The best modality to accelerate leadership development for middle- to senior-level leaders is personalized, one-on-one coaching.All coaches are selected through a comprehensive interview process and EdFuel ensures that each coach has an explicit understanding of how to develop leaders in their approach to diversity, equity and inclusiveness, regardless of their functional expertise. Our coaches have deep leadership experience and functional expertise in the following areas:
- Leadership and Management
- Organizational Strategy
- Development / Fundraising
- Finance and Facilities
- Human Capital / Talent
- Information Technology
“Our coach brings a balance of relevant experience, coaching expertise, and a perfectly calibrated sense of when to tell us what to do and when to teach us how to decide for ourselves. It’s tough to be an effective coach, and our coach goes well beyond effective—he’s an extraordinary coach, a rock-solid advisor, and the objective yet invested presence we desperately need.”Chief Executive Officer, Charter Board Partners
Meet the Coaches
Our coaching cadre includes an incredible group of senior leaders across the education sector. Meet some of our coaches below:
Expertise:Leadership and Management, Operations
Bob Oberleitner is focused on providing executive coaching that helps leaders move through uncertainty in an agile manner and communicate more effectively resulting in improved and more consistent performance in all aspects of their career including expanding their capacity to self-adjust. Through coaching he facilitates leaders being able to leverage their strengths and build the key competencies needed to achieve desired business results.
He has dedicated his career to helping people solve challenges through his work with, and the development of, senior executives and front line managers. Bob blends more than 28 years of leadership and executive experience with the knowledge skills and experience of an executive coach. As a leader he has led a variety of organizational projects and teams, ranging in size up to over 1,000 people, including both executives and managers.
Bob is a Georgetown University-trained Executive Coach. His clients have included leaders from both the private and public sectors including VPs, executive directors and front line supervisors. He comes from a family of teachers including school and district administrators. Bob lives in the greater Washington DC area.
In his coaching, Bob engages the whole person. As Peter Drucker noted, a primary job of a leader is to manage his or her own energy in order to facilitate the most effective functioning of the team. During the coaching conversation Bob and his clients jointly craft an individualized coaching development plan after confirming expectations and the executive’s desired results. The meetings are intentional with the objective of moving from thought to action.
Founder & CEO of Pearl Strategy Partners
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Strategy, Operations
Carolyn is a consultant and coach to mission-driven leaders, assisting them with their most pressing strategic and operational initiatives as well as management objectives. Carolyn has nearly 20 years of experience in line management and consulting roles and she understands first-hand the opportunities and challenges leaders face. She founded Pearl Strategy Partners to ensure leaders have objective yet compassionate support in the hard work of increasing their organization’s impact. Her recent clients include Walton Family Foundation, Teach For America, Los AngelesUnified School District,Ensemble Learning,World Federation ofUnited Nations Associations.
Prior to founding Pearl, Carolyn was Deputy to the COO at Turnaround for Children, managed the Program Operations Department and led efforts to redesign central & regional operations. In 2012, Carolyn co-founded Young Education Professionals NYC, which connects and empowers tomorrow’s leaders through knowledge, career, and professional development programs. Carolyn has also worked at Pearson, collaborating with State Education Departments to create an online assessment platform; at NYC Department of Education, managing 23 grant programs totaling $2.5B in funding; and at Teach For America, leading strategic planning efforts. She began her career advising Fortune 500 companies on large scale change management. Carolyn holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Hamilton College.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources/Talent Management
Clara Hess has over a decade of experience teaching, leading human capital initiatives, helping teams use data to make decisions, and managing cross-sector work with charter schools and districts. Clara currently coaches and develops regional leaders at Teach For America on vision setting, strategic planning, team culture, decision-making and management. She previously oversaw operations, human capital, strategic planning, and external partnerships at the DC Public Charter School Board, DC’s sole charter school authorizer. Clara has a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from NC State University and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies and Psychology from the University of Georgia. Based out of New York City, she is passionate about developing people as managers and leaders using a strengths-based model focused on results.
