You're on track to get doubled donations (and unlock a reward for the colleague who referred you). Keep up the great work!
Take credit for your charitable giving! Check out your tax receipts

In a rush to make a major tax-deductible gift before the year's end? Purchase account credits and choose projects later!

Time is running out! Make your tax-deductible gift before midnight on December 31.

To use your $50 gift card credits, find a project to fund and we'll automatically apply your credits at checkout. Find a classroom project
Are you a public school teacher in need of funding? Get funded »

Are you a teacher? Create a project in 10 minutes and get what you need for your students. Tap here to start.

Skip to main content

We're a charity that makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Your gift is tax-deductible.

Your school email address was successfully verified.

 

Meet Our Team

Work at DonorsChoose

Board of Directors

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.
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.

Executive Team

Charles Best
Charles BestFounder and CEO
Charles Best leads 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.
Katie Bisbee
Katie BisbeeChief 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”.
Abby Feuer
Abby FeuerEVP, 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.
Geoff Hill
Geoff HillChief 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.
Oliver Hurst-Hiller
Oliver Hurst-HillerChief 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.
Kristina Joye Lyles
Kristina Joye LylesVice 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.

As Senior Partnerships Director she develops and manages partnerships with companies, foundations, and individual philanthropists. Steen is also passionate about growing relationships with philanthropists of color hoping to make an impact in public school classrooms.

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.
Julia Prieto
Julia PrietoChief Operating Officer & EVP, People Operations
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 EVP of People Operations 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.​ ​
Risa Ward
Risa WardSVP, 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.

Advocacy & Public Partnerships

Sam Atkeson
Sam AtkesonSenior Manager, Advocacy & Public Partnerships
Sam works to engage and support school districts at DonorsChoose to ensure that all students and teachers have access to the classroom resources they need.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Sam managed partnerships at Clever, an ed-tech startup based in San Francisco. He has written about digital learning for Education Week, and spent a year teaching English in Argentina on a Fulbright Fellowship. Sam holds a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.
Katie Bisbee
Katie BisbeeChief 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”.
Christi Noel
Christi NoelCoordinator, 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.
Jinan O'Connor
Jinan O'ConnorVice 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.

Danielle Rowe
Danielle RoweSenior Associate, Advocacy and Public Partnerships
Danielle works to deepen relationships with school district administrators across the country. A New York native, Danielle is a proud product of public school education.

As a former educator, Danielle understands how limited resources can negatively affect educational outcomes and is committed to promoting educational equity and eliminating the achievement gap. An alumna of AmeriCorps, Danielle holds a BA from Fordham University in History and African American Studies. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy and Non-Profit Management at the New School for Social Research.

Outside of work, you can find Danielle exploring the diverse art gallery and museum scene throughout NYC and attending live jazz shows throughout Brooklyn.
Kirk Smiley
Kirk SmileyManaging 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.
Keya Wondwossen
Keya WondwossenDirector, Advocacy and Public Partnerships
Keya works with school district stakeholders nationwide to shape how DonorsChoose can support their educators, students, and strategic imperatives. In addition, she also partners with education associations to maximize the impact of our platform.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Keya was a Community Partner Manager with Girls Who Code. By building relationships with various community based organizations, she was responsible for leading a team which tripled the number of after-school Clubs across a ten state portfolio. Additionally, she oversaw student recruitment for summer programming. Keya was also a Talent Recruiter with KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools and an Elementary ESOL teacher for three years.

Keya graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in International Affairs and an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A first-generation college graduate and daughter of immigrants, Keya is passionate about how high quality education can dramatically change life trajectories for students and their families.

Finance & Fulfillment

 Abigail Doolan
Abigail DoolanBusiness Relations Manager
Abigail, our Business Relations Manager, builds and maintains productive relationships with our 22 integrated vendors. 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 usually taking in Central Park, finding new streets to wander down, or on the hunt for the coziest coffee shops around the city.
Bibi Alli
Bibi AlliFulfillment 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.
Stephanie Armitage
Stephanie ArmitageFulfillment Operations Specialist
Stephanie supports the Fulfillment Operations and Strategy team to ensure every item ordered arrives on time.

As a former AmeriCorps member working in an NYC classroom, she's passionate about ensuring that all classrooms have exactly what their students need!

