About

Mission

The Philadelphia Education Fund creates equitable access to opportunities for students by providing resources and expertise that build paths to college and career success.

Vision

Our vision is for all young people in Philadelphia to have the skills and opportunity to succeed in college and career.

 

For copies of past Form 990 filings from PEF, visit Candid or ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer.

I Am College Material

Founded in 1985, the Philadelphia Education Fund drives exceptional student outcomes by developing great teachers and building paths to college and career success. We elevate opportunities, unlock potential, improve our city and our community and change lives—one student at a time.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Our board members are dedicated volunteers who give generously of their time, talent, and treasure to resource the efforts of the Philadelphia Education Fund and ensure its work remains responsive and attuned to the educational needs of the community.

Board of Directors

Officers

John G. Ginelli, Chair
Department Head of Control
Vanguard Group

Joann Mitchell, Vice Chair
SVP, Institutional Affairs and CDO
University of Pennsylvania

Tom Ball, Treasurer
Retired, Vice President and General Manager
Evonik Industries AG

Juliana Mosley-Williams, PhD, Secretary
Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Salus University

Members

Cheryl L. Baxter, Esq.
Head of Corporate Advocacy
S&P Global

Mark Blaskey
Senior Counsel
Ballard Spahr

Steven Scott Bradley
Principal
OneDigital Senior Client Executive

Valerie Brown, Esq.
Partner
Holland and Knight LLP

Richard Corcoran, CFA
Managing Director
Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management

Ripley Dwyer
HR Business Partner
Penonni Associates

Susan Lorenz-Fisher
SVP, Global Sustainability, 
ESG Integration & Real Estate, Cencora

Phillip Gabler
Distinguished Engineer
Comcast

La-Toya P. Hackney, Esq.
SVP, General Counsel, & Secretary
Saint-Gobain North America

Asim Haque
SVP, State Policy & Member Services
PJM Interconnection LLC

Brad Hodge
Vice President, Enrollment & Student Services
Peirce College

Thomas Morrison
Principal
Deloitte Consulting

Mark L. Silow, Esq.
Chair, Fox Rothschild LLP

Margaret “Peggy” Steele
Private Investor

Branden Sweetser
Vice President, US iShares Product Management
BlackRock

Kimberly Tombasco
Experience Leader
PwC

Greg Vernick
Owner/Executive Chef
Vernick Restaurants

Our dedicated and experienced team of professionals is best in class. They drive results for students by leveraging one another’s talents and working collaboratively to deliver a comprehensive and effective suite of college and career programming.

Leadership

Toni Austin

Manager, Finance and Operations215-665-1400, ext. 3314taustin@philaedfund.org

Toni Austin

Manager, Finance and Operations

Toni is the point person for all financial management and fiscal operations of PEF, including grant and contract management and compliance. Reporting to PEF’s President and CEO, Toni is supported by a team of accounting professionals from Your Part-Time Controller.  Toni has been a proud “Ed Funder” for over 15 years.

Email Toni Austin215-665-1400, ext. 3314

Madeline Birkner

Senior Manager, Persistence and College Partnerships215-665-1400, ext. 3336mbirkner@philaedfund.org

Madeline Birkner

Senior Manager, Persistence and College Partnerships

Madeline Birkner served as a College Access Program Coordinator at Olney Charter High School for more than 6 years and moved into the new role of Senior Manager of College Partnerships and Persistence Programs in 2021. Prior to her work at PEF, she was an Admissions Officer at Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated with her bachelor’s in Sociology and Spanish Literature. Her photographs of College Access students are routinely featured in PEF’s publications.

