have the opportunity to act, write and tour in theatre productions for young people who had never experienced theatre. My appetite for working with young people grew daily as did my interest in the arts as an agent for social change. I returned to NYU’s Graduate School of Social Work which fueled my career-long pursuit of equitable and lasting solutions to the issues facing the most disenfranchised youth. Twenty years of leading community-based organizations serving homeless and runaway in NYC and San Francisco was always top of mind when I stepped into the world of philanthropy as Youth Program Director at the James Irvine Foundation. With that privilege came the responsibility of ensuring that every young person in California has access to an education that ignites their passions, potential and make them college, career, and future ready. Thrilled to have joined NAF where I know we will collectively continue to move the needle forward nationally.

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Bill Taylor Vice President, Community Engagement
Bill Taylor
Bill Taylor
Vice President, Community Engagement

I graduated from high school thinking I wanted to be a professional musician, so I majored in music at the University of Central Florida. I spent my days playing music, sports, and pledging a fraternity, but failed to have an academic focus. After 3 semesters of struggle I went to work for Disney World, where for the first time in my life I was given responsibility of other employees. I blossomed in this role and was sent to France to open Euro Disney where I lived and worked for three months. Coming back home, I went back to school graduating with a sociology degree from State University of New York Geneseo. I wanted to pursue a career where I could make a difference in the world, particularly for those who have historically been underserved and denied opportunity. I moved to NYC where I taught high school, then was hired by NAF in 2000 to help launch the Academy of Information Technology.

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Cassandra Sharp Manager, Design Fidelity
Cassandra Sharp
Cassandra Sharp
Manager, Design Fidelity

I spent many summer afternoons playing school with my friends, teaching anyone who would endure being lectured to during their highly-anticipated break. This early start grew into a passion for learning and education, leading me to study secondary education with focuses in English and science at Oklahoma Baptist University. After graduation, I taught a variety of high school courses in an urban school setting in Oklahoma City, where many of my students had unique learning needs. Studying two drastically different subjects during college instilled an appreciation for integrated learning in my teaching style and pushed me to consider non-traditional types of instruction to meet the diverse needs of my students. I was introduced to NAF in 2014 when asked to be the director of our school’s Academy of Health Sciences, where I quickly came to enjoy the more focused opportunity to help students with post-secondary preparation. As we dove into cross-curricular instruction, internships, and countless work-based learning experiences, I knew students were truly engaged and making progress toward their future goals. I am excited to be a part of the NAF team, supporting academies as they develop programs focused on ensuring each student is college, career, and future ready.

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Keisha Taylor Director, Learning and Convening
Keisha Taylor
Keisha Taylor
Director, Learning and Convening

Throughout my secondary school years, I participated in many activities that offered an opportunity to reach young people. I studied English and Secondary Education at Rowan University and continued my studies there, pursuing a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, thinking that I wanted to become a Dean of Student Life. After a few interesting events, I decided to turn my focus back to my first passion — teaching. I spent eight years as a high school English teacher before becoming a curriculum supervisor and completing my Doctorate in educational leadership and innovation. I enjoyed training teachers so much that I became an education consultant for four years. From there, I realized I wanted to have the opportunity to not only work with teachers, but to provide opportunities for corporate employees to work with teachers and students. Working at NAF since 2012 has provided me the opportunity to combine my love of curriculum, training and development to support the NAF Network.

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Reedy Wade Managing Director, Network Engagement
Reedy Wade
Reedy Wade
Managing Director, Network Engagement

Growing up in an “at-risk” community, school became a haven for me, and I decided early that I wanted to influence young people in the same way. After receiving my undergraduate degree in English Education from LSU, I moved to California, where I earned a Master’s degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University. I spent 22 years in two school districts as classroom teacher, mentor teacher, resource facilitator, assistant and associate principal and finally as a NAF academy principal of an Academy of Health Sciences. In 2014, I was honored to join NAF by working directly to support NAF academies in multiple states across our network.

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Angela Watson Membership Accounts & Contract Specialist
Angela Watson
Angela Watson
Membership Accounts & Contract Specialist

After graduating high school I followed a family tradition spanning 4 generations by joining the United States Army. During my tour I travelled the world working as a Broadcast Journalist for American Forces Network. One day, my co-worker brought his children in to meet me. I let them do some voice-overs for me and they were thrilled. Next thing I knew, other coworkers were bringing their kids in so I decided to start a job shadow program. I knew then that whatever career path I chose, it would have to involve young people.  After leaving the Army, I earned my BFA in Communication Arts and found my way to NAF. As the Membership Services Coordinator, I juggle many responsibilities but my most rewarding experiences come from my work with the scholarship and internship programs. This allows me to stay connected with our students and witness first-hand the impact NAF has on their lives.

