Board of Trustees

Excel Academy Board of Trustees

As public agents authorized by the state, 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). 

In addition to its many other responsibilities, the board must ensure that the school is complying with all of the state and federal laws that apply to the school and that the school is operating in accordance with its charter and with any approved amendments to its charter.

Excel Academy is grateful to its volunteer board members for their generous commitment to ensure the success and viability of our organization.

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.

Caitlin Brumme (Vice Chair)

Caitlin Reimers Brumme currently serves as program director at the Impact Collaboratory at Harvard Business School. Previously, Caitlin was a director on the Capital Markets Team at Social Finance where she led the financial structuring and capital raising activities to drive social impact at scale. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.

Tom Ellis (Treasurer)

Tom is the co-founder and co-portfolio manager of North Run Capital, LP, a long-short fundamental value hedge fund. Prior to co-founding North Run in 2002, Tom was a Principal at Berkshire Partners, LLC. 

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.

Hazie Crespo

Hazie joined Excel’s high school staff in its founding year of 2015 and currently serves as an Assistant Dean of Students. Previously, Hazie taught 9th and 10th grade Biomedical Science. She is also the founder and currently runs the Young Women Leadership Program at Excel Academy Charter High School. Hazie earned her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Wheaton College, MA and currently attends Boston University for her Master’s in Education. She is a 2007 graduate of Excel Academy Charter School, 2017 Teach for America Corps Member and an active resident of Chelsea, MA. Hazie is also an inaugural member of Latinos for Education, a non-profit organization that provides pathways for increased representation and impact of Latino education leaders. She prides herself on being an Excel parent to her fifth-grade son.

Tania Del Rio

Tania currently serves as Executive Director for Mayor Marty Walsh’s Office of Women’s Advancement. Prior to this role, Tania worked as the Diversity Outreach Officer for the Mayor’s Office. Before joining the City of Boston, Tania was the Head of the Protection and Community Affairs Departments at the Consulate of Mexico in Boston. Previously, Tania has worked with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs on using data to identify barriers and make recommendations for increasing gender diversity in the Foreign Service. Tania holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from New York University and a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Pamela Freed

Pam currently serves as Vice President & Chief of Staff to the CEO at Beacon Health Options, a behavioral health organization focused on increasing access to mental health services. Prior to joining Beacon, Pam worked as a Case Team Leader at Bain & Company, where she consulted on strategic planning, process improvement, and organizational development for healthcare and financial services clients. Prior to Bain, Pam worked in Strategic and Financial Planning at Comcast, and as an Assistant Vice President at J.P. Morgan. 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 Lytle

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.

Stephen Mugford

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.

Susan Passoni

Susan is a Founding Board Member of Excel Academy Charter Schools and Chairs Excel’s Advisory Board. For twenty years, she was a Managing Director in Research at several investment banks, including Credit Suisse First Boston and Goldman Sachs. Susan currently Chairs the University Club of Boston’s Scholarship Committee as well as serves on EDVestors’ Grant Review panel and is an Executive Advisor for the Lynch Leadership Academy. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association and Building Excellent Schools. 

Steven Zrike

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.