Email Madeline Birkner215-665-1400, ext. 3336

Bryan DeFoney

Director, TRIO - College Access Programbdefoney@philaedfund.org

Bryan DeFoney

Director, TRIO - College Access Program

Bryan DeFoney joined PEF as the Director, TRIO – College Access Program in July 2021. Bryan had been Program Manager at College Possible Philadelphia, a national nonprofit college access and success organization. Bryan’s program served more than 500 students in three area school districts, and he was responsible for student SAT prep programming, student matriculation, and student persistence outcomes. Bryan is also a School District of Philadelphia FAFSA coach, a member and presenter at PACAC, and a member and contributor of the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable. He got his start in this field as a middle school English teacher in North Philadelphia. Bryan received his bachelor’s degree from Neumann University where he developed a love for higher education as a first generation college student himself. Currently, Bryan proudly serves as the Vice President of the Executive Alumni Board at his alma mater.

Farah Jimenez

President and CEO215-665-1400, ext. 3313fjimenez@philaedfund.org

Farah Jimenez

President and CEO

Farah Jimenez is the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF), a nonprofit committed to tackling the city’s talent pipeline challenge, by ensuring Philadelphia students are supported in fulfilling their fullest college and career ambitions.  It is her belief – in the power of an education to transform lives – that drives Ms. Jimenez’ efforts at the Philadelphia Education Fund. At PEF,

Ms. Jimenez is responsible for supporting, leading, and resourcing the work of the City’s most talented and experienced team of college and career professionals.  In her role, she also works to foster the corporate and civic partnerships that enable PEF to serve more than 3,000 students year, award $900,000 in scholarships annually, support 750 teachers and embed college advising in six Philadelphia public high schools.  During her tenure, Ms. Jimenez expanded PEF’s advising services to four middle schools; rebooted PhillyGoes2College.org, PEF’s online college access portal; launched PEF’s McKinney Center for STEM Education; established three collective impact initiatives in partnership with industry and the School District of Philadelphia; and built PEF’s successful education consulting practice.

Prior to her tenure at PEF, Ms. Jimenez served four years as a gubernatorial appointee to Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission – formerly, the governing body of the School District of Philadelphia.  And, her nonprofit leadership experience spans 20 years, including tenures as President and CEO of the People’s Emergency Center and Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA.

Ms. Jimenez holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She also holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Chestnut Hill College and a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard Business School.

A frequent commentator on civic matters in Philadelphia, Ms. Jimenez has enjoyed brief stints as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer; is on the board of Broad+Liberty, a digital media platform offering balance to local news and editorial coverage; and can be seen Sundays on Inside Story, a current affairs television show that airs weekly on WPVI, Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate.

Email Farah Jimenez215-665-1400, ext. 3313

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars Program215-668-8798akelsey@philaedfund.org

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars Program

Allison directs PEF’s Last Dollar Scholarship, manages several private scholarships, develops college-year specific workshops, and helps our  Scholars navigate financial aid, academic issues, and other topics impacting their ability to thrive while in college. Prior to PEF, she was a communications, program development, and events consultant whose clients included Princeton’s Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Citizen Diplomacy International, and many regional nonprofits. A first-gen college graduate herself, Allison earned her B.A. from Brown University, an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, and certification in adult Mental Health First Aid. She is in her 2nd year of Temple University’s M.Ed. program, focusing on Higher Education and Student Affairs. Allison also serves as President of the Board of Trustees of Independence Charter School in Philadelphia. Contact her about financial giving to the Scholars Program and volunteer opportunities supporting students directly.

Liza Rangel

Senior Program Manager, Middle Grades Initiatives215-665-1400lrangel@philaedfund.org

Liza Rangel

Senior Program Manager, Middle Grades Initiatives

Liza joined the Philadelphia Education Fund in May 2022 as the Lead College Access Coordinator for Frankford High School. Liza brings experience teaching in the public school system, in school admissions, and in bilingual Spanish education. She obtained her undergraduate degree from NYU in Education and later earned her master’s degree in Education from Penn. Liza is also licensed to teach in Pennsylvania.

Email Liza Rangel215-665-1400

Ellen Ridyard

Director, Collaborations and Partnershipseridyard@philaedfund.org

Ellen Ridyard

Director, Collaborations and Partnerships

Ellen Ridyard is the Director of Collaborations and Partnerships at PEF. In her role, Ellen serves as the inaugural leader of the backbone organization for a college access and success ecosystem (CASE), a collective action impact forum aimed at strengthening postsecondary readiness and college completion outcomes for Philadelphia public school students. CASE leverages and strategically aligns the collective power and expertise of the region’s college access and success provider community.

