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Meet Our Team

Work at DonorsChoose

Board of Directors

Theresia Gouw, Board Chair
Theresia Gouw, Board ChairFounding Partner, Acrew Capital
Theresia Gouw is a founding partner at Acrew Capital. In 2014, she co-founded Aspect Ventures. Prior to Aspect, Theresia was a Managing General Partner at Accel. Theresia has been fortunate to work with many successful companies through IPOs or acquisitions including: Forescout (FSCT), Imperva (IMPV), Trulia (TRLA), Hotel Tonight (Airbnb), Astro (Slack: WORK), LearnVest (Northwestern Mutual), Jasper Designs (CDNS) and Kosmix (WMT).

As an entrepreneur, Theresia was founding VP of Business Development and Sales at Release Software, a venture-backed company that provided SaaS to enable digital rights management and payment technologies for the software industry. Earlier, she worked at Bain & Company and as product manager at Silicon Graphics.

Theresia led early investments in Cato Networks, Deserve, Exabeam, The Muse, Crew, ShieldX Networks and PredictHQ.

Theresia is a first generation immigrant and a passionate supporter of educational causes and increasing diversity in the tech industry. Theresia was named to Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women list, has been recognized 8 times on the Forbes Midas List, including 2019, was named one of the 40 most influential minds in tech by Time Magazine, as well as being named to the Carnegie Corporation’s annual Distinguished Immigrants list.
Yvette Nicole Brown, Vice Chair
Yvette Nicole Brown, Vice ChairActress, host & producer
Actress Yvette Nicole Brown currently stars as Oscar Madison’s no-nonsense assistant on CBS’ hit revival of "The Odd Couple,” which is currently in its second season.

Brown began her entertainment career as a recording artist signed to Motown Records as a teen and has since successfully become one of the most sought-after character actresses in Hollywood. She’s appeared and often recurred on numerous hit TV shows including “The Office,” “Drake and Josh,” “Entourage” and most recently as the beloved Shirley on the NBC fan favorite, “Community” among others.

On the big screen, Brown voiced a character in the recent animated feature “Yellowbird”. She’s also appeared in the family film “Percy Jackson & the Sea of Monsters” as well as the blockbuster “Tropic Thunder” to name a few.

She’s also become a talk-show staple; making the rounds on various daytime shows like “The View” and “Anderson Cooper” along with repeat appearances on the daytime hit “The Chew,” a full season of guest co-hosting “The Jeff Probst Show” and multiple appearances on the Chris Hardwick hosted hit, “Talking Dead,” which is the popular companion show to AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.

Brown is honored to be a part of the DonorsChoose Board and looks forward to helping out wherever needed.
Charles Best
Charles BestFounder, DonorsChoose
Charles Best founded DonorsChoose, a nonprofit website which enables anyone to help a classroom in need. Charles launched the organization in 2000 at a Bronx public high school where he taught history for five years. To date, teachers at more than 85% of all the public schools in America have created classroom project requests on DonorsChoose, and more than 4.5 million people have given to those projects.

DonorsChoose is one of Oprah Winfrey's "ultimate favorite things" and made the cover of Fast Company as one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World," the first time a charity has received such recognition.
Peter Bloom
Peter BloomAdvisory Director, General Atlantic, LLC
I grew up in Binghamton, NY—a small city in the middle of New York. I attended public school through 12th grade. I even had some of the teachers who taught my father when he went to the same middle and high school 40 years before me. I wasn’t even an average student because I was more interested in learning magic, locksmithing, and how to repair pinball machines and jukeboxes. Today, I am a passionate magician and have performed all over the world. I specialize in card magic, but also do some large and dangerous stage effects. I still pick locks and enjoy combining that with escape magic whenever possible. (Please do not try this at home!) And of course, I still play one of my favorite pinball machines every chance I get.
I started college at the local State University in my hometown and eventually graduated from Northwestern University. I majored in Economics and Computer Studies. I have always been very interested in computers and learned to program in many languages. After college, I worked in a number of computer programming jobs and ended up leading the technology division for a large Wall Street trading firm. I spent the last 20 years doing technology work for another large financial firm until I retired in 2010 so I could focus on DonorsChoose and other non-profit causes that are important to me and my family. I helped to start Peak Rescue Institute, which teaches advanced search and rescue techniques to first responders. I also helped start the Connected Warrior Foundation, which assists wounded veterans.
In my free time, you can find me and my wife riding our tandem bicycle. We’ve been riding tandems for over 30 years now... but I’m still not sure my wife is always pedaling!
Amanda Calzada
Amanda CalzadaTransitional Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher
Amanda Calzada is a transitional bilingual kindergarten teacher who teaches in the heart of the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago, IL. She has been teaching kindergarten since 2013, serving low-income bilingual students in the community. She graduated Suma Cum Laude as a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from DePaul University in 2013. She then earned her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and ESL from Olivet Nazarene University and graduated Suma Cum Laude in 2016. She was the first in her family to earn a master’s degree.

Amanda believes a high-quality education has the power to transform lives and attributes her success to the sacrifices her parents made. Arriving to the United States as young immigrant children from Mexico, her parents worked hard to provide her and her sister with an excellent education and a better quality of life they never had. Experiencing firsthand how a quality education can open the doors to many opportunities, Amanda has dedicated her career to working with underserved and marginalized groups. She now teaches in the community where her parents once lived as children.

Amanda works hard to build a classroom community that is accepting, respectful, and nurturing because she believes that children learn best when they feel safe, loved, and celebrated. She loves to incorporate song, dance, and creativity into her teaching and designs much of the curriculum she teaches herself. She leads her school’s after school program and manages year-round enrichment programs for students in grades K through 8. She is also active in the school’s yearbook committee and leads classroom management workshops for her fellow teachers.
Maria Castañón Moats
Maria Castañón MoatsPartner, Audit and Former Assurance Leader, PwC US
Maria Moats is a Vice Chair and PwC’s Assurance Leader for the US and Mexico. In this capacity, she serves as a member of both the U.S. Leadership Team and the Global Assurance Executive Leadership Team. Maria's leadership of the national Assurance practice encompasses business strategy, quality and regulatory relations, innovation, risk management, portfolio strategy and business development, and human capital.

Maria’s professional experience spans accounting, financial reporting, investigations and M&A. She has led audits of both public and private entities, initial and secondary public offerings, and private placement and public debt registrations.

Prior to her current role, Maria served as the Regional Assurance Leader for PwC’s East Region, after serving a 5- year term as PwC US’ Chief Diversity Officer where she led the strategy and execution of the firm's diversity and inclusion efforts.

Maria has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.

Maria was named number three on Fortune’s inaugural 50 Most Powerful Latina’s List in 2018.
Mitch Cohen
Mitch CohenRetired Vice-Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Mitch is a retired Vice-Chairman of PwC. During his 36 year career he served as the client service partner on a number of the Firm’s largest clients. In addition to his clients, Mitch had a variety of management responsibilities including the Firm’s strategy, M&A, public relations and communications, innovation and corporate responsibility.

Mitch is co-author of a groundbreaking study and book on self-made billionaires. Since the publication of The Self-Made Billionaire Effect Mitch has been a frequent speaker in the media and at colleges and universities on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Since retiring from PwC Mitch has concentrated on investing and working with various venture backed emerging companies. Mitch also serves on the Advisory Board of a wealth management firm.

Mitch is a graduate of Penn State University and served on the Board of Visitors of the Smeal Business School and presently serves on the Board of Directors of DonorsChoose and Chairs the Audit Committee.
Stephen Colbert
Stephen ColbertSatirist, Actor, Writer and Host of CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert is best known as the host, writer and executive producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. His long-running Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning series "The Colbert Report" aired on Comedy Central from 2005 to 2014 and was nominated for 40 Emmys, winning a total of 6. The show was also twice honored with the prestigious Peabody® Award for Excellence in Broadcasting.
Kristie Jones
Kristie JonesConstruction Technology Teacher
Kristie Jones teaches construction technology at Franklin County Career and Technical Center in Meadville, Mississippi. After twenty-two years teaching special education and science, Kristie combined her love of woodworking and teaching and reinstituted the construction and carpentry program in her school district.

Kristie graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with honors in 1998 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in special education. She furthered her education in 2005, graduating with highest honors from Alcorn State University with a Master of Science, concentrating in special education. In 2009, Kristie’s peers elected her Teacher of the Year for the Franklin County School District. Currently, Kristie is serving on Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hoseman’s Mississippi Teacher Advisory Council to represent and advocate for teachers across the state of Mississippi. She is also an active member of her community through mission work with her church and the Franklin County Baptist Association. When she’s not teaching, you can find Kristie spending time with her husband and son at their local lake or enjoying the forest land and rivers that surround their home.
W. Kamau Bell
W. Kamau BellComedian & Host
W. Kamau Bell is a stand-up comedian and the host and executive producer of the Emmy Award winning CNN docu-series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. His latest stand-up comedy special, Private School Negro, is available on Netflix. Kamau wrote a book with the easy-to-remember title, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. He’s the ACLU Celebrity Ambassador for Racial Justice and serves on the advisory boards of Hollaback! and Donors Choose.
Richard Lovett
Richard LovettPresident, Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Richard Lovett is president of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Nashville and Beijing. Lovett’s personal clients are among the world’s most accomplished actors, directors, writers and producers.

Lovett began his career in the mailroom at CAA, rising the ranks to become president in 1995. Since then, he has led the company in unprecedented innovation and growth, creating a new model for client representation in the 21st century. In addition to representing many of the most successful professionals working in film, television, music, video games, theater, and digital media, CAA provides a range of strategic marketing and consulting services to corporate clients.

Under Lovett’s leadership, CAA has also launched a highly successful investment banking affiliate, Evolution Media Capital (EMC); a private equity firm, Star Avenue Capital; five venture-financed Internet companies, including comedy content creator Funny or Die; and a digital media and consumer technology venture fund.

In 1996, Lovett and his partners created the CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the agency. Lovett has received numerous awards for his activism, including the Shoah Foundation’s Ambassador for Humanity Award, presented by Steven Spielberg.

A native of Milwaukee, Lovett attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Donna Ratchford
Donna RatchfordGifted Elementary Teacher
Donna Ratchford is an elementary gifted education teacher who teaches in the home of blues and BBQ, Memphis, TN. She has been teaching since 2006, serving diverse students in the community. She graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from University of Memphis in 2006. She then earned her master’s degree in Gifted Education from Arkansas State University in 2014. In 2020, Donna graduated with her Educational Specialist degree in Administration Principalship.

Donna believes that children are active learners that thrive when they have choices and ownership of their actions. She integrates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) into her curriculum and focuses on combining content areas to expose her students to real-world concepts. The STEAM model provides high-quality, hands-on learning opportunities that simulate the skills her students will need in the 21st century workplace.

Donna is inspired by her late father’s belief in respect and empathy. He always encouraged her to pursue education and valued learning as a way to meet future goals. Donna believes in celebrating diversity and providing students with a safe and nurturing learning environment. She leads several before and after-school activities such as Girls Who Code, Destination Imagination, and Math teams. She also is a member of her school's Tech Team that leads training on various technologies in the classroom. She is currently spearheading a movement to increase diverse curriculum in the district’s gifted department.
Desirée Rogers
Desirée RogersChairman, Choose Chicago and former White House Social Secretary
Desirée Rogers is Chairman of Choose Chicago, a tourism agency for the city of Chicago, a position she has held since 2013. Ms. Rogers was also Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company from 2010-2017 and has an extensive track record in mature brand rebuilding. Previously, Desirée served as the White House Social Secretary for President Obama where she spearheaded the establishment of the White House as the people's house. She completed over 350 events during her tenure. In addition she has an extensive network of relationships built over 25 years and experience working in both the public and private sectors. Rogers has a BA degree in Political Science from Wellesley College and a MBA from Harvard University.
Trabian Shorters
Trabian ShortersFounding CEO, BMe
Trabian has a long history of creating and running innovative networks for the public good. As Vice President of Communities for Knight Foundation from 2007-2013, he managed $300 million in grants across 26 cities as well as the field-leading Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), which enticed over 300 foundations to experiment with funding new projects. Prior to that he led Ashoka-US, which supports social entrepreneurship in the U.S. He also founded Technology Works for Good (Now 501ctech), and was one of the authors of the AmeriCorps national service program.

As founding CEO of BMe, Trabian envisions communities where we all do better specifically because we are willing to help each other. BMe is our opportunity to build such communities - beginning with inspired black men.

Trabian is also a coach for New York University’s Program for Social Entrepreneurship; and the proud first grandson of Kennis and Irma Lee Hutchons.
Jeff Weiner
Jeff WeinerExecutive Chairman, LinkedIn
Jeff Weiner is the executive chairman of LinkedIn, where he continues to help LinkedIn realize its vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. He'll also continue to mentor and coach the leadership team, advise on key strategic initiatives, and help to represent the company externally. In addition to his ongoing work at LinkedIn, Jeff is focused on investing, coaching and his philanthropic work, including helping to ensure that compassion is taught and practiced in every primary school in the U.S.