When not placing orders, Stephanie works as a freelance stage manager. In her spare time, she enjoys petting cute puppies, drinking iced coffee, and lying in the sun by the river.
Michelle Baker
Michelle BakerFulfillment 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.
Dot Doran
Dot DoranSenior 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.
Dana Dragos
Dana DragosFinance Associate
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.
Erin Evers
Erin EversPurchasing 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.
Molly Gill
Molly GillBusiness Relations Manager
Molly builds and manages relationships with our dedicated DonorsChoose vendors, and helps the Business Relations team drive improvements and innovations for both vendors and teachers. 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 has recently embraced mid-century modern design and bicycling.
Tanisha Golding
Tanisha GoldingSenior 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.
Hema Gonsalves-Hoq
Hema Gonsalves-HoqAssociate, 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."
Molly Gonzalez
Molly GonzalezFulfillment 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.
Fatu Gumaneh
Fatu GumanehSenior Accounting Associate
Fatu’s main responsibilities on the Finance & Fulfillment team are accounts payable management, nonprofit sales tax compliance, and supporting the operations of employer matching gift programs.

Fatu holds a BBA degree in Operations Management from Baruch College and a minor in Psychology. Outside the office, Fatu enjoys cooking, henna designs, and spending time with family.
Geoff Hill
Geoff HillChief 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.
Jim Kao
Jim KaoController
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.
Val Kissel
Val KisselFulfillment 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.
Will Luft
Will LuftAssociate, 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.
Margaret M.
Margaret M.Fulfillment 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!
Seba Martinez-Miranda
Seba Martinez-MirandaSenior Analyst, Financial Planning & Analysis
Seba leads our financial planning efforts - helping to roll out new systems, tools, and processes to make sure we can effectively monitor DonorsChoose's financial health and plan for the future.

Originally from the Philippines, Seba moved to the US to attend Bates College, where he graduated with a degree in Economics and a minor in Music. In his spare time, Seba enjoys cooking food from home and surfing the internet for new music.
Karen Mego
Karen MegoSenior 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.
Tara Parks
Tara ParksFulfillment 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.
Joann Pun
Joann PunAccounting 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.
Will Sarratt
Will SarrattFulfillment 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.
Devyani Shenoy
Devyani ShenoySenior 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.
Amy Soler
Amy SolerSenior 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.
Vincent To
Vincent ToBusiness 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.
Erica Vendetti
Erica VendettiSenior Director, Fulfillment Operations & Strategy
Erica specializes in process management and daydreams in flow charts. She leads the Fulfillment Operations & Strategy team which purchases the resources and experiences that bring classroom ideas to life.

Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Erica served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer and graduated from Temple University. Erica's fond of tea, online web comics, and learning facts that might one day be the answer to a trivia question.
Bruce Warren
Bruce WarrenFulfillment 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!

Marketing & Partnerships

Katie Bisbee
Katie BisbeeChief 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”.
Reyna Booth
Reyna BoothSenior 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.
Megan Bradley
Megan BradleyPartnerships Manager
Megan partners with companies and foundations to support public school teachers, provide the resources students need to succeed, and inspire donors to change the world - one classroom at a time. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Megan worked across consulting, data analytics, and brand management at for-profit companies. A year spent launching a hurricane relief charity inspired Megan to pursue nonprofit management full-time, and she is very proud to spend her days helping teachers and students dream big.

Outside of the office, you can most often find Megan puttering around a community garden plot, watching a David Attenborough nature doc, or caring for her three pets (two cats and one sourdough starter). Megan is a proud alumna of Northwestern University (Go 'Cats!) where she earned a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology.
Juan Brizuela
Juan BrizuelaPublic 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.
Stephen Burke
Stephen BurkeSenior Digital & Growth Marketing Manager
Stephen leads Digital Marketing at DonorsChoose, overseeing our email program and other digital channels. Before moving to the Marketing & Community team, he managed our organic social channels, wrote lots of blog posts, and made our videos. And before that 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 around NYC, reading in the sun, baking mostly successful loaves of bread.
Alisa Catellier
Alisa CatellierVice 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.
Melissa Cepeda
Melissa CepedaFellow
Melissa works with the Brand and Communications team to deliver great visuals and communications design. Melissa graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in International Relations and Peace & Justice Studies. Her personal experiences and academic pursuits have ingrained a strong commitment to racial equity and social justice. She has experience in social media marketing, women's rights advocacy, and raising civic engagement among youth.
John Choi
John ChoiAssociate, Partnership Activation
Before becoming an FY20 Fellow, John worked as the School Data Assistant of the Trust & Safety team and the Data Science & Analytics Assistant on the Data Science & Analytics team.

