Staff and Advisory Board
Karin Elliott, Executive Director: Most recently Karin Elliott was the Executive Director of Breakthrough Cambridge, now Breakthrough Greater Boston. Prior to Breakthrough, Ms. Elliott was the Director of Training and Technical Assistance at Horizons for Homeless Children, where she traveled across the country speaking about child and family homelessness. She has an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an M.S.W. from Boston College.
Contact: (617) 423-6300 x 284, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monique Hassel, Conference Assistant: Monique Hassel recently earned her B.A. in Philosophy from Harvard University. While in school, Monique advocated for increased access to mental health services specific to the needs of low-income and first generation students. She also researched urban food inequality in Boston. Last fall, Monique began working with NPEA as an intern and will be contributing to the conference planning as the new Conference Assistant through April 2017. Prior to joining NPEA, Ms. Hassel interned for La Biennale di Venezia in Italy and Morgan Stanley in New York.
Contact: (617) 423-6300, x243 email@example.com
Zeva Levine, Member Services Senior Associate: Most recently Zeva Levine was the Director of Academic Services at Philadelphia Futures, where she managed after-school and summer enrichment programs for high school students. Prior to Futures, Ms. Levine was the Coordinator of Service & Education programs at Dartmouth College, where she worked with the Alternative Spring Break, Dartmouth Partners in Community Service, Language in Motion, and Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth programs. She earned her B.A. in philosophy and political science from Beloit College and her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Contact: (617) 939-5038, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carrie Tate, Assistant Director: Carrie Tate first joined NPEA in 2011 as the Member Services Associate and assumed the role of Assistant Director in 2015. Previously, Ms. Tate worked as a career developer in the employment and social services center of a Connecticut community action agency, where she assisted clients in securing employment and training opportunities, taught adult life-skills classes, and organized job fairs. She also completed a year of service with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and currently serves as a Children’s Bereavement Group Facilitator at The Children’s Room in Arlington, Massachusetts. Ms. Tate earned a B.A. in American Studies from Dickinson College.
Contact: (617) 939-5027, email@example.com
Mary “Franny” Hock, NPEA Intern: Franny Hock is a Master’s candidate in the Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology program at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. She is also completing courses to receive a certificate in Child and Family Mental Health. Ms. Hock received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and American History from Boston College. She has teaching experience in Boston Public Schools as well as abroad. In the summer of 2015, Ms. Hock traveled to the rural South of Vietnam to teach mathematics, coach volleyball fundamentals, and mentor local youth on the importance of continuing their education.
Contact: (617) 423-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Afua Laast, NPEA Intern: Afua Laast is a second year graduate student at Boston College School of Social Work. She earned her B.A in Applied Psychology & Human Development and Sociology from Boston College. Her current interests are in public policy, educational access, and community organizing in a quest to further support a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable world. Over the summer, Afua worked on the “Save our Public Schools Campaign” surrounding the state ballot question 2 that proposes to lift the charter school cap in Massachusetts. This further ignited Afua’s passion for providing varying educational opportunities for youth.
Contact: (617) 423-6300, email@example.com
NPEA Advisory Board:
Rhonda Auguste, Executive Director, The Wight Foundation (NJ), Leadership Committee
Rhonda Auguste has served as the first Executive Director of the Wight Foundation, Inc. since June 1987. Like the students she serves, Ms. Auguste earned a scholarship from a public school in Harlem to attend The Spence School, a private school in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. After Spence, she attended Harvard University, where she majored in Sociology and Afro-American Studies. Ms. Auguste also earned a master’s degree in General Professions in Education from Seton Hall University. Ms. Auguste currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB). Prior to The Wight Foundation, Ms. Auguste directed the student of color recruitment program at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire and was a corporate giving officer at the Equitable Foundation in New York City.
Linda Borden, MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (MA)
Linda Borden joined the MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs as student support consultant in February 2015. In her role, she provides students with guidance on leadership, high school transitions, and personal, academic, and career success. She has worked in many capacities in the areas of student access, success strategies, and support at several schools and non-profits, including Boston Arts Academy, City Connects, and the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA). Ms. Borden sits on the Board of Ambassadors of The Steppingstone Foundation. Ms. Borden is a graduate of Fordham University and the Boston College School of Social Work.
