Staff Directory

Philadelphia Education Fund Staff

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

In Photo: Portrait of Toni Austin smiling

Toni Austin

Manager, Finance and Operations215-665-1400, ext.3314taustin@philaedfund.org
In Photo: Portrait of Toni Austin smiling

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
White woman in red top smiling

Sarah Clark

Senior Manager, Spark Philadelphiasclark@philaedfund.org
White woman in red top smiling

Sarah Clark

Senior Manager, Spark Philadelphia

Sarah Clark is the Senior Manager of Spark Philadelphia which helps students in the middle grades discover who they can be today and in the future through a one-of-a-kind career exploration program facilitated through a passionate network of volunteer mentors.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Education Fund, Sarah used her career development background to serve college students in the career centers at Emory University, Florida State University, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She received her Specialist in Education and MS in Counseling and Human Systems degrees from Florida State University and earned a BA in Psychology degree from Rhodes College. Sarah is currently a doctoral candidate in education at the University of Georgia and is completing her dissertation on Covid-19’s impact on undergraduate student career choice.

White man smiling at a lectern with a blue jacket and pink buttondown shirt.

Bryan DeFoney

Director, TRIO - College Access Programbdefoney@philaedfund.org
White man smiling at a lectern with a blue jacket and pink buttondown shirt.

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.

white woman dark hair among large trees, smiling

Alison Foster

Director of Development215-665-1400, ext.3311afoster@philaedfund.org
white woman dark hair among large trees, smiling

Alison Foster

Director of Development

Alison Foster joined PEF as the Development Director in 2021. Most recently, she was Development Director at College Possible Philadelphia, a national nonprofit college access and success organization. She was responsible for institutional and individual fundraising as well as overseeing the site’s marketing and communication efforts. Prior to College Possible Philadelphia, she worked at Children’s Literacy Initiative as well as in publishing and higher education. Alison received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University. Currently, she is working toward a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Nonprofit Center at La Salle University.

Email Alison Foster215-665-1400, ext.3311
Farah Jimenez

Farah Jimenez

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

Farah Jimenez

President and CEO

As the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Farah Jimenez is at the forefront of the effort to ensure that every young person in Philadelphia has access to a high quality education that prepares them to succeed in college and careers.

In addition to her role with PEF, she served from 2014-18 on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, then the governing body of the School District of Philadelphia. Her nonprofit career spans more than 20 years in executive management roles with leading agencies engaged in community revitalization, public and Indigenous housing, affordable housing development, and social services. This includes past tenures as Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA and as President and CEO of People’s Emergency Center. She also served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Pennsylvania Commission on Women and the Pennsylvania Homeless Education Task Force, as a board member of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, and as the founder of a visiting scholars’ program conducting research to inform policy impacting vulnerable families.

Farah currently is on the editorial board of Al Dia, Philadelphia’s Spanish-language newspaper. Her media and public speaking experience includes stints as a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, a keynote speaker for Philadelphia Magazine’s ThinkFest, and a regular panelist on WPVI’s Inside Story. She is a graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Email Farah Jimenez215-665-1400, ext.3313

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars and Communications215-665-1400, ext.3338 COVID 215 668 8798akelsey@philaedfund.org

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars and Communications

Allison is Senior Manager for organizational communications and the Philadelphia Scholars program. Contact her about the Last Dollar Scholarship and about financial and volunteer opportunities supporting Scholars. Allison came to know PEF as a Scholars mentor. 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 nonprofit education and economic development organizations. She is President of the Board of Trustees of Independence Charter School in Philadelphia, on the alumni board of her high school, and is block captain in her Graduate Hospital neighborhood. A first-gen college graduate herself, Allison has a bachelor’s from Brown University and a master’s from Penn, and she is certified in adult Mental Health First Aid.

Email Allison Kelsey215-665-1400, ext.3338 COVID 215 668 8798
Portrait of Rick Moses smiling

Rick Moses

Director, Postsecondary Success Program215-665-1400, ext.3340rmoses@philaedfund.org
Portrait of Rick Moses smiling

Rick Moses

Director, Postsecondary Success Program

As the Director of the Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) at PEF, Rick oversees PPSP’s aim to increase access to and success in postsecondary education for students from traditionally underserved neighborhood high schools.

Rick has extensive experience in the non-profit, education, and corporate sectors. He began his professional career as a commercial lender (Mellon & PNC Banks) and a marketing executive (Xerox Corporation). He moved to the education/nonprofit sectors, developing in depth knowledge of K-16 education trends (private & public) and has held numerous senior level positions including: President – Steppingstone Scholars Philadelphia; Vice President – Philadelphia Academies Inc.; Director of Alumni Affairs – Friends’ Central School; and Dean of Upper School – Brooklyn Friends School.

He has served in various volunteer roles including: Compass consulting; mentor Philadelphia Futures; member Urban League of Philadelphia; and board member – North Phila. YMCA and The Miquon School.

Rick Moses holds a master’s degree in Urban Education from Temple University and a B.B.A. in Accounting  from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Email Rick Moses215-665-1400, ext.3340
Nancy Peter EdD

Nancy Peter, Ed.D.