His interests include testing his limits with spicy food, the occasional horror movie that will certainly result in a sleepless night, and being prepared to make a SpongeBob reference whenever possible.
Alexandra Constas
Alexandra ConstasSenior 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.
Dorthea Damaskos
Dorthea DamaskosSenior 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.
Devin Dillon
Devin DillonPartnership 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.
Alex Fagundez
Alex FagundezManager, Teacher and Donor Marketing
Alex is responsible for building and cultivating a strong community of teachers who use our site to successfully bring resources into their classrooms. This includes connecting teachers to inspire and learn from one another, empowering them to advocate for their needs, and ensuring their projects get funded.

Prior to joining our team, Alex studied psychology and taught third grade in New Jersey where she fell in love with that “AHA!” moment—when a concept finally clicks for a child. In her free time, Alex loves to hike, garden, and spend time with her dog Lucy.
Abby Feuer
Abby FeuerEVP, 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.
Shantaa Foster
Shantaa FosterSenior Manager, Community Partnerships
Shantaa develops and executes campaigns with corporate and foundation partners, bringing resources to classrooms nationwide. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, she worked in Finance, specializing in trade execution and optimization projects. As a proud alumna of the Prep for Prep program and Columbia University, Shantaa is grateful for the opportunity to support teachers and students across the nation.
Ariana Jacobs
Ariana JacobsSenior 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.
Kristina Joye Lyles
Kristina Joye LylesHead of Equity & Impact, Senior Partnerships Director
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.

As Senior Partnerships Director she develops and manages partnerships with companies, foundations, and individual philanthropists. Steen is also passionate about growing relationships with philanthropists of color hoping to make an impact in public school classrooms.

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.
Janelle Lin
Janelle LinSenior 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 Marrow
Jasmine MarrowPartnerships Director
Jasmine develops and manages corporate and foundation partnerships. Prior to joining the DonorsChoose team, Jasmine developed tools and strategies to help nonprofits share their stories with the world at Candid (formerly GuideStar). She has her MPP from Mills College in Oakland, CA, where she also earned her B.A.

Jasmine’s very first job was in the classroom and she’s had a passion for education ever since! Outside of the office, Jasmine can usually be found reading in cozy places and eating noodles everywhere.
Ryn McLennan
Ryn McLennanSenior Writer
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.
Jamal Moody
Jamal MoodyAssociate, Partnership Activation
Jamal is a proud first-generation college student. He attended Baruch College, where he majored in Operations Management and double minored in Black Studies and English. He understands the detriment of educational inequity and is committed to helping as many teachers and students as possible.

Jamal started as a Project Fulfillment Intern, then transitioned to a part-time role on the Business Relations Team, and now he is honored to be a part of this Fellowship class. He has also worked with America Needs You, where he cultivated his professional skills and learned of his passion for Non-Profits. He is excited to continue his professional journey with DonorsChoose as a Fellow and make even more teachers and students smile.
Erica Myers
Erica MyersSenior Partnerships Manager
Erica manages partnerships with companies and foundations to support teachers and students across the country. Prior to joining DonorsChoose, Erica stewarded relationships and job partners at Urban Alliance for the Greater DC Region.

She holds a B.A. in psychology from Spelman College and a Master’s in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. Outside the office, Erica can be found building Fosterpreneur (which helps foster care alumni become entrepreneurs) taking a peloton class, and dancing.
Tonisha Nicholls
Tonisha NichollsVice 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.
Lynn Overmyer
Lynn OvermyerSenior 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.
Chris Pearsall
Chris PearsallVice 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.
Jasmine Penny
Jasmine PennySenior 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.
Jessica Reed
Jessica ReedAssociate, Donor Engagement
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 Rezek
Jill RezekDonor Researcher and Moderator
Hi! I’m Jill Rezek 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.
Josephine Rivera
Josephine RiveraDigital 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!
Rianne Roberts
Rianne RobertsPartnerships 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.
Ali Rosen
Ali RosenVice 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.
Constance Sailer
Constance SailerSenior Associate, Business Development
Constance 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, Constance helped a small nonprofit provide job training and tutoring to families living in New York City homeless shelters. Constance graduated from Union College with a B.A. in Economics. After work, you can usually find Constance on her back porch picking bluegrass tunes.
Tim Sommer
Tim SommerManaging 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.
Danielle Spinelli
Danielle SpinelliSenior 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.
Mitchell Tillwick
Mitchell TillwickDigital Marketing Associate
Mitchell helps support advertising campaigns, explore new solutions, and use data to optimize campaigns. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and International Business.

