Board of Directors

Carmen Farina, Chairman - New York City Schools Chancellor

Jonathan D. Harber - Harber Advisors, LLC

Andy Kaplan - Chief Financial Officer, DonorsChoose.org

Bobye List - Executive Director, Kornfeld Foundation

Lisa Plepler, Secretary - Chairman of the Board of Directors, ArtsConnection

Jerrold Ross - Dean Emeritus, The School of Education at St. John's University

Steve Strongin, Treasurer - Head of Global Investment Research, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Dennis Williams - Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO

Kathy Wylde - President and CEO, The Partnership for New York City

 
 
 

FPS Staff

Sarah Geisenheimer, Executive Director

Prior to joining The Fund for Public Schools as Senior Advisor in the Chancellor's Office, Sarah served as an Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation. In this role, Sarah helped lead Digital Jobs Africa, a $100 million youth education and employment initiative, and advised the Rockefeller Foundation's Executive Team on the Foundation's strategy and organizational performance. The daughter of two public school teachers, Sarah's deep commitment to service and education is reflected in her past work on the Livelihoods Advisory Board of the UN High Commission for Refugees, and as an International Rescue Committee Youth Program Mentor for many years. Sarah received an undergraduate degree from New York University and a Master’s Degree in International Education Development from Columbia University Teachers College.

 

Jose Acevedo, Finance Associate

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jose began his career with the NYC Department of Education as a bookkeeper more than 15 years ago and plans to pursue a degree in business management from Brooklyn College. 

 

Kate Alcorn, Senior Portfolio Director

Kate grew up in the Midwest but has lived in Brooklyn long enough that she considers herself a true New Yorker. She earned her undergrad degree (BS in Biology) from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Shortly after graduating from Lewis & Clark College, Kate entered NYU Wagner. She graduated with a Master in Urban Planning. Kate’s background is in urban policy & planning. She has worked as a grant-maker, policy analyst, and program manager. Most recently Kate worked on teacher development and evaluation at the NYC Department of Education. 

 

Nancy Baez, Chief of Staff

A native New Yorker, Nancy attended New York City public schools and graduated from Brooklyn Tech. At Marymount Manhattan College (MMC), she focused her studies on international social movements with an emphasis on equity, inclusion, and transparency in urban planning. She spent a year observing the initiation of Participatory Budgeting (PB) in NYC, and published the first article on its initiation. Nancy graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Journalism, and was inducted into three Honor Societies based on Leadership, Academic Achievement, and Political Science. Nancy gained government experience in the Offices of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. She also managed and co-authored a grant-funded impact study on the NYC Department of Education’s Special Education Reform through the Fund for Public Advocacy. After two years as Special Assistant and Chief of Staff in the DOE’s Division of Family and Community Engagement, Nancy transitioned into her current role at the Fund for Public Schools. 

 

Joyce Becker, Senior Portfolio Director, School-Based Innovation

A product of the New York City Public School system, Joyce has spent thirty-seven years as a teacher and administrator in New York City and Massapequa, Long Island, schools. Serving as an elementary school teacher, a middle school Assistant Principal and a Principal in a variety of schools, she has mentored many new staff members, and provided them with the tools necessary to succeed. In her role as Principal, she was responsible for the academic, social and emotional development of her students and the schools she led consistently demonstrated significant growth in standardized assessments. Joyce received an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from Brooklyn College, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Baruch. Her post Masters concentrated in reading and math were completed at Hofstra and Adelphi Universities. 

 

David Belsky, Senior Director of Communications

Before joining The Fund in February 2017, David served The State University of New York system as Director of Marketing & Creative Services. In that role, David drove integrated marketing strategy for the nation's largest comprehensive system of higher education. From 2008, David held several other positions at SUNY, overseeing a wide-ranging portfolio including university relations, media relations, alumni relations, advocacy, brand management, digital engagement, speechwriting, crisis communications, student governance, and the work of the Communications and External Affairs Committee of the SUNY Board of Trustees. David holds an MPA from the University at Albany's Rockefeller College, and a BA in Political Science from Binghamton University. He lives in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens, having attended PS188Q, MS74Q, and Townsend Harris High School.

 

Mahogany Coleman, Director of Portfolio Operations

Prior to joining The Fund, Mahogany held a grants management role at The Newark Charter Schools Fund, where she performed investment analysis of new proposals, refined grant objectives and metrics, and evaluated performance outcomes and budgets. Her commitment to education and community is reflected in her time serving as a volunteer with organizations such as Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and various public schools. Mahogany holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, and an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Strategic Communication from Ohio State University. Mahogany grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and remains true to her roots as a huge Cavaliers and Buckeyes fan.

