Our Story

Our story started at the end of 2010 when Nitzan Pelman, then Executive Director of Citizen Schools NYC, asked SSN co-Founder and Chief Facilitator Sue Lehmann to host a dinner for NYC EDs of Education and Youth Development organizations. The conversations boiled down to two questions: did the group want to adopt SEL as a shared focus? If so, which SEL characteristics would they measure, and how?

This year, 50 organizations serving more than 150,000 students will administer the same student survey at the start and end of their program to measure growth in student mindsets and behaviors. Using survey data to identify “bright spots,” the organizations will learn how to test and adapt their practices. By sharing successful experiences and co-creating new ones, one day all children in NYC will have the opportunity to succeed.

Our Team

About Stefano Barros

Program Manager, Knowledge Sharing and Improvement


Stefano believes that one of the best ways to develop young leaders is through community building in youth-centered spaces. This is the driving force behind his focus on strengthening SSN’s reservoir of resources through collaborative learning and research. Stefano joined the team after holding college access and youth leadership development roles in Boston and New York City.

About Kavya Beheraj

Program Manager, Data and Analytics


Kavya is passionate about empowering experts on the ground with the tools they need to make data-informed change. Her mission is to help practitioners collect high-quality, useful, and actionable data as a basis for continuously improving youth experiences. Before transitioning to SSN full-time from an internship, she worked for a diversity of education-focused nonprofits, schools, and adult literacy centers in the tri-state area.

Associate, Operations and Communications 


she, her, hers | Gina strongly believes in the power of people and co-creating spaces to grow in conversation, community, and change. She is excited to join a Network that believes in strengths-based strategies and shifting narratives. Prior to joining SSN, Gina was a Communications Consultant for the DOE, Office of School Wellness Programs and before that, a Program and Social Media Manager at the Bubble Foundation. With a passionate focus on storytelling and relationship building, she seeks to join the fight in advancing equitable education. When not at the office Gina can be found saying hi to all the dogs of NYC, laughing at dad jokes, or snacking.

Brendan Hawkes

Chief Development Officer


Brendan is passionate about the power networks have to accelerate social change and improve outcomes for organizations. In his role, Brendan drives key strategic initiatives that support the growth and overall effectiveness of the Network. Before joining SSN in 2013, Brendan was a 6th grade math teacher and Teach for America Corps Member in Atlanta. He graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in Economics and International Relations.

About Lucy Herz

Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer


Lucy began working with Sue Lehmann and in 2013, had the opportunity to “officially” launch SSN with Sue and 15 extraordinary nonprofit leaders. Lucy’s excitement for Student Success Network’s mission is rooted in her belief that so much more can be accomplished working together than by working alone. Lucy currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband (Joe) and very cute dog (Maggie).

Co-Founder and Chief Facilitator


Sue has spent most of her career as a management consultant and entrepreneur, helping to design organizations that can scale systemic change (AmeriCorps, Teach For America, Harlem Children’s Zone). She leads SSN by using goal-setting and measurement to continuously rethink strategies and improve results. Sue currently serves on the boards of Chalkbeat, New Visions for Public Schools, and Teach For America, and on the leadership councils of Strive Together National Partnership, South Bronx Rising Together, and Teaching Works.

About Alexandra Lotero

Director, Knowledge and Learning


Alexandra is passionate about the power of putting actionable data in the hands of practitioners and youth. Her mission is to support practitioners, researchers, and youth in creating data-informed, relationship-driven cultures that continuously improve student experiences that put all youth on a path to success. She is the proud daughter of Latin American immigrants, a City Year New York AmeriCorps alum, and the former Operations and Program Director for the 115-member NYC Civic Corps and 10-member NYC VISTA AmeriCorps programs at the NYC Mayor’s Office.

About Sooah Rho

Advisor, Participatory Action Research


Sooah is passionate about the power of young people to change their communities. She focuses on identifying ways SSN can continue to grow and cultivate an inclusive network that elevates the most important voices in education: practitioner and youth. Prior to joining SSN, Sooah was a high school English teacher in Oakland, CA where she was awarded Teacher of the Year by Oakland Unified Charter Schools 2016.

About Ali Slack

Advisor, Program Design


Ali’s goal is to promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement among SSN organizations and practitioners. She believes that those who work closest with youth hold a wealth of knowledge and experience, and thus is passionate about empowering practitioners to be the change makers their students need. Prior to joining SSN, she taught high school as a TFA Corps Member in Atlanta, GA, and later worked as a management consultant where she learned tools and strategies to lead improvement efforts.

Questions? Reach out to us:

(845) 445-9768


Student Success Network

25 Broadway, Floor 12

New York, NY 10004



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         Our Story | Team | Contact Us


         Measuring SEL | Improving Together | Building a Movement


         Member Organizations | Advisory Board | Funders




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