Outside of the office, he enjoys practicing parkour, training MMA, playing the piano, learning something new, and eating disproportionate amounts of food.
Ky Turman
Ky TurmanSenior Partnership Marketing Associate
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.
Katie Vallas
Katie VallasMarketing Director, Teacher Success
Katie leads Teacher Success on the Marketing & Community team, overseeing initiatives to grow, connect, and empower the community of DonorsChoose teachers to help them succeed on our site and in their classrooms.

Prior to joining the team, she taught history in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where DonorsChoose's generous army of supporters always made sure her junior high students had notebooks, pencils, and books.
Maira Vargas
Maira VargasDonor Researcher and Moderator
Hello! I'm Maira and I'm excited to be joining the team as a Donor Researcher & Moderator. I'm a Brooklynite living in the Garden State and currently finishing up my senior year where I'm studying Sociology and Education. I'm passionate about youth development, education, and forming a community! In my free time, I love buying overpriced coffee, reading, trying new restaurants, and geeking out over Formula 1.
Yukki W.
Yukki W.Fellow
Hi everyone!!! I’m Yukki, and it is an absolute pleasure to be a part of DonorsChoose! I just graduated from Stony Brook University this past January. I interned at a lot of nonprofit organizations that, like DonorsChoose, envisioned something above and beyond what the current educational services industry has to offer. When I’m not working, I’m traveling. Please let me know if you have been anywhere fun and exciting! I’m ALWAYS looking for new destinations. In addition to traveling, I am also a big fan of dystopian/utopian science fictions. If you see any new faces pop up on your screen, it’s probably me ;) or the other three amazing fellows!
Susan Yassky
Susan YasskyDonor Relationships Researcher
Hello! I'm so thrilled to join DonorsChoose as a Donor Relationships Researcher. I grew up here in the city, and now live in Brooklyn. I studied theater in college, and since then I've been working as a dramaturg in New York and in Louisville, Kentucky. Outside of DonorsChoose, I'm a Literary Associate at a theater company in Brooklyn called The Civilians. When I'm not working, I love writing plays, hosting board game nights, and playing with my dog.
Di Zhao
Di ZhaoManager, Donor Relationships
Di is the Donor Relationships Manager on the Marketing & Community team, focused on engaging with our generous supporters and showing them how much of a difference they're making to classrooms across the nation.

Prior to DonorsChoose, Di worked at S&P Global Market Intelligence and received her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. Education-centered missions hit especially close to heart, having come from a family of teachers and having been a teacher herself.

Outside of work Di can be found at Moth story slams, tango classes, and anywhere there is food.

Operations

Aran Abilock Clemmons
Aran Abilock ClemmonsTrust & 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.
Carly
CarlyCustomer Support Specialist
Hello from Texas! I live on a tiny farm near a National Forest and love hiking, camping and playing with my four giant dogs. I spend my free time riding horses and gathering eggs my chickens have laid. I also love to read and have a constantly evolving list of books I'm planning to read. Previously, I worked for a small vitamin shop and loved developing relationships with folks who started out as customers and ended up as friends. With DonorsChoose, I'm excited to meet new friends from all over the country and help teachers and students get the supplies they need. My favorite projects are the classroom pet projects!
Alison Chatfield
Alison ChatfieldDirector, 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.
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.
Danielle Curtis
Danielle CurtisCustomer Support Manager
Danielle manages a team committed to supporting our teachers and donors by answering their questions as quickly and effectively as possible. She also streamlines the team’s processes in order to meet and exceed goals.