Prior to becoming executive chairman in June 2020, Jeff was the CEO of LinkedIn. During his 11-year tenure, LinkedIn grew its membership base from 33M to more than 690M, increased its revenue from $78M to over $7.9B and expanded the team from 338 employees to over 16,000.

Before joining LinkedIn in 2008, Jeff served as executive vice president of Yahoo!'s Network Division, a business that generated $3 billion in annual revenue with more than 3,000 employees, where he was responsible for many of the company's consumer-facing and industry-leading products. Prior to joining Yahoo! in 2001, Jeff spent more than six years at Warner Bros., where he helped oversee the company's online efforts and developed the initial business plan for Warner Bros. Online in 1994.

Jeff holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Executive Team

Abby
AbbyEVP, Marketing & Growth
Abby leads Marketing & Growth, responsible for inspiring public school teachers to seek support for their students on DonorsChoose and individuals to give through our marketplace. As head of new revenue streams, Abby also identifies and helps the organization identify new scaled sources of funding for classrooms.

Prior to this role, Abby led seller retention and community at Etsy, earned her MBA at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and got her BA in Psychology at Harvard. She is also a founder of CMOs for Good, a 2020 92Y WomenInPower Leadership Fellow and taught a course on Social Entrepreneurship at NYU.

Abby is an avid-yogi and dog lover. She's inspired every day by the above and beyond teachers who use DonorsChoose.
Alix
AlixChief Executive Officer
Alix leads DonorsChoose, a nonprofit website which enables anyone to help a classroom in need.

Prior to DonorsChoose, he co-founded an educational technology company, LearnZillion (acquired in 2019) and served as CEO of the philanthropic platform GlobalGiving. His previous work experience includes consulting in McKinsey & Company’s education practice, teaching middle school and high school mathematics, and working in the public finance department at Citigroup. His awards include the NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneur of the Year, FastCompany’s Most Innovative Education Company, DC’s Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40, Washington Post top workplaces, and Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50.

Alix has a Masters in Education from the Stanford University School of Education and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He graduated from Harvard University with an AB in physics and is a proud product of New Haven Public Schools. A first-generation American and child of parents from Haiti and rural Brazil, he lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two daughters.
Geoff
GeoffChief Financial Officer
Geoff leads the Finance and Fulfillment team at DonorsChoose. He spent his career prior to DonorsChoose working in the Media, Entertainment and Technology industries.

His prior experience includes a mix of corporate and operational finance roles at Lionsgate, IAC/Interactive, Warner Music Group and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Geoff is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), author, entrepreneur, and a graduate of Morehouse College, where he earned a BA in Business Administration.
Julia
JuliaChief Operating & People Officer
Julia ensures that both our one million active customers and our mission-driven 160-person staff enjoy a best-in-class​ DonorsChoose experience​. ​

As COO she leads strategy to deliver a secure and scalable customer experience that supports DonorsChoose's unique philanthropic marketplace – including Customer Support, and Trust & Safety for the site’s one million active users. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at one of the biggest days in our 20-year history.

As the head of the People team, she leads a team that cultivates a diverse, inclusive, and mission-driven organization that the NonProfit Times ranked as a 2020 Top 10 Best Nonprofits to Work For and that ranks among Fast Company’s list of the world’s most innovative organizations. Direct reporting areas include Talent, Learning & Development, Compensation, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Human Resources, and Facilities/Administration.

Before joining the organization, Julia managed digital programs for the 2012 Obama campaign and oversaw digital engagement at the Robin Hood Foundation. She is a graduate of Williams College and earned a M.A. from the New School for Public Engagement. She lives in Fort Greene and can be found cheering on the U.S. Soccer National Team in her free time.​ ​
Katie
KatieChief Revenue & Marketing Officer
Katie leads the marketing and partnership team, engaging 2.5 million citizen donors and 500 corporate and foundation partners in supporting public school classrooms.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Katie launched a customer acquisition business at Red Ventures, a company ranked on the Inc. 500 list as one of the nation’s top 20 fastest growing companies. She also conducted market research and political polling for corporate and media clients.

Katie earned her M.B.A. from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, where the faculty awarded her the Hyde Fellowship for her contributions to the school. In 2016, she was named to Direct Marketing News’ “Marketing Hall of Femme”.
Kristina
KristinaVice President, Equity & Impact
Steen leads our organization’s efforts to incorporate a race equity-forward lens in supporting students and teachers across the country. Steen led the creation of #ISeeMe, a DonorsChoose initiative ensuring that students see themselves reflected in their teachers and in their learning environments.

Steen collaborates with companies and foundations committed to racial equity in public schools. Steen is also passionate about growing relationships with philanthropists of color hoping to make an impact for students and teachers.

Prior to joining the DonorsChoose team, Steen practiced corporate law, focusing on merger and acquisition transactions for private equity clients. Before that she taught Street Law to high school students in the D.C. public school system. Steen graduated from Spelman College and Georgetown Law and loves all things related to cheerleading, dance, Atlanta, and coffee. Steen is a proud mama of two little humans and a pup.
Oliver
OliverChief Technology Officer and Head of Product
Oliver is responsible for the technology and user experience that power DonorsChoose's unique philanthropic marketplace.

Prior to joining the team in 2006, Oliver managed product engineering projects for Microsoft's new search engine, now called Bing. He also helped start Microsoft Live Labs, an applied research laboratory for Internet technologies, and is the co-inventor of 22 issued U.S. patents related to Internet search technologies. Oliver joined Microsoft when the Windows division acquired EQuill, a venture-backed startup that he co-founded and led for three years as CEO.

In 2011, the Microsoft Alumni Foundation honored Oliver with the Integral Fellows Award. He is the Chair of CTOs For Good and on the Advisory Council on Computing & Information Technology for Brown University. Oliver has a Computer Science degree from Brown and spent the first 13 years of his academic career attending New York City public schools.
Risa
RisaSVP, Strategy & Chief of Staff
Risa works alongside the CEO on strategy for the organization and executive team. Previously, she led the Partnerships and Customer Relations teams at DonorsChoose, supporting both teams through periods of growth in revenue and customer base. Risa has a B.A. in Anthropology from Harvard, where she researched national service in the U.S. She is a former mentor with America Needs You and sings in the Manhattan Choral Ensemble. In 2015, Risa was named to the Mic 50 list, a celebration of the next generation of impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and innovators.

Executive Office

Risa
RisaSVP, Strategy & Chief of Staff
Risa works alongside the CEO on strategy for the organization and executive team. Previously, she led the Partnerships and Customer Relations teams at DonorsChoose, supporting both teams through periods of growth in revenue and customer base. Risa has a B.A. in Anthropology from Harvard, where she researched national service in the U.S. She is a former mentor with America Needs You and sings in the Manhattan Choral Ensemble. In 2015, Risa was named to the Mic 50 list, a celebration of the next generation of impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and innovators.
Yukki
YukkiAdministrative Assistant, Executive Office
As the Administrative Assistant on the team, she assists the Executive team with its day-to-day operations, ensures effective internal leadership communication and manages special projects. Yukki started her journey here through the fellowship program at DonorsChoose. She was a proud member of the Marketing and Community team as well the Partnership Activation team.

Yukki graduated summa cum laude from Stony Brook University with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. Her experience interning at other nonprofit organizations, such as Bottom Line and College Bridge for All, amplified her determination to work for a cause that she believed in. Like DonorsChoose, she envisioned something above and beyond what the current educational services industry has to offer.

When Yukki is not working, she enjoys autumn afternoons in Central Park, blue wintry views of the Charles River and the cloudless sky from the cabin window of an airplane.

Finance, IBT, and Procurement

Abigail
AbigailSenior Manager, Business Relations
Abigail, our Senior Business Relations Manager, builds and maintains productive relationships with our Vendor Community. Prior to joining the team, she completed Macy’s Executive Development Program for buying and worked in account management in the outdoor amusement industry. Motivated by the incredible variety of projects on the site, she’s excited to be working with a team dedicated to connecting teachers with their requested resources.

She is a first-generation college grad with a B.S. in marketing and minor in entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. In her spare time, she’s often exploring New York City, spending time in Central Park, or catching a concert.
Amy
AmySenior Director, Business Relations
Amy is responsible for managing relationships with current and potential suppliers, as well as our e-procurement providers.

Before joining DonorsChoose, Amy worked in the advertising world developing media strategies. Amy gained first-hand experience in the NYC public school system as a Learning Leaders' volunteer working with students in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. As a lifelong media enthusiast, Amy continues to love music, movies, magazines and the simple joys of several fully-loaded TiVos.
Bibi
BibiFulfillment Operations Specialist
Bibi supports the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team by purchasing resources and experiences for students as well as communicating with teachers and vendors to ensure that purchased materials arrive at schools seamlessly. After completing her Masters in Public Administration from LIU Brooklyn, Bibi joined the DonorsChoose Fellowship Program. She then ventured out to the Bronx and became a business manager for a NYC DOE public school where she gained a greater appreciation for public school staff members and the mission of DonorsChoose. Bibi now lives in Florida and still feels a sense of New York pride when ""Empire State of Mind"" is playing. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her husband and dog, Milo.
Bruce
BruceSenior Purchasing Operations Specialist
Bruce enjoys making sure the experience teachers and students have when a project is fully funded is as joyful as possible - whether it's cool new electronics, books to discover new worlds or new experiences on awesome class trips.

As a professional Actor, Director, and Choreographer, Bruce has entertained audiences across North America in numerous theatrical productions. He serves on the faculty of Jen Waldman Studio and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Ithaca College.

In his free time, Bruce enjoys reading fantasy/science fiction novels, attending performances by fellow theatre-makers, and gaming on his PS4 with his awesome family!
Celia
CeliaFinancial Operations Associate
Celia collaborates with multiple teams across the organization to process financial transactions in support of our donors, partners and teachers alike. Her previous work experience includes athletic coaching, college campus store management and operations for a local startup nonprofit that supported teachers as well. When not working, you'll find her reading, hiking, or in the kitchen making a delicious salad or soup.
Christopher
ChristopherSenior Director of IT and Business Systems
Christopher leads Information Technology at DonorsChoose, working to ensure that our staff members have the technology they need to best support our teachers and students. A product of NYC public schools, Christopher fell in love with technology while volunteering at an after school homework help program in The Bronx.

Since then, he's earned a Bachelor of Technology degree at the New York City College of Technology and spent the majority of his career helping organizations to use IT to drive business decisions while streamlining their processes.

After eight years of IT consulting, Christopher joined our team to combine his passion for technology with his deep commitments to helping public school students recognize their potential and honoring our teachers as heroes.
Dana
DanaFinance Data Analyst
Dana coordinates matching gifts and helps manage DonorsChoose's financial data. She has worked across multiple teams since joining DonorsChoose in 2012 and uses that experience to track and analyze the flow of funds from initial donations through to the purchasing of resources for students.

A fancier of words as well as numbers, Dana is a New York native with a BA in English from Stony Brook University and an MLS from Queens College. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to many, many podcasts, and playing the occasional game of Scrabble.
Devyani
DevyaniSenior Manager, Purchasing Operations
Devyani manages and supports the health of the Purchasing Operations team so teachers can see their classroom project requests come alive! Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Devyani worked in healthcare and graduated from James Madison University. Outside of the office, you can find her roaming around in a bookstore, listening to a Hans Zimmer soundtrack, or binge-watching a true-crime documentary.
Dot
DotSenior Manager, Fulfillment System Operations
Dot manages and supports project fulfillment with a mission of identifying areas to enhance team and teacher experiences. She uses her financial expertise to ensure the right materials and experiences are purchased for each project and helps cross-collaborate with the Accounting team, where she previously worked as an associate.

Dot is a native New Yorker and a proud product of the NYC public school system, graduating from CUNY Queens College with a B.A. degree in Accounting. Outside of bringing classroom dreams to life with her #workfam she enjoys being a New York Rangers superfan, fantasy football, reading, baking, and cooking.
Elyse
ElyseFulfillment Operations Specialist
I support the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team. Working with both teachers and vendors, I assist in bringing classroom projects to life!

For the last decade I've worked in education, both in student facing and administrative roles. My experience in education has motivated me to seek out opportunities to make education more equitable, which has led me here to DonorsChoose!

I'm a lifelong New Yorker and in my free time I enjoy exploring the city, walking around my neighborhood with my dog, working on crossword puzzles with my partner, binge watching a variety of tv series- from the great to the terrible, or slowly making my way through a novel.
Erin
ErinPurchasing Operations Manager
Erin helps to ensure all resources and experiences teachers request for their students come to fruition. She fosters continuous improvement and works to identify learning opportunities for her team. As a child of former public school teachers, she knows how impactful having the right resources can be to both students and teachers.

