If we are successful, a school (or system of schools) will be a healthy, stable, safe environment for all students, allowing them to achieve at the highest levels.
We believe this ultimately depends on creating an equitable and inclusive environment for staff.
Creating this environment requires the recruitment and retention of high quality, diverse people who experience consistent talent processes and systems of accountability and support.
The mission of EdFuel is to empower education organizations to effectively recruit and retain diverse and high quality staff through comprehensive and equitable talent management systems.
What We Do
We’re all about the people. EdFuel is a national nonprofit that helps education organizations recruit and retain top talent at all levels.
EdFuel supports single site schools, charter networks, traditional districts, and education nonprofits with talent management needs of all types. On the systematic side, we design the tools and processes that education organizations need to implement strong, equitable and inclusive talent management systems. Our work spans all aspects of the talent cycle and we have extensive experience in the following areas: competency mapping, recruitment, hiring, onboarding, professional development, performance evaluation, compensation and benefits, succession planning, and holistic organizational culture.
But we know that systems are only part of the solution. Much of the challenge is adaptive: the ability of organizational leaders to effectively implement talent management systems with consistency, fidelity, and in a way that preserves strong internal culture. EdFuel designs tailored training and support systems that build the capacity of the organization to sustain strong talent practices without us.
"EdFuel has been an important partner to Yu Ying. Over the past year, we've worked closely to enhance the school's organizational capacity and develop strategies to retain our talented employees. Thank you, EdFuel!"
- Cheri Harrington, Chief Operating Officer, Washington Yu Ying
How We Operate
We meet you where you are
We take pride in our nimble nature and ability to design adaptive solutions tailored to meet partner needs.
We make best-practice practical
We source and conduct research as the foundation of our work, yet balance it with a dose of practicality to meet real-world needs.
We have a bias toward action
Because time is precious, we take an applied approach to design, valuing responsiveness and getting things done.
We offer accessible price points
Because top talent shouldn’t be a luxury, we take a streamlined, affordable approach to delivering high-quality products.
We ask difficult questions
Because we believe diversity, equity and inclusion are talent imperatives, we will directly address areas where bias is or has the potential to be at play.
Meet the Team
Cortney joined EdFuel in April 2018 because she believes that well-trained teachers and support staff, result in better-prepared students.
Cortney started her career as a high school social studies teacher in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
As a teacher, Cortney discovered her passion for ensuring that all students had access to a quality education and extracurricular experiences. After leaving the classroom, Cortney pursued her MPA with a focus in nonprofit management at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Prior to joining EdFuel, Cortney served as a program coordinator for a nonprofit organization that supported children with an incarcerated parent or loved one. In this role, she was responsible for curriculum creation and implementation, special event planning, data analysis and collection, and management of volunteers and interns.
Cortney currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two sons.
Melany joined EdFuel in May 2021 because she believes talent is a lever for educational equity and should ultimately level the playing field for those marginalized.
Prior to beginning an education career, Melany conducted opportunity gap research at the University of Delaware and educational psychology research regarding stereotype threat in minority families at the University of Michigan. Her research findings compelled her to combat the opportunity gap as an educator. Melany served as an elementary teacher in New Castle, Delaware while pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching at Johns Hopkins University. As a teacher, Melany used her background in research and data to customize a response to intervention strategy, which resulted in record proficiency rates on student’s end-of-year assessments.
Melany later served as the Coordinator for Teacher Selection and Analytics at DC Public Schools where she used data to inform the District’s national strategy for teacher recruitment and selection. There she performed data analysis into how well the teacher candidate evaluation system predicted teacher’s future performance on end-of-year IMPACT evaluations. She also served as a Strategic Enrollment Initiatives Specialist for DC Public Schools, managing enrollment operations for a third of the District’s schools.
Melany graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Black American Studies. She currently lives in Delaware.
Kerri-Ann Nesbeth joined EdFuel in April 2018 because she believes that increasing access to quality education, regardless of someone's socioeconomic status or zip code, begins with building capacity in educational leaders.
Kerri-Ann started her career in municipal government. She then entered the private sector and worked in corporate social responsibility, which led her to philanthropy. She previously worked at the Clinton Foundation, overseeing operations and logistics for President Bill Clinton’s annual conference, which focused on bolstering the U.S. economy through job creation.
