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Who we are

Our community of leaders are dedicated to creating high-quality educational experiences for our students, families, and educators.


Eva Moskowitz

Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Eva Moskowitz founded Success Academy Charter Schools in 2006. Eva’s experience as a teacher, college professor, elected official, Chair of the New York City Council’s Education Committee and public school parent make her uniquely qualified to effectively lead the organization in establishing high-performing schools and pioneering for educational excellence. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. in American history from Johns Hopkins University, and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Tufts University.

Management Team

Shabbir Ahmed

Chief Financial Officer

Joining SA in April 2021, Shabbir Ahmed brings more than 30 years’ experience managing the financial health of multinational manufacturing companies and divisions. Most recently, he was CFO at Phillip Jeffries and has held financial leadership positions at D’Addario Inc., Princeton Global Synergies, Stanley Black & Decker, and other international companies. With a focus on innovation and operational excellence, Shabbir will develop a multi-year financial plan that will enable our sustainable growth.

LaMae de Jongh

Chief Schooling Officer

LaMae joined Success Academy in the summer of 2016 as its first Chief Scaling Officer to help reimagine American public education and chart Success Academy's course to become a national model with 100 schools. In her current role as Chief Schooling Officer, she oversees the day-to-day management and performance of our network of schools and is building centers of excellence of schooling services to ensure efficient and effective execution of our replicable school design. A former partner with Accenture, a global management consultancy, she has 25 years of experience helping global financial institutions improve their business performance by developing strategies and business models, and implementing change programs/systems, and being a trusted advisor to C-level and board executives. She holds a BA in economics from Princeton University.

David Ellner

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, David Ellner leads strategic planning efforts and oversees enterprise-wide programs such as Edge and business functions, including operations, facilities, and technology. Driving innovation and efficiency, David is responsible for implementing the structures, systems, and controls to effectively scale to 100 schools. Joining SA in 2020, Ellner has 25 years experience in the entertainment industry, with both startups and large corporations, including How 2 Media/Panna (which he founded in 2011), 19 Entertainment, and Universal Music Group. A graduate of SUNY Albany, he earned his MBA from New York University.

Kathy DiBenedetto

Chief People Officer

As Chief People Officer, Kathy is responsible for supporting all stages of an employee's experience including talent acquisition, onboarding, training and development, benefits and compensation, and performance management. Kathy joins SA with more than two decades of senior leadership experience in consulting, commercial, operational, and HR roles for both global companies and entrepreneurial start-ups. She brings a unique perspective to her work. Having sat in the C-Suite and led HR for companies in the beauty, fragrance, advertising, and home health sectors, Kathy blends global, corporate-minded discipline with the boundless curiosity for creative problem-solving, collaboration, and innovative thinking.

Lance King

Chief Advancement Officer

As Chief Advancement Officer, Lance King leads efforts to grow philanthropic support for Success Academy’s mission, strategic enterprise goals, and continued growth. His team facilitates the engagement and solicitation of individual donors and institutional funders who share Success Academy’s vision for expanding educational excellence and opportunity. Lance brings more than 30 years of diverse leadership and management experience in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including with leading public research universities, cultural and scientific organizations, and philanthropic consulting, among others. He most recently served as Chief Development Officer at the Clinton Foundation. A graduate from The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, Lance also completed a postgraduate executive residency in nonprofit management.

Jason Niederkorn

General Counsel

Before joining Success Academy, Mr. Niederkorn served as head of legal for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where he managed the global legal function for Accuity-LexisNexis Risk Solutions Group. Prior to that, he served as general counsel for Enablon, a Wolters Kluwer business. He also spent several years as associate general counsel at Freddie Mac, general counsel for Knovos, LLC, and partner with Masterman, Culbert & Tully LLP. He earned his J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, his M.B.A. from George Washington University School of Business, and his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ann Powell

Chief Public Affairs Officer

Ann Powell leads Success Academy’s communications and marketing efforts, ensuring that staff and families as well as external audiences are well informed on relevant issues and initiatives. Since joining in 2013, she has taken on various responsibilities, including managing the Enrollment team. Ann spent more than 30 years managing editorial operations and overseeing print and digital content for large media enterprises, such as Conde Nast, AARP, Rodale, and Hearst. Ann holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Latin from Austin College.

Lisa Sun

Chief Learning Officer

As Chief Learning Officer, Lisa Sun is responsible for driving academic excellence and learning quality, setting a high bar for rigor and developing a unique educational vision and philosophy that drives toward scholar success in college and life. An extraordinary thinker, leader, and educator, she first joined Success Academy in 2010 as an assistant teacher, and later served as a teacher, assistant principal, and then principal. She later moved to SA’s Network office to lead high school curriculum design and develop the organization’s K-12 STEM and Humanities curricula. A graduate of Yale University, Lisa holds a master’s degree from Hunter College in K-6 education.

