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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 – Talent Initiatives and Strategic Partnerships.

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 Schools to implement strategies to recruit and retain strong teachers and principals and led efforts to reimagine the central office to best meet the needs of the schools. Miriam also worked with Uncommon Schools Camden Prep Elementary School to develop and implement external relations, parent advocacy and community engagement practices.

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.

Sam is the Data Analyst, primarily serving the School Investments Team. Sam leads acquisition, cleaning, analyzing and visualization of all school data to support PSP’s mission to maximize the number of high quality seats in Philadelphia. Sam is also involved in long term data strategy for the organization, to ensure that PSP is continually improving data usage and accessibility. Most recently, Sam has served as a Data Strategist in the Office of Data Strategy and Analytics for the Tulsa Public Schools District in Tulsa, OK. Prior to that, Sam served as the Data Analyst and Project Manager for the office of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in Tulsa Public Schools District. Sam attended Bucknell University.

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.

Lydia leads the Great Schools Fund Investment team, working to implement a school funding strategy in support of PSP’s mission to create and expand excellent schools.  She works with a team to conduct comprehensive assessments for all funding applications, evaluate investment performance and analyze school data, and provide guidance and support around funding implementation to maximize impact.

Prior to joining PSP, Lydia served as the Chief Academic Officer for KIPP Philadelphia Schools.  As the Chief Academic Officer, Lydia set the academic vision for the region and managed School Leaders.  Prior to joining KIPP Philadelphia Schools, Lydia worked for New Leaders managing, coaching, and mentoring Assistant Principals to get them ready for school leadership.  In 2003 Lydia started KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy in San Francisco, Ca.  She led the school for nine years.  When she left, the school scored in the top 10% of all middle schools in the state of California.  During that time she also worked for the KIPP Regional Support Office launching the KIPP Through College department.  Prior to KIPP, Lydia worked for a School Reform Model in San Francisco and at Johns Hopkins University.  Lydia taught in Baltimore and worked for the Baltimore City School District early in her career.

Maggie serves as the Project Manager for GreatPhillySchools, the organization’s initiative to empower Philadelphia families with information and access in order to choose a high-quality school for their child.

Prior to joining PSP, Maggie worked as the Manager of Marketing and Communications for Lutheran Settlement House, a multi-service nonprofit in Fishtown that runs a Senior Center, Adult Literacy Program, Bilingual Domestic Violence Program, and a Homeless Shelter. While there, she managed the organization’s public relations, redesigned the majority of their in-print and online materials, and spearheaded community outreach efforts. She is a two-time Americorps alumnus, having completed a term as a City Year Corps Member at Overbrook High School, and as an Americorps VISTA at Kensington CAPA High School, where she acted as the school’s Community Partnerships Coordinator.

Maggie earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts where she studied Comparative Literature and Political Theory. Originally from New Jersey, she has lived in West Philadelphia for over four years.

Salma leads GreatPhillySchools, the organization’s initiative to empower Philadelphia families with information and access in order to choose a high-quality school for their child. Prior to joining PSP, she served as Director of External Affairs at KIPP Philadelphia Schools where her portfolio of work included advocacy, governance, and parent and community engagement. She spearheaded the successful approval of three new charters, doubling the number of KIPP schools in Philadelphia. Prior to joining KIPP, she served as Director of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program where she was responsible for overseeing the administration and expansion of the first federally-funded school voucher program. She also served as a Management and Program Analyst at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation of Improvement, the agency’s entrepreneurial arm that makes strategic investments in innovative educational programs and practices. Salma is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and studied at the University of Southern California’s School of Education.

Jim is the manager of school investments at PSP, where he works to support and expand great schools by developing a school funding strategy to maximize the number of high quality seats in Philadelphia. Prior to joining PSP, Jim served as the Director of College Readiness at Sci Academy, a Collegiate Academies School in New Orleans, launching a network-wide college readiness program. For nine years, Jim taught and led in several capacities in New Orleans, teaching a project-based learning senior seminar in design thinking that successfully prepared his students to become leaders in their community – several of whom have gone on to advocate for change on a national level and change state and local laws. In addition, Jim has served as a curriculum specialist for both Teach For America and The New Teacher Project (TNTP), and has won numerous teaching awards, including St. John Parish District Teacher of the Year and the New Schools for New Orleans Excellence in Teaching Award. Jim holds a Bachelors in Public Policy from Rutgers University, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Teachers College – Columbia University.

