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.
"SSN feels like the Justice League of educators! It's valuable to be part of a network where everyone has such a depth and strength to them when it comes to education."
"Our Continuous Improvement work gives us the opportunity to be thoughtful about our processes and our goals."
"What do we all have in common? We want to see success for our students. SSN is about coming together with different perspectives and working collaboratively with each other; this is something that you can't get otherwise."
"It's an excellent opportunity to interface with other people in the space, share best practices and learn from others who have similar challenges."
"It feels like a big non-profit family. You get to know people and really understand the improvements they are making in their organizations."
Program Manager, Continuous 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.
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.
Head of Strategy
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.
Co-Founder and Director, Network Development & Engagement
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.
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.
Director, Youth Program and Partnership
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.
Director, Continuous Improvement
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.