Network Board of Trustees

Richard S. Pzena


Rich Pzena is the Founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer and a member of the Executive Committee of Pzena Investment Management. He is the architect of the firm’s investment strategy and conceived and developed the firm’s proprietary screening model. Prior to forming Pzena Investment Management in 1995, Mr. Pzena was the Director of U.S. Equity Investments and Chief Research Officer for Sanford C. Bernstein & Company. Mr. Pzena joined Bernstein in 1986 as an oil industry analyst and was named to the Institutional Investor All America Research Team from 1988-1990. During 1990 and 1991, Mr. Pzena served as Chief Investment Officer, Small Cap Equities, and assumed his broader domestic equity role in 1991. Prior to joining Bernstein, he worked for the Amoco Corporation in various financial and planning roles. Mr. Pzena earned a BS (summa cum laude) and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Pzena was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from Hebrew University in June of 2007 in recognition of his efforts in continuing adult Jewish education through their Meah program. He now sits on the advisory committee of Con-Text and the investment committee of the UJA Federation, as well as the Board of Trustees for ECLC of NJ (non-profit organization providing programs for adults with disabilities). Mr. Pzena is a benefactor of educational endeavors for families with autistic children both through UJA and the Montclair State College Children’s Center. He also serves as Chair of the Board for Assura Group of NY Ltd. Mr. Pzena is a certified pilot. He enjoys spending time with his family, scuba diving, and flying.

Richard Barrera

Vice Chair, Treasurer

Rich Barrera is the Founder and Portfolio Manager of Roystone Capital, a New York based hedge fund. Prior to founding Roystone in 2012, he was a Partner and Co-Portfolio Manager at Redwood Capital (2009-2012) and Glenview Capital (2002-2009). He began his career as an Analyst at Gleacher & Co. (1993-1995), then worked as an Emerging Markets sovereign bond trader at JP Morgan (1997-2000) and then at Groupe Arnault’s family office (2000-2001). Mr. Barrera graduated summa cum laude with a BSE in Finance and Accounting from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1993) and received a MBA from Harvard Business School (1997). He lives in NYC with his wife Purnima and four children.

Kent A. Yalowitz


Kent A. Yalowitz is a litigation partner at Arnold & Porter LLP, where he has practiced for 23 years. He received a BA from Yale College and a JD from Columbia Law School. Before entering private practice, Mr. Yalowitz served as a law clerk for Judge Edmund L. Palmieri of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. His practice is broad-based: he has conducted trials and argued appeals for a wide variety of domestic and international corporate and sovereign clients in matters involving business disputes, civil and criminal tax controversies, labor and employment disputes, creditors’ rights, government contracts, antitrust, securities fraud, hostile takeover litigation, product liability, and governmental investigations. Mr. Yalowitz successfully defended Success Academy Cobble Hill this past year in a teacher's union-driven litigation seeking to prevent the school from opening.

Mary G. Berner

Mary Berner was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Cumulus Media in October 2015 after having served on the company’s Board of Directors for six months. Under her leadership, the company reversed four years of financial and listenership declines. Before joining Cumulus Media, Berner served as President and CEO of MPA—The Association of Magazine Media, where she leveraged her deep understanding of media to aggressively champion and advocate for the industry among advertisers, investors, consumers, and regulators. Berner previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Reader’s Digest Association, the $2 billion global media and direct marketing company where she developed and executed a successful turnaround strategy that ultimately led to a doubling of the stock price. She oversaw the restructuring of the company’s acquisition-related debt, and optimized its brands and assets, including through the development of new digital revenue streams. Berner led Fairchild Publications, Inc. for more than five years, first as President and CEO of the standalone company, and later when it became a division of Condé Nast Publications and she served as President and an Officer of Condé Nast. She had joined Fairchild from a position as Vice President and Publisher of Condé Nast’s Glamour, and was previously the Publisher of News Corp’s TV Guide. She began her career selling advertising for a neighborhood newspaper in Boston. A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, Berner is active in several community and philanthropic organizations, serving on the boards of the Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, the Fuller Project for International Reporting, and Common Sense Growth and Common Sense Networks (for-profit subsidiaries of Common Sense Media).

Rose Else-Mitchell

Rose leads the Scholastic education business comprising all the company’s resources in support of children’s social-emotional wellbeing and reading development. With a focus on meeting the needs of teachers and students, Education Solutions offers unparalleled literacy content, instruction and curricula across print and digital formats. The Company’s innovative, equitable, and effective materials, which support children to learn to read and love to read, serve over 90% of prek-12 institutions in the U.S. First joining Scholastic in 2000, Rose was Senior Vice President, Product Development for the EdTech business, which was sold to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) in 2015, where she was later appointed Chief Learning Officer. She also served as a teaching fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Chairs the Industry Council of the EdTech Evidence Exchange. Rose began her career in education as a classroom teacher in Sydney, Australia.

