New Leaders

Great leaders = Great schools TM


Leadership is critical to transforming a school and raising student achievement. It's the adults who make the biggest difference to a school's success.

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Leadership Team

Jean Desravines

Chief Executive Officer

Jean Desravines serves as the Chief Executive Officer of New Leaders. As CEO, he has expanded the organization to approximately 200 staff supporting leaders in more than 15 urban school districts and over 100 charter schools across the country. Recognizing that there are more than 16,000 schools serving more than 7 million high poverty children in the United States, Jean recently initiated the organization’s first scale strategy to design and launch a program to improve the practice of sitting principals and their instructional teams with the goal of preparing 1 million students for success in college, careers, and citizenship by 2020.

Prior to his appointment as CEO in 2011, Jean served as Chief Officer for Cities and Policy at New Leaders for five years. In that role, Jean oversaw the management of New Leaders city teams, including the launch of five of the organization’s sites, and the organization’s national public policy and public funding work.

Jean has more than 15 years of professional leadership experience working with parents and communities on education issues and community development, with a primary focus on improving outcomes for kids in underserved communities. Before joining New Leaders, Jean served as Senior Counselor to the Chancellor of New York City’s public school system, the Executive Director for the Office of Parent and Community Engagement, Chief of Staff to the Senior Counselor for Education Policy, and Director for Community Relations at the New York City Department of Education, and the Director of Organizational Development and Community Programming for the Faith Center for Community Development, Inc.

Jean serves as a board member for 100Kin10, his alma mater St. Francis College and St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, NJ. Jean also served as a member of Governor Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission and was been named to Forbes’ “Impact 30,” recognizing the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. He was one of twenty-four exceptional leaders from across the country selected to participate in the Aspen Institute/NewSchools Venture Fund Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellowship Program. Jean earned a B.A. in history from St. Francis College and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University, where he was the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship.

Ben FentonBenjamin Fenton

Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder

Together with several other social entrepreneurs, Ben co-founded New Leaders in 2000. In his current role as chief strategy officer, Ben leads the organization’s Policy and Practice Services, helping states and districts develop new policies, strategies and tools for principal evaluation and principal effectiveness. He is also responsible for the ongoing implementation of the New Leaders organizational learning plan and programmatic evaluation.

In previous roles, Ben has served as chief operating officer, growing the organization from a staff of five to more than 150 employees; chief cities officer, managing and supporting all local program sites; and chief school support officer, developing national and local strategies to support the performance of schools led by New Leader Principals. A recognized expert on principal quality, he is the lead author of the New Leaders white papers “Principal Effectiveness” and “Evaluating Principals,” and he co-led the development of the Urban Excellence Framework, a detailed field guide of the school practices and principal actions found in high-gaining urban public schools.

Ben is also a founding board member of Teach Plus, a nonprofit dedicated to retaining and developing great teachers who improve student achievement. He formerly worked as a consultant at McKinsey and Company, focusing on marketing and operational efficiency. Ben is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, where he received the Fiske award for excellence in teaching in the Economics Department.

Jackie Gran

Chief Policy and Partnerships Officer

As chief policy and partnerships officer, Jackie Gran oversees New Leaders’ efforts to create a supportive policy environment for school leaders and high-performing school leadership preparation programs across the country. These federal, state and local policy efforts are designed to create the working conditions that allow highly effective school leaders to succeed, such as balanced autonomy and management that fosters professional growth. Before joining New Leaders in 2011, Jackie spent two years at the U.S. Department of Education serving as a special assistant in the Offices of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary and as a senior advisor in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. She was previously the national director of growth and policy at New Leaders, overseeing the selection competition for new district partners. Jackie taught middle school as a Teach For America corps member in New York City. She also served as a legislative aide to Senator Kennedy on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a master’s degree from Pace University.

Jaime Aquino, Ph.D.

Chief Program Officer

Dr. Jaime Aquino is the Chief Program Officer for New Leaders. He oversees design, development and delivery for New Leaders’ core programs, ensuring that participants acquire the essential leadership skills needed to build vibrant schools and advance student achievement.

Dr. Aquino was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo. While attending college, Dr. Aquino volunteered extensively, forging a lifelong commitment to combatting poverty, hunger and homelessness. After moving to New York City, Dr. Aquino continued his studies at Fordham University, earning a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching with a specialty in language, learning and literacy.