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Kamil Wilga Network Administrator
Kamil Wilga
Kamil Wilga
Network Administrator

I was born and raised on a farm in Poland before my family moved to America when I was 15. I came here speaking no English and managed to graduate high school by the age of 17. Growing up, I always wanted to do what my grandfather and father were doing. My father received a technical degree from a trade school and was a structural engineer. Over the summers, he’d bring me to work with him to ensure I remained productive when I wasn’t in school. This helped me to build a strong work ethic and discipline.

I remember the first time I borrowed a computer from a friend. Back then, computers were still new and not everyone had one. From that first time using a computer, I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

I attended Briarcliff College where I majored in Computer Science. I worked throughout college putting together computers. Upon graduation, I landed by first job working in IT for the Polish Slavic Federal Credit Union. For many years, I worked as an IT consultant, serving many clients before joining NAF as Network Administrator.

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Ron Wilson Controller
Ron Wilson
Ron Wilson
Controller

After spending my senior year in high school serving as the Business Manager for our high school yearbook, I knew that I wanted to work in accounting. I graduated with a BBA in Accounting from Adelphi University. I started my career in public accounting, working for the largest and most prestigious public accounting firm of the “Big Eight.” After leaving the long hours of public accounting, I worked for several Fortune 50 financial services companies before heading to St. John’s School of Risk Management and Insurance (formerly known as The College of Insurance) to earn my MBA. It was during this time that I was introduced to the non-profit industry and began to apply the accounting skills developed in Corporate America to non-profit organizations. I established my own private accounting practice servicing non-profit organizations and other small businesses.

Once again, public accounting got the best of me so I re-entered the job marketplace landing a position as one of the lead internal auditors for the $2 billion granted to New York for the World Trade Center Disaster Recovery. I have held several roles since re-entering the work force, each providing accounting, auditing, and financial management services to nonprofit organizations within the tristate area. Prior to joining NAF, I was most recently the Controller of GMHC Inc. and Assistant Vice President of Budgets & Grants for The Fortune Society.

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Kim Warren Manager, Design Fidelity
Kim Warren
Kim Warren
Manager, Design Fidelity

I always had a passion for social justice and intellectual discovery. When I was 14, I became an educational and social activist in my hometown of Freehold, New Jersey and in my high school, which set the stage for my eventual calling — to inspire young people to reach their full potential. My interest in equity, learning, and personal development grew when I enrolled at Kean University. While at Kean University, I immersed myself in my studies with a focus on social work, group dynamics, and empowerment. I received my BSW in social work with the foresight in knowing this was only the beginning of my educational and social justice journey.

I began my professional work with children at New York City’s premier agency for the advocacy and rights of adolescents at The Door. I later went on to become a faculty member at the prestigious Brooklyn Technical High School where I implemented and developed the school’s counseling program for teens. In 2000, I was recruited by the Boys’ Club of New York, where I developed and implemented the organization’s counseling program for 1,600 disadvantaged males. In February 2011, I became a faculty member of the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance as the NAF and Work Based Learning Coordinator, and served as the facilitator for their Advisory Leadership Team.

In 2014, I completed the Momentum Basic and Advanced Workshop and recently completed my Discipleship Ministry Training at the Greater Allen Cathedral, which strengthened my purpose, passion, and dedication to my life’s work. I’ve learned one thing for certain from my life’s accomplishments: the only time I took a detour in life was when I wasn’t in alignment with my divine purpose.

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Alyssa Zehnpfennig Manager, Development
Alyssa Zehnpfennig
Alyssa Zehnpfennig
Manager, Development

In high school my vision for the future was vague. Encouraged by my English teacher, I ended up a Print Journalism major at the University of Southern California. This was valuable training, but I felt more creatively engaged by the film classes I took and went on to study screenwriting and producing in graduate school at New York University. While there I landed internships that grew my confidence and prepared me for my first jobs in the entertainment industry. I spent the next few years immersed in theater, publishing, film and television on both Coasts. My love of storytelling drove me, but ultimately I found myself searching for a greater sense of purpose. I’d always been passionate about volunteering in education and youth development and knew I wanted to transition to the nonprofit world. On discovering NAF I identified deeply with its mission, and I’m thrilled to be part of work that empowers so many.

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Neil Zimmerman Senior Director, Strategic Engagement & Expansion
Neil Zimmerman
Neil Zimmerman
Senior Director, Strategic Engagement & Expansion

My career path’s cornerstone was laid in the 8th grade when my American History teacher assigned as the task of writing our thoughts about an editorial, opinion piece, or even a political cartoon. This became a daily assignment that inspired a life-long interest in learning and a passion for politics and public policy. Fast forward to college. I attended the University of Texas at Austin, where I majored in Government. The last semester before graduating, I was both interning for and taking a class from one of our country’s preeminent political strategists. That internship, and the mentorship he offered, supercharged a career that zigged through the arenas of politics (Bush/Cheney 2000) and government (The White House & State Department), and then zagged into a disruptive retail start-up (Alton Lane). Now, I am squarely at the intersection of public policy and private enterprise here at NAF. It is an honor to join the NAF team as we engage leaders in education, business, and our communities to transform the high school experience.