Diahann Billings-Burford

Diahann Billings-Burford, who has spent her career working in and lifting up diverse communities, is CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). Billings-Burford most recently worked at Time Warner, as executive director, cultural investments, vice president of the Time Warner Foundation and for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the city’s chief service officer, where she headed NYC Service, a division of the mayor’s office, engaging more than 1.3 million New Yorkers in a range of volunteer activities. She serves on the National Board of Directors for buildOn, as well as on the boards of Philanthropy New York and the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. Billings-Burford earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Cindy H. Finkelman

Cindy Finkelman is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal Corporate Performance Improvement in New York. Prior to joining A&M, Ms. Finkelman served as Chief Information Officer with FactSet Research Systems, and was responsible for internal technology strategy & delivery, the project management office, cybersecurity and enterprise risk management. Previously, Ms. Finkelman served as CIO with the corporate functions of New York Life, where she was responsible for all information technology services and numerous transformational programs that enabled increasingly complex business capabilities. She also served as Head of Global Operations & Systems at ALICO and in leadership roles at Marsh & McLennan, Prudential, Booz Allen & Hamilton and MetLife. Ms. Finkelman earned a BS from SUNY/Albany and an MBA in Corporate Strategy & Entrepreneurship from NYU’s Stern School of Business.She is a Board member of the Society for Information Management New York; participates in SIM Women, the HMG Strategy Advisory Board and the Evanta CIO Governing Body.

Steven M. Galbraith

Steve is a Managing Member of Kindred Capital. Previously, Steve was a Partner at Maverick Capital and Chaired the firm’s Advisory Committee. Before joining Maverick, Mr. Galbraith was the Chief Investment Officer at Morgan Stanley. Prior to Morgan Stanley, he was a Partner at Sanford Bernstein where he was a highly ranked analyst in the packaged goods industry and later the financial services sector. From 1998 to 2008, Steve was an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University Business School, where he taught securities analysis. Steve serves on the Board of Trustees of Tufts University and the Board of Directors of Narragansett Brewing Company, Pzena Investment Management, Said Holdings Limited and the Success Charter Network. Mr. Galbraith was also previously appointed by the U.S. Treasury to be an Advisor to the Office of Financial Research. He received his B.A. (summa cum laude) from Tufts University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was elected to the Tufts Board of Trustees in 2009.

Joel Greenblatt

Joel Greenblatt is a Managing Partner of Gotham Capital, a hedge fund that he founded in 1985. He has been a professor since 1996 on the adjunct faculty of Columbia Business School, where he teaches Value and Special Situation Investing. Mr. Greenblatt is the former Chairman of the Board of Alliant Techsystems, a NYSE-listed aerospace and defense company. Mr. Greenblatt is the author of three books, “You Can Be A Stock Market Genius” (Simon & Schuster, 1997), “The Little Book That Beats the Market” (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) and “The Big Secret for the Small Investor” (Crown Business, 2011). Mr. Greenblatt holds a BS and an MBA from the Wharton School.

S. Fitzgerald Haney

S. Fitzgerald Haney, Managing Director, Institutional Sales and Client Relations, Lyrical Partners, LP. Ambassador Haney has had a distinguished career as an international businessman with many years of experience serving in senior-level marketing, financial services and manufacturing positions across Latin America. He was a Principal and Director of Business Development and Client Service (Europe, Middle East and Africa) at Pzena Investment Management in New York City. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Ethnic Consumer Products at International Discount Telecommunications (IDT); Director of Strategic Planning at Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation; Senior Associate at Israel Seed Partners in Jerusalem; and Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning at Citibank in Mexico. He held various positions with PepsiCo Restaurants International, including Marketing Director in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Senior Marketing Manager for Mexico and Central America and Marketing Manager in Puerto Rico. He was also Assistant Brand Manager at Procter and Gamble in San Juan, Puerto Rico and served as Appointed Member of the City of Englewood Planning Board and Board of Adjustment in New Jersey. Ambassador Haney earned a B.S. in international economics and a M.S. with distinction in international business and diplomacy from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Washington, D.C., 1986-1991. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and conversational French. He has served on a number of non-profit and community boards such as the Foundation of Jewish Culture; Ayecha, a resource organization for Jews of Color and as an appointed member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Ambassador Haney was born in Nashville, Tennessee and grew up outside of Chicago, in Naperville, Illinois.