Danielle enjoys Jeopardy, the phrase “find a need and fill it,” 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.
Mary DeCarlo
Mary DeCarloSenior 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!
Katie Eliot
Katie EliotCustomer Support Readiness Manager
Katie works to support teachers with all inquiries big and small - from Funding Opportunities to Thank-you packages, she’s your gal! Katie graduated from Vassar College where she studied history and economics. She previously worked at the Brooklyn Museum, where she coordinated and led workshops for teachers. When not talking to teachers, you can find Katie hiking the Hudson Valley, spending time in the kitchen, or perusing the local library.
Drew H.
Drew H.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.
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.
Tien Le
Tien LeDirector, 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.
Mia Livingston-Edwards
Mia Livingston-EdwardsSenior 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.
Maya Lundhagen
Maya LundhagenSenior 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.
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!).
Jennifer Mao
Jennifer MaoDirector, 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.
Kelsey P.
Kelsey P.Manager, 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.
Stacy Perrault
Stacy PerraultCustomer Support Specialist
Hello, hello! My name is Stacy and I live in beautiful Portland, OR with my family. Over the last decade, I’ve been raising 3 fun and busy kids (and dogs… and chickens!) alongside my husband Luke and I’m jumping back into work full time! I couldn’t be happier that I get to dedicate some professional-level energy to DonorsChoose. Coming from a long lineage of educators and having a deep appreciation for the good work nonprofits do in our communities, this feels like a great match. During my time home with the kids, I completed my degree with a BS in Family & Human Development and completed a certificate in Grant Proposal Writing, both from Arizona State University. Overall, I really look forward to connecting generous people to worthy causes and empowering our nation’s educators to do the good work they were made for. Outside of work, you can find me daydreaming about our next great adventure in the PNW, taking day trips to the coast, going camping, hiking, watching local sports, listening to audio books and podcasts, on a bike ride with the kids, or running around the city enjoying all there is experience here.
Kierran Petersen
Kierran PetersenCustomer 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!
Yvonne Phan
Yvonne PhanCustomer 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.
Corey Potts
Corey PottsOperations Assistant
Carol Powell
Carol PowellAssociate, 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!
Julia Prieto
Julia PrietoChief Operating Officer & EVP, People Operations
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 EVP of People Operations 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.​ ​
Kassandra R.
Kassandra R.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!
Michelle Roh
Michelle RohRemote Volunteer Operations Manager
Camila Santibanez Perez
Camila Santibanez PerezTrust & Safety Assistant
Hello! My name is Camila and I am the newest member of the Trust and Safety Team. I am a recent graduate with a major in Criminology and minor in Police Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I was born and raised in Mexico! As an international student, I have a wide experience in overcoming new challenges and taking initiative.

Apart from my academic side, I love traveling and exercising. I could do it for a living. My most recent trip was to South Africa where I participated in a youth development program where I was in charge of running the surf after school program. The three weeks I spent there gave me so much joy, helping the most disadvantaged communities with simple activities.
Selena
SelenaSenior Customer Support Specialist
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 Sexton
Takisha Sexton Associate, 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.
Michelle Shin
Michelle ShinManager, Gratitude Volunteer Operations
Michelle leads the Gratitude Volunteer Operations team at DonorsChoose, overseeing a community of NYC-area volunteers that review handwritten student thank-yous from classrooms, before packaging and sending out to donors across the country.

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 trying new recipes, helping out at her parents' Cajun restaurant, and attending Yelp Elite events with her husband.
Lauren Summers
Lauren SummersSenior 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.
Christine Urtz
Christine UrtzCustomer 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.
Michelle Withkowski
Michelle WithkowskiCustomer 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.
Jeremy Yong
Jeremy YongProgram Management Associate
Before joining the Program Management team, I worked for three years on the Customer Support team. I live in Queens, NY and like to bike when it's warm and make as much soup as possible when it's cold. Favorite recent read is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker!

People Operations

Jharline Calderon
Jharline CalderonSenior 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.
Aliza Caplan
Aliza CaplanManager, Equity & Experience
A former intern herself, Aliza is responsible for the Internship and Fellowship programs at DonorsChoose. She also supports the organization’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy and employee experience, striving to build a workplace culture that is equitable, inclusive, and reflective of the diverse teacher and student population DonorsChoose services.

Aliza comes to DonorsChoose by way of Philadelphia, where she studied Sociology and Jewish Studies as an undergraduate and completed a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to moving to NYC, she worked at Penn Hillel building Jewish community and supporting undergraduate growth and leadership. She is an uncoordinated but enthusiastic zumba-goer, an aspiring plant parent, and is always game for a stroll and a snack.
Yesenny Fernandez
Yesenny FernandezPeople Operations Coordinator
Hey, I am Yesenny and I am very excited to be part of the People Operations team after spending one year doing the DonorsChoose rotational Fellowship. For me having the resources needed to achieve the maximum out of education is the key to success.

In May 2019, I completed my BS in Computer Information Technology with a minor in Studio Art at St. Joseph's College and I am currently doing a master's in Data Analysis and Visualization.