Director, McKinney Center for STEM Education215-665-1400, ext.3342npeter@philaedfund.org
Nancy Peter EdD

Nancy Peter, Ed.D.

Director, McKinney Center for STEM Education

Dr. Nancy Peter directs the McKinney Center for STEM Education at the Philadelphia Education Fund. She has a bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior, a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership, and a doctoral degree in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum. Nancy is also is a certified elementary and secondary science teacher and a certified professional development instructor for the Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System. She has published several papers, articles, and research studies on out-of-school time program design, promising practices in professional development, informal science education, and sports-based youth development.

Prior to PEF, Nancy’s roles included Director of Education at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Curriculum Manager for the Fairmount Park Commission, Senior Policy Specialist for Youth and Afterschool in Philadelphia’s Office of Children’s Policy, Children and Youth Project Manager for Philadelphia’s Best Practices Institute, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative, and Director of the Out-of-School Time Resource Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her position at the Philadelphia Education Fund, Nancy is an assistant adjunct professor in Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Email Nancy Peter, Ed.D.215-665-1400, ext.3342

College Access Program

Brandi Ashley

College Access Coordinatorbashley@philaedfund.org

Brandi Ashley

College Access Coordinator

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.

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
White man smiling at a lectern with a blue jacket and pink buttondown shirt.

Bryan DeFoney

Director, TRIO - College Access Programbdefoney@philaedfund.org
White man smiling at a lectern with a blue jacket and pink buttondown shirt.

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.

Rachel Gerberick

College Access Coordinator215-665-1400rgerberick@philaedfund.org

Rachel Gerberick

College Access Coordinator

Rachel Gerberick is PEF’s college access support for 9th to 12th grade students at Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School. Rachel graduated from Penn State with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Psychology. She earned her master’s in Counseling Psychology and certification as a K-12 school counselor at Temple University.

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 school leadership, frontline staff, 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 practitioner, 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 and playing guitar, planning trips abroad with his partner, and rooting for his favorite sports teams.

Liza Rangel

Lead College Access Coordinator215-665-1400lrangel@philaedfund.org

Liza Rangel

Lead College Access Coordinator

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
Brown woman with a hat amid hay bales.

Kelsey Smith

College Access Coordinator215-665-1400, ext.3336ksmith@philaedfund.org
Brown woman with a hat amid hay bales.

Kelsey Smith

College Access Coordinator

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.

Email Kelsey Smith215-665-1400, ext.3336

Ahmad Williams

College Access Coordinatorawilliams@philaedfund.org

Ahmad Williams

College Access Coordinator

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. 

Consulting to Schools

Portrait of Rick Moses smiling

Rick Moses

Director, Postsecondary Success Program215-665-1400, ext.3340rmoses@philaedfund.org
Portrait of Rick Moses smiling

Rick Moses

Director, Postsecondary Success Program

As the Director of the Philadelphia Postsecondary Success Program (PPSP) at PEF, Rick oversees PPSP’s aim to increase access to and success in postsecondary education for students from traditionally underserved neighborhood high schools.

Rick has extensive experience in the non-profit, education, and corporate sectors. He began his professional career as a commercial lender (Mellon & PNC Banks) and a marketing executive (Xerox Corporation). He moved to the education/nonprofit sectors, developing in depth knowledge of K-16 education trends (private & public) and has held numerous senior level positions including: President – Steppingstone Scholars Philadelphia; Vice President – Philadelphia Academies Inc.; Director of Alumni Affairs – Friends’ Central School; and Dean of Upper School – Brooklyn Friends School.

He has served in various volunteer roles including: Compass consulting; mentor Philadelphia Futures; member Urban League of Philadelphia; and board member – North Phila. YMCA and The Miquon School.

Rick Moses holds a master’s degree in Urban Education from Temple University and a B.B.A. in Accounting  from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Email Rick Moses215-665-1400, ext.3340

Kelly Staskel

Program Manager, Postsecondary Success Program215-665-1400, ext.3309kstaskel@philaedfund.org

Kelly Staskel

Program Manager, Postsecondary Success Program
Email Kelly Staskel215-665-1400, ext.3309

STEM Education Initiatives

Britney Davis

STEM Workforce Development Managerbdavis@philaedfund.org

Britney Davis

STEM Workforce Development Manager

Britney is responsible for Explore STEM Philly/Chester, coordinates the Bridge to Employment Program through Johnson & Johnson, and assists with a diverse portfolio of STEM education programs, projects, and initiatives. Britney graduated from Villanova University with a BA in Chemical Engineering with minors in Business and Engineering Entrepreneurship.

Brown haired smiling woman in dark pink.

Susan (Betsy) Payne

Manager, Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem215-665-1400, ext.3333spayne@philaedfund.org
Brown haired smiling woman in dark pink.

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
Nancy Peter EdD

Nancy Peter, Ed.D.

Director, McKinney Center for STEM Education215-665-1400, ext.3342npeter@philaedfund.org
Nancy Peter EdD

Nancy Peter, Ed.D.