 

Jessica Dickson, Director of Portfolio Operations

Prior to joining The Fund for Public Schools, Jessica held positions in the nonprofit and public sectors, including the NYC Department of Education’s central Special Education Office, where she supported implementation and communications for professional development for teachers and other school staff. Jessica earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Philosophy at Colgate University and a Master of Science degree in Nonprofit Management at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, with a focus on public policy and program evaluation for large-scale and small-scale nonprofit organizations.

 

Arlene Dominguez, Director of Portfolio Operations

A native New Yorker, Arlene earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Brooklyn College and Master’s in Public Administration from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She has held positions in the nonprofit sector and in the field of higher education. She is a champion of literacy initiatives for low-income students, and in 2008, developed a family reading night program that has engaged hundreds of families in activities to promote reading. She is currently chair of the New York City School Library System Council.

 

Cillonia McKenley, Senior Portfolio Director

Cillonia has more than a decade of experience in education fundraising and marketing. Prior to joining The Fund, she was Associate Director of the Annual Fund at Columbia Law School. Earlier in her career she managed advertising campaigns for the National Education Association and directed print and web initiatives at The Spence School. Cillonia received undergraduate degrees in business and music from American University and a Master’s in educational policy from Teachers College Columbia University.

 

Nadeen Naj-Baldeo, Finance Director

Before joining The Fund for Public Schools, Nadeen graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services Management and worked at nonprofit organizations that provided services for individuals with developmental disabilities and with those helping young pregnant teens become self-reliant.

 

David Nathanson, Chief Financial Officer

Born in Brooklyn, David grew up in Manalapan, New Jersey, where he and his family moved when he was five. He attended Fairleigh-Dickinson University and graduated with a B.S. in Accounting. He has been working in nonprofit finance, as a vice-president of finance and chief financial officer, for more than twenty years. 

 

Allison Oldehoff, Senior Portfolio Director

A Hudson Valley native and current Brooklyn dweller, Allison studied American Culture at Vassar College. With a passion for championing the people and organizations who work together to achieve extraordinary results, she discovered the field of philanthropy and fundraising as an intern in college. Allison has held multiple fundraising and alumni relations roles in higher education, at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Columbia Business School. She gained experience in New York politics and government through serving as Deputy Finance Director on the state-wide Attorney General race. Before joining the Fund, Allison was the Campaign Director at NAF, focusing on bringing new and engaged donors to support educational opportunity and career access for students across the country. 

 

Lauren Perkins, Managing Director, Programs & Operations

Prior to joining The Fund, Lauren was a Deputy Executive Director with the NYC Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Readiness, where she managed finance, operations, and research in support of strategies to prepare students for college and career success. Lauren served as a Fulbright Scholar in rural South Korea and has held positions in organizations leading programs in adult basic education, global education, and youth development. Lauren received a Bachelor's Degree from Hamilton College, and a Master's Degree in International Educational from Columbia University Teachers College. 

 

Julianne Rana, Managing Director, Business Development

Julianne brings over 20 years of New York nonprofit fundraising and programmatic experience to her work with the Fund for Public Schools. Prior to joining The Fund, she worked for Single Stop USA, an award winning domestic anti-poverty organization, serving first as its Senior Director of Institutional Giving and subsequently overseeing the entire National Development function. For more than a decade, she supported and , ultimately, led Foundation & Corporate Giving for The Children's Aid Society, one of New York City's oldest and largest children's services organizations. At WhyHunger, an anti-hunger and poverty organization, she served first as a VISTA Volunteer and progressed to the role of Director, overseeing two national programs. Julianne received a Bachelor's Degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.  

 

Senyal Walton, Senior Finance Associate

A Native New Yorker, Senyal is a talented Business Management Professional with 25 years of Office Administration experience within the nonprofit sector, inclusive of Finance, Operations & Human Resources.  She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration minoring in Organizational Behavior, and holds a license as a New York State Life, Health and Accidental Death Insurance Agent. 

 

Anthony Williams, Special Assistant

A South Bronx native, Anthony is a proud alumnus of the NYC public school system. Shortly after graduating from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, Anthony joined the U.S. Army, deploying to Iraq twice as a member of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Anthropology and Master of Science in Publishing, both from Pace University. After holding various positions in both the nonprofit sector and the federal government, Anthony joined The Fund for the chance to impact the lives of NYC public school children. 

 

Elaine Wu, Senior Portfolio Director

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Elaine studied international relations at Stanford University and received a master’s degree in comparative education from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. In addition to having managed global entrepreneurship programs for teens in Silicon Valley, Elaine has taught at The American School in London and, most recently, at KIPP South Fulton Academy in Atlanta, Georgia.