Board Chair - Nikki Carroll

Nikki Carroll is a consultant at Deloitte Consulting where she leads teams to advise and facilitate finance transformations for Fortune 500 corporations that will impact their people, processes, and technology. She specializes in transformations related to data governance and financial reporting, planning, and analytics. Prior to Deloitte, Nikki spent time in various finance and operations roles at Moody’s Investors Service, Newark Public Schools and Freddie Mac.

Outside of work, Nikki is passionate about K-12 education and remains involved in her local Brooklyn community as the Founding Board Treasure at Key Collegiate Charter School and Board Co-Chair at La Cima Charter School. Nikki holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and a BS in Finance from Morgan State University. 

Board Co-Chair - Lucy Joffe

Lucy Joffe is the Assistant Commissioner for Housing Policy at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”). Lucy previously worked as the Executive Director of Regulatory Compliance at HPD, an attorney-advisor in the Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as a legislative aide to New York City Council Member Dan Garodnick. She also taught elementary and middle school English as a Second Language at P.S./I.S. 50 in East Harlem as a Teach for America corps member and worked in several Detroit public schools as an Americorps member. Lucy earned a J.D. from the New York University School of Law, an M.S. for Teachers from Pace University and a B.A. in sociology with a political science minor from the University of Michigan.

Secretary - Damira Rasheed

Damira Rasheed is the Director of Data and Program Analytics in the Office of Policy and Strategy at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. She previously worked as a Research Associate at Fordham University, studying the efficacy of school-based educational classroom interventions in elementary schools. Damira is working on her Ph.D. (all but dissertation) in Educational Psychology with a specialization in Quantitative Methods in Educational and Psychological Research at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She earned an M.A. from New York University Steinhardt in Human Development and Social Intervention, and two B.A.s from Georgia State University in Psychology and Political Science. She lives in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Board Treasurer: Zach Heller

Zach Heller has spent his entire career in education marketing. He has been the Director of Marketing at Distance Education Company, operating several online schools for adult learners, for the last eight years. Prior to that, Zach spent two years as Online Marketing Manager for Lawline, an online provider of continuing legal education. Mr. Heller has also worked with several non-profits in the education sphere – DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform for teachers, and Working in Support of Education (WISE), a New York-based organization promoting financial literacy. He holds a Marketing and Economics Degree from the University of Delaware and currently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Board Members

Natalie Bledman (approval pending)

Natalie Bledman is the Director of Administration for Black Futures Lab where she leads administrative, compliance, and operational support for the BFL team. Natalie previously served as founding Director of Operations and Chief Operations Officer for two charter schools in NYC, focused on compliance, human resources, and information technology systems. Natalie holds a Juris Doctor from the City University of New York School of Law, a Master of Public Administration from the City University of New York at Baruch College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Literature & Rhetoric from the State University of New York at Binghamton. 

Kassidy Maxie (approval pending)

Kassidy Elizabeth Maxie currently serves in the greater Harlem area as a Special Education Specialist for the New York Department of Education. Previously, Kassidy has worked as a teacher for grades 6-8, as a Teach for America 2016 Corps member. Kassidy has also supported in the capacity of Adult Learning and School Building Leadership as an Instructional Assistant for numerous courses at Teachers College-Columbia University. Kassidy earned her AS in Individual Studies from Broome Community College. She earned her BA in History with a minor in Africana/Puerto Rican studies at Hunter College. She earned her Masters in Education from Relay Graduate School of Education, along with her Masters in School Building Leadership and Administration from Teachers College-Columbia University. She currently resides in the Bronx, NY. 

Emily Welch

Emily Welch serves as Program Manager at Amplify Education, which creates core and supplemental curriculum, assessment and intervention programs for K-12 students. In this role, she leads the design and implementation of high-impact tutoring initiatives for students in several states nationwide.

Emily describes herself as a forever educator, and spends much of her time teaching and learning about teaching and learning. She started her career as a middle school math and science teacher in the Bronx, and has held many roles in the education world since then, including: charter school leader, instructional coach/academic dean, graduate instructor at Johns Hopkins School of Education, Lead Teacher at the American Museum of Natural History & Brooklyn Botanic Garden, pre-service training coach and facilitator for Teach For America corps members, and Program Consultant for New Teacher Center, a national nonprofit. 

When she’s not working, you can find Emily somewhere in Bed-Stuy, where she lives with her family and operates a pizza catering business with her spouse.

Andrea Zayas (Founder, approval pending)

Andrea Zayas is Ballmer Group’s National Director of K-12 Education, leading the organization’s national education strategy for impact, as well as  developing and executing its education grantmaking, policy, and systems change work. Andrea has dedicated her 25 years in education to making progress on challenges faced by schools, working at every level – from the classroom to district administration – to improve education outcomes for Black and Latinx young people. 

Prior to joining Ballmer Group, Andrea served for three years in cabinet positions at Boston Public Schools, most recently as its Chief Academic Officer, where she focused on ensuring every one of the district’s 55,000 students had equitable access to rigorous and culturally sustaining education to prepare for a life of opportunity.

Previously, Andrea founded and led three organizations that reach kids who are furthest from education opportunities: New Orleans Youth Alliance, Upstream Education Consulting, and La Cima Elementary Charter School in Brooklyn, New York. She also served in diverse leadership roles, focused on student success, at established organizations, including the National Director of Regional Leadership Development for Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP); Regional State Turnaround Superintendent in Camden, New Jersey; and Director for Charter School Accountability for the New York City Department of Education. 

Andrea is a Doctor of Education candidate in urban education leadership at Xavier University in Louisiana. She earned her master’s degree in education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University.