C. C. Melvin Ike

C. C. Melvin Ike ("Mel") is a Managing Director in the Tactical Opportunities Group, where he focuses primarily on private equity, growth equity and public equities across a variety of industries. Mr. Ike has led several investments, including Certified Collectibles Group and GeoComply Solutions. Before joining Blackstone in 2019, Mr. Ike was a Principal at Third Point LLC from 2015 to 2019, where he focused on long/short and activist investments across several industries. Prior to Third Point, he was an investment professional in the private equity group at TPG Capital. He started his career as an investment banker in the Restructuring Group at Lazard. Mr. Ike received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a Cellular and Bio-molecular concentration from the University of Texas, where he was a student-athlete. He also earned a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School where he earned several Dean’s Scholar Prizes, and an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a George F. Baker Scholar, was the winner of the John L. Loeb Prize, graduated with the highest academic standing in his class, and was the highest ranked student in the Finance Department. Mr. Ike currently serves on the Board of Directors of Aqua Finance, Certified Collectibles Group, The Studio Museum of Harlem, The Marshall Project, the Harvard Law School Association of New York, and Youth INC.

Suzie Kovner

Suzie Kovner is a founder and vice president of the Kovner Foundation, which promotes social change by supporting and strengthening organizations and initiatives that advance education, entrepreneurship, justice, and the arts. At the Foundation she sets strategy, identifies partners and programs, and evaluates grantee results. With a lifelong passion for theater and the arts, Ms. Kovner is a trustee of Carnegie Hall and leads the advocacy group for Ensemble ACJW, a collaboration between Carnegie Hall and the Juilliard School that supports young professional musicians as they build careers as performers, programmers and teachers. Ms. Kovner launched the National Theater of Great Britain’s first U.S. office and served as director of development for the Board of the American Associates before joining the Board of the National Theater of Britain. She is also a founding member of the Drama Council at The Juilliard School. In addition, Ms. Kovner is a member-at-large of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Administrative Board. Ms. Kovner lives in New York with her husband, Bruce Kovner.

Yen Liow

Yen Liow is the Managing Partner at Aravt Global LLC. Mr. Liow directs the firm’s research process and actively researches many of the investments in the portfolio. Mr. Liow was previously a Principal of Ziff Brothers Investments (“ZBI”) and a Managing Director at ZBI Equities, ZBI’s equity market-neutral fund in New York. Mr. Liow joined ZBI in 2001 and ran a team that oversaw ZBI Equities’ investments in the media, telecom, energy and agriculture sectors. Prior to ZBI, Mr. Liow was a Consultant at Bain & Company in its San Francisco, Sydney, Singapore and Beijing offices. Mr. Liow earned a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne in 1994 and a Masters of Business Administration (George F. Baker Scholar) from Harvard Business School in 2001. Mr. Liow lives in Manhattan, New York with his wife and two children.

Daniel S. Loeb

Daniel Loeb is CEO of Third Point LLC, an asset management firm headquartered in New York. Mr. Loeb is also a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Trustee of the Mount Sinai Health System, where he established the Ronald M. Loeb Center for the Study of Alzheimer’s Disease in memory of his late father. As a philanthropist and advocate for social justice, he has supported several successful efforts to reform the criminal justice system and advance equal rights for LGBT Americans, including increasing the age of criminal responsibility and securing the freedom to marry. Mr. Loeb graduated from Columbia University with an A.B. in economics in 1983. He has endowed the Daniel S. Loeb Scholarship for undergraduate study there and received Columbia’s John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement.

Robert Niehaus

Mr. Niehaus is the Chairman and Founder of GCP Capital Partners LLC, an independent private equity investment firm founded in 2009 which currently manages several private equity funds totaling $1.6 billion in initial committed capital. GCP Capital Partners is the successor firm to Greenhill Capital Partners LLC, the merchant banking business which Mr. Niehaus co-founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of Greenhill & Co. Prior to joining Greenhill, Mr. Niehaus spent 17 years at Morgan Stanley & Co. where he was a Managing Director in the merchant banking department from 1990-1999. Mr. Niehaus is also Chairman of Iridium Communications, Inc. (NASD: IRDM) and is a director of several private GCP portfolio companies. Mr. Niehaus is a Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ("CFF") and serves as Chair of CFF's Investment Committee, which oversees a $4.0 billion endowment. Mr. Niehaus also chairs the New York Catholic Foundation and serves on the Boards of the Asia Society, the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Student Sponsor Partners, the Touch Foundation (which supports a medical school in Tanzania) and the Finance Committee of the Archdiocese of New York. Mr. Niehaus previously served as the Board Chair of Acumen (a worldwide social impact investing fund) and Good Shepherd Services (a NYC social services agency). Mr. Niehaus graduated from Princeton University in 1977 and received his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1982 where he was a Baker Scholar.