Soon after, she recognized one of the common denominators to unlocking opportunity was receiving a quality education. This realization facilitated her desire to have a more direct impact on education reform, and she transitioned to work at Achievement First Public Charter Schools in Brooklyn, New York. Kerri-Ann launched the organization's first-ever talent management tool that aggregated the most pertinent talent metrics to inform organizational health across over 30 schools in the network. In addition, she played a crucial role in their diversity recruitment efforts and successfully identified new strategies to bolster the diversity of teacher and school leader hires.
Kerri-Ann graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Management and minors in History and African American Studies. She currently lives in South Florida and serves as Vice Chair of Broward County's Racial Equity Task Force. She is passionate about operations and systems, loves traveling, watching TV, and spending time with her family.
Rachel Nozari joined EdFuel in August 2021 because she firmly believes in the power of diverse teams to catalyze real change, so all students have access to an excellent and equitable education. She is personally and professionally driven to build individual and organizational capacity to ensure all leaders can realize their full potential and all teams can operate at their best.
Rachel began her professional career teaching first and second grade in Hartford, Connecticut where she was reminded every day how naturally creative, resourceful, and collaborative people are, even from the youngest age. Rachel spent the last 8 years working at Teach For America. While at TFA she coached K-12 educators across 5 cities to build culturally responsive classrooms that resulted in holistic growth for students. As a Director of Leadership and Learning, she used liberatory design methods to design and roll out a region-wide theory of leadership development. In her most recent role, she focused on strategy, talent, operations, and learning work where she led a regional transition to a more agile and inclusive learning organization.
Rachel is passionate about innovation and human-centered design grounded in equity. She holds a BA in Psychology and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, a Masters in Education from the University of Saint Joseph, and is currently working on her Professional Coaching Certification through the CoActive Training Institute so she can better support all leaders. She currently lives in New Haven, CT with her husband and enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.
Ashleigh joined EdFuel in July 2021 because she believes that people are the key factor to student success and that students should have strong leaders, teachers, and non-instructional staff supporting them.
Prior to her work at EdFuel, Ashleigh managed end-to-end school leader and network-level recruitment at Democracy Prep Public Schools. In her work with the organization, she planned and executed leadership interview rounds with a focus on improving the equity and inclusivity of the hiring process, oversaw the creation and implementation of structured interview processes for network-level roles that would reduce hiring biases, and facilitated the outreach and selection of mission-driven, high potential teacher candidates for the Teaching Residency Program.
Ashleigh began her career in education as a founding seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher in Baltimore, MD. She also taught middle and high school English in Philadelphia, PA. She holds a BA in English from Kenyon College, a Master of Arts in Teaching from The Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Arts in Education Policy Studies from The George Washington University.
Ashleigh currently lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband where she enjoys reading, running, and exploring the region.
Nicole joined EdFuel in June 2021 because she believes people are one of the most important factors in ensuring that every child has an education that prepares them for life.
After earning her Masters’ Degree in Education Policy from Vanderbilt University, she spent nearly six years at the Tennessee Department of Education. During her time there, she supported year one of statewide teacher evaluation implementation as well as curriculum and instruction, supporting teachers and leaders in the transition to more rigorous standards and assessments. She led selection and performance management for hundreds of facilitators of statewide training for tens of thousands of educators each summer and thousands of school leaders over the years. Following her time at TDOE, Nicole was a founding team member at Instruction Partners, an education non-profit, where she launched the organization’s teacher professional development work before turning her focus to internal learning and development and talent management more broadly. She led hiring, onboarding, performance management, and employee engagement, growing the organization from 20 to 75 employees over two years while increasing the team’s diversity and improving the overall employee experience.
Nicole started her career in education as an elementary teacher in rural North Carolina and still describes herself as an educator at heart. She is passionate about supporting others to be their best across roles in the education field. She will describe herself as a bit of a nerd - loves designing processes and making data tell a story that drives action.
Nicole currently lives in Cary, NC with her husband and two children. Nicole enjoys reading, crafting and hiking, biking, and running (really anything to spend time outside!).
Marguerite joined EdFuel in September 2022, because she believes every leader deserves the support they need to make a positive impact and few places have bigger impacts than schools.
Marguerite volunteered and interned in schools before starting her career in banking. Her passion for education and impact still came through, eventually leading her to pivot from Underwriting to Learning & Development and then Talent Transformation. Her career came full circle when she joined EdFuel to bring her Talent experience back to schools as a Director, Talent Management.
Outside work, you can find Marguerite baking Great British Bake Off recipes with her husband, hiking the Colorado mountains, or ticking off locales on her latest travel challenge.