Prior to DonorsChoose, you could’ve found her performing in numerous shows across the US and NYC. Now you can find her at the latest horror film, a local piano bar, or singing musicals to her son, Parker.
Geoff
GeoffChief Financial Officer and EVP, Fulfillment
Geoff leads the Finance and Fulfillment team at DonorsChoose. He spent his career prior to DonorsChoose working in the Media, Entertainment and Technology industries.

His prior experience includes a mix of corporate and operational finance roles at Lionsgate, IAC/Interactive, Warner Music Group and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Geoff is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), author, entrepreneur, and a graduate of Morehouse College, where he earned a BA in Business Administration.
Hema
HemaAssociate, Business Relations
Hema collaborates with our integrated vendors to create incredible teacher and student experiences.

Hearing stories of her parents’ childhood in Guyana and seeing how they overcame their obstacles with the limited resources they had is a constant motivation for her to help bring DonorsChoose’s mission to life.

Prior to joining the team, Hema worked as a Relationship Associate for a financial software company in NYC. She's a graduate of Pace University with a B.A. in Biology. In her free time, she enjoys attempting to keep her plants alive, cooking for friends and family, reading in her hammock, playing board games she can win and walking her two enormous dogs."
Jharline
JharlineSenior IT Associate
Jharline received her BBA from Baruch College and majored in Computer Information Systems. In order to continue learning more about technology she joined NPower where she attained a tech fundamentals training and certification. As the IT Specialist she will incorporate all her education in order to ensure all staff have amazing IT support.

Having been a part of the public-school system herself, she saw how impactful it would be to join DonorsChoose, which makes projects in classrooms come to life for teachers and students who may not otherwise have those experiences. In her spare time she loves to read, travel to new places and spend time with family.
Jim
JimController
Jim leads the Accounting team at DonorsChoose and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Jim held management positions in audit/accounting at PwC and Oscar Health.

Outside the office, Jim enjoys scouting out new restaurants, planning for future trips, and pretending to be like Mike.
Joann
JoannAccounting Manager
Joann manages the proper accounting of business activities and leads the month-end financial close process. Prior to this role, she worked in the defense industry and in public accounting. Joann earned her MBA from Colorado State University. In her free time, Joann likes to collect plants, discover a new favorite restaurant, and daydream about her next travel destination.
Karen
KarenSenior Associate, Fulfillment System Operations
Karen supports the Finance & Fulfillment team to ensure materials successfully arrive for teachers and students when their projects are fully funded. You can find her analyzing and monitoring the data for the thousands of items we order a week to make improvements to our fulfillment processes.

Karen is a proud graduate of New York public schools and was inspired to join the DonorsChoose team while volunteering to send student thank you letters to donors. She holds a B.B.A. degree in Business Management from Baruch College, and an A.S. in Industrial Design from City Tech. Outside of the office, Karen enjoys trying new things like painting, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.
Kelly
KellyFulfillment Operations Specialist
Kelly supports the Fulfillment Operations Team in helping bring teachers’ dreams to life. She was a classroom teacher before moving to the business world and understands how vital the DonorsChoose mission is, especially in schools with few resources.

Born and raised in the Bronx, she’s a mandatory Yankee fan. She loves reading, writing, crocheting, and video chatting with the niblings!
Margaret
MargaretFulfillment Operations Specialist
Margaret supports the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team by purchasing and tracking materials and experiences for students and teachers. As a long-time volunteer at local public schools, she knows first-hand how having quality resources can help engage and encourage learning in students! In her spare time, she enjoys doing volunteer work and learning new languages. She is naturally inquisitive and is always looking for answers to things she does not know!
Michelle
MichelleFulfillment Operations Specialist
Michelle enjoys supporting the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team by seeing that each teacher's project is successfully fulfilled, including calling vendors for shipping details or diligently monitoring the status of a payment. Purchasing materials for Special Request projects is one of her favorite areas, where she happily connects teachers with needed resources and dives into finding ways to solve any teacher's question.

During her free time, she enjoys day trips with a family that includes 4 daughters--including identical twins, co-managing an online T-shirt business, and when she can find it, relaxing with some much needed downtime.
Molly
MollySenior Manager, Business Relations
Molly builds and grows relationships within our incredible DonorsChoose Vendor Community, and helps the Business Relations team drive improvements and innovations to create the best experience for teachers and vendors. She has a B.S. from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and an M.A. in Human Rights from Columbia. She loves travel, food and culture, and spends her time outside of work trying to keep up with 2 very sweet & feisty toddlers.
Molly
MollyFulfillment Operations Specialist
Molly supports the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team by ensuring that teachers receive the right resources and materials for their projects at the right time for the right price.

Molly previously worked at a childcare center and saw what having access to resources can do for a child’s life. She recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in business economics. Molly enjoys spending time with her family, trying out new recipes and wandering trails in her neighborhood.
Tanisha
TanishaAccounting Associate
I work with many teams across DonorsChoose processing and reconciling accounting transactions. Prior to DonorsChoose I worked for a commercial bank. In my free time you can find me having movie nights with my daughter, planning my next international trip, or sewing a fabulous wardrobe.
Tanisha
TanishaSenior Associate, Business Relations
Tanisha helps the Business Relations team develop and support relationships with current and potential vendors. As a first generation college student and someone who has benefited from the support of exceptional teachers, she is energized by the DonorsChoose mission each day.

She's previously worked with Project Fulfillment as a Fulfilment Experience Agent to ensure seamless communication between our teachers and vendors whenever they had a question about classroom resources.

Tanisha is a graduate of Barnard College where she earned her B.A. in Political Science. In her spare time she enjoys going to the movies, amusement parks, visiting new places, and spending time with family & friends.
Tara
TaraFulfillment Operations Specialist
Tara supports the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team by purchasing and tracking materials and experiences for students and teachers. Her favorite part of her role is letting the teachers know that their materials are on the way. When she's not helping teachers, Tara is traveling and living RV life to its fullest. Her days off are spent kayaking, mountain biking, boogie boarding, and sometimes roasting vegan marshmallows over the campfire.
Tikim
TikimBusiness Relations Associate
Tikim helps the Business Relations team build relationships with our 20+ vendors. Prior to joining the team he worked as a middle and high school Special Education teacher for the New York City Department of Education where he taught Math, US History, and Anatomy & Physiology. Tikim has an M.S.Ed from Hunter College and a B.S. from Villanova University where he studied Economics. In his spare time he enjoys watching Netflix documentaries, reading self-help books, and spending time outdoors in the sun.
Val
ValFulfillment Operations Specialist
Val helps teachers and vendors bring trips, visitors, and all types of classroom project requests to life!

Benefiting from wonderful teachers throughout her education (and from birth, thanks mom!) she's passionate about getting teachers and their students the tools and experiences they need for an outstanding education.

Hailing from Alaska, she's especially familiar with the joy of the delivery a long-awaited package brings. Her current obsessions are homemade popsicles, astronomy, and all the littles who call her Auntie.
Vincent
VincentBusiness Relations Assistant
Vincent currently works with our 20+ integrated vendors to ensure resources are shipped to the classroom as efficiently as possible. As a proud graduate of the NYC Public School System, Vincent is excited to bring much needed resources to teachers across the country so they can support their students.

Prior to joining the team, Vincent was an intern at CLEAR M&C Saatchi where he analyzed consumer experience to explore opportunities for growth. Vincent is currently finishing up his B.A. in Economics at Queens College. As a student, he has served as the President of the Queens College Student Chapter of Ascend where he hosted networking and career development workshops to focus on professional growth.

In his free time, Vincent is typically out exploring the city’s food scene, trying out new recipes, or binge-watching the latest Netflix series.
Will
WillAssociate, Fulfillment System Operations
Will supports the Finance & Fulfillment team to ensure materials successfully arrive for teachers and students when their projects are fully funded. He joined the DonorsChoose team in 2015, supporting teachers and donors with any questions they may have.
Will
WillFulfillment Operations Specialist
Will supports the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team by working with teachers and vendors to bring classroom projects to life. He's helped teachers receive countless classroom resources, from flexible seating to live insects, and loves to see the difference a few packages can make for students.

Born and raised in North Carolina, Will received his BFA in Drama from New York University and continues to perform on stage and the occasional screen. When he's not ordering classroom resources or performing, Will enjoys traveling, trivia contests, and arguing with his cat.

Community Growth & Impact

Alisa
Alisa Vice President, Partnership Activation
Alisa helps partnerships come to life by managing projects to develop new features, tools, and processes. She joined DonorsChoose in 2006, originally helping to scale and streamline work on our Operations team.

Alisa graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in Political Science and Theatre. As a K-12 public school alum, Alisa relishes having a job where she can help give other students access to essential and enrichment opportunities.
Abby
AbbyEVP, Marketing & Growth
Abby leads Marketing & Growth, responsible for inspiring public school teachers to seek support for their students on DonorsChoose and individuals to give through our marketplace. As head of new revenue streams, Abby also identifies and helps the organization identify new scaled sources of funding for classrooms.

Prior to this role, Abby led seller retention and community at Etsy, earned her MBA at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and got her BA in Psychology at Harvard. She is also a founder of CMOs for Good, a 2020 92Y WomenInPower Leadership Fellow and taught a course on Social Entrepreneurship at NYU.

Abby is an avid-yogi and dog lover. She's inspired every day by the above and beyond teachers who use DonorsChoose.
Alex
AlexPartnership Activation Associate
Alex works with the Partnership Activation team to bring our corporate and foundation partnerships to life. Prior to DonorsChoose, Alex helped fine art institutions streamline, grow, and execute large-scale operational projects while also volunteering for various education nonprofits in California. Her experience as a K-12 public school alum and commitment to equity in public education is what drew her to DonorChoose.

Alex holds a B.A. in Art History from Chapman University. Outside of work, you can find her buried in a good book, enjoying live music, or planning her next international adventure.
Alexandra
AlexandraSenior Partnerships Manager
Alex manages corporate and foundation partnerships, with the goal of ensuring that every student has access to the tools and experiences they need to succeed. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Alex managed individual and foundation giving at LEAP, one of New York City's largest creative youth development organizations. In her spare time, Alex enjoys being outdoors, watching movies, dreaming about theater projects, and volunteering at the annual Young Playwrights Festival at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
Ali
AliVice President, Business Development
Ali works with foundations and individual philanthropists interested in supporting students and teachers.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose in 2013, Ali was a teacher in San Pablo, California. She used DonorsChoose to secure tablets, copies of The Giving Tree, and more for students who were, in her totally unbiased opinion, the world's smartest preschoolers.

An alumna of Teach for America (Bay Area Corps ‘11), Ali graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University and holds an M.A. in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Aliza
AlizaManager, Community Partnerships
Aliza works with corporate and foundation partners interested in supporting students and teachers. Previously, Aliza led the Internship and Fellowship programs and supported the Diversity & Inclusion strategy and employee experience on the People Operations team at DonorsChoose. She has her M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also earned her B.A.

A public school graduate and the granddaughter of classroom teachers, Aliza is motivated to address racial and socioeconomic inequity for America’s students. Aliza enjoys library books, decaf coffee, and summertime strolls.
Annalissa
AnnalissaAssociate, Partnership Activation
Annalissa works directly with the Partnership Activation team to bring corporate and foundation giving to life. Prior to DonorsChoose, Annalissa used her degrees in Education from the University of Oregon and Teachers College, Columbia University to become an elementary school teacher. As a former teacher, Annalissa is elated to be continuing to make an impact on public school education through her work with DonorsChoose.

Outside of work, Annalissa enjoys binging reality TV, playing Animal Crossing, painting, and enjoying the outdoors on trips back home to Oregon.
Ariana
ArianaSenior Business Development Associate
Ariana builds new partnerships with foundations and corporations eager to support teachers and students.

An alumna of both NYC public and private schools, Ariana saw firsthand the difference that a well-resourced classroom made in her education. She’s grateful for the chance to help teachers provide their students with the tools they need to thrive.

Ariana graduated cum laude from Barnard College with a B.A. in Urban Studies. When she’s not in the office, you can find her making a mess in her kitchen trying new recipes and spending time with her family.
Ashton
AshtonSenior Associate, Partnership Activation
Ashton works alongside the Partnership Activation team to power the success of partnerships and campaigns, consult Partnership colleagues, and scale processes. With multiple teachers in her family, she understands their inspirational impact within communities and couldn’t be happier to help supply needed resources, so that students can thrive.

Born and raised in Florida, she studied Theater and Costume Design at Santa Fe College. Prior to joining the DonorsChoose team, she led the operations of an event production company while working closely with corporate clients, schools, and non-profits to achieve their large-scale event goals.