John Petry

John Petry is the founder and managing principal at Sessa Capital. Previously he was a partner at Gotham Capital and Gotham Asset Management and a co-founder of the Value Investors Club ( Mr. Petry graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. Mr. Petry has been active in a variety of education reform causes. He was a co-founder of Democrats for Education Reform and served as past Chairman of Education Reform Now, organizations that are dedicated to reforming education policy both nationally and locally. He was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of Success Academy Harlem 1 and Success Academy Harlem 4.

Angele Robinson-Gaylord

Angele Robinson-Gaylord has been helping retailers and developers create and implement strategies managing their real estate portfolios for over 15 years. As Sr. Vice President, Store Development for Rite Aid, she is leading a management team supporting 2,400+ retail stores across 17 states and the corporate real estate portfolio. Angele holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University and a J.D. from George Washington University School of Law. She is a 2009 graduate of Project REAP, an educational and professional development program connecting talented minority professionals with commercial real estate companies. Previously, Angele served as President for IKEA North America Real Estate. Angele oversaw site acquisition, construction and portfolio management for all real estate in the US and Canadian portfolios. She also advised the Country Management Teams for Canada and the US and served as a Director for several internal Boards. Angele formerly worked at McDonald’s in the US Restaurant Development division, supporting a 1900-unit restaurant portfolio across 9 states. Before McDonald’s, she practiced litigation and commercial real estate law for over fifteen years. Angele serves on the Executive Board for ICSC, the Board of Directors for the ICSC Foundation, and the Network Board of Success Academy.

Simon Shaw

Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide at Sotheby’s, has been an expert in 19th and 20th Century art for 25 years. During his 12 year tenure running Sotheby’s global Impressionist and Modern Department, he broke the record for the most expensive work ever sold at auction, “The Scream.” He has long been fascinated by Nordic art, and deepened his knowledge in that field in Scandinavia, where he worked extensively and also served as Director of Sotheby’s Stockholm. Prior to that, he worked in the Impressionist & Modern departments in Paris and in London, where he launched his career at Sotheby’s in 1996. Long before attending the Courtauld Institute, where he specialised in 18th-century French and British works, Simon was fascinated by art. Along with his extensive knowledge of the international market, it is that deep connection to pictures that has allowed Mr. Shaw to build privileged contacts with collectors and institutions worldwide.

James J. Valentini

James J. Valentini is Dean Emeritus of Columbia College and Vice President for Undergraduate Education, having served in that role from 2011 to 2022. He has been a Columbia faculty member since 1990. Under his leadership, Columbia College developed a comprehensive strategic plan and initiated and completed a $750 million Core to Commencement campaign, the first campaign devoted exclusively to Columbia College students and faculty. During his tenure the College created the Global Columbia Collaboratory and Columbia Venture Competition's Undergraduate Challenge. Dean Valentini led the development of the Live Well|Learn Well student well-being effort and the My Columbia College Journey program to promote the whole-life success of students. In his honor, supporters of the College have created the Valentini Endowment Fund for the Columbia College Journey and the James J. Valentini Prize for the graduating senior who has best demonstrated the qualities of Beginner’s Mind, the Zen philosophy for which Dean Valentini has long been a tireless advocate. Before becoming dean, Dean Valentini served as chair of the chemistry department and director of the chemistry department’s Undergraduate Studies Program. He also served on numerous College and University committees focused on curriculum matters, undergraduate affairs, alumni relations, and faculty governance, diversity and tenure, and was instrumental in creating the Science Research Fellows program. Prior to arriving at Columbia, Dean Valentini was a member of the research staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory and a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. He is a fellow in the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dean Valentini grew up in a small coal mining town in Appalachia, and was the first in his family to attend college. He earned his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, his M.S. in chemistry from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral work at Harvard.

Network Emeritus

Campbell Brown

Campbell Brown is the Head of News Partnerships team at Facebook. She is the Founder of Partnership for Educational Justice and co-founded The 74. Ms. Brown is a writer and award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, and Slate, and who has also covered stories around the globe for CNN and NBC News. Through her writing and reporting on education issues, Ms. Brown became a passionate advocate for school choice and education reform. Ms. Brown’s focus has been challenging teacher tenure and special dismissal protections that make it almost impossible to remove grossly ineffective and even abusive teachers from the classroom. Along with PEJ, Ms. Brown is also the founder of the Parents’ Transparency Project, a watchdog group that investigates and reports on failure and inequity in the public education system. Ms. Brown serves on the board of the Jewish Community Project, a preschool and community center in Lower Manhattan. Ms. Brown lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

Ravenel Curry

A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Ravenel received his bachelor of arts degree from Furman University and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia. He began his investment career as a security analyst at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. Formerly a partner at H.C. Wainwright and portfolio manager of the Duke Endowment, Ravenel founded Eagle Capital Management in 1988. He is the chief investment officer. A resident of New York City, Ravenel is a trustee of the Manhattan Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the New York Hall of Science, the New York Historical Society, the Duke Endowment and the South Carolina Genetics Endowment. He is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former trustee of Furman University and the former chairman of the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority.

