Staff and Advisory Board
A few board members at the 2018 Conference. Photo taken by Linka Odom Photography
Karin Elliott, Executive Director: Karin has been with the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA for ten years. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of Breakthrough Cambridge, now Breakthrough Greater Boston. Prior to Breakthrough, Karin 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
Carrie Tate, Associate Director: Carrie Tate first joined NPEA in 2011 as the Member Services Associate. Prior to joining the NPEA team, Carrie 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. 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, where she also serves on the Sustainable Funding Committee. Carrie earned a B.A. in American Studies from Dickinson College and recently completed a certificate course in management from HBX – Harvard Business School.
Contact: (857) 315-5021, email@example.com
Jasmine Vargas, NPEA Fall Intern: Jasmine Vargas is currently a senior at Simmons University in Boston, MA, where she is pursuing a B.S. in public health with a minor in biology. Previously, she was a mentor at Strong Women, Strong Girls, an organization that provides 3rd-5th grade mentees opportunities to observe, question, and socialize. She is most proud of completing a course to become an EMT and will be taking the licensing exam this winter. She hopes to become a physician’s assistant and earn a master’s degree in public health and social work. A native of Lawrence, MA, Jasmine is interested in exploring inequalities in urban communities, like Lawrence and Boston, and she is excited to join The Steppingstone Foundation as an NPEA Intern.
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, Rhonda 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. Rhonda also earned a master’s degree in General Professions in Education from Seton Hall University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Enrollment Management Association. Prior to The Wight Foundation, Rhonda 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.
Bryan Baldwin, Principal, COCUITY (FL)
Bryan Baldwin founded COCUITY in 2015 on the heels of more than 20 years of service to public higher education, international organizations, and policy think tanks. From 2002 to 2015, he held a variety of senior administrative positions at Bridgewater State University (MA) including: Chief Strategy Officer, Vice President for University Advancement, and Chief of Staff to the president. Earlier in his career, his professional homes included Global Affairs Canada and the Massachusetts Institute for Social and Economic Research. As COCUITY’s Principal, his work focuses on guiding leaders and senior teams – hailing from business, government, academia, international institutions, and the non-profit community – along the path of becoming more purposeful and strategic. Bryan holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is also a graduate of Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management (IEM).
Linda Borden, Student Support Consultant, 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. Linda 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). Linda sits on the Board of Ambassadors of The Steppingstone Foundation. She is a graduate of Fordham University and the Boston College School of Social Work.
Charlotte Brownlee, Assistant Head of School for External Affairs, 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. Charlotte 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. Charlotte 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, Sarah worked as assistant director of admission at Cushing Academy and as program director at Bottom Line. She also supports national initiatives, such as Steppingstone affiliate programs in Philadelphia and Hartford, and NPEA. 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. Sarah also 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, Michael 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. Michael 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.
Rob Evans, Executive Director, Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs (CA)
Rob Evans has been a teacher and administrator in public and private schools for nearly 20 years. Currently, Rob serves as the Executive Director of the Independent School Alliance. In this role, he works to ensure educational access for underrepresented racial groups and advance the organization’s long-term viability. Rob also serves on the boards of the Southern California People of Color in Independent Schools (SoCalPOCIS) and The Drinking Gourd, which provides resources to college-bound students. A staunch advocate for the ideals of equity and inclusion, Rob has played key roles throughout his career in teaching, diversity training, leadership, and as a presenter at local and national conferences. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Lane College and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Webster University.
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. Steve 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.
Kate Gilbane, Board of Directors, The Steppingstone Foundation (MA)
The oldest of five children, Kate Gilbane has always loved being a teacher and a student. She started babysitting when she was 10 and hosted her own “day camp” when she was 12. Kate attended Brown University, graduating Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in English and French Literature. After graduation, she worked as an editor at Conde Nast Publications in New York City for three years before pursuing her true passion as an early childhood educator. Kate taught pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in New York and then in Boston for five years. Most recently, Kate has been raising three children, getting certified as a kids’ yoga instructor with Little Flower Yoga, and learning a lot about ADHD, Dyslexia, and the benefits of mindfulness in schools. Kate joined Steppingstone’s Board of Directors in 2016 and recently began teaching yoga to Steppingstone Scholars at Saturday study hall (SMASH). She is extremely honored to join the NPEA Advisory Board.
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, Andy spent two years after college as a US Peace Corps volunteer teaching math in Swaziland.
