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Mark was drawn to PSP by its willingness to define its vision in terms of a bold and specific goal—25% more high-quality schools available for the children of Philadelphia by 2015—and by its emphasis on supporting all kinds of great schools, regardless of their ideology, platform or political alliances. Mark is an entrepreneurial leader with a record of launching and growing new ventures. He has significant experience in fund-raising, partnership development, strategic planning, general management and communications. Having worked primarily in media and marketing over the past 20 years, his commitment to improving American schools was ignited when he joined the board of education for a racially diverse school district bordering Newark, N.J., in 2006. Quickly he learned there is no shortage of good intentions in American education—but that too often political disagreements and bureaucratic torpor block those intentions from leading to better outcomes for students.

Mark served as president of the South Orange-Maplewood, N.J., Board of Education from 2007-2011. During that time the board focused its energies on developing an organizational culture that revolves around rewarding outcomes rather than intentions. The district has developed a strategic plan rooted in measurable outcomes (student test data as well as others), recruited a new superintendent, overhauled the English curriculum in grades K-12, instituted a new, robust system for evaluating teachers, and aligned principals’ and supervisors’ pay with student performance—all while reducing the rate of tax increase five years in a row. The fruits of these efforts began to show last year, when the district narrowed achievement gaps between blacks and whites in nearly every grade while also improving its performance relative to statewide benchmarks.

Prior to joining PSP, Mark led partnership development at Christ the King Prep School, a Cristo Rey Network high school in Newark, N.J. Earlier in his career, Mark co-founded a web venture called What’s Next Media, founded and built a national magazine about books and culture called Book, led the brand launch of telecommunications firm Qwest Communications, served as editor in chief of the leading business newspaper in Cincinnati, Ohio, and helped launch a Hispanic marketing group at Procter & Gamble Co. He has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s journalism and communications school.

Miriam Sondheimer is the Managing Director for Philadelphia School Partnership. The Managing Director serves as the chief operating officer of PSP and is responsible for managing the Great Schools Fund (school investments), talent initiatives (investments in talent development), and GreatPhillySchools (parent engagement and empowerment initiatives).

Prior to joining PSP, Miriam worked as a Partner for The New Teacher Project (TNTP) where she managed teams in Camden City Public Schools and Detroit public school to implement strategies to recruit and retain strong teachers and principals and led efforts to reimagine the central office to best meets school needs. Miriam also worked with Uncommon Schools Camden Prep Elementary School to develop and implement external relations, parent advocacy and community engagement practices to improve the school’s parent culture and cultivate positive visibility and partnerships with the community.

Previously, Miriam worked at the New York City Department of Education for over 10 years. Miriam served as Chief Portfolio Officer and Executive Director of Charter Schools. In that capacity, Miriam managed the district strategy, policy and related operational practices to open new charter schools in New York City and provided oversight and accountability to existing charter schools. Miriam has also served as a  teacher at the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City, NJ. She has degrees from Tufts University and Bank Street College of Education.

Melanie Richter is Director of Development. Along with the Executive Director of PSP, she is responsible for working with donors to create leveraged impact through their investments in PSP’s Great Schools Fund and other work streams. She cultivates and stewards donor relationships, communicating and reporting to them regularly so they can monitor the impact of their philanthropic investments.

Prior to joining PSP, for 12 years Melanie was a Vice President/Relationship Manager at Glenmede, where she was an advisor to endowments, private foundations and nonprofits, including those with a focus on education.  She also worked for three years in development, parent programs and alumni services at Friends Select School, a private elementary and secondary school, while simultaneously coaching middle school girls’ basketball.

A native Philadelphian, Melanie has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and received her MBA in finance from Drexel University.

Sophia brings experience as an educator to her work supporting schools with PSP’s Talent and Collaboration team. At Independence Charter School, Sophia developed and taught Science and Society, a multi-year course emphasizing inquiry, interdisciplinary studies, and technology. She also co-founded the school’s FIRST Robotics team, established a school organic garden, and mentored with Students Run Philly Style. Previously, Sophia was part of the turnaround team at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter. While there, she established and directed the first-ever Honors program, which included differentiated coursework, parent outreach, fundraising events, and college readiness support. Sophia began her teaching career at Overbrook High School as a Teach for America Corps Member. In each setting, Sophia led staff professional development on topics ranging from positive classroom culture to educational technology integration.

In addition to her work with PSP, Sophia is a Science Methods instructor for the University of Pennsylvania’s Urban Teacher’s Master’s Program. Sophia is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cliff manages PSP’s policy platform, providing research and reports to the organization based on high-quality studies. His work is primarily focused on aggregating, reviewing and distributing information on best practices in education policy and practice, while working to elevate policy issues specific to Philadelphia’s public schools.

Prior to joining PSP, Cliff was the founder and Executive Director of Invictus Prep, a college-prep charter school in East New York, Brooklyn. He was responsible for all initial recruitment, fundraising and operational efforts, leading the school to achieve two years of academic growth every year for the school’s first three years. Most recently, Cliff worked as a Program Manager for the JPMorgan Chase Foundation’s Fellowship Initiative, a college-prep program for young men of color in high schools across New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Prior to that, Cliff was a Policy and Research Associate at the Boston Plan for Excellence, a non-profit dedicated to driving exceptional outcomes for students and teachers by developing great teachers and great schools. Cliff began his career teaching Living Environment and Advanced Placement Biology in Brooklyn, New York, while also coaching varsity basketball and interning with the New York City Council’s Middle School Task Force as a Research Associate.

Cliff earned an honors degree in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University, and a Master’s in Secondary Science Education from Pace University.

Jacob manages and executes PSP’s communications and media relations strategy. He works to share PSP’s work with stakeholders, lawmakers and the public at large to help the organization achieve its strategic goals.