Ellen’s career has focused on college access for Philadelphia students. Prior to joining PEF, Ellen led admissions strategy and partnerships and directed a college access program at Heights Philadelphia, served as an academic advisor at Temple University, and advised students about postsecondary pathways as a Philadelphia school teacher and college advisor. Ellen enjoys connecting with college access & success leaders to learn and share best practices.

Outside of work, Ellen is an avid reader, runner, and dog walker. She lives with her family in Philadelphia, and is a graduate of Vassar College, University of Edinburgh, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Kelly Staskel

Director, Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) & PhillyGoes2College (PG2C)215-665-1400, ext. 3309kstaskel@philaedfund.org

Kelly Staskel

Director, Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) & PhillyGoes2College (PG2C)

Kelly Staskel is the Director of the Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) and PhillyGoes2College (PG2C). With PPSP, she focuses on supporting Philadelphia public schools in coordinating the delivery of schoolwide postsecondary programming. Her work with PhillyGoes2College furthers the website’s mission of making information and resources about planning, paying, and applying to college accessible to all Philadelphians.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Education Fund, she served as Literacy Support Specialist for the Camden City School District, where she revived the library at Woodrow Wilson High School and led district-wide programming with the objective of increasing student and community literacy. Her career in Education began as a high school and middle school English and Creative Writing teacher at Chicago’s Providence St. Mel High School. She received her M.Ed. from Saint Joseph’s University and her BA in American Literature from New York University.

Email Kelly Staskel215-665-1400, ext. 3309

Middles Grades Initiatives

Liza Rangel

Senior Program Manager, Middle Grades Initiatives215-665-1400lrangel@philaedfund.org

Liza Rangel

Senior Program Manager, Middle Grades Initiatives

Liza joined the Philadelphia Education Fund in May 2022 as the Lead College Access Coordinator for Frankford High School. Liza brings experience teaching in the public school system, in school admissions, and in bilingual Spanish education. She obtained her undergraduate degree from NYU in Education and later earned her master’s degree in Education from Penn. Liza is also licensed to teach in Pennsylvania.

Email Liza Rangel215-665-1400

Stacey Sandle

Program Manager, Spark Philadelphiassandle@philaedfund.org

Stacey Sandle

Program Manager, Spark Philadelphia

Stacey came to PEF from GEAR UP’s Norristown program where she was a Site Facilitator and College and Career Coach. She earned her BA in Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State and her masters from Eastern University in Urban Studies with a concentration in Youth Development. Stacey also serves as a board member for the nonprofit organization Haircutz 4 Homeless and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

College Access Program & High School Initiatives

Brandi Ashley

College Access Coordinator, Bartram High Schoolbashley@philaedfund.org

Brandi Ashley

College Access Coordinator, Bartram High School

A Greater Philadelphia native, Brandi graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Africana Studies. Her experiences at Pitt ignited a passion to pursue a career in the education field. Following positions with City Year Philadelphia and Spark Philadelphia, Brandi received her M.Ed. from Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Héctor Colón

College Access Coordinator, Olney High schoolhcolon@philaedfund.org

Héctor Colón

College Access Coordinator, Olney High school

Héctor I. Colón joined PEF in December 2022. He is a Philly native with a strong connection to his Puerto Rican roots. Héctor is a first-generation university graduate. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Criminology with a minor in Latina/o Studies & Psychology from Millersville University. His passions include traveling the world as well serving others– especially the youth of Philadelphia. Prior to joining PEF, Héctor worked as mental health expert in multiple capacities for 8 years. He loved his work however he decided to return to the educational setting to continue serving as catalyst and impact the lives of younger individuals. Before entering the mental health field, Héctor mentored first-gen and other underrepresented students at his former university. Héctor enjoys using his story to influence & help others to recognize their power & reach their full potential.

