New Leaders

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Leadership Team

Jean Desravines

Chief Executive Officer

Jean Desravines assumed the role of chief executive officer of New Leaders in February 2011. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Jean served as chief officer for cities and policy at New Leaders for five years. In that role, Jean oversaw the management of all city teams, including the launch of five of the organization’s 12 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 children in underserved communities.

Before joining New Leaders, Jean served as senior counselor to the chancellor of New York City’s public school system. In that capacity, he developed and executed a comprehensive strategy to engage and communicate with key stakeholders across New York City, building support for the district’s ambitious reform agenda. He has also served as 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, as well as director of organizational development and community programming for the Faith Center for Community Development, Inc.

Jean serves as a board member for 100Kin10, a coalition of organizations responding to President Obama’s call to train over 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021. He also served as a member of Governor Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission. Jean has 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 bachelor of arts 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 – the school’s most prestigious 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.

BenFlorman.webBen Florman

Senior Executive Director of Technology Strategies

Ben brings fifteen years of experience in education, technology, and operations to his role ensuring that New Leaders’ technology infrastructure and services best support and enhance New Leaders’ programs and operations. As executive editor at the educational startup publisher SparkNotes, Ben oversaw all aspects of editorial development, strategy, and new product and feature development as SparkNotes was acquired by Barnes & Noble, expanded from web to both web and print, and developed multiple iconic brands that reach over five million students a month and generate annual revenues in the tens of millions. Subsequently, Ben joined Teach For America, where he served as SVP of Learning and Operations on the Growth, Strategy, and Development team, overhauling back-office operations and the training associated with it, vastly improving reliability and accessibility of data, and moving the team from its hodgepodge of systems to a highly customized instantiation of Salesforce to seamlessly support the rapid scaling of development revenue from $145M to $290M over three years. Later, Ben worked as a senior product manager at Wireless Generation, where he drove the development of assessment components for the company’s ambitious tablet-based curriculum initiative. Ben earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

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.

MichelleHallerdin_webMichelle Hallerdin

Chief Talent Officer

As chief talent officer, Michelle leads the development and management of a comprehensive human resources and organizational effectiveness strategy focused on a number of priorities – including embedding our values into our culture, developing and retaining existing staff members, building out a strong talent management system and identifying high-quality talent as the need arises. Michelle has over twenty years of strategy, consulting, human capital and finance experience. She previously served as the Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness at PSEG Services Corporation (PSEG), a subsidiary of a Fortune 200 Energy Company, leading overall talent strategy including recruitment, performance management and development, succession planning, diversity, employee engagement and human resource technology functions. Prior to assuming this role, Michelle was the Vice President of Workforce Planning & Talent Management at PSEG. She has also served in various strategy and planning roles throughout her career, including as a business consultant at Scott, Madden & Associates in Atlanta, Georgia.  Michelle received her BA from the University of Delaware and later earned an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.  Michelle is currently a Board Member of the Newark, New Jersey, YMWCA and a member of the Board of Overseers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Dianne Morse Houghton

Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer, Dianne leads New Leaders’ talent management, business solutions, and information technology teams. She also oversees New Leaders’ Effective Practices Incentive Community (EPIC) program and select strategic partnerships. Dianne brings 25 years of experience in business operations and executive leadership to her role at New Leaders. As a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Honeywell, and Arthur Andersen, she worked with many FORTUNE 100 and government organizations to create and launch strategic initiatives. Dianne later filled executive roles within services-oriented enterprises, most recently as the turnaround chief executive officer of Digital Focus, Inc.

Dianne has served as chair of the Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee for Fairfax County Public Schools, was a member of the Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council, and designed and taught foundational curriculum for master’s level strategy and leadership courses at the University of Maryland’s Erickson School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and her Master of Business Administration from William and Mary. She is also the co-author of the book Vision, Values, and Courage: Leadership for Quality Management.

Gina Ikemoto.webGina Ikemoto, Ph.D.

Executive Director for Research and Policy Development

Dr. Ikemoto is responsible for creating and leading the organization’s research agenda on principal effectiveness, including research on the nature of effective leadership practices as well as the types of professional development and conditions that enable principal effectiveness.  Dr. Ikemoto manages the Research and Evaluation team, which is responsible for evaluating program implementation and outcomes, conducting research studies, and supporting organizational learning by providing data and research evidence needed to drive programmatic improvements. Dr. Ikemoto is responsible for publishing and communicating the organization’s research findings to the broader field.  Her recent New Leaders publications include Playmakers: How Great Principals Build and Lead Great Teams of Teachers and Great Principals at Scale: Creating District Conditions that Enable All Principals to be Effective.  Prior to joining New Leaders, Dr. Ikemoto was an Education Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation where she conducted national evaluations of reforms (such as Comprehensive School Reform, the Institute for Learning, Cohesive Leadership Systems) and she studied efforts to improve linkages between research and practice.  Dr. Ikemoto has taught in Washington DC and is a member of the advisory groups for the Educational Leadership Licensure Consortium (ELCC) Preparation Program Review Process Revision project, Lynch Leadership Academy, and Gwinnett County Principal Pipeline Initiative.

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 directly manages New Leaders’ City Executive Directors. She works to support the success of each program site by ensuring that all strategic opportunities are maximized and that each City ED is executing against a sound Vision of Impact and set of goals that galvanizes stakeholders to change more students’ life trajectories by investing in the principalship. 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.