Outside of work, you can find her in the park with her husband Ethan and their dog Moonie, learning keyboard, dancing around in her living room, or hosting weekly movie nights (with 70s crime/thriller being her favorite genre).
Chris
ChrisVice President, Brand & Communications
Chris leads the DonorsChoose Brand & Communications team, helping inspire donors, partners, and teachers through media, social media, events, brand partnerships, and communications design. He joined the team in 2013, and in his prior role worked with Charles and the executive team to manage a variety of special projects, including disaster relief, flash funding events, media inquiries, and the #BestSchoolDay campaign.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Chris managed communications for a health services company and was a consultant for a global public relations agency, where he supported clients at brand initiatives such as the Sundance Film Festival and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Chris graduated from Ithaca College with a B.S. in Communications Management and Design.
Christi
ChristiCoordinator, Advocacy & Public Partnerships
Christi works to engage and support school districts to help them leverage DonorsChoose to ensure that their students and teachers have optimal access to the classroom resources they need.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Christi was an active donor and operations director at Solar Turbines, an energy solutions provider. She is a Lean 6 Sigma Black Belt with deep experience in process optimization. She graduated from University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Christi came to this role with a passion to help all individuals, including students and teachers, to have the opportunities and resources to achieve their full potential. She is honored to be working with DonorsChoose.
Cori
CoriSenior Partnerships Manager
Cori manages partnerships with companies and foundations to support teachers and students across the country.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Cori managed relationships in the financial services industry, focusing specifically on alternative asset management firms.

She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a B.S. in French Linguistics from Penn State University, with a minor in Sociology. Outside the office, Cori can be found volunteering with her local Kiwanis Club, surfing waves at the Jersey Shore, and hanging out with her 6 pound Pomeranian, Bella.
Danielle
DanielleSenior Partnerships Manager
Danielle manages partnerships with companies and foundations to support teachers and students across the country. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Danielle managed client relationships at the advertising agency, ARGONAUT, leading integrated advertising campaigns across broadcast, digital, social and print media.

She holds a B.A. in psychology from Georgetown University, with minors in English and Justice & Peace Studies. Outside the office, Danielle can be found hiking north of San Francisco, reading outdoors, or eating green curry.
David
DavidPartnerships Manager
David manages corporate and foundation partnerships, with the goal of ensuring that every student has access to the tools and experiences they need to succeed. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, David led government partnerships and market research at ioby, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform for neighborhood projects.

He holds an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a BA in Political Science from Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, Hunter College. When he’s not thinking about new and exciting ways to deliver resources to classrooms, David can be found charting out new adventures and places to explore with his husband and twins.
Devin
DevinPartnership Activation Manager
Devin develops processes and shares partnerships insights across the DonorsChoose team to ensure that each partnership successfully enables teachers to get the resources they need.

Prior to this role, Devin led a global education program at Technovation. She has a Master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University, where she specialized in working with students who have learning disabilities. DonorsChoose has been special to her for a long time; she used the site when she was a teacher in Baltimore to get a projector for her 7th grade classroom.
Dorthea
DortheaSenior Manager, Partnership Activation
Dorthea supports the Partnerships & Business Development team by executing partnerships with companies and foundations. Her commitment to positive societal change, specifically involving gender and racial inequality and education inequity, drew her to the non-profit sector.

Dorthea holds a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Language & Literature from Wellesley College and is proud to be working in her home state of New York.
Drew
DrewTeacher Outreach Associate
Drew works on the Marketing & Community team building relationships with teachers across the nation so that they can maximize all that DonorsChoose has to offer. He encourages teachers to request the resources their students need, with particular focus in supporting teachers of color, teachers working in low-income communities, and teachers fighting inequity in their schools. Drew formed his love of all things education working as a high school theatre and English teacher for the first four and a half years of his career, frequently using DonorsChoose to get his students everything from novels to power tools.

Outside of work, you can find Drew taking in a musical or college football game, listening to a pop culture podcast, or finding the strangest potato chip flavors out there.
Janelle
JanelleSenior Vice President, Business Development
Janelle works with corporations and foundations across the country to build partnerships to support local public schools. She first developed her passion for education when she managed mentoring programs for middle school youth in Los Angeles Unified School District. Prior to DonorsChoose, Janelle served as Regional Vice President, Sales for PlumDistrict.com, Managing Director of Step Up Women's Network, and Director of LA's BEST afterschool enrichment program. Janelle graduated from Pomona College with a B.A. in Studio Art and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. She was awarded the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, the Harvard Business School Leaders Fellowship, the Pomona College Inspirational Young Alumna Award, and the NAWBO Rising Star Award. Janelle serves on the Board of Directors for Cookies For Kids' Cancer.
Jasmine
JasmineSenior Lifecycle Marketing Manager
Jasmine oversees email & SMS marketing at DonorsChoose, encouraging teachers in their work to support their students and inspiring donors to support those efforts. Before joining the Marketing & Community team, Jasmine worked part-time at DonorsChoose as a Donor Experience Agent. She holds a BA in English from the University of New Haven. In her spare time, Jasmine enjoys consuming ensemble comedies, writing poetry, and trying new restaurants.
Jastina
JastinaPartnerships Director
Jastina works with corporate and foundation partners to bring their giving to life in classrooms across the country. Prior to DonorsChoose, Jastina stewarded partnerships at the Roux Institute at Northeastern University to bring economic advancements to Maine, helped build a start-up digital marketing firm, Backbone Digital Leaders, and managed national partnerships at Girl Scouts of the USA and Scholastic inc.

Jastina holds a B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Marketing from Hampton University. Outside of the office, Jastina loves reading, listening to podcast, or going on adventures with her son.
Jessica
JessicaMarketplace & Experimentation Analyst
After earning a B.A. in English from Princeton University, Jessica worked with educators in the New York City public school system through the lens of nonprofit programming. This experience, in addition to her time teaching, showed Jessica her passion for equity in education, bringing her to DonorsChoose as the Teacher Success Fellow. Jessica's time learning about the teacher experience deeply informs her current work with donors.

Outside the office, Jessica can be found searching for the best coffee shops in New York, finding ways to bring up the Midwest, and buying more books than she can actually read.
Jill
JillDonor Researcher and Moderator
Hi! I’m Jill and I am excited to be a part of the Donor Research and Moderator team supporting donors and teachers. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, I worked in data collection for a non-profit research institute and also have a hospitality sales background. My bachelor’s degree is in psychology and I am a master's degree candidate in Digital Audience Strategy through the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. When I am not working, I love to spend time with my family and three dogs. I live in central Indiana. For any Gilmore Girls fans, my small town closely resembles Stars Hollow! I’m passionate about reading and literacy, traveling, and animal rescue with a particular love of seniors and bulldogs.
Jinan
JinanVice President, Advocacy & Public Partnerships

Jinan builds relationships with school districts, states and education associations around the country to support their educational priorities and make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need.

Prior to DonorsChoose, Jinan worked as Vice President, Implementation and Professional Learning and as the Executive Director, Northeast at Turnaround for Children; Northeast States Director for AVID; and a School Improvement Consultant for Southern Regional Education Board. Jinan began her educational career as an elementary Special Education teacher after graduating from Spelman College. She also holds an ED.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a member of several women’s leadership councils.

Joe
JoeDirector, Digital & Growth Marketing
Joe (he/him) leads Digital & Growth Marketing, the team responsible for scaling and maintaining our marketing systems, and for growing and retaining our community of teachers and donors through digital channels. His team specializes in leveraging email, sms, and paid media to drive meaningful engagement across the full spectrum of DonorsChoose supporters.

Prior to joining, Joe was directing digital campaigns for the ACLU on the most pressing civil liberties issues, and has spent over 20 years leading digital and direct marketing programs in the nonprofit space for a range of missions. Outside of work, Joe's in the streets skateboarding, at the record store digging for jazz and hip hop vinyl, traveling whenever possible, and taking time to rest.
Josephine
JosephineDigital Marketing Associate
Josephine (she/her/hers), a born and raised New Yorker who grew up attending the city’s public schools, cultivated her passions advocating for equitable education during her college career, working with educational non-profit organizations such as The Opportunity Network and The Boys’ Club of New York. Josephine first joined DonorsChoose as a Fellow, where she worked on Marketing + Community and Content & Volunteer Operations. She is excited to return to the Marketing & Partnerships team as the Digital Marketing Associate, supporting our email marketing channels and projects to support campaigns, promotions and other goals.

Josephine is a recent graduate of Gettysburg College with a B.A. in Sociology and minors in Educational Studies and Peace & Justice Studies. In her spare time, you can find her playing with her dog Roxie, watching Hamilton (again!), listening to the Fine Line album (again!), or catching up with pop culture!
Juan
JuanPublic Relations Manager
Juan works to amplify DonorsChoose and its platform for teachers’ projects to the media. His mission is to garner awareness of our campaigns across print, digital, and broadcast outlets. In addition to his role as media liaison, Juan coordinates planning for the organization’s annual Partner Summit.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Juan worked at a national PR agency where he represented clients in the industries of travel, food and beverage, fitness, and architecture. He has also represented personal clients within the visual arts, book publishing, and museum sectors. Juan earned both his M.S. in Mass Communications and B.A. in English from Florida International University.
Katie
KatieChief Revenue & Marketing Officer
Katie leads the marketing and partnership team, engaging 2.5 million citizen donors and 500 corporate and foundation partners in supporting public school classrooms.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Katie launched a customer acquisition business at Red Ventures, a company ranked on the Inc. 500 list as one of the nation’s top 20 fastest growing companies. She also conducted market research and political polling for corporate and media clients.

Katie earned her M.B.A. from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, where the faculty awarded her the Hyde Fellowship for her contributions to the school. In 2016, she was named to Direct Marketing News’ “Marketing Hall of Femme”.
Katie
KatieMarketing Director, Teacher & Donor Marketing
Katie leads Teacher & Donor Marketing, the team responsible for growing and engaging our community of teachers and donors using DonorsChoose through community programs, partnerships, and campaigns. Her team builds programs like our teacher ambassador program, launches marketing efforts around major corporate and foundation giving moments, and guides the organization to make the most of big moments like Back-to-School, Teacher Appreciation Week, and beyond.

Prior to joining the team, Katie taught history in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where DonorsChoose's generous army of supporters always made sure her junior high students had notebooks, pencils, and books. As a former teacher herself, Katie ensures our team is listening deeply to our teachers and supporters, and we're always leading with their needs and voices.
Kirk
KirkManaging Director, Advocacy and Public Partnerships
Kirk leads our work with school districts, state leaders, and education associations, helping them leverage our platform to serve their educational priorities and bring the most support to their teachers and students. He's presented on crowdfunding best practices and policies to thousands of district administrators, including at national and state-level AASA, ASBO, NSBA, NAESP, NSFA, and ISTE conferences. He previously spent 10 years managing our corporate and foundation partnerships after joining DonorsChoose back in 2007, originally directing our Indiana statewide expansion.

Kirk graduated with honors from Purdue with a B.S. in Management, B.A. degrees in English Literature and Religious Studies, and an MBA from the Krannert School of Management. Coming from a long lineage of public school educators, he is honored to be helping thousands of teachers and students through DonorsChoose.
Kristina
KristinaVice President, Equity & Impact
Steen leads our organization’s efforts to incorporate a race equity-forward lens in supporting students and teachers across the country. Steen led the creation of #ISeeMe, a DonorsChoose initiative ensuring that students see themselves reflected in their teachers and in their learning environments.

Steen collaborates with companies and foundations committed to racial equity in public schools. Steen is also passionate about growing relationships with philanthropists of color hoping to make an impact for students and teachers.

Prior to joining the DonorsChoose team, Steen practiced corporate law, focusing on merger and acquisition transactions for private equity clients. Before that she taught Street Law to high school students in the D.C. public school system. Steen graduated from Spelman College and Georgetown Law and loves all things related to cheerleading, dance, Atlanta, and coffee. Steen is a proud mama of two little humans and a pup.
Ky
KyMarketing Manager, Teacher Equity & Success
Ky works on the Marketing & Community team to raise awareness in classrooms around the country about our site's funding from companies and foundations, helping more teachers get what they need to create meaningful learning experiences for their students. As a former teacher and local organizer, she’s seen first-hand what it’s like when communities and schools have big ideas to boost student achievement, but need more resources to make those ideas a reality. That experience motivates Ky every day in her work to help more teachers see their dreams come to life.

Ky graduated from Wake Forest University in 2017 with a degree in English Literature. Outside of work, her favorite pastimes include attending art exhibitions and concerts, searching for new music and podcasts, and scrolling @catsofinstagram.
Lindsay
LindsayMarketing Lead, DonorsChoose Bookshop

Lindsay is the Marketing Lead for the DonorsChoose Bookshop team, which aims to bring more representative resources to America’s homes and classrooms. Coming from a family of teachers, she is thrilled to be supporting educators and students throughout the country with this impactful work.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Lindsay worked in Online and Omnichannel strategy roles with The Estée Lauder Companies and wrote the first cosmetics marketing textbook (Bloomsbury 2023 release). She holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in Marketing and Cultural Analysis, and prior to this was a professional ballet dancer in the U.S. and Germany.