Amaya Cooper

College Access Coordinator, Frankford High Schoolacooper@philaedfund.org

Amaya Cooper

College Access Coordinator, Frankford High School

Bryan DeFoney

Director, TRIO - College Access Programbdefoney@philaedfund.org

Bryan DeFoney

Director, TRIO - College Access Program

Bryan DeFoney joined PEF as the Director, TRIO – College Access Program in July 2021. Bryan had been Program Manager at College Possible Philadelphia, a national nonprofit college access and success organization. Bryan’s program served more than 500 students in three area school districts, and he was responsible for student SAT prep programming, student matriculation, and student persistence outcomes. Bryan is also a School District of Philadelphia FAFSA coach, a member and presenter at PACAC, and a member and contributor of the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable. He got his start in this field as a middle school English teacher in North Philadelphia. Bryan received his bachelor’s degree from Neumann University where he developed a love for higher education as a first generation college student himself. Currently, Bryan proudly serves as the Vice President of the Executive Alumni Board at his alma mater.

Husnaa Hashim

College Access Coordinator, Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School (KCAPA)hhashim@philaedfund.org

Husnaa Hashim

College Access Coordinator, Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School (KCAPA)

Husnaa Hashim joined PEF in October 2023 as a College Access Coordinator at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School. She is deeply inspired by her matrilineal connection to Philadelphia, and her commitments to educational equity, culturally competent curriculum development and facilitation, and the arts. Prior to working at PEF, Husnaa mentored young people through the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and supported administration and public programming at the Kelly Writers House and the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies and Creative Writing minor.

Dymon James

College Access Coordinator, Olney High Schooldjames@philaedfund.org

Dymon James

College Access Coordinator, Olney High School

Mike Noel

Data and Evaluations Managermnoel@philaedfund.org

Mike Noel

Data and Evaluations Manager

Mike Noel joined PEF as the Data and Evaluations Manager in February 2022. Previously, Mike served as Program Outcomes and Evaluation Manager at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, working alongside teachers, counselors, school leadership, and external partners to rebuild the school’s information system in a way that promoted streamlined data and evaluation processes and built a professional culture of learning and continuous improvement. He got started in college access work at YouthBuild in 2014 as a Postsecondary Coordinator, providing individualized career development support for over 300 students and alumni while managing several college and career partnerships. Mike received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from La Salle University in 2013 as a member of the University’s Honors Program. When he’s not swimming in program data, Mike enjoys long bike rides around Philadelphia, reading poetry, playing guitar, traveling abroad, and rooting for his favorite sports teams.

Kelsey Smith

College Access Coordinator, Furness High Schoolksmith@philaedfund.org

Kelsey Smith

College Access Coordinator, Furness High School

Kelsey Smith has lived and worked in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona before settling down in Philadelphia. She loves working with students toward their goals and is currently stationed at Furness High School. Kelsey earned her BA from University of Central in Orlando and gained college access experience in many evolving roles at College Depot in Phoenix. After implementing an education program in public housing through a HUD grant, Kelsey relocated to Philly where she resides with her husband and cat.

Emmanuel Sofolawe

Digital Projects & Content Manager, PhillyGoes2College (PG2C)esofolawe@philaedfund.org

Emmanuel Sofolawe

Digital Projects & Content Manager, PhillyGoes2College (PG2C)

Kelly Staskel

Director, Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) & PhillyGoes2College (PG2C)215-665-1400, ext. 3309kstaskel@philaedfund.org

Kelly Staskel

Director, Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) & PhillyGoes2College (PG2C)

Kelly Staskel is the Director of the Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) and PhillyGoes2College (PG2C). With PPSP, she focuses on supporting Philadelphia public schools in coordinating the delivery of schoolwide postsecondary programming. Her work with PhillyGoes2College furthers the website’s mission of making information and resources about planning, paying, and applying to college accessible to all Philadelphians.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Education Fund, she served as Literacy Support Specialist for the Camden City School District, where she revived the library at Woodrow Wilson High School and led district-wide programming with the objective of increasing student and community literacy. Her career in Education began as a high school and middle school English and Creative Writing teacher at Chicago’s Providence St. Mel High School. She received her M.Ed. from Saint Joseph’s University and her BA in American Literature from New York University.