In my spare time, I am mostly trying different restaurants across NYC, taking photographs around the city, and walking my puppy Leo.
Austin Galoob
Austin GaloobManager, 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.
Mary Holtzhauser
Mary HoltzhauserDirector of People
Mary’s focus at DonorsChoose is on employee experience and people analytics - everything from benefits administration, to employee perks, to a data-driven employee satisfaction strategy.

Mary joined DonorsChoose after receiving her B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of Dayton. Prior to joining this role, she led knowledge management initiatives on the Operations team at DonorsChoose.

In her free time, you’ll find her plant-shopping in the floral district, searching for the best brunch in Brooklyn, or settling in with a good book.
Scarlett Huang
Scarlett HuangOffice 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.
Brian Li
Brian LiManager, 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!
Sam Ortega Aguilar
Sam Ortega AguilarPeople 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.
Julia Prieto
Julia PrietoChief Operating Officer & EVP, People Operations
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 EVP of People Operations 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.​ ​
Christopher Prince-Barry
Christopher Prince-BarryDirector of IT
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.
Steve To
Steve ToDirector, 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

Sebastian Askenazy
Sebastian AskenazyStaff 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.
Dan Betz
Dan BetzVice 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.
Kimberly Brown
Kimberly BrownAnalytics 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.
Susan Chow
Susan ChowSenior Web Developer
Susan builds new donor- and teacher-facing website functionality for DonorsChoose, and enjoys bringing pen-and-paper plans to life. With over 12 years experience in website development and interactive design, she has created transactional and informational websites for Hewlett Packard, SpaFinder, and a host of smaller sites. Susan has also authored interactive games and fiction for clients that included Disney Software, Sony Music, and Popular Science. Susan graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Music.

David Crane
David CraneSenior 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.

Mel David
Mel DavidSenior 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.
Andrew Gaun
Andrew GaunSenior 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.
Oliver Hurst-Hiller
Oliver Hurst-HillerChief 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.
Chris Judkins-Fisher
Chris Judkins-FisherSenior Staff Engineer
Chris came to DonorsChoose from the city of Madison and the world of health IT. Prior to joining the DonorsChoose team, he worked at the UW - Madison Center for Health Enhancement System Studies (CHESS) developing mobile and web applications for those with chronic health problems. He also has experience contributing to EpicCare Ambulatory, the outpatient component of the most-used electronic medical record in the United States.

He has a degree in computer science from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
Nancy Mond
Nancy MondSenior 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.
Andi Muskaj
Andi MuskajBusiness Analyst
As a Business Analyst on the Data Science & Analytics Team, Andi focuses on wrangling new data sources into our business intelligence tool, running analysis on large datasets, and helping colleagues with reporting requests.

Andi studied Finance, Economics and Psychology at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. He co-founded a social media platform with the goal of increasing student interactions in the physical world. Through that experience, Andi developed a passion for improving education equality. He believes the coupling of technology and education is the key to building a better world.

Andi likes staying active and takes every opportunity to explore new places and spend time in nature. He is a fan of any and all podcasts. He is one of the select few people to legitimately enjoy the taste of kale.
Lisa Nuccitelli
Lisa NuccitelliSenior 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.
Jackson Popkin
Jackson PopkinSenior Engineer
Jackson Popkin 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.
Mohammad Radiyat
Mohammad RadiyatData 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.
PJ Rosa
PJ RosaProduct Designer
Josh Rosenberg
Josh RosenbergLead 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.
Gwendolyn Royer
Gwendolyn RoyerSenior Product Manager
Gwen collaborates with colleagues across the organization to define problems, support the execution of solutions, and measure the impact of changes to ensure a great experience for our teachers, donors, and partners. Prior to joining the Product team, she focused on supporting our teachers and donors on the Operations team.

A graduate of Muhlenberg College, when not in the office you can find Gwen planning her next travel adventure, finding any excuse to be outside, and spending time with friends and family.
Jim Steinberger
Jim SteinbergerSenior 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.
Paul Tai
Paul TaiSenior 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.
Alina Taveras Shelley
Alina Taveras ShelleyEngineer
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.
Michael Thompson Walker
Michael Thompson WalkerSenior 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.