Monique joined Edfuel in 2022 because she was inspired by the team’s commitment to becoming an explicitly anti-racist organization. She believes that building talent systems with equity as the foundation will improve the experience of educators in the systems she serves and ultimately improve student and family outcomes in schools.
Monique’s career began in the San Antonio Independent School District, a Title I school district in San Antonio, Texas. During her time with SAISD, she held several roles. She served as a special education teacher, advocating for the district's most vulnerable children. Monique entered school leadership as an Assistant Principal, supporting several of the district's most challenging and underperforming campuses with strategies to improve culturally responsive and sustaining practices among faculty. As a Talent Partner, Monique recruited teachers and professional staff, considering each candidate’s placement in a best fit school community aligned the candidate’s strengths with campus and community needs. Most recently, Monique served as the Director of Leadership Programs where she was responsible for developing and managing an equity-centered leadership pipeline that supported campus and district leadership as they worked to improve equitable practices for recruitment, hiring, training, and retaining effective school leaders. In addition, Monique was an Assistant School Leader at KIPP Esperanza, a dual language school that focused on fostering bilingualism, biliteracy, and cultural diversity. In each role, Monique’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has grown. She
is passionate about improving school systems so that they are better positioned to serve all students.
Monique graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a bachelor’s degree in Business and returned to get her MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Monique holds educator certifications in special education and school leadership through the Texas Education Agency. Monique currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and has two children. She loves spending time with family and friends, cooking, and watching football.
Saima joined EdFuel in May 2021 because she believes that talent is a key lever for building strong and diverse school teams to ensure all students receive a quality education.
Prior to joining EdFuel, Saima led talent and HR initiatives for FirstLine Schools for ten years. Key initiatives that Saima worked on include: the development and implementation of the teacher career pathway and compensation system, performance evaluation systems for teachers and non-instructional staff, employee surveys, and the recruitment and selection of teachers, school leaders and non-instructional staff. Saima led the implementation and evolution of performance management systems and dashboards enabling school leaders to have real-time data on coaching and feedback given to teachers. She also oversaw the development of the HR department and streamlined and improved FirstLine’s personnel policies, employee onboarding and benefits management systems.
Before working at FirstLine, Saima worked at The New Teacher Project, supporting the recruitment of Teaching Fellows in Shreveport, LA. She also spent several years working in international development in both Washington DCand Pakistan prior to focusing on the education sector. Saima holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s in Public Policy from The George Washington University. She currently lives in Miami with her husband.
Saima is an aspiring runner who enjoys watching international dramas, picking up new languages, and spending time in the great outdoors.
Meet the Board
Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools EdFuel Board Chair
Jessica Cunningham Akoto joined KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools as the Chief Executive Officer in June 2018. Jessica started her career as a 4th-grade teacher in D.C. Public Schools. She later transitioned to KIPP as a sixth-grade math teacher at the region’s flagship school: KEY Academy. Jessica founded KIPP DC’s third middle school, WILL Academy, and served as the school’s principal for four years. She then served as a Chief Academic Officer for two years before deciding to return to school leadership in 2012 as the principal of KIPP DC’s high school, KIPP DC College Prep. Most recently, she worked as the KIPP Foundation’s Executive in Residence, where she provided critical on-site support to KIPP regional leaders to identify and execute the steps needed to produce superior results and healthy growth.
Jessica earned a B.S. in African American History from Florida A&M University and a Masters in Elementary Education from American University. She is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a 2015 Milken Educator Award winner. Most recently, Jessica was named a 2020 Minority Business Leader by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Jessica currently sits on the board of directors of EdFuel and the KIPP Foundation. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and exploring Philadelphia’s best restaurants.
Emmile Brack is an independent consultant that partners with K-12 public school systems and education-focused non-profit organizations to hone its collective ability to understand, identify and address inequities impacting students, families and schools and engage in inquiries and discussions to identify ways to improve how they serve all students. She has helped organizations revamp their theories of change, core values and strategic plans as well as analyze their data and operational processes, using a more intentional equity lens. Before striking out on her own, Emmile was Vice President of Operations for Schoolzilla, a public-benefit corporation that creates data tools for school leaders, leading organizational efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to Schoolzilla, Emmile worked at Aspire Public Schools for 7 years, serving as Chief of Staff and Vice President of Operations for the last 3 years of her tenure. As Chief of Staff, she led the work, in partnership with the National Equity Project, to build shared language and understanding around racial inequities amongst school and central office leaders. In her Operations leadership role, she managed the IT, Data and Applications, Strategy and Growth and School Operations Support teams. Before making the shift into education, Emmile worked as a finance and operations consultant. Emmile earned her MBA from The George Washington University and her bachelor's degree from Santa Clara University.