Dr. Aquino began his career in education as a bilingual teacher at P.S. 54 in Queens and in 1990 he was named New York State Bilingual Teacher of the Year. Dr. Aquino went on to hold a variety of instructional leadership roles in New York, eventually rising to become Deputy Executive Director for the Division of Instructional Support and Local Instructional Superintendent. Dr. Aquino has also held top leadership positions in several major districts, most recently serving as Deputy Superintendent of Instruction for Los Angeles Unified School District, where he was responsible for overseeing the local district superintendents, teaching and learning, special education, early childhood, adult education, and parent and community engagement. Aquino also served as Chief Academic Officer in Denver, where he was responsible for implementing a reform agenda that led to record gains in student achievement.

Before joining New Leaders, Dr. Aquino was the Executive Vice President for Strategy and Innovation at the New Teacher Center (NTC), where he oversaw district partnerships, program development, business development and client services. He has also served as General Manager for the East Region of America’s Choice, where he managed the delivery of contractual services in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

LauraKadetsky_webLaura Kadetsky

General Counsel

As General Counsel of New Leaders, Laura provides legal counsel and advice for all aspects of New Leaders and in areas encompassing intellectual property, employment law, tax, regulatory compliance, contracting, business law, and insurance. Laura also serves as Secretary for New Leaders.

Prior to joining New Leaders in 2010, Laura was a litigation partner at the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she handled a variety of matters include employment, antitrust, bankruptcy, and breach of contract cases; white collar internal investigations; and international arbitrations. Laura also represented New Leaders and other nonprofits on a pro bono basis while at Kirkland and earned the Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Service Award from 2005 through 2009. Prior to that, Laura clerked for Judge Bernice Bouie Donald on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee in Memphis. She has a BA from Yale University and JD from Harvard Law School.

Yolonda Marshall

Senior Executive of Cities

Yolonda Marshall is the Senior Executive of Cities and manages New Leaders’ City Executive Directors. She supports the success of each program site by ensuring that City EDs maximize strategic opportunities and execute against local visions and goals that galvanize stakeholders to change more students’ life trajectories by investing in school leadership. She serves as the main strategic thought partner and coach to the City EDs and ultimately supports the organization in reaching its organization-wide goals.

Before joining New Leaders, Yolonda was an Executive Director with Teach For America covering the Greater Philadelphia Region. In this role, she was part of the national senior leadership team. As Executive Director, Yolonda interacted with a regional board of advisors and engaged with local stakeholders who were vital partners in her ability to accomplish measurable results against ambitious goals. She was responsible for a $7 million dollar operating budget. While at Teach for America, Yolonda also held senior level positions on the Human Assets team and national development team.

Prior to joining Teach For America, Yolonda had a sales and marketing career spanning 14 years with Showtime Networks Inc. where she created and executed comprehensive marketing plans to help launch critically acclaimed and Emmy award winning programming.

Yolonda received her BS degree from Tuskegee University and her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Stephanie Morimoto

Chief External Relations Officer

Stephanie Morimoto is responsible for helping to fulfill New Leaders’ mission of high academic achievement for all children by marshaling resources, cultivating champions and increasing awareness of New Leaders’ programs and impact. As chief external relations officer, she oversees management of the city teams as well as development, marketing and communications for the organization. Before joining New Leaders, Stephanie was vice president, regional development for Teach For America, where she grew funding from $30 million to $114 million, led the growth of Teach For America’s first individual giving campaign and built the organizational infrastructure to support the rapid growth and expansion of the program from 3500 teaching corps members to 7500. Prior to that, Stephanie worked closely with the president and chief executive officer at WSEP Ventures, Inc., launching and directing a social enterprise training institute for nonprofit CEOs and advising nonprofits across the United States on growth strategy, social venture business planning and organizational capacity-building. Stephanie has also consulted with various political entrepreneurs and educational entities, including the Tennessee State Department of Education. Early in her career, she was a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. and taught English in Hiroshima, Japan. Stephanie earned her bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

AngelaVanderploeg.webAngela Vanderploeg

Chief Financial Officer

As chief financial officer, Angela leads New Leaders’ finance and technology teams and helps us continue to build on our progress towards financial sustainability. Angela previously worked for Jewish Board of Family and Children Services, a $190 million dollar nonprofit. She supervised a staff of 50, served on the Senior Management Team and worked directly with the organization’s Board Members. Angela has held leadership roles at Atlantic Philanthropies, Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and DIAGEO. She received her MBA from New York University and is a Certified Public Accountant.