National Advisory Council

Jonathan Alter
Jonathan AlterMSNBC Analyst, Bloomberg Columnist, Author
Jonathan is an award-winning author, reporter, columnist and television analyst. Since 2011, Jonathan has written a column for Bloomberg View, a worldwide commentary site housed under Bloomberg News. He spent 28 years at Newsweek, where he was a longtime senior editor and columnist and wrote more than 50 cover stories. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, The New Republic and other publications.

Since 1996, Jonathan has been an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. His 2010 book, "The Promise: President Obama, Year One," went to #4 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List and was one of the Times' "Notable Books" of the year. "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope," published in 2006, was also a bestseller.
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 of Fog Creek Software
Anil Dash is an entrepreneur, activist and writer recognized as one of the most prominent voices advocating for a more humane, inclusive and ethical technology industry. He is the CEO of Fog Creek Software, the independent New York City tech company that incubated landmark startups like Trello and Stack Overflow, and created Glitch, the friendly new community that helps anyone make the app of their dreams.

Dash was an advisor to the Obama White House’s Office of Digital Strategy, and today advises major startups and non-profits including Medium and DonorsChoose. He also serves as a board member for companies like Stack Overflow, the world’s largest community for computer programmers, and non-profits like the Data & Society Research Institute, whose research examines the impact of tech on society and culture; the NY Tech Alliance, America’s largest tech trade organization; and the Lower East Side Girls Club, which serves girls and families in need in New York City.

Described as a “blogging pioneer” by the New Yorker, Dash has a unique presence on social media, where he’s been maintaining his Webby-recognized personal website since 1999, with its analysis of the technology industry and its impact on culture earning recognition and citations in sources ranging from the New York Times to the BBC to TMZ, as well as hundreds of academic papers. In 2013, Time named @anildash one of the best accounts on Twitter, and it is the only account ever retweeted by both Bill Gates and Prince, a succinct summarization of Dash’s interests. As a writer and artist, Dash has been a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Wired, has had his works exhibited in the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and DJed the XOXO arts festival.

Prior to joining Fog Creek, Dash cofounded Makerbase, an online community for people who make apps and websites, and Activate, the boutique management consultancy which defines strategies for many of the most important companies in media and technology.

Earlier in his career, Dash founded the non-profit Expert Labs, a research initiative backed by the MacArthur Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which studied online public engagement in policy making. He also helped start Six Apart, the seminal social media company that invented the technology behind many of the earliest and most influential social media sites on the Internet.

Dash is based in New York City, where he lives with his wife Alaina Browne and their son Malcolm. Dash has never played a round of golf, drank a cup of coffee, or graduated from college.
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.
Arianna Huffington
Arianna HuffingtonCEO & Founder, Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and the author of fifteen books, including, most recently, Thrive and The Sleep Revolution.

In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet, and in 2012 won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In August 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. Thrive Global provides trainings, seminars, e-courses, coaching and ongoing support based on the latest scientific findings to improve people’s health and increase productivity for both companies and individuals around the world.

She has been named to Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

She serves on numerous boards, including Uber and The Center for Public Integrity.

Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, on the science, history and mystery of sleep, both became instant international bestsellers.

Anna Kendrick
Anna KendrickActress, Singer

Anna Kendrick has a variety of accomplishments that showcase her impressive range of talent. Kendrick is known for her lead in Pitch Perfect 2, which broke the record as the highest-grossing musical of all time. The song “Cups,” which she performed in the first Pitch Perfect went multi-platinum, and was one of Billboards’ top songs of 2013. Kendrick is the author of Scrappy Little Nobody, a collection of humorous, autobiographical essays, published by Simon & Schuster, and was released in November 2016.

Kendrick most recently starred in Fox Searchlight’s Table 19, the action-thriller The Accountant opposite Ben Affleck and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates with Zac Efron. She is the voice of ‘Poppy’ in the DreamWorks Animation music-filled comedy Trolls, opposite Justin Timberlake.

Kendrick’s other recent credits include Walt Disney Pictures’ Into the Woods, where she played ‘Cinderella’ opposite Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, Drinking Buddies, in which she starred opposite Olivia Wilde and Ron Livingston, and David Ayerʼs intense crime-drama, End of Watch, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. Kendrick was also in the blockbuster Twilight Saga franchise.

In 2010, Kendrick starred opposite George Clooney and Jason Bateman in the lauded film Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman, for which she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and was honored by The National Board of Review for Best Supporting Actress and by the MTV Movie Awards for Best Breakout Star. She also earned nominations from the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, The Golden Globes, BAFTA, and the Screen Actors Guild.