Outside of the office, Lindsay can be found reading in parks and gardens, on set as a makeup artist, and befriending dogs throughout New York City.

Lynn
LynnSenior Design Manager
Lynn uses design, illustration, and photography to bring our teachers’ stories into the hearts and minds of our supporters. Lynn works closely with the marketing, product, and partnerships teams to help launch national campaigns that drive engagement and awareness of our programs.

Before joining the team, Lynn was a graphic designer at the Clinton Foundation, and taught high school as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Vanuatu. She holds a B.S. in Graphic Design with minors in Nonprofit Marketing and Spanish Language.

If not doodling, Lynn is most likely running along the Hudson River, baking elaborate birthday cakes for her friends, or hosting an impromptu art night.
Marlene
MarleneFellow
Marlene is part of DonorsChoose F23 Fellows cohort! Her first placement was in the Digital Growth & Marketing team. Marlene is excited to learn more about how to support the Marketing and Community team!

Marlene holds a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies from UC Riverside. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area! When she is not remotely working, Marlene can be found trying out new coffee shops, working out, or learning new recipes!
Reyna
ReynaSenior Director, Partnership Operations
As our Salesforce administrator, Reyna works with team members to build our fundraising pipeline, forecast against our annual goals, and create streamlined internal processes for managing corporate and foundation partnerships.

Reyna received a B.A. in Communications and Advertising from Loyola University Maryland and an M.F.A. in Fiction from New York University’s Creative Writing Program.
Rianne
RianneSenior Partnerships Manager
Rianne develops and executes corporate and foundation partnerships with the ultimate goal of putting invaluable resources into the hands of teachers and students across the country. Before joining the Partnerships Team at DonorsChoose in 2016, she taught at an alternative urban high school in San Diego, California, where many of her students were refugees, recent immigrants or former gang members. She saw first hand the impact that education and access to the tools necessary to learn could have on students’ lives and futures. In addition to teaching, Rianne also owned a floral design and event styling business where she designed the aesthetic details for countless weddings. Rianne is thrilled to be at DonorsChoose where every day she has the joy of contributing to the mission of changing the world, one classroom at a time.
Rose
RoseFellow
Rose (She/her) graduated from Baruch College and majored in Mathematics with a minor in Economics.She is currently located in the Bronx, NY but is originally from Ghana. She has worked with many nonprofit organizations in the past, and it is a passion of hers to give back when she has the opportunity to. She has worked and interned at a non profit called Safe Water and at the Police Athletic League and she is glad to add DonorsChoose to the list.

When Rose is not working, she is either at the gym, finding new recipes to experiment with or doing some sort of activity with her family and friends. She is a self proclaimed foodie so if you know any great spots, point her in the direction of good food.
Ryn
RynBrand & Partnerships Editor
Ryn supports the Marketing & Partnerships team by ensuring quality writing with a unified voice. They previously supported the West coast team as the San Francisco Office Manager. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, they worked with education companies and non-profits around New York. They hold a BFA in Acting from NYU, where they focused on the arts as a tool for social change. Outside the office, Ryn can usually be found knitting socks or reading outdoors.
Stacy
StacyManager, Donor Relationships
Hello, it’s lovely to meet you! I am Stacy and I’m honored to lead the Donor Relationships team at DonorsChoose. My goal is to build relationships with our most engaged supporters and help these individual donors invest in education and see their deep impact.

Coming from a long lineage of educators, I’m inspired daily to bring my best to our work and am energized by connecting generous people to the worthy cause of education and showing them the incredible stories happening every day in the classroom thanks to teachers and students.

Outside of work, you can find me daydreaming about our next great adventure in the Pacific North West whether out camping, exploring on a hike, drinking great coffee, or soaking up all there is to see and do with my family of five.
Tim
TimManaging Director, Partnerships
Tim works with corporate and foundation partners to bring their giving to life in classrooms across the country. As a dad to two young kids, he's a firm believer that every child should have access to a solid education, no matter what zip code they live in.

Outside of DonorsChoose you're likely to find Tim cheering on the Oakland A's (where he spent the first seven years of his career), on the golf course, or playing pub trivia a little too competitively.
Tonisha
TonishaVice President, Partnerships
Tonisha leads the Partnerships management team and is responsible for developing strategies to grow and retain donations from corporate and philanthropic partners. She has a background in sales, marketing, strategy and leadership and received her M.B.A. from Rutgers University.

Prior to DonorsChoose, Tonisha led business transformation at a hospital. She also built a healthcare vertical for media brands HOT 97 and WBLS and was an Americorps team leader assigned to the American Red Cross and Jumpstart.

Tonisha cares deeply about racial equity and has first-hand experience with public school teachers going above and beyond to support her in the classroom. She loves cracking corny jokes and is energized by the thought of supporting teachers as they develop the next generation of leaders.
Tori
ToriSenior Associate, Business Development
Tori helps corporations and foundations support local public schools, so kids in every community will have the tools and experiences they need for a great education. She first discovered her passion for helping kids learn as a tutor with the Children’s Aid Society. Prior to DonorsChoose, Tori helped a small nonprofit provide job training and tutoring to families living in New York City homeless shelters. Tori graduated from Union College with a B.A. in Economics. After work, you can usually find Tori on her back porch picking bluegrass tunes.

Operations

Dee
Dee Trust & Safety Specialist
Dee works on our Trust and Safety team to ensure the integrity of our school funding operation. Her favorite things about DonorsChoose is our initiative to combat racial and social inequity in our public school systems.

Outside of work, she can be found being a “beach bum” in sunny San Diego.
Drew
Drew Trust & Safety Assistant
Drew works on the Trust & Safety team, helping to support and maintain the integrity of user systems. He grew up in northern California and was educated at the University of California, Davis and the American Conservatory Theater. Drew is also an actor and an arts educator.
Kadye
Kadye Customer Support Specialist
Hi y'all! My name is Kadye and I am thrilled to be joining the team! Prior to this journey, I was a kindergarten teacher for 5 years. That being said, I am extremely excited to help other teachers get awesome projects going for their students. I still remember that feeling of PURE AMAZEMENT when I got word that my DonorsChoose project was funded. Being able to be a part of giving that feeling to other teachers and groups of students is simply.... incredible.

When I am not at work, I love to chase my three boys around their sports, bake yummy sweets, and learn all of the cleaning and organizational hacks.
Kassandra
Kassandra Customer Support Specialist
Kassandra joined DonorsChoose in 2016 after graduating with a BA from the University at Albany, where she majored in Economics and minored in Business Administration. She loves helping others, and being on the Customer Support team helps her provide direct support to teachers and donors daily!

When she's not supporting our wonderful teachers and donors, she loves exploring NYC, hanging with friends, watching reruns of 90's sitcoms, trying to get a workout in, but more importantly searching for a great slice of pizza!
Alison
AlisonDirector, Program Management
Alison leads the Program Management team to improve DonorsChoose's operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Alison is motivated by helping great organizations get better. She has worked for social business start-ups, global research and policy initiatives, and served as an AIF Clinton Fellow in rural India. She is a graduate of George Washington University and the London School of Economics.
Amber
AmberCustomer Support Manager
Amber is part of the Operations team as a Customer Support Manager. She leads a team of senior specialists by driving success through the customer experience. She comes from a customer support background, taking on multiple roles, and working for leading companies in tech and online streaming. She helped launch as well as manage a team in multiple lines of business, domestically and internationally. Amber’s passions are people development, building relationships, and customer experience. When she’s not working, she enjoys travel, good food, and everything outdoors.
Angela
AngelaCustomer Support Specialist
Angela joined DonorsChoose because she wants to contribute to closing the equity gap in education. She admires the hard work of teachers and their dedication to empowering students. Prior to joining the team, Angela worked in Higher Education. She holds a Bachelor's in Advertising & Public Relations and a Master's in Education.

After living in Washington, DC and New York, the native Floridian returned home to the sunshine state. Outside of work you'll find her at the beach with her family or attempting to make something crafty.
Aran
AranTrust & Safety Assistant
Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Aran worked for Randall’s Island Park Alliance as a communications assistant. Aran graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2017, where he received his BA in Theatre and English. He is also an actor and comedian and can often be found goofing around at mics around the city. In his free time, he enjoys listening to podcasts, cooking, playing video games, and laughing too loudly.
Britt
BrittCustomer Support Specialist
After searching for more fulfilling work, I joined the DC team in the summer of 2019. I love being able to see the impact DC has on classrooms and connect with both teachers and donors.

Offline, I love creating new food and drink recipes, trying new restaurants, taking care of my plant children, and learning new ways to advocate for mental health and wellness.
Carol
CarolAssociate, Content & Volunteer Operations
Carol supports operations efforts to ensure projects and student gratitude handled by staff at our New York City headquarters are screened effectively, helping create a smooth teacher and donor experience. Before joining DonorsChoose, she contributed to marketing, operations, and customer service teams in ed-tech. She holds a BA in history and literature, as well as African American studies. Outside of work, you’ll most likely find Carol cooking, baking, and enjoying the rain, snow, or shine!
Christine
ChristineCustomer Support Specialist
When I joined the team in Summer 2021 I was eager to jump right in to help teachers. My background is in the world of retail, but I was looking for something that felt more fulfilling. Supporting teachers in their quest to better their classrooms definitely fits that criteria! I’m an Orange County, CA girl (born and raised) and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I have a dog named Winnie and two cats: Smokey and Cookie. They take up a lot of my time! When I’m not working or doting on my pets, you can usually find me brainstorming my next writing project. Some of my favorite things to do are: binge watch youtube, go to concerts, contemplate my next tattoo, collect too many things and never finish tv shows.
Cooper
CooperCustomer Support Specialist
I joined DonorsChoose in early 2016 for what I thought would be a temporary part-time job and ended up really enjoying the work and the folks I work with. When I'm not at work I'm most likely spending all of my time with my daughter and wife. There's a chance you'll find me at the gym, playing music, cooking, or reading if time permits.
Corey
CoreyOperations Assistant
Diana
DianaCustomer Support Manager

Diana is part of the Operations team as a Customer Support Manager, leading a team of Specialists that work to support teachers and donors daily to exemplify the DonorsChoose mission!

Diana has experience serving customers in the sky as a flight attendant, to most recently, treating patients in the frontlines. A native from upstate New York, she has developed great technical skill shoveling snow from a young age. You may also find her indulging in a new drama, or running in the park to reward herself with a hefty meal.

Ina
InaOperations Coordinator
After many years of diverse experience as a visual artist, arts educator and graphic designer, I am honored and excited to join DonorChoose! Born and raised in New York City, I spent 20 odd years as an artist with a career in advertising and design before discovering my passion for working with children, and becoming a teacher in the Bronx. Being at DonorsChoose feels like an amazing opportunity to continue supporting classrooms during these unprecedented times. I am inspired by the joy my students and colleagues felt upon finding out a DonorsChoose project was fully funded and the packages were in the lobby!

Outside of work I can be found drawing, reading, watching old movies, baking and laughing with friends.
Jacqueline
JacquelineFulfillment Operations Specialist
I help support teachers at DonorsChoose by reviewing and purchasing materials needed to successfully fulfill their projects. My favorite part of the role is reading through the essays that teachers write for their projects and seeing all the interesting materials they order to ensure their students are getting the best learning experience. I am a first generation college graduate from Dakota State University with a degree in business administration. If I’m not working during my free time I’m taking scenery photos of the city or reading historical books.
Jennifer
JenniferDirector, Content & Volunteer Operations
Jennifer oversees engagement and operations strategy for our DonorsChoose volunteer communities who annually review thousands of project submissions and student thank-you notes that forge meaningful connections between donors and classrooms across the country.

Prior to joining the team, Jen led community engagement efforts for Reading Partners, where she managed strategic partnerships and volunteer recruitment to support San Francisco Bay Area students. She graduated from the University of Washington, with dual degrees in Psychology and Photography. When not at work, you will likely find her at a used bookstore, getting lost on the subway, and/or on the hunt for NYC's best bagel.
Jeremy
JeremyProgram Management Associate
Before joining the Program Management team, I worked for three years on the Customer Support team. I'm an Operations person through and through and spend time crafting spreadsheets, troubleshooting bugs, and supporting colleagues. I like to bike when it's warm and make as much noodle soup as possible when it's cold. I have a standing desk that I rarely use and have been known to organize the odd social event.
Julia
JuliaChief Operating & People Officer
Julia ensures that both our one million active customers and our mission-driven 160-person staff enjoy a best-in-class​ DonorsChoose experience​. ​

As COO she leads strategy to deliver a secure and scalable customer experience that supports DonorsChoose's unique philanthropic marketplace – including Customer Support, and Trust & Safety for the site’s one million active users. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at one of the biggest days in our 20-year history.

