ABOUT US

SSN MEMBERS & STAFF SHARE A BOLD VISION.

Our Story

Student Success Network first formed in 2011 when a group of 15 nonprofit leaders in NYC decided it was time to shift their focus beyond traditional academic skills to include social-emotional learning (SEL) skills they knew were critically important for student success. After two years of exploration, influenced by collective impact approaches, these leaders created an SEL measurement tool so they could compare results across all their programs and identify promising practices. Their vision was that all organizations could serve more students more effectively by working together. 

This was the start of the Student Success Network (SSN), which today is a self-governing community of 70 member organizations providing direct service to more than 200,000 low-income middle and high school students at over 200 sites across NYC. The Network’s mission is to create, grow, and fuel a community of organizations collectively closing the opportunity gap for youth.  Together, members address challenges related to postsecondary access and persistence, focusing on social-emotional learning (SEL) as a primary lever.

Our Team

About Sooah Rho

Director and Co-Facilitator, Elevating Youth Voice

Sooah Rho

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.

Manager, Communications & Operations

GINA DARNAUD

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 HAWKES

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 HERZ

Lucy co-founded SSN alongside Sue and 15 extraordinary nonprofit leaders in 2013. Her passion for SSN’s mission is rooted in her belief that so much more cna be accomplished working together than by working alone. For the past seven years, Lucy has led the design, development and implementation of SSN’s program, including building systems to help organizations use data to drive improvement and creating and facilitating spaces for members to develop solutions to shared challenges.  In her spare time, Lucy enjoys chasing her toddler and spending as much time outdoors as possible.  She holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University.

Co-Founder and Chief Facilitator

SUE LEHMANN

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, Research-Practice Partnership

ALEXANDRA LOTERO

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, Capacity Building

KELLY NELSON

Kelly’s goal is to build on the Network’s momentum in mobilizing SSN youth, nonprofit organizations, and practitioners to advocate on behalf of themselves and their communities for continuous learning and improvement. She believes the Network is uniquely positioned to increase community advocacy, agency, and equity through collective impact strategies. With former roles at the American Public Health Association, the National Institutes of Health, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University Hospital, Kelly brings a social ecological perspective to closing opportunity gaps for marginalized youth. She holds a Master of Public Health from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science from Howard University.

Intern, Communications & Operations

MEGAN NGUYEN

Megan is enthusiastic about uplifting youth voices and realizes each individual encompasses a distinct story. Recognizing the true power a conversation holds, she envisions a world where everyone can genuinely listen to each other’s voices. Megan is entering her fourth year at the University of California, Berkeley pursuing a B.A in Political Economy and minor in Public Policy. Her studies concentrate on the intersections of public economics, sustainability, and inequality, which she aspires to use to pursue public interest law. She is thrilled to join SSN in their mission to collectively close the opportunity gap while empowering community agency and equity.

Associate, Data

ANTHONY SELDON

Anthony is passionate about social justice and believes in the power that the people have in creating systemic change. They want their work to support and empower others in their path to liberation. Anthony believes that all people should have free, accessible, and quality education and they are excited to be a part of SSN’s team in their mission to close the opportunity gap. Anthony graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2019 with a B.S. in Economics and a minor in Comparative Ethnic Studies.

Questions? Reach out to us:

(845) 445-9768

info@ssn-nyc.org

Student Success Network

25 Broadway, Floor 12

New York, NY 10004

   

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