Rachel is a member of the Development and Communications teams at PSP. She supports the Director of Development in managing donor relationships to benefit the Great Schools Fund and other PSP initiatives. She also works with the Manager of Public Affairs to foster effective communication between PSP, its partners and the community it serves.

Prior to joining PSP, Rachel led two university-based volunteer groups as the Project Director at MOCHE, Inc., an NGO based in Northern Peru. Before MOCHE, Rachel was an AmeriCorps member with City Year, where she worked in the Little Rock School District in Arkansas. Through City Year, she provided daily assistance in a 6th grade English classroom and individualized tutoring and mentorship for 15 students. She also worked as the school’s literacy coordinator.

A Philadelphia native, Rachel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Urban Studies.

As a member of the investment team, Allie identifies opportunities for school investment and supports school teams as they strive to deliver quality academic programs. Her role centers around the belief that all students can achieve at extraordinarily high levels when they have access to high-performing schools.

Most recently, Allie served as an Assistant Principal of Culture with the Aspire Charter Network in Oakland, CA.  Her focus was building a positive school culture and fostering a community of staff, parents and other stakeholders that allowed students to thrive in their learning environment. Prior to living in California, she managed the academic, social-emotional and enrichment programming at an education nonprofit in New York City, where she launched a new program site.  Before this role, Allie was an elementary school teacher in New York City public schools.  She joined the teaching force as an NYC Teaching Fellow in 2008 and simultaneously pursued her Masters of Education from Lehman College, which she earned in 2010.  Allie graduated in 2008 from Lafayette College in Easton, PA with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

David Saenz Jr. is the Manager of Public Affairs for Philadelphia School Partnership. The Manager of Public Affairs crafts and implements communications and public-engagement strategies, leads media relations and manages PSP’s websites and social-media presence.

Before joining PSP, David worked as Press Secretary at the New Jersey Department of Education. Prior to that, he worked at the Office of the New Jersey Governor as Director of Special Projects and Director of Research. A California native, David earned his bachelor’s degree in Government from the California State University of Sacramento.

Kelsie serves as the Project Coordinator for GreatPhillySchools. Prior to joining PSP, Kelsie learned the landscape of many Philadelphia area schools as an educational associate by recruiting faculty members for continuing education. She also taught Spanish at both Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary and the University of Delaware, where she implemented, developed, and created extensive curriculum and resources for a variety of learner ages. She is an AmeriCorps alumnus, having completed a term as a Notre Dame Mission Volunteer with the Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington.

A Delaware native, Kelsie holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish Studies and Latin American Studies from the University of Delaware, and also earned a master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Pedagogy at the University of Delaware.

Teryn is a member of our investment team, leading our efforts to create and expand schools. She helps to determine how to allocate the Fund’s resources through outreach to potential partners and by her ongoing evaluation of our portfolio’s performance. Additionally, Teryn supports the investment team by analyzing school budgets and strengthening schools with support through financial sustainability.

Prior to joining PSP, Teryn served as a school leader for KIPP New Jersey in Newark and Camden, NJ. As principal, she founded a turnaround school for 3rd and 4th-grade students in Camden. During her time at KIPP NJ, Teryn taught grades from kindergarten to 6th and served as an Assistant Principal overseeing K-2 math curriculum and alignment. Teryn is a graduate of Drexel University. She also served students in Philadelphia as a teacher for Mastery Charter Schools while she earned her Master’s Degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Eileen serves as the Manager 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.


PSP has invested in 64 schools of all types (public district, public charter, and private) across Philadelphia


Since 2011, PSP has invested over $65 million in schools of all types to improve educational outcomes of children in Philadelphia


Annually, over 100,000 people learn about and apply to great schools through the free resources provided by GreatPhillySchools


As a result of PSP’s investments, more than 26,000 students are enrolled in better schools