Washington, DC Based Executive Coach and Independent Education Consultant
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital/Talent, Development
Elfreda has over 40 years of experience driving positive change and initiating reform in high-performing and challenging environments in diverse education communities. She specializes in coaching and empowering leaders to reach their full potential. She has held key leadership positions in public education including Superintendent, Chief of Staff, Deputy Superintendent, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, and Director of Professional Development. She is a facilitator with the National Institute for School Leadership and a coach/facilitator with Performance Fact. She has directed comprehensive human resources and talent development programs and managed complex labor negotiations. She is adept at coaching and counseling those going through life transitions and those entering leadership positions in public education and corporate communities. Elfreda has a Ph.D. in Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from John Hopkins University. She has held senior leadership positions at Blackboard, Harcourt, Global Partnership Schools, and Knowledge Delivery Systems. Elfreda has served on the boards of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, See Forever Foundation, and Boys Town of Washington, DC. She serves on the Executive Council of New York University’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. Elfreda is committed to improving the education of all children and was appointed to serve on the Education Committee of the African-American Women’s Advisory Council to the President of Liberia. She has launched a successful travel agency, Premier Travel Unlimited, reflecting her pursuit of a well-balanced life and her entrepreneurial spirit.
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Strategy
Jenn Barr Weiss supports schools and education non-profits in achieving strategic priorities through long-term planning, talent strategy and coaching support. Jenn was a leader at Scholar Academies, where she oversaw talent practices as the network of turnaround schools doubled in size. Jenn’s professional experience includes time with Teach For America, KIPP and DC Public Schools. She has an MAT from American University and a BA in Government and Spanish from Claremont McKenna College.
As a consultant to schools and education non-profits, Jenn focuses support on developing and enabling long-term strategies, leading talent-related initiatives and developing teams to expand their impact. Clients include EdFuel, Teach For America, Leading Educators and numerous charter management organizations.
Chief Operating Officer, NatureBridge
Expertise: Operations, Leadership and Management, Strategy
Judy Lin is an experienced leader with an extensive skill set and unique background across the corporate and non-profit sectors. Judy is Chief Operating Officer of NatureBridge, the largest non-profit educational partner of the National Park Service. NatureBridge provides outdoor residential environmental science programs in national parks to over 35,000 students and 700 schools in each year. Judy oversees all aspects of program delivery including operations, education and sales and marketing.
Prior to NatureBridge, Judy served as Chief Operating Officer for KIPP Atlanta Schools, leading the organization through growth from two to eight schools and overseeing all areas of business and school operations. Judy was also previously the Chief Executive Officer of Beaucoup Favors, a leading online retailer in the wedding and special events industries, driving growth and profitability while scaling infrastructure and staffing. Judy held Director positions in Corporate Business Development and Strategy for Warner Bros. and Turner Broadcasting System working on strategic initiatives and global business development. Judy’s career in the sports industry spanned business administration at the U.S. Olympic Committee to event marketing and management with the National Basketball Association.
Judy holds an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management and a B.A. from Northwestern University in Economics and Asian Studies. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Founder, Little Bites Coaching
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Prioritization/Planning
Kelly Harris Perrin has spent time teaching middle school, working in higher education, and managing teams and projects in the non-profit sector. She founded Little Bites Coaching to help leaders work smarter, make a big impact, and avoid burnout. Currently, Kelly partners with groups and individuals to revolutionize HOW they work, and tackles everything from strategic planning, team structures and division of labor, executive prioritization and organization, time & energy management, and even email inboxes.
Kelly is also the co-creator of the Shine360 Leadership Review, a strengths-based 360-degree feedback and coaching model for executives and school leaders.
Kelly holds a BA in History from Northwestern University and a Masters in Higher Education Policy from the University of Maryland. She’s a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Typological Indicator instrument, is experienced in the Gallup StrengthsFinder, and completed Immunity to Change facilitator training with Minds at Work at Harvard University.
Vice President, Leadership Development at Teach For America
Program Designer at Bright Morning
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources/Talent, Staff Development
LesLee’s passion is supporting committed leaders to hone their talents and build the capacity required to bring their vision to life and deliver on promises to students, families and communities. She began her career as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia, where she was inspired by the limitless potential of her students to make working towards educational excellence and equity her life’s work. Since then, she has served in multiple senior leadership roles at Teach For America locally and nationally, including leading efforts in recruitment, program design and implementation, staff hiring and development, and teacher and leadership coaching. In her last role at Teach For America, as Vice-President of Leadership Development, she led enterprise-level work designing and implementing the organization’s first shared leadership framework and leadership development model. She is currently a partner at the Wildflower Foundation and the Chief Operating Officer at Bright Morning Consulting where she partners with Elena Aguilar to bring Transformational Coaching to educators across the country.