Email Kelly Staskel215-665-1400, ext. 3309

Dennis Villacorta

College Access Coordinator, Roxborough High Schooldvillacorta@philaedfund.org

Dennis Villacorta

College Access Coordinator, Roxborough High School

Dennis joined PEF in November 2023 as a CAP Coordinator for Roxborough High School. He is from the Baltimore area and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Psychology with Education Studies from Goucher College. As an undergraduate, he spent time in various educational settings in Maryland and Delaware, working with students ranging from early childhood to college aged. Prior to PEF his experience included working in areas such as substitute teaching, student mentoring, and academic development. Outside of education, Dennis enjoys hiking, playing disc golf, trying new restaurants, and photographing his travels.

Sara Walker Adedeji

Managing Coordinator, College Access Programswalker@philaedfund.org

Sara Walker Adedeji

Managing Coordinator, College Access Program

Sara comes to PEF from Cabrini University where she served as the Assistant Director of Admissions, Diversity, and Access. In her role, she worked to recruit and counsel students and families on their college journey. In May 2022, she went on to complete her M.S. in Leadership from Cabrini as well.

Sara is not completely new to college access and student success as she previously worked as an AmeriCorps member with both City Year and College Possible. This allowed her opportunities to help students with academic development and success, recruit students, and assist in their matriculation to and through college.

Ahmad Williams

College Access Coordinator, Frankford High Schoolawilliams@philaedfund.org

Ahmad Williams

College Access Coordinator, Frankford High School

Ahmad Williams joined PEF in April 2022 as a College Access Coordinator at Frankford High School. After completing his undergraduate degree at Millersville University in 2020, Ahmad committed himself to transforming postsecondary preparation within the current educational system. Before PEF, he served as a College and Career Readiness Counselor for Upper Darby High School with College Possible and Belmont Charter High School. When he is not working with his scholars, you can find Ahmad travelling and performing with his band, Central City Orchestra. Ahmad is also a proud resident of the City of Chester. 

Postsecondary Persistence Programs

Madeline Birkner

Senior Manager, Persistence and College Partnerships215-665-1400, ext. 3336mbirkner@philaedfund.org

Madeline Birkner

Senior Manager, Persistence and College Partnerships

Madeline Birkner served as a College Access Program Coordinator at Olney Charter High School for more than 6 years and moved into the new role of Senior Manager of College Partnerships and Persistence Programs in 2021. Prior to her work at PEF, she was an Admissions Officer at Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated with her bachelor’s in Sociology and Spanish Literature. Her photographs of College Access students are routinely featured in PEF’s publications.

Email Madeline Birkner215-665-1400, ext. 3336

Claire DuBois

Persistence Fellow, PHENND AmeriCorps VISTAcdubois@philaedfund.org

Claire DuBois

Persistence Fellow, PHENND AmeriCorps VISTA

Born and raised in Maine, Claire is thrilled to join the Philadelphia Education Fund via the PHENND AmeriCorps VISTA program as the Persistence Fellow for the 2023-24 year. Claire graduated from Haverford College in 2022 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Fine Arts. This past year, she taught preschool and kindergarten at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. She hopes to build on her interest in education to make changes on a broader scale, gain experience in the nonprofit realm, and learn new skills to support college access and persistence.

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars Program215-668-8798akelsey@philaedfund.org

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars Program

Allison directs PEF’s Last Dollar Scholarship, manages several private scholarships, develops college-year specific workshops, and helps our  Scholars navigate financial aid, academic issues, and other topics impacting their ability to thrive while in college. Prior to PEF, she was a communications, program development, and events consultant whose clients included Princeton’s Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Citizen Diplomacy International, and many regional nonprofits. A first-gen college graduate herself, Allison earned her B.A. from Brown University, an M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania, and certification in adult Mental Health First Aid. She is in her 2nd year of Temple University’s M.Ed. program, focusing on Higher Education and Student Affairs. Allison also serves as President of the Board of Trustees of Independence Charter School in Philadelphia. Contact her about financial giving to the Scholars Program and volunteer opportunities supporting students directly.