Director, McKinney Center for STEM Education

Dr. Nancy Peter directs the McKinney Center for STEM Education at the Philadelphia Education Fund. She has a bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior, a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership, and a doctoral degree in Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum. Nancy is also is a certified elementary and secondary science teacher and a certified professional development instructor for the Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System. She has published several papers, articles, and research studies on out-of-school time program design, promising practices in professional development, informal science education, and sports-based youth development.

Prior to PEF, Nancy’s roles included Director of Education at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Curriculum Manager for the Fairmount Park Commission, Senior Policy Specialist for Youth and Afterschool in Philadelphia’s Office of Children’s Policy, Children and Youth Project Manager for Philadelphia’s Best Practices Institute, Co-Director of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative, and Director of the Out-of-School Time Resource Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her position at the Philadelphia Education Fund, Nancy is an assistant adjunct professor in Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Email Nancy Peter, Ed.D.215-665-1400, ext.3342

Administration

In Photo: Portrait of Toni Austin smiling

Toni Austin

Manager, Finance and Operations215-665-1400, ext.3314taustin@philaedfund.org
In Photo: Portrait of Toni Austin smiling

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

Christian Guadalupe

Special Assistant to the President and CEO215-665-1400, ext.3322cguadalupe@philaedfund.org

Christian Guadalupe

Special Assistant to the President and CEO
Email Christian Guadalupe215-665-1400, ext.3322
Farah Jimenez

Farah Jimenez

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

Farah Jimenez

President and CEO

As the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Farah Jimenez is at the forefront of the effort to ensure that every young person in Philadelphia has access to a high quality education that prepares them to succeed in college and careers.

In addition to her role with PEF, she served from 2014-18 on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, then the governing body of the School District of Philadelphia. Her nonprofit career spans more than 20 years in executive management roles with leading agencies engaged in community revitalization, public and Indigenous housing, affordable housing development, and social services. This includes past tenures as Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA and as President and CEO of People’s Emergency Center. She also served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Pennsylvania Commission on Women and the Pennsylvania Homeless Education Task Force, as a board member of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, and as the founder of a visiting scholars’ program conducting research to inform policy impacting vulnerable families.

Farah currently is on the editorial board of Al Dia, Philadelphia’s Spanish-language newspaper. Her media and public speaking experience includes stints as a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, a keynote speaker for Philadelphia Magazine’s ThinkFest, and a regular panelist on WPVI’s Inside Story. She is a graduate of both the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Email Farah Jimenez215-665-1400, ext.3313

Resource Development

white woman dark hair among large trees, smiling

Alison Foster

Director of Development215-665-1400, ext.3311afoster@philaedfund.org
white woman dark hair among large trees, smiling

Alison Foster

Director of Development

Alison Foster joined PEF as the Development Director in 2021. Most recently, she was Development Director at College Possible Philadelphia, a national nonprofit college access and success organization. She was responsible for institutional and individual fundraising as well as overseeing the site’s marketing and communication efforts. Prior to College Possible Philadelphia, she worked at Children’s Literacy Initiative as well as in publishing and higher education. Alison received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University. Currently, she is working toward a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Nonprofit Center at La Salle University.

Email Alison Foster215-665-1400, ext.3311

]

Philadelphia Scholars Program

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars and Communications215-665-1400, ext.3338 COVID 215 668 8798akelsey@philaedfund.org

Allison Kelsey

Senior Manager, Philadelphia Scholars and Communications

Allison is Senior Manager for organizational communications and the Philadelphia Scholars program. Contact her about the Last Dollar Scholarship and about financial and volunteer opportunities supporting Scholars. Allison came to know PEF as a Scholars mentor. 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 nonprofit education and economic development organizations. She is President of the Board of Trustees of Independence Charter School in Philadelphia, on the alumni board of her high school, and is block captain in her Graduate Hospital neighborhood. A first-gen college graduate herself, Allison has a bachelor’s from Brown University and a master’s from Penn, and she is certified in adult Mental Health First Aid.

Email Allison Kelsey215-665-1400, ext.3338 COVID 215 668 8798

Spark Philadelphia Program

White woman in red top smiling

Sarah Clark

Senior Manager, Spark Philadelphiasclark@philaedfund.org
White woman in red top smiling

Sarah Clark

Senior Manager, Spark Philadelphia

Sarah Clark is the Senior Manager of Spark Philadelphia which helps students in the middle grades discover who they can be today and in the future through a one-of-a-kind career exploration program facilitated through a passionate network of volunteer mentors.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Education Fund, Sarah used her career development background to serve college students in the career centers at Emory University, Florida State University, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She received her Specialist in Education and MS in Counseling and Human Systems degrees from Florida State University and earned a BA in Psychology degree from Rhodes College. Sarah is currently a doctoral candidate in education at the University of Georgia and is completing her dissertation on Covid-19’s impact on undergraduate student career choice.

Black woman in black and white top and smiling.

Stacey Sandle

Coordinator, Spark Philadelphiassandle@philaedfund.org
Black woman in black and white top and smiling.

Stacey Sandle

Coordinator, 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.