As a coach LesLee works with clients to quiet their inner critic, hold space to do meaningful reflection about their leadership, and set an inspiring vision while also growing concrete management skills.
LesLee has had the privilege of being trained in Transformational Coaching by Elena Aguilar, Cognitive Coaching, the Immunity to Change method by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey at Harvard, and completed her IFC credential program with Coaching Out of the Box. LesLee, her husband and two sons live in Minneapolis.
Education Marketing and Communications Specialist
Expertise: Communications, Marketing
Lindsay Kelly has spent over a decade developing and executing communications and marketing strategies for K-12 schools and support programs. She currently serves as the Director of External Affairs for KIPP Eastern North Carolina, overseeing communications and marketing for six schools and spearheading the region’s planned growth to ten schools. Previously, she served on the national public affairs team for KIPP, supporting national media outreach and regional communications directors at KIPP schools across the country. She also served as the Director of Communications and Marketing for KIPP DC for over seven years, as the network grew from five to 16 schools. Prior to KIPP, Lindsay worked in youth development, as a public school teacher, and for a traditional PR firm. She holds a B.A. in English and Theater Studies and an M.A. in English from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Deputy Superintendent, Bright Star Schools
Expertise: Academics, Leadership & Management, Organizational Culture & Health
As a first-generation college student, Melissa Kaplan is passionate about creating educational systems that are intentional about closing the achievement gap and ensuring every learner has the opportunity to succeed. As Deputy Superintendent for Bright Star Schools, one of Los Angeles’ most consistently successful charter management organizations, Melissa is responsible for the coaching and development of school leaders and central instructional support; the hiring, coaching, and retention of school site staff; curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and ensuring the alignment between the organization’s core values and daily practices. Prior to her role at Bright Star Schools, Melissa served as Chief Academic Officer at ICEF Public Schools and has served in a variety of leadership and instructional roles including district and site administration, instructional coaching and literacy development, and classroom teacher. She has worked extensively as a consultant assisting districts and CMOs in curriculum development and system building. Her professional interests include academic program development, change management, and creating inclusive school and organizational culture.
Management Consultant & Coach
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Resources/Talent
Miwa brings more than twenty years of experience as a teacher, non-profit executive, and human capital partner to her current work as a coach and consultant to leaders and organizations in the field of education. She is passionate about developing people to grow as leaders and maximize their impact. Miwa began her career as an elementary school teacher in the DC Public Schools. She joined the staff of Teach For America in 2001 and had the opportunity to develop and lead teams in several contexts during her fourteen year tenure, including serving as the Executive Director of Teach For America DC and a Senior Managing Director on the Human Assets team. In her Human Assets role, Miwa served as an advisor to senior leaders on human capital strategy, providing coaching and support on vision setting, talent development, team culture, change management, and diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Miwa holds an A.B. in English and American Literature from Harvard University and an Ed.M. in Early Childhood Risk and Prevention from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Senior Director of Networks, Leading Educators
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital & Talent, Data & Analytics
Throughout her career, Monique has been driven by an intrinsic passion to reform educational systems so that all children can receive an excellent education.
Monique has extensive experience in classroom teaching and teacher leadership. As a Founding Lower Academy Director, she most recently led efforts to turnaround a low performing charter into a safe, warm and learning-centered environment. Monique has been able to achieve significant gains as a leader, coach and teacher through strong relationships, a clear vision for academic and cultural success, and routinized systems that support goals. In addition to her roles in schools, Monique also consulted for several nonprofit organizations to strategically develop and implement programs to manage relationships, recruit talent, raise funds, and train educators.
Monique’s professional career began as a Teach for America corps member after she completed her undergraduate studies at Temple University. Monique also earned two Master’s of Science degrees in Teaching and Early Childhood Leadership from Pace University and Bank Street College of Education. Monique currently works for Leading Educators as the Senior Director of Networks where are primary responsibilities are client engagement, team management and strategy.
Owner, NJM Coaching & Consulting | Executive Director, Teach For America Expertise:Leadership and Management; Organizational Strategy; Development/Fundraising
Nafeesha is currently an executive director at Teach For America and owner of Nafeesha Irby Consulting. Nafeesha started her career as a high school teacher and advanced into teacher coaching supporting educators in the K-12 setting in both rural and urban communities. During this time she focused on developing the leadership of teachers beyond the classroom by providing differentiated and targeted one-on-one support. She later received her Master of School Administration and principal’s license before becoming a middle school administrator and soon a non-profit founding executive director.
