Friends of Excel Academy Foundation Board
Friends of Excel Academy is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that supports Excel Academy and its fundraising pursuits.
Seth Reynolds, Chair
Seth is currently Managing Director and Partner in the Education Practice at Parthenon EY, a strategy consulting firm, where he advises clients across a variety of industries including education. Seth started his career as a bilingual teacher through the Teach for America program. Seth was a founding board member of Excel Academy and served on its Board of Trustees from 2003-2014. He is a graduate of Amherst College and earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Megan Preiner, Treasurer
Megan M. Preiner is a Managing Director in the Healthcare Group at Thomas H. Lee Partners. Prior to joining THL, Ms. Preiner worked in the Media & Telecommunications Group at Credit Suisse in New York. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Business School.
DJ Cass, Clerk
DJ is the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at CereVasc. Prior to CereVasc DJ was the Group Vice President of International at Insulet Corporation in London and has spent the last twenty years in the medical device and diagnostics industry at companies including Cytyc Corporation and Hologic. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and earned an MBA at Bentley University.
Shirley Verónica Cardona
Shirley is the Vice President of Marketing at Ellevation Education. Shirley brings over 15 years of experience leading the marketing function for high-growth brands in the consumer goods, travel, and edtech industries. Prior to joining Ellevation, Shirley led Brand and Digital Marketing at Curriculum Associates and served as Vice President on the student and adult tours divisions of EF Education First. Shirley started her career in marketing as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Sociology and Romance Languages from Harvard University. She is a proud first-generation college grad and former English Learner.
Massachusetts Excel Academy Board of Trustees
The members of the board of trustees (board) of a charter school are responsible for governing the school and hold the charter for the school, as it is granted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
Ben Howe, Chair
Ben is the co-founder and CEO of AGC Partners in Boston, MA. Prior to founding AGC, Ben was a Managing Director and Head of M&A at Cowen Securities. Prior to Cowen he led Montgomery Securities’ East Coast and European Tech Investment Banking practice. He graduated from Trinity College and received an M.S. in Accounting from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Bernabe Rodriguez, Vice Chair
Bernabe is the current Director and Co-founder of 311 Services for the City of Chelsea. Prior to this position, Bernabe served as the Executive Secretary to the City Manager for two years. Bernabe graduated from Bentley University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and is an Excel Academy alumni.
Matt Ottmer, Clerk
Matt Ottmer is a healthcare professional with over 20 years of experience working in leadership roles at companies such as Momenta Pharmaceuticals and Biogen. Matt is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Pam currently serves as Senior Vice President, Product Management at Zelis, a healthcare payments company. Prior to joining Zelis, Pam was Chief of Staff to the CEO and head of Business Operations at Beacon Health Options, a leading behavioral health management organization and now part of Anthem. Previously, Pam was a management consultant at Bain & Company, where she consulted on strategic planning, process improvement, and organizational development for healthcare clients. Pam received an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA with honors from Harvard University.
Devon Petersmeyer Johnson
Devon currently serves as Vice President of Marketing at Converse (owned by Nike). Prior to joining Converse, Devon was Vice President of Marketing at Catalant Technologies after working in brand management at Procter & Gamble and in consulting at Parthenon-EY. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
Robert currently serves as the Head of EY-Parthenon’s Education practice. Robert was with Parthenon for 15 years before its combination with EY in August 2014. For two decades, he has led client engagements on general strategy, performance improvement, and investment due diligence across a broad spectrum of educational organizations. His clients include high-growth companies, publicly listed global 100 companies, nonprofit institutions, financial investors, and international governments. Robert is a frequent speaker at leading global forums in the education sector. Prior to joining Parthenon, Robert was with Bain & Company and served as a US Army aviator. He holds a BSE in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and an MBA with high distinction from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Steve currently serves as Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy at Capital One. Prior to joining Capital One in 1998, Steve was with the Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles and later in Boston. While at BCG, Steve led strategy engagements with Fortune 500 clients in a variety of industries, including retail, consumer goods, telecommunications, and tech. Steve received an MBA from Harvard Business School and received a BA in Economics and English from Amherst College. Steve is a competitive masters swimmer and enjoys beach volleyball, golf, and singing. He is also the father of three young daughters.
Steven Zrike is currently the Receiver/Superintendent for the Holyoke Public Schools. Previous to this role, Steve served as the Superintendent of Schools in Wakefield, Massachusetts. From 2011- 2013, he was the Chief of Elementary Schools for the Pilsen-Little Village Network in the Chicago Public Schools. In addition to his experience in Chicago, Steve also served the Boston Public Schools as the turnaround principal of the William Blackstone Elementary School, an inquiry facilitator and leadership coach for four Boston schools, and as principal of both the William Ohrenberger Elementary School and John Philbrick Elementary School.
Yahaira is a Commission Uses Analyst at Fidelity Investments. Yahaira has been at Fidelity for two years and previously worked as an Analyst in strategy and planning. Yahaira graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance from Bentley University and is an Excel Academy alumni.
David Stolow, Treasurer
David Stolow teaches courses for undergraduates and MBAs students on social enterprise and nonprofit management at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Prior to joining the BU faculty in 2011, David worked for 20 years in nonprofit management positions in the fields of education, community development, community service, and services for children and families. David has also served on several nonprofit boards and has consulted widely on financial management for nonprofit leaders. David graduated from Yale University with a major in American Studies and earned his master’s degree in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management. David’s grandparents and great-grandparents who were immigrants in the early 20th century lived in Chelsea and East Boston.