Anna made her feature film debut in director Todd Graffʼs Camp, a favorite at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Her performance in the cult classic earned her an Independent Spirit Awards nomination, as well as a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Annual Chlotrudis Awards.

Sallie Krawcheck
Sallie KrawcheckCEO & Co-Founder, Ellevest
Sallie Krawcheck’s professional mission is to help women reach their financial and professional goals (or, put more bluntly, to get more money into the hands of women), thus enabling them to live better lives and unleashing a positive ripple effect for our families, our communities and our economy. To that end, she is the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital-first, mission-driven investment platform for women. Ellevest is one of the fastest growing digital investment platforms and has been named a #24 on CNBC’s top 50 “Disruptor” list, #14 on LinkedIn’s 50 “Most Sought-After Startups” (and #2 in New York), and one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 100 Brilliant Ideas. Krawcheck is also Chair of the Ellevate Network, a 135K-strong global professional women’s network; she is Chair of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund, a fund that invests in the top-rated companies for advancing women; and she is the best-selling author of “Own It: The Power of Women at Work.”

Before launching Ellevest, Krawcheck built a successful career on Wall Street: She was the CEO of Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, US Trust, the Citi Private Bank, and Sanford C. Bernstein. She was also Chief Financial Officer for Citigroup. Prior to that, Krawcheck was a top-ranked research analyst covering the securities industry.

Krawcheck, one of few executives to find success in large complex companies and as a startup CEO, is widely recognized as one of the most influential women in business. She has been recognized by Inc. as a “Top Female Founder”, called “The Last Honest Analyst” by Fortune magazine, was named the seventh most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, was # 9 on Fast Company’s list of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” called one of the top 10 up and coming entrepreneurs to watch by Entrepreneur Magazine and has landed on Vanity Fair’s “The 2018 New Establishment List.”

Krawcheck received a BA summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA with honors from Columbia Business School. She has two children and two cats.
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.
Lorna Simpson
Lorna SimpsonPhotographer & Multimedia Artist
Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, New York, and received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. When Lorna Simpson emerged from the graduate program in 1985, she was already considered a pioneer of conceptual photography. Her initial body of work alone helped to incite a significant shift in the view of photographic art's transience and malleability.

Lorna Simpson first became well-known in the mid-1980s for her large-scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history, and memory. In the mid-1990s, she began creating large multi-panel photographs printed on felt that depict the sites of public - yet unseen - sexual encounters. Over time she turned to film and video works in which individuals engage in enigmatic conversations that seem to address the mysteries of both identity and desire. In Simpson's latest works, characteristic ambivalence is presented with hazy ink washes to present isolated figures amidst nebulous spaces - a return to and departure from her earlier unidentified figures in a deepened exploration of contemporary culture.

Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. She has participated in such important international exhibitions such as the Hugo Boss Prize at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany, and the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy. She has been the subject of numerous articles, catalogue essays, and a monograph published by Phaidon Press. Most recently, in 2016, Simpson's new body of works were exhibited at Salon 94, New York and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas.
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.
Benjamin Watson
Benjamin WatsonNFL Tight End, New Orleans Saints
Benjamin Watson (born December 18, 1980) is a tight end for the New Orleans Saints. After an all-SEC senior campaign at the University of Georgia, he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. As a Patriot, Benjamin was blessed to receive a Super Bowl ring in his rookie season as well as appear in another in 2007.

In the 2005 AFC Divisional Game against the Denver Broncos, he made perhaps one of the most notable plays in NFL history, when he tackled Denver cornerback Champ Bailey one yard short of what would be a 101-yard interception off Tom Brady. This play is of note due to the fact that Watson was on the other side of the field when Bailey made the play. He had to sprint an estimated 120-yards, run through a referee and never gave up in the chase.

Watson has played for the Cleveland Browns, and the New Orleans Saints where he was named a team captain for the 2015-2016 season. In his 12th year in the NFL, Watson had a career season where he had career bests in receptions (74) and yards (825), and tied his career high in touchdowns (six). On March 9, 2016, Benjamin Watson signed a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Off the field, Benjamin stays busy with his foundation One More, his growing family, and the NFL Players Association, where he serves on the Executive Committee. In 2015, Watson published his first book, “Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race- And Getting Free From The Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us”. On May 2nd, 2017 Watson released his new literary work, “The New Dad’s Playbook: Gearing Up for the Biggest Game of Your Life.”

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.