She has first-hand experience with start-up initiatives, board building and governance, fundraising/development, talent hiring and performance, and systems change management. Nafeesha’s work has also included supporting individuals and teams to manage toward more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments. She has been trained by the Racial Equity Institute to take a race-based approach to inequitable systemic issues. She has also been trained under the Distinguished Leadership in Practice model, Conscious Leadership, Understanding by Design, Facilitative Leadership and Crucial Conversations.
Nafeesha is a doctoral student at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College obtaining her Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations.
Independent Consultant and Coach
Expertise: Human Capital & Talent, Operations, Data and Analysis
Neha is an independent consultant and leadership coach for education clients, specializing in scaling talent and operations because she believes great people are integral to achieving successful outcomes. Throughout her career, Neha has worked with a diverse range of global and domestic organizations, including multinational corporations to small, rural-based social enterprises, developing customized solutions to jump-start their talent practices.
With more than a decade of experience, Neha has developed a rich understanding of the education sector through multiple lenses. She began her work in education as a teacher in rural India, implementing an activity-based curriculum. After returning to the United States, Neha transitioned to Amplify, a large digital education company based in Brooklyn, NY, working with educational leaders from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to support teachers through innovative technology solutions. More recently, Neha led the Talent Operations team at Achievement First overseeing systems, data, and processes related to operations of a 20-person recruitment team responsible for recruiting 500+ teachers and leaders. During her time at Achievement First (AF), Neha also developed and executed the organization’s multi-year Talent Strategy in collaboration with AF’s Co-CEO and Vice President, leading the research, data analysis and benchmarking efforts.
With a deep understanding of Human Capital & Talent practices, a firm belief in establishing strong data practices, and rigorous approach to enabling efficient operational practices, Neha has helped several educational organizations build leadership capacity, improve hiring decisions and retain high-performing talent.
Neha holds a B.S. in Marketing and Management from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. with a concentration in social entrepreneurship from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and son, when she’s not crushing it as a mom, Neha enjoys Bollywood films, learning how to perfect handmade pasta and adding new stamps to her passport.
Managing Director, Regional Operations – OneGoal
Expertise: Leadership & Management
I love coaching because I believe it has the power to change the world. I think of coaching as an opportunity to support another leader in becoming and living into the best possible version of themselves. Leaders operating with conviction and strength are our strongest tool in transforming education, and indeed, transforming the world. After spending several years as a classroom teacher, I have coached and managed hundreds of teachers and leaders across school systems. Currently, I serve as an Executive Coach and Director of Learning and Development for OneGoal’s regional Executive Directors. My coaching style is mostly investigative, driven by the values, priorities and needs of the client, though my extensive experience in schools, school systems and non-profits enable me to provide meaningful tactical support when helpful as well. Particular areas of expertise include: team leadership, managing through several layers of management, robust staff learning and development programming, special education, and values-based learning and leadership development. I’d love to work with you!
Chief Talent Officer, UP Education
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital & Talent
Sheri Leo has spent over a decade leading talent and change management efforts in school districts, state departments of education, and school management organizations. She brings experience as an elementary school teacher, strategist, and district and non-profit talent leader to her coaching work. For the past three years, Sheri has led talent strategy and implementation as Chief Talent Officer at UP Education Network. During this time, she has led recruitment, hiring, evaluation, and staff retention efforts, improved network policies to create a more open, inclusive environment, and coached school and network leaders on management and leadership practices. Previously, as a senior consultant at American Institutes for Research, Sheri supported district-and state-level clients on issues of teacher and principal recruitment, evaluation, and compensation. Sheri has also served as Director of Teacher Effectiveness at Chicago Public Schools, where she led new teacher induction, teacher evaluation, National Board Certification, and a performance-based pay pilot. Sheri is an alumna of Teach For America, teaching elementary school for three years in Washington, DC. Sheri holds aB.A. in Public Policy from Brown University, anM.A. in teaching from American University, and an M.P.P. in Education Policy from the University of Chicago.
Management Consultant and Coach
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital / Talent, Team Development, DEI
For more than 20 years, Suzanne has dedicated her career to working on behalf of children and families in low-income communities. She began her career as a teacher in rural North Carolina, seeing first-hand the academic achievement gap and its impact on children and communities. Since that time, Suzanne has built her career leading and managing teams in educational and non-profit organizations.