Charlotte Brownlee, Director of Admission and Enrollment, Cate School (CA)
A Cate alumna, Charlotte Brownlee graduated from Harvard University with a degree in art history and joined the Macy’s management training program in New York, ultimately becoming a buyer. After six years at Macy’s, she returned to California to earn her MBA at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. After business school, she was a manager with Deloitte Consulting, where she focused on change management and reengineering projects for high-tech and consumer-products companies. Ms. Brownlee joined UCLA Anderson in 2000, serving first as director of corporate and foundation relations. In 2004, Ms. Brownlee came back to the Mesa to lead the School’s annual giving and alumni relations programs. In 2007, she became the Director of Admissions at Cate. Ms. Brownlee has served on reunion gift committees for both her college and graduate schools, and as a mentor with the Fulfillment Fund in Los Angeles.
Sarah Conrad, Chief Program Officer, The Steppingstone Foundation (MA)
Sarah Conrad joined The Steppingstone Foundation in 2004 and currently oversees Boston programming. Prior to joining Steppingstone, Ms. Conrad worked as assistant director of admission at Cushing Academy and as program director at Bottom Line. She also supports national initiatives, such as NPEA and Steppingstone affiliate programs in Philadelphia and Hartford. She has served on the board of The Steppingstone Scholars Inc., Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation, and is on the advisory board of Kingsley Montessori School. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and a M.A. joint degree from Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development. Ms. Conrad recently completed the Core Certificate program through Boston University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership.
Michael Denning, Head of the Upper School, Noble and Greenough School (MA)
Michael Denning is the head of the Upper School at Noble and Greenough School. Since joining the Nobles faculty in 1997, Mr. Denning has taught history and worked as a college counselor, advisor, coach, class dean, and administrator. He has also been a faculty member of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling’s Summer Institute and a representative to the Governing Assembly of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Mr. Denning serves as a trustee of The Steppingstone Foundation and on the advisory boards of the African Leadership Academy and City Year’s Seven Generations Board.
Steve Filosa, Director, Prep@Pingree (MA), Leadership Committee
Steve Filosa has been a teacher and administrator in independent schools for nearly 20 years. He currently is the Director of Prep@Pingree, an academic enrichment program for middle school students from Lawrence and Lynn, and he teaches Advanced Placement Statistics at Pingree School. Mr. Filosa has extensive experience with educational programs designed for inner city students through his work with Prep@Pingree, Project RISE, Project DEEP and Squashbusters. He received his B.S. in mathematics from Tufts University and his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Andy Hoge, Vice President, Admissions & Placement, New Jersey SEEDS (NJ), Leadership Committee
Andy Hoge started at New Jersey SEEDS in the fall of 2001 after spending four years teaching high school math at the Stratton Mountain School in Vermont. A 1994 graduate of Colgate University, Mr. Hoge spent two years after college as a US Peace Corps volunteer teaching math in Swaziland.
Eric Jones, Head of School, Community Partnership School (PA)
Since 2007, Eric Jones has served as Head of School at Community Partnership School (CPS), a PreK-5th grade independent school serving underrepresented children and families in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Jones started his career in 1996, first as a teacher, coach, and administrator at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, MA, and later as an administrator at the Bullis School in Potomac, MD and the Episcopal Academy just outside Philadelphia, PA. He completed his undergraduate and master’s studies at Georgetown University and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Additionally, Mr. Jones serves on the Board of Directors with the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS) and Presbyterian Children’s Village in Philadelphia.
