Paul A. Allen
Senior Director, Development
A nonprofit and fundraising veteran, Paul A. Allen joined America Achieves as the Senior Director of Development. Paul will help develop the broad philanthropic strategy for the accelerator and each of America Achieves’ initiatives while driving the day-to-day fundraising operations.
Mary Conroy Almada
Communications Project Manager
Since joining the Fellowship, Mary has worked on a variety of projects and initiatives to increase the organization's impact and reach.
Omar Bahar joined America Achieves as a development associate in August 2017.
Senior Director, Strategy
Mary joins America Achieves as Senior Director on the Strategy team and brings with her extensive experience strategic planning, and program development & implementation in philanthropy and nonprofit fields. Prior to America Achieves, Mary was a Program Officer at The Helmsley Charitable Trust where she led policy, advocacy and communications grantmaking in the education portfolio. She has led activities to include workforce readiness initiatives as a bridge between K-12 and higher education projects and identify intersections between K-12, post-secondary, and workforce to align expectations and enhance education pathways towards 21st century careers. Mary served in a number of programmatic and leadership roles at the Council for Economic Education, most recently as Vice President of Government Relations and Partnerships. She began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English and environmental education to middle school students in Hungary. Mary hold a Master’s degree from the Heller School of Public Policy at Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree from American University. She currently serves on the advisory board of the English Learners Success Forum.
Senior Director, Fellowship Programs
Charlie led the initiative to create state-wide teacher and principal fellowships in Colorado, Michigan, New York, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
Program Coordinator, Educator Voice Fellowship
Cheri Farrior is the Program Coordinator for the Educator Voice Fellowship. Prior to joining America Achieves in the fall of 2016, Cheri taught 7th grade social studies in Charlotte, NC.
Managing Partner, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer
Diane Ford serves as Managing Partner, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, overseeing all of the organization’s administrative and finance functions.
Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator, Office of the Executive Chairman
Danielle serves as Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator to the Executive Chairman of America Achieves. Danielle began her career working as an Administrative Assistant at a hedge fund in New York City.
Chief Strategy Officer
Jade Grieve is the Chief Strategy Officer at America Achieves. Before joining America Achieves, Jade was a strategic policy adviser to two former Australian Prime Ministers and Education Ministers.
Chief Operating Officer, GripTape
Catherine Holland is the Chief Operating Officer for GripTape, an initiative that fosters deep understanding, tools, and opportunities for youth to drive their own learning and development. Before joining America Achieves, she worked with nonprofits and private-sector companies committed to increasing access to critical information and outstanding educational experiences for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Catherine is passionate about engaging with partners, whether youth in schools and community-based programs or the adults who serve them. She has worked with educators, administrators, and technologists to create innovative programs and tools that support powerful, effective learning. Most recently, Catherine served as the Director of Research & Development at Noodle.com following her role as Program Director for the Salvadori Center. Catherine studied at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, and in Paris, France. Today, she lives in New York City where she and her husband raised their two children. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading Civil War biographies, comparing Crossfit bruises with her husband, or practicing her French with anyone who will indulge her.
Colorado Program Manager, Educator Voice Fellowship
Lance Hostetter serves as the Colorado Program Manager for the Educator Voice Fellowship. He has extensive experience in education advocacy, government, and politics in Colorado.
Peter Kannam is a Senior Advisor of America Achieves.
Chief Program Officer, College Access and Success
Brett Kimmel is Chief Program Officer, College Access and Success, at America Achieves. From 2006-2015 Brett was founding principal of Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), a high performing New York City public school.
Program Manager, GripTape
Ariel Lawrence is the Program Manager for GripTape. She enjoys being a member of an enthusiastic team that emphasizes youth-driven learning. Ariel began her career as a middle school teacher in a DC charter school. While in the classroom, she became adamant about validating the culture, values, interests and lived experiences of her students. It was this experience that sparked her initial interest in youth-centered learning and compelled her to pursue her graduate degree in Sociology and Education. As a graduate student, Ariel also served as an Instructor at the Opportunity Network, an Arthur Zankel Urban Fellow at Teachers College Community School and a Teacher’s Assistant at the Center for Research and Public and Leadership. Ariel received her M.A from Teachers College, Columbia University and A.B. from Princeton University. She is passionate about resolving issues of educational inequality, deepening her spiritual walk and has an insane obsession with Broadway shows, concerts and dance.
Barry Manasse is an accountant at America Achieves, joining the finance team in May 2017.
Founder and CEO, GripTape
Mark Murphy leads Griptape, an initiative to ensure youth are the true drivers of their learning and development and are able to seize great opportunities to grow, lead, and serve. Before joining the family at America Achieves, Mark was the Secretary of Education in Delaware.
Senior Human Resources and Administrative Manager
Irene Newman serves as Senior Human Resources and Administrative Manager, working directly with the Chief Financial & Administrative Officer on all phases of the employee lifecycle, including recruitment, onboarding, professional development, and performance management. Prior to joining America Achieves, Irene was the Human Resources Manager for Malaria No More, a 501 (c)(3) organization where she was responsible for supporting business initiatives, development of HR strategies, and plans, to ensure organizational effectiveness.
Director of Partnerships, College Access and Success
Dimity Palmer-Smith is the Director of Partnerships for College Access and Success at America Achieves. Prior to joining America Achieves, Dimity was the founding Executive Director of Friends of WHEELS, a nonprofit organization providing funding for college access and persistence services at WHEELS, a public school in Washington Heights.
Project Manager, College Access and Success
Alysha Rashid is the Project Manager of College Access and Success at America Achieves. Previously, she worked as in-school adviser with MDRC’s College Match Program. Alysha began her career as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Adelphi University, her alma mater, where she recruited students in New York and Washington and helped build Adelphi’s multicultural recruitment efforts.
Program Associate, College Access and Success
Jhenielle is the Program Associate for College Access and Success at America Achieves, where she provides operational support for the CollegePoint initiative. She brings with her a wealth of experience as a first generation college graduate, former college adviser and admissions officer.
Chief External Relations Officer
As Chief External Relations Officer, Rae Richman ensures that America Achieves has the funding, network, reach, and resources to achieve its goals and fulfill its mission.
Director of Data & Operations, Fellowship for Teachers and Principals
Sheri began her career in education in 2007 as a high school math teacher in Washington, D.C. While teaching, Sheri served as a teacher leader in her school by heading the math department, founding an international club for students, and founding a faculty community committee for colleagues.
Jon Schnur is co-founder and Executive Chairman of America Achieves.
Senior Accounting Manager
Tom serves as the Senior Accounting Manager for America Achieves working in their Accelerator team. Tom is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the accounting function as well as continuing to develop a cohesive process between the organization and the finance area.
Emma Van Susteren
External Relations Manager
Emma is the External Relations Manager at America Achieves. With her, she brings years of experience in federal government and an excitement for innovative policies and programs that bring about systemic change.
Chief of Staff
Before joining America Achieves, Bryden served as Executive Director of African Leadership Foundation, the US partner of African Leadership Academy, a leadership development institution dedicated to supporting Africa’s future leaders.