Chief Operating Officer , Samvid Ventures
Laura is the COO of the Desai Sethi Foundation/Samvid Ventures, a private operating foundation focused on education and entrepreneurship. Laura is a nationally recognized expert frequently cited in national press on helping social impact organizations get better as they get better. Prior to SV, Laura was Chief Talent Officer at Mastery Charter Schools, Chief of Staff of Achievement First, Managing Director of New Sector Alliance, a management consultant at Bridgespan, and a leader in the national office of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Laura graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and won their annual Women’s Leadership Award. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School where she was a William Randolph Hearst Scholar, and an Masters of Education through the Broad Residency in Urban Schools. She has previously served on the boards of Riders Alliance and The Guidance Center. Laura lives in New York City with her family and more books than she could ever read.
Chief Learning Officer
Freddy Gonzalez leads the Teaching, Learning and KIPP School Leadership Programs team with the overall goal of students across the country being empowered to lead choice-filled lives. The team he supports create and improve curriculum and assessment for the KIPP Network while also working alongside KIPP network’s leaders to facilitate opportunities for professional growth and development.
Before joining the KIPP Foundation, Freddy worked at KIPP Austin College Prep where he taught language arts, social studies, writing, and served as the eighth grade level chair. He went on to become the assistant principal at KACP, and finally served as principal for seven years after completing KSLP’s program for successor leaders. Under his leadership, the school earned Recognized or Exemplary ratings every year and earned distinctions in all possible categories such as achievement in reading/ELA, achievement in math, and top 25% student progress.
Formerly, Freddy was the lead college counselor for the Settlement College Reading Program in New York City. Freddy earned his M.Ed. from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, and a B.A. from Brown University.
Founding Partner, Ampersand Education EdFuel Board Vice Chair/Treasurer
Kristoffer is a Founding Partner of Ampersand Education, where he leads Ampersand's Growth Strategy team and supports and advises clients on all aspects of their growth strategy. Kristoffer brings 15 years of experience to the team and has expertise in all stages of growth, leading projects ranging from new site identification and market analyses, to fundraising, marketing and communications, and launch support.
Kristoffer has led teams to launch over 100 schools, raise over $50M, and pass charter legislation improvements in several jurisdictions. He’s handled growth and development for established organizations, as well as organizations in the start-up phase, with an end goal of increasing their impact for kids. Kristoffer began his career in education as a high school English teacher and leveraged this deep knowledge of schools to develop growth strategies for Rocketship Education, KIPP Austin Public Schools, and the KIPP Foundation.
Kristoffer holds degrees from Oregon State University and Emerson College, and lives with his family in Oakland, California. After avidly cheering on the Cubs’ recent achievements, he has high hopes that the Chicago Bears will be the next team to win it all.
Vice President for Finance, TNTP
Mitchell Hopson is an insightful financial professional with two decades of work experience focusing on strategic planning and reporting, financial controls and compliance, staff coaching and mentoring, and cash management gained from working with both for-profit and non-profit organizations. In his current role as the Vice President of Finance with the Zearn organization, the education non-profit behind the top-rated math learning platform, Mitchell will oversee the Financial and Strategic function that includes Planning & Analysis, Treasury, Reporting, and Transactional processes. Prior to joining Zearn, Mitchell held financial leadership positions with other prominent nationwide non-profit organizations, where he set the long-term vision and direction for the Finance teams. In these roles, he was also responsible for reporting key financial and operating results, risks, opportunities, and metrics to the executive team and board. In other financial roles with start-up and established companies, Mitchell has successfully managed R&D, Sales, Marketing, and Technology departmental operating and capital expense budgets, resource requirements, and variance analyses. He has also created financial models for M&A, investment, and pricing initiatives. Mitchell holds a BA in Business Administration and MBA in Finance from Florida A&M University and MS in International Affairs from Georgetown University. He lives near San Franciso, California with his wife and children. When he is not working or spending family time, Mitchell is an active community member serving on various volunteer boards and organizations, as well as participating in youth sports and activities. In 2020, he received the prestigious “Citizen of The Year” award by the local chamber of commerce.
Meet our Funders
We feel fortunate to have been supported by a number of national and local funding organizations. Current and past funders include the following organizations