STEM Education Initiatives

Barbara Cousar

STEM Workforce Development Managerbcousar@philaedfund.org

Barbara Cousar

STEM Workforce Development Manager

Barbara joined PEF as the STEM Workforce Development Manager, and in her role she designs, creates, and executes strategies and programs that improve outcomes related to a school’s goals, to ensure that all students will graduate college, pursue a career, and be life ready. In addition, she has extensive experience in managing the day-to-day operations of grant-funded programs (including STEM) and leveraging relationships to ensure that students and colleagues have the means and the opportunity to meet a need. She will be building on the multiple McKinney STEM Workforce Initiatives.

Chris Fornaro

STEM Professional Development and Curriculum Managercfornaro@philaedfund.org

Chris Fornaro

STEM Professional Development and Curriculum Manager

Chris comes to PEF with over a decade of research, administration, and teaching experience. He has worked as an engineer; dean; department chair; and math and science educator. Additionally, he founded the STEAM department and designed the MakerSpace at The Shipley School, which included course development, professional development, and out-of-school time programming. Chris received his Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University in Chemical Engineering, a Master’s in Education from Temple University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in STEM Education at Drexel University.

Sarah Godner

Pennsylvania Statewide STEM Ecosystem Project Managersgodner@philaedfund.org

Sarah Godner

Pennsylvania Statewide STEM Ecosystem Project Manager

Sarah Godner joined PEF in 2022 as the Project Manager of the Pennsylvania Statewide STEM Ecosystem (PSSE). PSSE facilitates stakeholder convenings, amplifies STEM resources, drafts policy recommendations, and stewards a community of practice to advance equitable access and inclusion in STEM education and workforce development.

Sarah has worked at a variety of nonprofits over the last fifteen years (most recently at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia) managing projects and programs and organizing events related to education, political advocacy, and economic growth. She also taught elementary education in Philadelphia. Sarah received her bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Susan (Betsy) Payne

Manager, Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem215-665-1400, ext. 3333spayne@philaedfund.org

Susan (Betsy) Payne

Manager, Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem

Working for equity and diversity in education has been Betsy’s lifelong pursuit. As Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem Manager, Betsy coordinates PEF’s backbone organization responsibilities and relationships as well as works with the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective, a 10-year initiative in partnership with GSK.

Before joining PEF, she managed the Women In Natural Sciences (WINS) program at the Academy of Natural Sciences for more than 11 years, where she worked closely with a cohort of 60+ high school girls annually. As part of WINS, Betsy traveled with them as close as the Philadelphia Waterworks and as far as Mongolia. Betsy previously worked as the Garden Educator for the Camden Children’s Garden, Interpretive Specialist at El Yunque National Forest, Manager of Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve in Puerto Rico, and as a biologist with the Institute of Neurobiology of the University of Puerto Rico.

Email Susan (Betsy) Payne215-665-1400, ext. 3333

Lisa Quattlebaum

Project Manager, Regional Industries and STEM Education (RISE)lquattlebaum@philaedfund.org

Lisa Quattlebaum

Project Manager, Regional Industries and STEM Education (RISE)

A proud Philadelphian, Lisa’s journey spans continents, enriching the education field with diverse experiences. With degrees from Sarah Lawrence and NYU/ICP and executive certificates from DePaul, UPenn, and Cornell, Lisa embodies the spirit of a lifelong learner. As a global facilitator for The International Baccalaureate, Lisa was a Mellon Foundation Research Fellow and Johnson Matthey fellow and was the coordinator of PEF’s 2023 Summer After-school Fellowship.

Lisa is a multifaceted professional—a social impact strategist, artist, writer, founder, and advocate. Her fellowships with 4.0 Schools and VELA New Normal showcase her commitment to driving social change.