Prior to joining PSP, Jacob worked as the Senior Writer at StudentsFirst in Sacramento, California. Before that he served as a Teach for America corps member in Philadelphia, teaching 3rd-5th grade science and social studies as well as coaching basketball and advising the student government.  He is also a proud member of the Philly Coalition of Rising Education Leaders (PhillyCORE) and a board member for PhilaSoup, an organization helping to support and foster collaboration between Philadelphia teachers. A New Jersey native, he received his bachelor’s degree from Haverford College.

Josh oversees PSP’s use of data across the organization, providing everything from support on ongoing projects to small data requests. His data-related tasks include acquisition, organization, research, analysis, collaboration with external partners, visualization and GIS mapping, quality control, and long-term planning.

Previously, Josh spent four years in Camden running CamConnect, a small data nonprofit. His main endeavor involved working with community development organizations to manage a comprehensive citywide abandoned properties survey, including an interactive map at Camden-data.org.

A West Philadelphia native, Josh graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 as an Economics major, and in 2011 received his Master’s of Public Administration from Penn’s Fels Institute of Government.

Chatara is an associate with the Investment team, working to implement a school funding strategy in support PSP’s mission of creating and expanding great schools. She works with the team to a conduct comprehensive assessments for all funding applications, evaluate investment performance and analyze school data. Before joining PSP, Chatara was a performance analyst with J.P. Morgan Chase and City of London Investment Management where she provided drill-down analysis and attribution on multi asset investment portfolios.

Chatara also serves as a mentor to underserved rising high school seniors with NJ SEEDS, where she guides students through the college application process. As a member of the Young Professional Group of the American Heart Association, she plans and implements an awareness campaign throughout American Heart Month. She is also a member of the Gen250 committee, the young professional arm of USA250, an initiative to convene citizens and leaders from all 50 states in Philadelphia for America’s 250th anniversary. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from George Washington University.

Rachel is an associate with the Investment team, which manages PSP’s $100 million Great Schools Fund. She supports PSP’s mission to create and expand great schools by determining how best to allocate the Fund’s resources through outreach to potential investment candidates, as well as a rigorous due diligence process and ongoing evaluation of portfolio performance.

Rachel joined PSP in 2015 as part of the GreatPhillySchools (GPS) team. Prior to her experience on the GPS team, Rachel worked as a secondary special education teacher in the School District of Philadelphia from 2010 – 2015. During that time, Rachel served as the Special Education Liaison, managing both staff and students in the special education department. She leveraged partnerships with community organizations to create the Lankenau Work Exchange Program, improving student outcomes academically and behaviorally. While teaching in Philadelphia, Rachel earned her Masters of Education from Chestnut Hill College and received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for excellence in teaching. Rachel is a 2010 graduate of Georgetown University, earning her bachelor’s degree in Government.

Amanda is a member of the investment team, which manages PSP’s $100 million Great Schools Fund. She supports PSP’s mission to create and expand great schools by determining how best to allocate the Fund’s resources through outreach to potential investment candidates, as well as a rigorous due diligence process and ongoing evaluation of portfolio performance.

Prior to joining PSP, Amanda spent several years working in the nongovernmental sector. At the Clinton Global Initiative, Amanda performed data analysis and management for more than 3,000 international development projects totaling $100 billion and taking place in 150 countries. Amanda supported multiple content platforms, including the Education Portfolio, which convenes more than 50 business, nonprofit, and academic leaders each year to create cross-sector partnerships to improve access to, and quality of, early childhood and secondary education opportunities across the globe.

Prior to the Clinton Global Initiative, Amanda spent time abroad studying Development Economics at the American University in Cairo. She served as a Graduate Research Fellow and focused her research on financial interventions in primary education attainment in the developing world. Amanda is a graduate of the Fox School of Business at Temple University, and is excited to apply her background in business and economics to serve the youth of her hometown.

Eileen serves as Coordinator for GreatPhillySchools, an initiative that provides parents and community members with information to compare schools of all types in Philadelphia. Before joining Philadelphia School Partnership, Eileen worked as an attorney with a focus on insurance coverage and mass tort litigation. Prior to entering private practice, she served as the law clerk for the Honorable Kenneth J. Grispin P.J.Cv., the presiding Judge of the Law Division in Union County, New Jersey.

A New Jersey native, Eileen earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross. While at Holy Cross, Eileen spent a year at Mansfield College at Oxford University studying British and European Union history and politics. She earned her law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law where she was the recipient of the Raymond Del Tufo Jr. Constitutional Law Award and member of the Center for Social Justice’s Immigration Clinic. In that role, Eileen assisted undocumented victims of domestic violence and political persecution in their U-Visa and asylum applications.  Eileen is excited to use the skills she developed in the legal profession to serve the educational needs of Philadelphia’s families and students.

Gloria serves as the Executive Assistant to Mark Gleason, Philadelphia School Partnership’s (PSP) Executive Director, and as office manager for the PSP team.

Prior to joining PSP, Gloria served as Executive Administrator for The Grace S. and W. Linton Nelson Foundation, a Philadelphia area foundation whose mission is to expand opportunities for children and youth to become productive and engaged members of their communities. Previously, she worked for a number of years as a legal secretary / paralegal for law firms in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Clark University and a paralegal certificate from the University of Maryland.

School Investments

Since 2011, we’ve invested more than $50 million to give 20,000 more students access to high-quality schools.

Investors

Our goal is to raise $100 million by 2016 to invest in great schools of all types. To date, we’ve raised just over $65 million.

By the Numbers

We invest in schools of all types. Our committed funds are currently invested in charter (60%), district (30%) and private (10%) schools.

Performance

Our goal is to ensure 35,000 more students each year are on the path to college by 2017.