Nery is a dedicated member of the East Boston and Chelsea communities. Nery currently serves as a Community Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. Nery is originally from El Salvador and the parent of two children at Excel Academy.
Rhode Island Excel Academy Board of Trustees
Mayor Jorge Elorza, Chair
As Providence’s 38th Mayor, Jorge O. Elorza has strived to build a Providence that works for all of its residents. Since taking office in January 2015, Elorza has led with integrity, boldness and long-term thinking by prioritizing opportunities for youth, ensuring transparency in city government, improving city services and providing a sound financial future for the capital city. Born and raised in Providence, Mayor Elorza is a graduate of Classical High school, the University of Rhode Island, and Harvard Law School. Prior to being elected Mayor, he was a Legal Aid attorney, he served as a Providence Housing Court Judge, and he co-founded the Latino Policy Institute while he served as a professor at Roger Williams University School of Law. Mayor Elorza lives with his wife, Stephanie, and his son, Omar, in the Silver Lake neighborhood.
Mayor Maria Rivera, Clerk
Maria Rivera is the 33rd Mayor of Central Falls. She is the first woman Mayor in city history, and first Latina Mayor in the State of Rhode Island. Prior to her mayoral oath of office, Mayor Rivera was a Senior Eligibility Technician at the Department of Human Services. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island Latina Leadership Institute and has served on boards of Nowell Leadership Academy for parenting and pregnant teens and The Learning Community Charter School, in addition to the Central Falls Board of Canvassers, Central Falls Planning Board, and the Central Falls Nuisance Task Force. She earned her BA in Public Administration from Roger Williams University and is a 1995 graduate of Central Falls High School. During her administration, Mayor Rivera is prioritizing the health and wellness of Central Falls residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring important access to testing, treatment, vaccines, and much-needed resources to support struggling families.
Mayor Charles Lombardi
Mayor Charles Lombardi is the Mayor of the Town of North Providence and co-owner of Luxury Cleaners, a third-generation owned family business that has been serving customers of Rhode Island for over 60 years.
Channavy Chhay, Vice Chair
Channavy Chhay is the current Executive Director at the Center for Southeast Asians (CSEA). She came to the United States in her early teens with her mother, both genocide survivors and refugees from war-torn Cambodia. As a refugee, she struggled with learning English and trying to “fit in” to American culture. She also witnessed firsthand the hardships that many Southeast Asian refugee families encountered: low-paying jobs working long hours in factories, children navigating a new world with very limited resources, and elders suffering from trauma, malnutrition, and ill health. Channavy came to understand that traditional mainstream organizations could not adequately provide services for many Southeast Asian families, due to significant linguistic and cultural barriers. Channavy’s personal history and unique perspective shape her continued commitment to CSEA as an effective advocate for the needs and aspirations of the Southeast Asian community. CSEA is fully dedicated to addressing system-level changes and working together with its partners to make each year more successful than the last.
Chiv Heng, Treasurer
Chiv is the Sr. Director of Operations at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy with over 10 years of experience in educational leadership roles. Prior to working in K-12 education, Chiv worked with several nonprofit organizations in Providence, focused on capacity building and community development. He is a native of Providence, the first in his family born in the U.S., and a first-generation college graduate. Chiv attended Classical High School in Providence, earned a degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island, and is a candidate for a master’s degree from Brown University’s Urban Education Policy program.
Liz serves as the Program Manager for the Division of Workforce Partnership at CCRI. Liz brings 10 years of career education experience as a founding member of KIPP NYC College Prep where she worked as a career counselor for high school students from low-income communities and helped thousands of students secure experiential learning and competitive work opportunities. AT CCRI, Liz oversees two large grants to create a Career Innovation Lab that connects students’ academic pathways with career opportunities. Liz believes that her direct experience leading career development and her prior development of a career education toolkit for the NYC DOE will help her serve as a strong leader and advocate for student pathways beyond high school.
Gary is the CEO and founder of SquadLocker. Gary leads a team of best-in-class, dedicated professionals who share his vision to use innovative technologies to reinvent the way sports leagues, teams and schools design and purchase customized gear including uniforms, spirit wear and other apparel. Gary, a multiple patent holder, proudly carries the torch of a third-generation textile scientist and has used his unique knowledge and love of the craft throughout his career in designing and manufacturing high-performance fabrics. In 2009, Gary founded Clearbrands and patented a first-of-its-kind technology that blocks harmful toxins consumers encounter while sleeping on select mattresses and pillows. Prior to Clearbrands, Gary founded Case the Music, a custom guitar and musical instrument case company that eventually evolved into the holding company CTM, LLC. A lifelong New England resident, Gary resides with his family in Providence, Rhode Island. Gary earned his bachelor of science degree in economics at Brandeis University.
The Excel Academy Advisory Board offers guidance and assistance to the Trustees and organizational leaders on strategic management and educational issues. The Board will also be helpful in advancing Excel’s mission of ensuring students and graduates of Excel succeed in high school and college and are active citizens in their communities.
Tania Del Rio, Chair
Executive Director for the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement
Massachusetts State Representative, First Suffolk District
Daniel J. Ryan
Massachusetts State Representative, Second Suffolk District
Former Boston City Councilor, District One
Former State Representative and Secretary to Governor Baker
Founding Governing Board Member, Excel Academy Charter Schools
Kearney, Donovan & McGee P.C.
Principal, Polaris Public Relations
Alejandra St. Guillen
Director of the Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians, WTC
Managing Director of Network Programming, Building Excellent Schools
Senior Vice President, MassDevelopment