John Leach, Director, Office of Financial Aid, Emory University (GA)
John Leach is the Director of the Office of Financial Aid at Emory University. Before joining Emory in 2014, Mr. Leach served as director of college counseling at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, NJ since 2011. Prior to that he was associate dean of admission and financial aid at Davidson College where one of his primary duties was providing financial aid education to parents, counselors, and students throughout the nation. A former history teacher at Montgomery Bell Academy (Nashville, TN) and history department chair at Greensboro Day School (Greensboro, NC), Mr. Leach completed his undergraduate studies at Davidson College and has a masters from Vanderbilt University.
Alec L. Lee, Jr., Executive Director, Aim High (CA)
Alec Lee co-founded Aim High in 1986 and serves as full-time Executive Director. In 2008, Aim High received the “Excellence in Summer Learning” award from the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Lee is one of the co-founders of the Bay Area Teachers Center, an innovative credential program affiliated with San Francisco State University, where he also taught the Urban Education seminar component for ﬁve years. He also founded Aim High Academy, a small district middle school in San Francisco. Additionally, Mr. Lee was a History teacher and member of the administrative team at Lick Wilmerding High School. Mr. Lee has an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, received a Klingenstein Fellowship from Columbia Teachers College, and has an A.B. from Bowdoin College.
Mark Mitchell, Vice President, School and Student Services (SSS By NAIS) (DC)
Mark J. Mitchell is the vice president for School and Student Services By NAIS. With over 20 years in the financial aid arena, Mr. Mitchell oversees knowledge creation initiatives for SSS, providing support to more than 2,100 K-12 schools and other organizations through workshops, institutes, seminars, print and web-based resource material, blogs, and consultative guidance in the effective administration of financial aid programs. He is a frequent presenter on tuition pricing, affordability, and financial aid policy and practices. He has also authored several articles and book chapters on education financing and financial aid strategies in magazines and books. Mr. Mitchell is a graduate of Moorestown Friends School (New Jersey), where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees.
Marcia O’Neil-White, Executive Director, Buffalo Prep (NY), Leadership Committee
Marcia O’Neil-White has been the Executive Director of Buffalo Prep, at the University at Buffalo, since 2003. She is responsible for directing programs for gifted disadvantaged minority students and overseeing board, development, and financial components of the organization. Prior to Buffalo Prep, Ms. O’Neil-White has held many other administrator and head of school positions in public, private, and independent schools, and has teaching experience at the elementary, high school, and college levels.
Rebeca Gomez Palacio, formerly of Friends Seminary (FL)
Most recently, Rebeca Palacio worked as a college counselor at Friends Seminary. Prior to Friends, she was the director of multicultural recruitment at Barnard College of Columbia University. Ms. Palacio also has worked with the Early College Initiative, funded by The Gates Foundation, in the development of early college schools. She has a Masters in Public Policy from Columbia University and a B.A. from Smith College. She also sits on the advisory board of The Opportunity Network and College Board’s AP Higher Education Committee.
Meghann Sandak, Chief Education Officer, Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund (IL)
Meghann Sandak began her career in education as a middle school teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a member of the Alliance for Catholic Education Program, a two year service through teaching program. After teaching for two years on the northwest side of Chicago, she transitioned into non-profit work by serving as the 7th and 8th grade Program Director at the Metro Achievement Center for Girls. Ms. Sandak began working for DMSF in 2010 as the Education Manager. In 2013, she became Chief Education Officer, overseeing DMSF’s work to recruit and select new students, support its scholars that are currently in school, aid in the college placement process, and engage students in DMSF’s many programs. Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Sandak earned her Bachelor’s and Master of Education degrees from the University of Notre Dame.
Chantal Stevens, Executive Director, GO Project (NY)
With more than 15 years’ experience in education and a passion for educational access and equity, Ms. Stevens joined the GO Project as Executive Director in 2016. Ms. Stevens started her work in education with a commitment to the students of New York City. For several years, she worked in various roles for the City University of New York (CUNY). Working first at Baruch College, she then went on to serve as a Special Project Coordinator on a joint initiative between the University and New York City’s Office for Human Resources Administration – during the height of the war on welfare. Prior to her work at CUNY and joining GO, Ms. Stevens served for 10 years as the National Director of Programs at A Better Chance. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration from Bernard M. Baruch College.