Heather Jenkins, Vice President of Equity, uAspire (MA)
Heather is the Vice President of Equity at uAspire. Prior to this position, she was the managing director of Service Impact and Evaluation at City Year Boston. Prior to this, she was the director of high school prep and the director of academics and program evaluation for Buffalo Prep. Heather has 17 years of experience working for equity and access in education including: teacher and administrator at the K-12 level; diversity education and research consultant for secondary and postsecondary institutions; public and private school college readiness education consultant; mentor to students of color and economically marginalized youth; and an adjunct instructor for several teacher education programs in Western New York. Heather has published several articles on education and co-authored a book titled, “Class Warfare: Class and Race in Affluent and Elite Secondary Schools.” Heather has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S. in Education, a Ph.D. in Sociology of Education, and is also New York State certified in school and district leadership.
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. Eric 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, Eric serves on the Board of Directors with the Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS) and Presbyterian Children’s Village in Philadelphia.
Dennis Lacewell, Chief Academic Officer, Urban Prep Academies (IL)
Dennis Lacewell was the founding Principal of Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men – Englewood Campus, the nation’s first and only public charter school for young men. He currently serves there as Senior Director of Institutional Effectiveness. Prior to Urban Prep, Dennis has worked in Chicago at Hales Franciscan High School, an all African-American male Catholic High School, and North Lawndale College Prep High School for five years, where he was a history teacher, history department chairperson, basketball coach and assistant athletic director, and co-founded Minority Men Exceeding the Norm (M2EN), a school-wide organization focused on closing the gap between male and female achievement. Dennis earned his master of education in supervision and administration from National Louis University in 2009 and graduated from North Carolina State University in spring of 1999 with a master’s in curriculum and instruction. Prior to this, he graduated Cum Laude from Winston-Salem State University a Historically Black University located in North Carolina.
Nicole Maloy, Associate Dean of Equity & Access, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Pennsylvania (PA)
As Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, Nicole Maloy focuses on outreach to prospective students from historically underrepresented, low-income, or first-generation college backgrounds, encouraging them and their families to consider an Ivy League education with an interconnected community of support systems to help ensure student success. In her prior role as Director of Multicultural Outreach in Penn Alumni Relations, she oversaw programming for alumni with an interest in celebrating cultural identity, and organized the university’s inaugural Penn Spectrum alumni diversity conference. Nicole is a proud Penn alumna who serves as Co-Chair of her Class Reunion Planning Committee, and as a member of the Association of Alumnae Board of Directors. She earned a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Marketing from the Wharton School, and completed a Minor in French. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership at the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice.
Mark Mitchell, Vice President, National Association for Independent Schools (DC)
As a vice president of NAIS, Mark oversees knowledge creation initiatives supporting K-12 schools and other organizations in the effective administration of financial aid programs. Mark has authored dozens of articles, book chapters, and blogs and is a frequent presenter at local, state, regional, national, and international conferences on the topics of tuition pricing, affordability, demographic and income trends, and school financial aid policy and practices. Prior to joining NAIS, Mark worked as assistant director of financial aid at Northwestern University, coordinator of new student financial aid at Lake Forest College, and as an account executive for Access Group, Inc., a firm specializing in graduate student education financing. An alumnus and past trustee of Moorestown Friends School (New Jersey), he currently serves on the board of trustees at the Enrollment Management Association. Mark earned his BS in communication studies from Northwestern University.
Marcia O’Neil-White, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, Buffalo Prep (NY), Leadership Committee
Marcia O’Neil-White is the Director of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships at Buffalo Prep. Prior to this position, Marcia was 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, Marcia 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, College Access Adviser (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. Rebeca 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.
Asabe Poloma, Assistant Dean for International Students, Office of the Dean of the College, Brown University (RI)
Asabe Poloma is the Assistant Dean for International Students in the Office of the Dean of the College at Brown University. She also serves as Associate Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, a pipeline program with the goal of increasing the number of students from historically underrepresented groups who pursue careers in the professoriate. Previously, Asabe served as executive director of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), a selective national teacher diversity pipeline program, and also served as program staff at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Asabe received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Boston; she earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Hampton University, a master’s degree in International Relations with a concentration in International Political Economy at Old Dominion University, and a master’s degree in Management at Columbia University.
Annie Reznik, Executive Director, Coalition for College (IL)
Annie Reznik has been an ardent supporter of student success in college for over fifteen years. She leads the Coalition for College, a group of more than 140 colleges and universities across the US that joined together to increase students’ access to higher education. Annie has leadership experience in both college admissions and college counseling. She began her career as an admissions counselor at the University of Maryland and quickly advanced to a supervisory role, directing the freshman review process for over 25,000 applications annually, chairing the admission committee, and supervising a staff of admission counselors. At Maryland, establishing accessible pathways for students from lower resourced backgrounds was at the heart of Annie’s work. Annie also served as a college counselor and English teacher in secondary schools, most recently at Moses Brown School (Providence, RI).
Chantal Stevens, Vice President of Programs and Operations, Oliver Scholars (NY)
Chantal 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 Oliver Scholars, Chantal 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.