In 2015, Suzanne Lynn started SGL Consulting to support leaders to thrive in their professional lives. She has worked across the education and non-profit sectors and understands first-hand the opportunities & challenges faced by those striving to make a change in our world. Clients and partners include: Education Pioneers, EdFuel, A Better Chicago, Promise54, Teach For America, KIPP, Spring Branch Independent School District, Detroit Public Schools, Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, and EQUITY. Previously, Suzanne spent ten years at Teach For America, first managing a cohort of executive directors during the largest growth period of the organization’s history and subsequently leading a team of senior-level consultants who advised senior leaders on overall human capital strategy, management and leadership, staff culture and performance, diversity, change management, and employee engagement. Earlier in her career, Suzanne was the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin and an Executive Director for Teach For America.
Suzanne received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Ethics from St. Edward’s University in Austin. Suzanne lives in Southeast Michigan, between Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Executive Coach and Independent Consultant
Expertise: Finance and Facilities, Human Capital & Talent, Leadership and Management
Trena Drayton is a tri-sector leader with a track record of designing solutions for systemic problems, managing human capital, leading operational enhancements, investing capital and mitigating operational risk. She’s been both an investor (research analyst and private equity) and an operator (CFO, COO, and CHRO) with half of her career spent at educational institutions: K-12 and higher education. Her work tends to be at the intersection process, people, and product with attention toward the overarching strategy, financial implications, and resource needs associated with decisions. She practices adaptive leadership and emphasizes reconciling the macro with the micro when crafting strategies, stewarding change and implementing plans.
Trena’s coaching style is Socratic with an emphasis on unpacking the root of each situational layer. Her experience has been that this approach builds her coachee’s self-awareness muscle while fostering a deeper understanding of the why. Trena especially likes to solution-build in partnership with her coachees through the lenses of adding perspective, stretching ideas, and considering impact (both intended and unintended). Her aim is for coaching work to be thoughtful, engaging, and relevant.
She actively serves on 2 not-for-profit boards and holds a MBA in Finance and Organizational Behavior from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Independent Coach and Consultant
Expertise: Leadership & Management, Human Capital/Talent
Veenay Singla is an independent consultant focused on talent and leadership in the education reform sector. Veenay has led a number of successful consulting engagements including: leading and completing an executive search for a new national teacher development organization in New Orleans; devising and conducting a talent audit for a non-profit in Boston resulting in significant organization restructuring; analyzing a large urban school district’s principal pool to inform recruitment and retention policies; developing and facilitating a leadership development program for school leaders; and, overseeing all aspects of an annual city-wide teacher celebration event honoring master teachers in a large urban school district. Sample clients include: The Achievement Network, Bellwether Education Partners, The Broad Center, Chicago Public Schools, the Crown Family Philanthropies, FirstLine Schools, Hawaii Department of Education, The Mind Trust, The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, New Leaders, NewSchools Venture Fund, The Pahara Institute, Rocketship Education, SURGE, Teach for America, UChicago Impact, Washington University in St. Louis/St. Louis Public Schools.
Veenay previously held the position of Associate Partner with the Pahara Institute and Bellwether Education Partners, where she provided thought partnership, operations support and program development in connection with the design of the Aspen Teacher Leaders Program, a new leadership program for teacher and union leaders. At Pahara, Veenay also provided key selection and growth support to the prestigious Pahara-Aspen Fellows program. In addition, she led the charge to analyze and improve Bellwether’s organizational culture, and led the planning and implementation of several organization-wide internal systems.
Earlier, Veenay worked for the Chicago Public Education Fund, a Chicago-based venture philanthropy, where she managed the organization’s multi-million dollar teacher quality portfolio. She also worked for Chicago Public Schools, where she assisted with various teacher quality initiatives and for Boston Public Schools, where she played a key role in helping to establish the district’s first alternative certification program and urban principal preparation program. Veenay began her career as a fourth grade teacher in Houston, Texas as part of Teach for America. Veenay earned her M.P.P. from the University of Chicago, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She graduated with her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. Veenay has been trained as an executive coach through the Newfield Network and has been certified through the Center for Creative Leadership to administer all of the 360 assessments in their portfolio. Veenay serves on Advisory Boards for Pilot Light and Flo Chicago (Future Leaders of Chicago).