As head of the People Team, she leads a team that cultivates a diverse, inclusive, and mission-driven organization that the NonProfit Times ranked as a 2020 Top 10 Best Nonprofits to Work For and that ranks among Fast Company’s list of the world’s most innovative organizations. Direct reporting areas include Talent, Learning & Development, Compensation, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Human Resources, and Facilities/Administration.

Before joining the organization, Julia managed digital programs for the 2012 Obama campaign and oversaw digital engagement at the Robin Hood Foundation. She is a graduate of Williams College and earned a M.A. from the New School for Public Engagement. She lives in Fort Greene and can be found cheering on the U.S. Soccer National Team in her free time.​ ​
Kelsey
KelseyManager, Trust & Safety
Kelsey and the Trust & Safety teamwork to build and maintain trust with our community, and take daily action to ensure the integrity of the DonorsChoose mission. Prior to DonorsChoose, Kelsey worked in e-commerce and fintech risk management where she worked on high-impact escalations and fraud. Outside of the workplace, she enjoys searching for the perfect plate of vegan nachos, participating in the theatre arts, and volunteering in her community. She is a midwestern native (ope!) and holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Kierran
KierranCustomer Support Specialist
Before I joined the Customer Support team in 2019, I spent a year working at DonorsChoose on the Office Experience Team. I loved learning about facilities and hospitality while in that position. I'm using a lot of the same skills when replying to teachers and donors today!

I was born and raised on Long Island, but today I live in Brooklyn with my partner Alex and whatever dog we're taking care of lately. I love taking long walks in the city, diving headfirst into Wikipedia rabbit holes, drawing, and playing video games.

Before I moved to New York and began working at DonorsChoose, I was a podcast producer. I still love listening to (and occasionally making my own) podcasts today. I'm always down to hear about people's dream podcast ideas, and I might just offer to help you make episode one!
Krystle
KrystleSenior Customer Support Specialist
Hola! Fellow New Yorker here! Before Donors Choose, I was a public school teacher to my adorable 3rd-grade class. Working in this setting really drove my passion in helping teachers get the materials they need simply because I've been in their shoes before!

When I'm not working, you can find me looking for artsy pop-up shops to take selfies, scrambling to find a good brunch spot or at home re-watching the Harry Potter movies a gazillion of times.
Lauren
LaurenSenior Customer Support Specialist
Lauren is a Customer Service Pro, dedicated to improving both the teacher and donor experience on our site. As a graduate of Howard University with a degree in Economics and a Masters degree in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art & Design, Lauren has a background in non-profit operations & experience working with museums, theatres, & a symphony!

In her spare time, you’ll catch Lauren visiting her local Sephora or reading up on skin-care tips. She also spends time doing freelance web design and development. When she's not glued to her computer screen, she's spending time with her family and friends trying new food, pushing each other in group workouts, or ordering craft cocktails on rooftops.
Madelyn
MadelynCustomer Support Specialist
Maliha
MalihaCustomer Support Specialist
Maliha sees her role as giving teachers and students the tools they need to succeed and be happy in the classroom. How does she do that, you might ask: by providing our teachers and donors with as much support as they need to use our site. Since joining the Customer Support team in 2018, Maliha has done it all, from helping a teacher-turned-bride with her wedding registry to tracking down materials so that a Science Olympiad team would have the kits they needed for their competition, and every other situation in between. When not answering tickets, she enjoys film photography, painting, looking for the best brand of instant noodles, and listening to all sorts of music (side note: check out the K-pop group, BTS!).
Mary
MarySenior Operations Assistant
Mary supports the Operations team by screening projects for special campaigns and handling trickier project requests!

She is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Birkbeck University. While not helping teachers bring their projects to life, she can be found writing plays, performing, or going for a swim!
Maya
MayaSenior Vice President, Operations
Maya heads the Operations team, which efficiently brings classroom ideas to life through a successful and trusted end-to-end experience for teachers and donors. The team includes Customer Experience, Customer Support, Trust & Safety, and Volunteer Operations.

Before joining DonorsChoose, Maya co-founded 100Kin10, a STEM teacher-focused non-profit applauded by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. She has extensive K-12 education reform experience at institutions including Carnegie Corporation of New York/Institute for Advanced Study and NYC Department of Education, and she served in the Peace Corps in Honduras as a water/sanitation engineer. She lives with her family on a wonderfully Sesame-Street-esque block in Brooklyn.
Mia
MiaSenior Manager, Customer Analytics and Experience
Mia and her teammates ensure that teachers and donors can seamlessly engage with partner initiatives and campaigns on DonorsChoose, like match offers and classroom rewards. She's a proud graduate of NY public schools and holds a B.A. from Vassar College in Religion and French. Outside her amazing job helping teachers bring even more joy to classrooms, Mia loves hiking, finding four leaf clovers, and spoiling her feline friends.
Michelle
MichelleRemote Volunteer Operations Manager
Michelle leads the Remote Volunteer Operations team at DonorsChoose, overseeing the teacher volunteer community that screens all of the projects submitted to DonorsChoose and digital gratitude sent from classrooms to donors.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Michelle was a Career Program Manager at The Posse Foundation, a college access nonprofit. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and Teach for America New York City Corps member. Michelle is a proud Rutgers University alum, with dual degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Women’s & Gender Studies. When not at work, she is finding ways to keep her toddler entertained, baking sourdough bread, and attending Yelp Elite events with her husband.
Michelle
MichelleCustomer Support Specialist
Things to know about me, I am absolutely obsessed with providing world-class customer service! I have mastered my craft by assisting all types of customers in a variety of settings over the last twenty years. I am personally drawn to the mission of DonorsChoose because I have three children who attend public school in a fiscally stressed school system and am excited to be apart of something that helps innovative teachers with great ideas get funding to engage their students in interesting new ways!

In my free time, you will most likely find me outdoors walking my dogs, perusing garage sales and flea markets, or cheering on one of my kids at their sporting events.
Paul
PaulCustomer Support Specialist
Paul has been providing customer service in one form or another his entire working life, but it really made itself known as a passion when he did so at Zappos, eventually becoming a trainer before spending several years as an organizational development and employee experience consultant. He's extremely excited to have joined DonorsChoose, where he feels he can truly make a difference for so many.

When he's not working, he's spending time with his partner, playing video games, or adventuring in his second life known as Dungeons & Dragons.
Selena
SelenaProgram Management Associate
After joining the Customer Support team in the summer of 2018 and proudly repping the first remote cohort since, you can now find me working from Los Angeles, where I struggled to maintain an appropriate cat-work balance.

Prior to DonorsChoose, I worked as a homeschool teacher and assistant in film and TV. When I'm not working, I have a love-hate relationship with long-distance running and a love-love relationship with cocktails and reading.

BUT enough about me-- as previously alluded, I have two sibling cats, Boot and Ting, who may have once emailed a coworker the thoughtful and provocative message, "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeejkl."
Takisha
TakishaAssociate, Trust & Safety
Takisha focuses on the Trust & Safety team’s incident response efforts and is the first person to act when there's a report of site misuse. Having raised a child in the NYC public school system, Takisha witnessed firsthand how difficult it can be for teachers to provide their students with the materials and experiences they need to be successful in the future. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading horror and mystery novels, watching true crime shows and listening to 80’s and 90’s music.
Tien
TienDirector, Customer Support
Tien leads the Customer Support team to optimize support channels to best serve our teachers and donors. She strives to bring the voice of the customer to everything that we do.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Tien worked at start-ups to help develop and streamline customer support and experience. Outside of the office, you can find her traveling to new places in search of the best bite or drink. Closer to home, she can be spotted shopping for unique cocktail glasses or making the rounds at local coffee shops.
Yvonne
YvonneCustomer Support Specialist
Yvonne joined the DonorsChoose Customer Support Specialist team in July 2019 and enjoys seeing the impact of DonorsChoose on teachers, their students, and their classrooms every day!

When she isn't helping teachers and donors, Yvonne loves camping, road tripping, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows, canoeing, kayaking, reading, and sleeping. She owns two cats and a dog, who regularly make appearances in video meetings. She graduated with a BFA in Film from CU Boulder in 2011 and is a Colorado native! Yvonne joined the DonorsChoose organization as a remote employee and her newest dream is to travel in a van with her pets and work from all over the continental US.

People Operations

Briana
Briana People & Talent Associate
Briana was a member of the FY21 Fellowship cohort. As a participant in the rotational fellowship program, she spent 6 months on the People Operations and Partnership Activation teams respectively. Over the course of her year here, she helped to upgrade the employee handbook, created a system to more easily manage passive candidates, streamlined internal help desk communications for the Partnership Activation team, supported ERG initiatives, and worked to activate a variety standard partnership deliverables.

Previously, Briana also completed an AmeriCorps VISTA service year with New York Cares, a volunteer mobilization organization. There she worked as part of their School Success Initiative to bring educational and recreational programming to public school students at the elementary and middle school level. Most recently, Briana has worked as a Talent Coordinator at Jane.HR, a company that provides hiring support across a variety of industries including start-ups, nonprofits, governments organizations, and commercial pharmaceutical companies.

She is also a proud alumni of and volunteer for Bottom Line, a nonprofit organization that supports first generation college students from the classroom into the early years of their career.
Aurora
AuroraRecruiter
As the Recruiter on the People Operations team, Aurora helps bring talented candidates to open roles at DonorsChoose, and works to create a positive hiring experience for candidates, hiring managers, and interviewers alike.

Aurora is a graduate of New York University, where she completed both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in History. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, she worked in museum education and executive search consulting. In her spare time, she loves to bake, watch old movies, and crochet teeny-tiny sweaters for her friends' kids.
Austin
AustinManager, People & Talent
Austin is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study where he concentrated in media, public policy, and social impact. He is excited to work at an organization dedicated to improving the educational system in the country.

As a People & Talent Manager, he works alongside the Talent, Diversity, & Inclusion team to create and execute hiring processes aimed at building a staff that is reflective of the teachers and students that DonorsChoose serves. In his spare time, Austin can be found watching theatre, discussing pop culture, and admiring the dogs of New York City.
Brian
BrianManager, Office Experience
Brian’s focus is assisting and overseeing the NY and SF office operations to ensure that all DonorsChoose staff members can perform in the best environment possible. To ensure that his colleagues can continue to forge their relationships and execute their work for our teachers, students, partners, and donors in a high quality and safe environment is his everyday goal.

Prior to joining the team, Brian led the Facilities and Purchasing team at an International Baccalaureate campus, and a Montessori school campus in Downtown Manhattan. Outside of work, you’ll likely find him hiking up a mountain, kayaking, or cooking way too much because his visualization of portions needs some improving!
Danielle
DanielleSenior Manager, Employee Experience and Hybrid Workplace
Danielle champions community building and creating a best-in-class employee experience for our DonorsChoose staff. She also develops our hybrid workplace and serves as a People team leader to guide our team into a new way of working.

Danielle enjoys Jeopardy, Formula 1 (#McLaren #TeamLH), and listening to the same playlists over and over again. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Societies and a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Leadership.
Diana
DianaPeople & Recruiting Coordinator
Diana is part of DonorsChoose's FY22 Fellows cohort! Starting in July 2021, her first rotation included executing the funding components and reporting needs on the Partnership Activation team. Currently in her second placement, Diana is diving into special projects and will support the key metrics and daily fulfillment operations of the Finance & Fulfillment team. Diana is always enthusiastic to learn new things to build her knowledge and skillset!

Diana holds a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Statistics from Hunter College. Aside from Statistics, her two other favorite courses where learning about Industrial & Organization Psychology and Gender & Sexuality.

When she is not remotely working, Diana can be found exploring different cuisines in NYC or in different grocery stories looking for different instant ramens! Diana loves taking her dog Appa on walks!
Julia
JuliaChief Operating & People Officer
Julia ensures that both our one million active customers and our mission-driven 160-person staff enjoy a best-in-class​ DonorsChoose experience​. ​

As COO she leads strategy to deliver a secure and scalable customer experience that supports DonorsChoose's unique philanthropic marketplace – including Customer Support, and Trust & Safety for the site’s one million active users. Here’s a peek behind the scenes at one of the biggest days in our 20-year history.

As the head of the People team, she leads a team that cultivates a diverse, inclusive, and mission-driven organization that the NonProfit Times ranked as a 2020 Top 10 Best Nonprofits to Work For and that ranks among Fast Company’s list of the world’s most innovative organizations. Direct reporting areas include Talent, Learning & Development, Compensation, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Human Resources, and Facilities/Administration.