John Scully

John H. Scully, 67, Managing Director, is a founding partner of SPO. From 1971 to 1991 Mr. Scully was a founding general partner of Texas Partners, a Bass family investment entity that took significant public and private equity positions in Taft Broadcasting, Wometco Cable, and American Savings among others. He is currently a director of Plum Creek Timber Company, and chairman of the board of Advent Software. John began his investing career after receiving his M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1968 and his A.B. from Princeton University in 1966. Mr. Scully is a former trustee and vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and a former chair of its finance committee. He is also a former trustee of Princeton University, where he served as chair of the finance committee. John is a founder and chairman of the Making Waves Education Program and Making Waves Academy in Richmond and San Francisco, California, serving over 1,000 inner-city youth.

Regina Scully

Regina K. Scully is the Founder and CEO of Artemis Rising Foundation, an organization dedicated to transforming our culture through media, arts, and education. She has produced over 200 documentary films focused on some of the most pressing social justice issues of our time—gender-parity, the achievement gap, and trauma recovery. Scully is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning and Academy-nominated producer. Her films include Miss Representation (2010), The Invisible War (2012), Anita: Speaking Truth To Power (2013), FED UP (2014), The Hunting Ground (2015), Newtown (2016), Eagle Huntress (2016), Dolores (2017), One Of Us (2017), Won’t You Be My Neighbor (2018), The Biggest Little Farm (2019), The Great Hack (2019), and This Changes Everything (2019). Scully is the Founding Sponsor of the Athena Film Festival (NYC), which highlights women in filmmaking. She is also the co-founder of Making Waves, a public charter school in Northern California, serving low-income students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to pursue a life of opportunity and purpose.

SA-NYC Board of Trustees

Lorenzo Smith III


Lorenzo Smith III is a Private Banker in the New York office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, responsible for managing relationships with ultra high net worth individuals and families with a specific focus on hedge fund principals. Mr. Smith advises clients on public and private investments, cash management, credit and liquidity needs, and sophisticated estate and charitable planning. Mr. Smith joined the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in 2014, after serving as a credit analyst on TIAA CREF’s Distressed Investments Team where his team managed a $2.5 billion portfolio. Lorenzo earned his MBA from Columbia Business School and his undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a CFA Charterholder and member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. Mr. Smith is a founding member of Success Academy Upper West; and continues to serve on the Success Academy Leadership Council. Prior to joining the financial services industry, Lorenzo represented the US Army and Team USA at the 2006 Olympic games in four-man bobsled. He currently resides in Scarsdale, NY with his wife and two children.

Suleman Lunat


Suleman Lunat was a Senior Principal and Portfolio Manager in the Capital Markets division of Apollo Global Management where he focused on managing a portfolio of special situation credit and equity investments in both the public and private markets. Prior to joining Apollo, he was a Senior Investment Analyst responsible for generating, evaluating, executing and managing investments in a portfolio of distressed and special situation assets at both Longacre Fund Management and Sandell Asset Management. Mr. Lunat has sat on a variety of official and ad-hoc creditor committees and has been deeply involved in a number of corporate restructurings in both the United States and abroad. Prior to Sandell, he spent seven years at Greenhill & Co., a firm he joined upon its inception, focused on M&A, bankruptcy restructuring and principal investing. He began his career at Lehman Brothers in the Telecommunications, Media and Technology Investment Banking Group. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a BS in Economics.

Scott Friedman


Scott Friedman is a Co-Founding Partner at Soroban Capital Partners, a multi-billion dollar global investment firm, and is Head of Trading and Risk Management. Before Soroban Capital Partners launched, Mr. Friedman was the Head Trader at TPG-Axon Capital. He joined TPG-Axon in 2006, and traded across asset classes and all parts of the capital structure globally; including equities, fixed income, commodities, foreign exchange, derivatives, swaps and environmental credits. Prior to joining TPG-Axon, Mr. Friedman was a Multi-Product Trader in the Goldman Sachs Risk Arbitrage & Principal Strategies Group. Mr. Friedman started his career in 2001 at Goldman, Sachs & Co. as an Analyst in Trading. He graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a BS in both International Economics and Finance. Mr. Friedman is a CFA charter holder, a FRM (Financial Risk Manager) charter holder, a NYSSA (New York Society of Security Analysts) member and a GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) member.