Outside of work, she enjoys delving into the New York Times Real Estate Section, harmonizing office feng shui, and practicing martial arts with her 11-year-old daughter.

Administration

Toni Austin

Manager, Finance and Operations215-665-1400, ext. 3314taustin@philaedfund.org

Toni Austin

Manager, Finance and Operations

Toni is the point person for all financial management and fiscal operations of PEF, including grant and contract management and compliance. Reporting to PEF’s President and CEO, Toni is supported by a team of accounting professionals from Your Part-Time Controller.  Toni has been a proud “Ed Funder” for over 15 years.

Email Toni Austin215-665-1400, ext. 3314

Catherine Jennings

Board Liaison & Special Assistant to the CEO215-327-3451cjennings@philaedfund.org

Catherine Jennings

Board Liaison & Special Assistant to the CEO

Farah Jimenez

President and CEO215-665-1400, ext. 3313fjimenez@philaedfund.org

Farah Jimenez

President and CEO

Farah Jimenez is the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF), a nonprofit committed to tackling the city’s talent pipeline challenge, by ensuring Philadelphia students are supported in fulfilling their fullest college and career ambitions.  It is her belief – in the power of an education to transform lives – that drives Ms. Jimenez’ efforts at the Philadelphia Education Fund. At PEF,

Ms. Jimenez is responsible for supporting, leading, and resourcing the work of the City’s most talented and experienced team of college and career professionals.  In her role, she also works to foster the corporate and civic partnerships that enable PEF to serve more than 3,000 students year, award $900,000 in scholarships annually, support 750 teachers and embed college advising in six Philadelphia public high schools.  During her tenure, Ms. Jimenez expanded PEF’s advising services to four middle schools; rebooted PhillyGoes2College.org, PEF’s online college access portal; launched PEF’s McKinney Center for STEM Education; established three collective impact initiatives in partnership with industry and the School District of Philadelphia; and built PEF’s successful education consulting practice.

Prior to her tenure at PEF, Ms. Jimenez served four years as a gubernatorial appointee to Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission – formerly, the governing body of the School District of Philadelphia.  And, her nonprofit leadership experience spans 20 years, including tenures as President and CEO of the People’s Emergency Center and Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA.

Ms. Jimenez holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She also holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Chestnut Hill College and a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard Business School.

A frequent commentator on civic matters in Philadelphia, Ms. Jimenez has enjoyed brief stints as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer; is on the board of Broad+Liberty, a digital media platform offering balance to local news and editorial coverage; and can be seen Sundays on Inside Story, a current affairs television show that airs weekly on WPVI, Philadelphia’s ABC affiliate.

Email Farah Jimenez215-665-1400, ext. 3313

Capacity Building & Partnership Cultivation

Elizabeth Isanuk

Communications Managereisanuk@philaedfund.org

Elizabeth Isanuk

Communications Manager

Ellen Ridyard

Director, Collaborations and Partnershipseridyard@philaedfund.org

Ellen Ridyard

Director, Collaborations and Partnerships

Ellen Ridyard is the Director of Collaborations and Partnerships at PEF. In her role, Ellen serves as the inaugural leader of the backbone organization for a college access and success ecosystem (CASE), a collective action impact forum aimed at strengthening postsecondary readiness and college completion outcomes for Philadelphia public school students. CASE leverages and strategically aligns the collective power and expertise of the region’s college access and success provider community.

Ellen’s career has focused on college access for Philadelphia students. Prior to joining PEF, Ellen led admissions strategy and partnerships and directed a college access program at Heights Philadelphia, served as an academic advisor at Temple University, and advised students about postsecondary pathways as a Philadelphia school teacher and college advisor. Ellen enjoys connecting with college access & success leaders to learn and share best practices.

Outside of work, Ellen is an avid reader, runner, and dog walker. She lives with her family in Philadelphia, and is a graduate of Vassar College, University of Edinburgh, and the University of Pennsylvania.

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