Before joining the organization, Julia managed digital programs for the 2012 Obama campaign and oversaw digital engagement at the Robin Hood Foundation. She is a graduate of Williams College and earned a M.A. from the New School for Public Engagement. She lives in Fort Greene and can be found cheering on the U.S. Soccer National Team in her free time.​ ​
Maira
MairaFellow
Maira (she/her) is excited to be re-joining DonorsChoose as a Fellow. She graduated from Vassar College with a B.A in Sociology and Education. During Maira's senior year, she explored her passion for educational and racial equity through her senior thesis and role as a Donor Researcher at DonorsChoose.

In her free time, Maira loves overpriced coffee, trying new restaurants, adding to her reading list, and geeking out over Formula 1.
Sam
SamPeople Associate
After working with teams across DonorsChoose during her time as an intern and fellow, Sam rejoined the People Operations team where she now supports benefits administration and leads projects around staff development.

Sam is a proud graduate of the NYC public school system where she discovered her love of reading and numbers before going on to study Psychology, Biology, and Classical Studies at Macaulay Honors-Hunter College. She enjoys spending her time reading anything set in a magical land, learning a new skill, and eating foods that come in pockets.
Scarlett
ScarlettOffice Assistant
Scarlett is the office assistant who supports the People Ops team and the rest of the organization by assuring the transition back into the office goes smoothly and safely. With over 5 years of being an administrative assistant, she is excited to bring her skills to the team.

She holds a BS in Marketing from St. John's University and she enjoys watching sitcoms and discovering new coffee shops during her free time.
Steve
SteveDirector, Equity & Experience
Steve leads the Equity & Experience team, focusing on the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy alongside the employee experience at DonorsChoose.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Steve worked as a Student Affairs Administrator at New York University where he oversaw the community development initiatives for college students with a focus on leadership development and advisement. He also served as a trainer and consultant, engaging with various communities on topics of diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Steve holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Student Affairs from Boston College.

Outside the office, Steve can be found catching a Broadway show, drinking boba, finding the best places to eat, and spending quality time with good company.

Product, Engineering & Data

Alina
AlinaEngineer
As a full-stack engineer at DonorsChoose, Alina proudly works to create software with social impact and make education more accessible to communities across the country. She graduated from Brown University in 2019, where she studied Computer Science and Ethnic Studies. During her time in college, she served as a head teaching assistant and taught programming to local high school students. Alina enjoys exploring pockets of nature in New York City, making people laugh, and tending to her many plants.
Andrew
AndrewSenior Engineer
Andrew is a full stack engineer who has previously worked at an advertising firm, a finance company, a start up, an ecommerce shop, and for exactly one day on an ice cream truck.

Andrew graduated from Stony Brook University with a Master in Computer Science and an dual BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. During his time in university, Andrew worked as a teaching and research assistant and was acknowledged in a popular algorithm textbook.
Aurora
AuroraUser Experience Research Operations Specialist
Aurora works with teams across the org to ensure that teachers and donors have a positive experience while using DonorsChoose. She organizes research that drives our decisions about the website. Her favorite office supply is the incomparable 0.7 gel pen.

Before DonorsChoose, Aurora worked in User Experience Research Operations at Facebook. She studied European History (B.A.) and Cognitive Science with a focus in Human-Computer Interaction (B.S.) from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dan
DanVice President, Product & Design
Dan leads the mighty product team, whose job is to help DonorsChoose deliver on its mission by creating a frictionless, enjoyable experience for everyone involved. That means empowering teachers to tell their stories in a compelling way and making it easy and gratifying for donors to find projects to support.

Dan comes to DonorsChoose from the startup world, where he spent the last several years at Etsy and Seamless (née SeamlessWeb). When not designing or spending time with his family, Dan can usually be found lifting heavyweights in his garage.
David
DavidSenior Staff Engineer
David has 19 years experience building distributed systems and internet services. He has deep expertise in object-oriented languages, relational databases and middleware technologies, as well as a healthy respect for software engineering discipline. David has built software systems for financial service companies including NASD, Thomson Financial, Salomon Brothers, and Knight-Ridder Financial. Most recently, David served as Director of Front-End System Development at CheckFree. He was also responsible for capacity planning for the CheckFree Investment Services platform, which processes portfolios with assets under management totaling more than $1.8 trillion.

Prior to his career in financial information systems, David earned his M.S. degree from NYU's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and worked at Los Alamos National Laboratories.

Jackson
JacksonSenior Engineer
Jackson is a newly-minted software engineer. Before joining DonorsChoose, he learned to build Rails apps at App Academy. He graduated from Princeton University in 2013 with a B.A. in East Asian Studies.
Jim
JimSenior Staff Engineer
Hailing from southeast Michigan, Jim gained substantive experience in all aspects of web development while leading a team at Dynamic Edge, Inc. Armed with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, he seeks to bridge the common problems and solutions of academia and industry. Jim is also a strong advocate for developers in general, and the open source community in particular, and strives to make software development more efficient, enjoyable, and cost-effective for everyone involved.
John
JohnLooker Analyst
John helps ensure his colleagues have the data they need to make business decisions and to deliver for our teachers and donors. Before becoming a Looker Analyst, John hopped around from Operations, Partnerships, and even a short stint as the Data Science & Analytics Assistant to the Data team.

His interests include testing his limits with spicy food, being mildly traumatized by an occasional horror movie, and being prepared to make a SpongeBob reference whenever possible.
Josh
JoshLead User Experience Researcher
Josh works with our Product and Engineering team to make our website intuitive and easy to use. On a typical day at the office, you'll find him interviewing teachers and donors or conducting a survey. His favorite office supply is the humble sticky note.

Josh holds a B.A. in Psychology from The New School and an M.S. in Human Factors from Bentley University.
Kevin
KevinFellow
Kevin (he/him) is a FY23 Fellow working with DonorsChoose's Product team. He studied Sociology and Computer Science at the University of Chicago, where he worked as a research assistant to create digital privacy and security resources for children and teachers. Kevin is deeply passionate about educational equity and is excited to continue helping teachers and students.

In his free time, he likes rewatching Broad City, finding cheap furniture on Facebook Marketplace, and discovering new skincare routines.
Kimberly
KimberlyAnalytics Engineer
Kimberly works as an analytics engineer on the Data team at DonorsChoose. Before joining the org, she graduated from Cornell with a degree in Operations Research and a minor in Computer Science. She went on to work as a software engineer in the financial industry before making the switch to data-focused work at DonorsChoose. When not working, she spends her time playing ultimate frisbee, baking cookies or traveling around the world.
Lisa
LisaSenior Engineer
Lisa is a software engineer who is proud to be doing work that is making a difference for students and teachers across the nation. She graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Computer Science. When she's not at her computer, she enjoys trying new fitness classes, traveling, and playing the piano.
Mel
MelSenior Product Designer
Mel has a diverse background working for startups, agencies, and media companies. And with those experiences, he's excited to apply those learnings to help make a difference in the educational gaps of the public school system. Mel graduated from CUNY Queens College with a degree in Graphic Design. In his spare time, he loves watching horror and sci-fi films, talking to his cats (yes, talking), and spending time with his friends and family.
Michael
MichaelDirector, Data Science and Analytics
Michael leads the Data Science and Analytics team at DonorsChoose. He loves using data science and business intelligence to help make a better world.

Michael started his career as a software engineer, but he's always been drawn to working with data since the first day he learned SQL. That passion spilled over to him pivoting to data-focused work in the last 8 years. Prior to joining DonorsChoose he lead the Data Team at Buffer Inc.

Michael was born in South Africa and lived most of his life there. In 2015, his family moved to the US and they've been happily living in Santa Cruz, CA since then.

In his free time, he tries to surf as often as he can. He also enjoys open water swimming and spending time on the beach or in the forest. He tries to read a lot, enjoys cooking and good coffee.
Michael
MichaelSenior Director, Engineering
Tommy joined Donorschoose in 2009, after stints as a QA manager and test automation engineer. Before his adventures in software engineering began, Tommy could be found working knee deep in databases as an archivist at Pixar.

His favorite things to work on are: infrastructure & platform architecture, scaling capacity and performance of the site, and designing common sense, low ceremony processes that allow the team to maintain operational integrity while achieving maximum forward velocity.

Tommy has also been a truck driver, a piano mover, a vegan cook, a hospice volunteer and a kitten-foster-dad. He lives with his almost-teen-aged daughter in Brooklyn.
Mohammad
MohammadData Scientist
Mohammad loves telling impactful stories with data, and is happy to be able to use his data science & machine learning experience to support DonorsChoose on its mission. After graduating with a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell and doing management consulting primarily in the media & entertainment industry, he decided to pursue graduate studies in data science at Columbia University. An internship at Knewton during his M.S. program sparked Mohammad’s curiosity for how data science interfaces with the education space, and that curiosity and passion naturally led him to DonorsChoose.

In his free time, Mohammad loves to play ultimate frisbee & soccer, go swimming at his local YMCA, try out new board games, and travel. He’s always up for a challenge in his favorite video game, Super Smash Brothers Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube.
Nancy
NancySenior Director, Engineering
Before joining, Nancy designed and built applications and websites at Rutgers University and Telcordia Technologies (formerly Bell Communications Research). She was also a principal contributor to the open source project OpenRegistry. Nancy has a BS in Computer Science and Applied Math at SUNY Albany and an MS in Computer Science from Brown University.
Oliver
OliverChief Technology Officer and Head of Product
Oliver is responsible for the technology and user experience that power DonorsChoose's unique philanthropic marketplace.

Prior to joining the team in 2006, Oliver managed product engineering projects for Microsoft's new search engine, now called Bing. He also helped start Microsoft Live Labs, an applied research laboratory for Internet technologies, and is the co-inventor of 22 issued U.S. patents related to Internet search technologies. Oliver joined Microsoft when the Windows division acquired EQuill, a venture-backed startup that he co-founded and led for three years as CEO.

In 2011, the Microsoft Alumni Foundation honored Oliver with the Integral Fellows Award. He is the Chair of CTOs For Good and on the Advisory Council on Computing & Information Technology for Brown University. Oliver has a Computer Science degree from Brown and spent the first 13 years of his academic career attending New York City public schools.
PJ
PJProduct Designer
Paul
PaulSenior Engineer
Paul is a 2015 graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned a B.S. in Computer Science. His favorite classes included algorithms and artificial intelligence. Beyond his coursework, Paul attended numerous student hackathons and contributed to a variety of hackathon projects. A long-time fan of games and game-design, Paul assisted in founding the Rutgers Creation of Game Society, a student organization focused on game development.
Sebastian
SebastianStaff Engineer
Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Sebastian, as an independent software developer, helped build web applications for several industry-leading companies. He also gained valuable experience assisting in high-profile academic research projects, as well as completing a variety of projects to improve the technical capabilities of non-profit organizations. He graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU with concentrations in cognitive science and music, and studied piano and composition at a music conservatory.
Stephen
StephenProduct Manager
Stephen is a Product Manager at DonorsChoose, working with colleagues from across the organization to make sure teachers, donors, and partners all have a great experience using the site. Before joining the Product team he led our Digital Marketing team, and before that followed he managed our organic social channels and blog. In his pre-DonorsChoose life he worked for a few other nonprofits, building better cities with the Project for Public Spaces and advancing STEM education with the Ocean Exploration Trust.

The proud son and grandson of public school teachers, he graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Television/Radio Production. When he’s not in the office, you can find him running or lifting (depending on the season), reading in the sun, and baking mostly successful loaves of bread.
Valerie
ValerieSenior Engineer
Valerie is a full-stack engineer, proud to be working toward a better world where education is more equitable. They previously worked at TripAdvisor, and have a B.S. in Computer Science from Rice University. Outside of work, you’ll find Valerie playing board games with friends or lost in a book.

National Advisory Council

Kelvin Beachum
Kelvin BeachumOffensive Tackle, New York Jets
Kelvin Beachum, a Mexia Texas native, graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 2010 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Sports Management. In 2012, he completed a Master of Liberal Studies in Organizational Dynamics and delivered the commencement address for the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Beachum is entering his 9th season in the NFL and has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and most recently, the New York Jets.

In addition to his commitments with the NFL, Beachum is known for his dedication to end hunger by working directly with advocacy groups like World Vision and supporting community food banks across America. He also sits on the Entertainment Council for Feeding America. Beachum is an Executive Board member for the Simmons School of Education and the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU. He is an alternate union rep for the NFLPA and a member of the NFLPA Brand Ambassador Program as well as a Players Inc. Advisory Committee member. Beachum is a member of the advisory board for the OneTeam Collective and a founding member of the NFL Players Coalition. Beachum sits on the Brookings Council and the Donors Choose Advisory Board.