Edwin Cespedes

Parent Representative

Edwin Cespedes is a senior consultant at TalMix and a practice leader in market research, marketing strategy, and customer engagement areas. He helps healthcare, energy and technology companies implement adaptive research systems to align growth plans and to monitor customer behaviors. He has worked with global clients in the US, South America, and East Africa. Edwin is a proud Success Academy parent and an advocate for access to a quality public education. He has served on non-profit boards that foster inclusion, diversity, and empowerment of disadvantaged communities. He is also a commercial pilot and passionate about aviation. Edwin received his BS from Universidade Positivo, his BLA from Harvard University and his MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

Ramin Beheshti

Ramin Beheshti is the co-founder and President of a Series A media start up called The News Movement. They are aiming to reimagine news by establishing an inclusive movement of creators and communities, inspired by new ways of telling stories that fuel curiosity, creativity and change. He has also been consulting with leading organizations like Mars, Wiley & Gagosian art gallery as well as being a Senior Adviser to Mckinsey Consulting Group. Previously, as Group Chief Product & Technology Officer for Dow Jones, he was responsible for global technology strategy, delivery and operations across all of the company’s customer facing products.

Derrell Bradford

Derrell Bradford is the executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now (NYCAN) and has more than 12 years of experience successfully building and shaping education reform dialogue in New Jersey and other states across the country. Most recently, Mr. Bradford was the executive director at Better Education for Kids, a 501c4 organization supporting bipartisan education reforms in New Jersey. At B4K Mr. Bradford worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. This landmark bill tied the acquisition of tenure to teacher effectiveness and student outcomes, shortened the process necessary to remove an ineffective teacher, and provided systems and support for teachers who needed improvement. Previously Mr. Bradford spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone as its executive director and director of communications. Mr. Bradford led strategy, operations and communications for the organization, focusing advocacy efforts on school choice, high standards and expectations, and financial transparency. While there he also served on Governor Christie’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force, which gave recommendations on a new, statewide evaluation system for teachers and leaders. This policy is currently being implemented across the state. Mr. Bradford frequently contributes to education reform debates across print, online, and TV media. He also serves on several boards dedicated to putting the needs of students and families first, including the Partnership for Educational Justice, We Can Do Better New Jersey and St. Anthony High School in Jersey City. Mr. Bradford attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys on a scholarship and then University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.A. in English.

Samuel Cole

Samuel Cole is a principal at Stonecutter Ventures and an executive-in-residence at Wall Street Share (WSS). Since 2016, he has worked to incubate, build, and capitalize companies that combine disruptive business models with enabling technologies, from robotics, fintech, and defense to consumer brands, commodities and manufacturing. Before 2016, he was the President and Co-Founder of Phigital, Inc., an early stage company that developed new technology to create and distribute rich media content to consumers based on location. Previously, Mr. Cole served as Executive Vice President and Deputy Head of eExchange, a technology subsidiary of State Street Bank (and the 4th largest FX exchange globally) providing advanced trading solutions to global clients in the foreign currency, interest rate, and derivative markets. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Cole was the Chief Operating Officer and a Managing Principal at BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, a multi-billion asset manager. Prior to joining BlueMountain, Mr. Cole was a senior consultant (Associate Principal) in the Financial Institutions Group of McKinsey & Co. in New York for nearly six years. Mr. Cole also worked as a private equity analyst for Global Partner Ventures in the former Soviet Union where he supported projects to commercialize Russian defense technologies and, earlier in his career, was a defense analyst with the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. Mr. Cole sits on the Board of Trustees of JerseyCAN, a leading education reform advocacy group. Previously, he was a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Managed Funds Association, the primary source of information for policymakers and the media on the global alternative investment community. Mr. Cole also served on the 2008 Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group III (market resiliency working group) in recommending major financial markets reforms to the U.S. Secretary of Treasury. Mr. Cole holds an M.B.A from MIT, an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and an A.B. cum laude from Harvard University.

Neal Desai

Neal Desai is Founder and CEO of Kafene, a specialty finance fintech platform used by merchants at point-of-sale to help offer underserved consumers more flexible purchase options through transparent lease-to-own financing agreements. Prior to founding Kafene in 2019, Neal was CFO at Octane Lending, a point-of-sale fintech unicorn, where he joined as an early employee and helped scale the company from Series A through C. Before Octane, Neal spent nearly 15 years as a Portfolio Manager and Trader at companies such as Alpine Partners, Summit Securities, Hard 8 Trading, Merrill Lynch, and Susquehanna Investment Group. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School with dual majors in finance and multinational strategy, and a B.A. from Princeton University with a major in molecular biology.

Ripan S. Kadakia

Ripan S. Kadakia is a partner at ZMC, joining in 2014. Ripan is responsible for originating, executing and managing investments, currently representing ZMC on the boards of Simeio, AdThrive and Logitix. Before joining ZMC, Ripan was an investment professional in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications group at Warburg Pincus, where he focused on investments in the software, internet, information, business services and education industries. In his time at Warburg Pincus, Mr. Kadakia executed control buyouts and growth investments and served as a board member or strategic advisor to several portfolio companies. Prior to Warburg Pincus, Ripan was an investment professional at Audax Group Private Equity where he focused on executing investments and operating middle-market companies across a variety of industries. Ripan began his career as a strategy consultant at Oliver Wyman, executing and managing projects across the United States, Africa and the Middle East for a broad range of financial institutions. Ripan graduated summa cum laude from the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his MBA from the Wharton School, where he graduated as a Palmer Scholar.

Aaron Kinnari

Aaron Kinnari is the Founder of Aviator Media and Co-Founder of Mobilize Digital. Aaron has helped organizations leverage digital tools and tactics to engage new audiences, rally supporters, advance policy reforms, and raise funding. Most recently, Aaron founded FLTbar, a plant-based protein bar. Previously, Mr. Kinnari was the Director of Operations and New Media at StudentsFirstNY. Prior to joining StudentsFirstNY, he was the New Media Director in the Office of the Mayor, serving under Mayor Bloomberg.

Kamilah Mitchell-Thomas

Kamilah Mitchell-Thomas is Chief People Officer of Dow Jones where she guides company culture through strategic application of “people power” for digital transformation, change execution and cultivating partnerships with key stakeholders, business leaders and cross-functional teams. She is in charge of diversity and inclusion and heads up hiring practices, diversity in leadership and pay equity for the organization. Prior to this role, Thomas was Senior Vice President, People & Culture at A+E Networks. There, she implemented ME+, A+E Networks’ global learning and development program aligned with a new organizational vision supporting staff development, engagement and accountability for performance. Thomas also led the development and launch of NEXT 90, A+E Networks’ new performance management approach responsible for the company’s transformation to a high-performance culture. Thomas has over 20 years of extensive human resources experience leading corporate transformations through global learning and development, diversity, people management and inclusion efforts. Previously, she served as Vice President, Human Resources, Madison Square Garden Company where she led HR activities for Marketing, Ticket Sales, Corporate Sponsorships, Event Presentation and Game-Night Entertainment and Front-Office & Coaching Staff, including the New York Knicks, Rangers and Liberty sport teams. Prior to Madison Square Garden, Thomas was Vice President, Human Resources at Sony Music Entertainment, Epic Records where she led the Human Resources efforts for re-launching the iconic record label. Leading aggressive build of the C-suite team and key creative team, Thomas facilitated business growth and expansion of the newly reimagined label. She began her career at JP Morgan as a Financial Analyst and graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Lizette St. Hilaire

Ms. St. Hilaire has worked in the financial services industry for fifteen years and is currently a Portfolio Manager at APG Asset Management, based in New York. In her previous role she served as a senior equities analyst covering the technology sector at PineBridge Investments. Ms. St. Hilaire worked at Merrill Lynch Alternative Investments in the Global Wealth and Investment Division of BofA/ML and at BNP Paribas on the Global Equities & Commodity Derivatives Sales & Trading Division. Ms. St. Hilaire graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BSE in Electrical & Systems Science Engineering with a focus in economics and financial systems. She is a CFA charterholder and has her FINRA/NASD Series 7 and 66 licenses.

Robin Pzena

Robin Pzena is a founding board member of Success Academy Harlem 2 and is a former member of the Success Academy Leadership Council. Since 2010, she has served as a mentor to majors at the University of Delaware. Previously, Robin volunteered at Community Personal Services (CPS) where she helped young adults with special needs with employment opportunities. Prior to CPS, Ms. Pzena was a contacts manager for New American Library and Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group and then served as an independent consultant to literary agents. She and her husband have been supporters of Success Academy and its mission since 2008. Ms. Pzena has a BA from the University of Delaware.

NYC Emeritus

Cate Shainker

Cate Shainker is an independent consultant focusing on education reform and specifically charter schools. She was previously a Principal at Bain and Company in New York where she focused on Financial Services and Education. Prior to Bain she worked at UBS in Switzerland. Ms. Shainker has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Finance and Accounting from Indiana University. She was a founding member of the Success Academy Brooklyn Boards and is now leading the Academics, Culture & Talent Committee for the Success Academy NYC Board. She lives in Brooklyn and has three young boys.

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