Beachum is committed to helping young people, especially minority and disadvantaged youth, develop skills for success. He has a special focus on encouraging minority youth to engage STEM-centric disciplines and STEM careers. Beachum is a professional speaker and an active investor, focusing mainly on the technology ecosystem.

A man of strong faith, Beachum is devoted to glorifying God in everything he does and uses his time and influence to encourage others by advocating education, faithful devotion and being of service to others. Beachum resides in Arizona with his wife, Jessica, and their three children.
Anil Dash
Anil DashCEO, Glitch
Anil Dash is the CEO of Glitch, the friendly developer community where coders have collaborated to create and share millions of web apps. He is recognized as a leading advocate for more humane, inclusive and ethical technology through his work as an entrepreneur, activist and writer.

He serves as a board member for organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the pioneering nonprofit organization defending digital privacy and expression, The Markup, the leading nonprofit investigative newsroom pushing for tech accountability, Data & Society Research Institute, which researches the cutting edge of tech's impact on society, and the Lower East Side Girls Club, which serves girls and families in need in New York City. Dash was an advisor to the Obama White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, served for a decade on the board of Stack Overflow, the world’s largest community for coders, and today advises key startups and non-profits including Medium, The Human Utility, DonorsChoose, and Project Include.

As a writer and artist, Dash has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Wired, written for publications like The Atlantic and Businessweek, co-created one of the first implementations of the blockchain technology now known as NFTs, had his works exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and collaborated with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda on one of the most popular Spotify playlists of 2018. Described by the New Yorker as a “blogging pioneer”, his Webby-recognized personal website has been cited in sources ranging from the New York Times to the BBC to TMZ, and in hundreds of academic papers.

Dash is based in New York City, where he lives with his wife Alaina Browne and their son Malcolm. He has never played a round of golf, drank a cup of coffee, or graduated from college.
Sharif El-Mekki
Sharif El-MekkiCEO, Center For Black Educator Development
Sharif El-Mekki is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development, which exists to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural backgrounds and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve. CBED’s core work is (re) building a National Black Teacher Pipeline.

The Center is developing a nationally relevant model to measurably increase teacher diversity and support Black educators through four pillars: Professional learning, Pipeline, Policies, and Pedagogy. The Center also carries forth the freedom or liberation school legacy by hosting a Freedom School that incorporates research-based curricula and exposes high school and college students to the teaching profession.

Prior to founding the Center, El-Mekki served as a nationally recognized principal and U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow and served as a volunteer member of the Biden-Harris Education Policy Committee.

El-Mekki’s school, Mastery Charter Shoemaker Campus, was recognized by President Obama and Oprah Winfrey, and was awarded the prestigious EPIC award for three consecutive years as being amongst the top three schools in the country for accelerating students’ achievement levels. The Shoemaker Campus was also recognized as one of the top ten middle school and top ten high schools in the state of Pennsylvania for accelerating the achievement levels of African-American students.

El-Mekki has served as a part of multiple U.S. delegations to international conferences on education. He is also the founder of the Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, an organization dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and developing Black male teachers.

El-Mekki blogs on Philly’s 7th Ward, is a member of the 8 Black Hands podcast, and serves on several boards and committees focused on educational and racial justice.
Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi GoldbergCo-host, ABC's The View
Born and raised in New York City, Whoopi worked in theatre and improvisation in San Diego and the Bay Area, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theatre troupe. It was there that she created the characters which became "The Spook Show" and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album and the HBO special that helped launch her career.

Whoopi Goldberg is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy ("Whoopi Goldberg," 1985), the Academy Award ("Ghost," 1991), the Golden Globe ("The Color Purple," 1985 and "Ghost," 1991), the Emmy (as host of AMC's "Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel," 2002 and a Daytime Emmy for "The View" in 2009) and a Tony (Producer of "Thoroughly Modern Millie," 2002).

In addition to the Oscar, the Grammy and two Golden Globe Awards, Whoopi has been honored with multiple NAACP Image Awards, numerous People's Choice Awards (including a special tribute in 1998) and five Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards as "Favorite Movie Actress," as well as various awards and honors for her many humanitarian efforts.

In 1992, Whoopi made her debut as an author with her first children's book, "Alice." Her second literary endeavor, simply entitled "Book," became a bestseller in the U.S. and around the world. Hyperion Books published "Whoopi's Big Book of Manners" in 2006 and launched the "Sugar Plum Ballerinas" book series for young readers in 2008 with "Plum Fantastic," followed by "Toeshoe Trouble," "Perfectly Prima" and "Terrible Terrel." Her most recent book for adults include "Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?" in 2010 and "If Someone Says 'You Complete Me'…Run!!!" in 2015.
Genein Letford
Genein LetfordEducator, Speaker, Author
Genein Letford is an elementary music teacher from Canoga Park, CA and believes that every child, despite socioeconomic status, deserves a quality education that includes the arts. Genein began her teaching career as a third grade teacher of low-income English language learners. It was there she discovered the power of using music and dance to help teach vocabulary and academic concepts to her students.

Genein is now the music director at the same elementary school and has created a dynamic award-winning music curriculum that not only teaches music standards but also incorporates corresponding math, science, language arts and social studies concepts. In 2009, Letford began the Music For All: Instrument Scholarship Fund, which awarded low-income high achieving students with instruments for their ongoing music education.

In 2010, Genein was named the Great American Teacher of the Year and was a recipient of the Los Angeles Music Center's Bravo Arts Educator Award. In 2014, she was honored with the 'Innovation in Education' Award from the Valley Economic Alliance for her dynamic arts program and has traveled to Japan and South Korea during the summer of 2014 as part of the prestigious Hilton Worldwide Teacher Trek program. Genein was honored with the Charter School Teacher of the Year Hart Vision Award in March of 2015.

Mrs. Letford received her bachelor degree from UCLA in psychology and completed her master thesis, 'Integration With Integrity: The Importance of Keeping Music in the Elementary Classroom' at California State University, Northridge in 2010. Due to her extensive knowledge in arts integration, she was recently appointed as a lecturer of the 'Interdisciplinary Arts Education' masters course at CSUN's Eisner College of Education. She has done numerous professional presentations on this topic and remains focused on bringing arts education to underserved communities.

Craig Newmark
Craig NewmarkFounder, Craigslist
Bio: Craig Newmark is a Web pioneer, philanthropist, and a leading advocate on behalf of trustworthy journalism, veterans and military families, and other civic and social justice causes. In 2017 he became a founding funder and executive committee member of the News Integrity Initiative, administered by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which seeks to advance news literacy and increase trust in journalism.

In 2016 he created the Craig Newmark Foundation to promote investment in organizations that effectively serve their communities and drive broad civic engagement at the grassroots level. Amid growing concerns about the proliferation of “fake news” in the context of the presidential campaign, one of the foundation’s first donations went to the Poynter Institute to create the Craig Newmark Chair in Journalism Ethics. Newmark is widely credited for his leadership in promoting “news we can trust.”

Craig serves on the board of directors of a range of nonprofits including Blue Star Families, Center for Public Integrity, Consumers Union/Consumer Reports, Girls Who Code, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Poynter Foundation, Sunlight Foundation, VetsInTech, and nWomen in Public Service Project. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review. He serves on the advisory board of nearly twenty other nonprofit organizations including Donors Choose, EFF, New America Foundation, Voto Latino, Wikimedia Foundation, Women Who Tech, and many others.

In 1995 Craig started curating list of San Francisco arts and technology events he personally emailed to friends and colleagues. People were soon calling it "Craig's List,” and when Craig turned it into a company he monetized minimally, opting for a business model that prioritized "doing well by doing good." Today more than 5 billion ads have been posted on the site, the vast majority for free. While Craig remains chairman of craigslist, he has not been involved in management since 2000.

In 2015 craigslist received an award from the FBI in recognition of its undisclosed cooperation with the bureau in combatting human trafficking. Craig was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2013 he was named “Nerd-in-Residence” by the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.

Born in Morristown, New Jersey in 1952, Craig earned degrees in computer science from Case Western Reserve University. He lives in San Francisco and enjoys bird- and squirrel-watching, science fiction, TV, and Dad jokes.

Craig communicates regularly through his own blog at craigconnects.org and through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, and HuffPost. He also travels the country speaking about issues and appearing on behalf of organizations he supports.
Laura Swihart
Laura SwihartPartner, Dechert LLP
Laura Swihart, a partner in Dechert's global finance practice, focuses on commercial real estate finance and securitization matters. Ms. Swihart regularly represents issuers, underwriters, mortgage loan sellers and subordinate bond buyers in connection with commercial mortgage backed securitization transactions. She has represented joint ventures and entities in connection with the creation of commercial mortgage loan origination platforms, including the negotiation of organizational documents, the creation of internal underwriting and closing processes and the creation of form closing documents.

In addition, Ms. Swihart has represented financial institutions and funds as both seller’s and purchaser’s counsel in connection with the sale and purchase of whole mortgage loans and mezzanine loans and the creation, sale and purchase of pari passu, junior and senior interests in mortgage loans and mezzanine loans. She represents both borrowers and lenders in connection with commercial mortgage loan warehouse facilities and repurchase facilities. Ms. Swihart has also represented numerous borrowers, lenders, issuers and underwriters in connection with the negotiation of repurchase facilities and securitizations secured by non-performing commercial mortgage loans and REO properties.

Ms. Swihart is recommended in The Legal 500 (U.S.) 2015 for structured finance and her work within CMBS and was named a "2016 Client Service All-Star” by BTI Consulting Group. In 2017, Ms. Swihart was named among the Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal.
Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas#1 NYT Bestselling Author & Producer
Angie Thomas was born and raised in Mississippi, but now calls Atlanta her home. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed.

Angie is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, THE HATE U GIVE, started as a senior project in college. It was later acquired by the Balzer+Bray imprint of HarperCollins Publishers in a 13-publisher auction and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, winning the ALA’s William C. Morris Debut Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA), the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (UK), and the Deutscher Jugendliterapreis (Germany). THE HATE U GIVE was adapted into a critically acclaimed film from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr.

Angie’s second novel, ON THE COME UP, is a #1 New York Times bestseller as well, and a film is in development with Paramount Pictures with Angie acting as a producer. In 2020, Angie released FIND YOUR VOICE: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Truth as a tool to help aspiring writers tell their stories. In 2021, Angie returned to the world of Garden Heights with CONCRETE ROSE, a prequel to THE HATE U GIVE focused on seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter that debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Randi Weingarten
Randi WeingartenPresident of The American Federation of Teachers
Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. The AFT champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for students, their families and communities. The AFT and its members advance these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism, and especially through members' work.

Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education. In 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years. Washington Life magazine included Weingarten on its 2013 Power 100 list of influential leaders.

Weingarten has launched major efforts to place real education reform high on the nation's and her union's agendas. She created the AFT Innovation Fund, a groundbreaking initiative to support sustainable, innovative and collaborative education reform projects developed by members and their local unions. At Weingarten's direction, the AFT developed a model to transform teacher evaluations from a way of simply rating teachers to a tool for continuous improvement and feedback, and is using this model to align tenure and due process so that tenure serves as a guarantee of fairness, not of a job for life. Weingarten led an AFT committee that called for all prospective teachers to meet a high entry standard—as in medicine or law—so that they're prepared from the day they enter the classroom.

Weingarten oversaw the development of the AFT's Quality Education Agenda, which advocates for reforms grounded in evidence, equity, scalability and sustainability. She promotes what she calls "solution-driven unionism"—an approach to collective bargaining and collective action that unites the interests of union members and those they serve in the pursuit of solutions that benefit students, schools and communities.

The AFT and a broad array of parent and community partners have collaborated on events across the country to advance a community- and educator-driven agenda for public school reform. Parents and many others have joined the AFT's efforts to end the overuse and misuse of standardized tests, and to fix—not close—struggling schools, something Weingarten has advocated since her involvement in the creation of New York City's Chancellor's District, which dramatically improved achievement in what had been some of the city's lowest-performing schools.

In 2012-13, Weingarten served on an education reform commission convened by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which made a series of recommendations to improve teaching and learning. She was appointed to the Equity and Excellence Commission, a federal advisory committee chartered by Congress to examine and make recommendations concerning the disparities in educational opportunities that give rise to the achievement gap.

From 1986 to 1998, Weingarten served as counsel to UFT president Sandra Feldman, taking a lead role in contract negotiations and enforcement, and in lawsuits in which the union fought for adequate school funding and building conditions. A teacher of history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood from 1991 to 1997, Weingarten helped her students win several state and national awards debating constitutional issues.

Weingarten's column "What Matters Most" appears in the New York Times' Sunday Review the third Sunday of each month. You can follow her on Twitter at @rweingarten or on Facebook.

Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law. She worked as a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. She is an active member of the Democratic National Committee and numerous professional, civic and philanthropic organizations. Born in 1957 and raised in Rockland County, N.Y., Weingarten now resides on Long Island and in Washington, D.C.