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 65 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.
"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."
"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."
"My participation has impacted me in so many ways. Now I am an asset to the people in my program; everything I have learned here I bring back to my program, which has made me more involved."
"Our Continuous Improvement work gives us the opportunity to be thoughtful about our processes and our goals."
"It's an excellent opportunity to interface with other people in the space, share best practices and learn from others who have similar challenges."
Manager, Capacity Building
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.
Facilitator, Youth Program
Nana (all pronouns) is committed to fostering the leadership of young people. They are excited to facilitate the Elevating Youth Voices program at Student Success Network to support young people’s vision in partnering organizations. Hailing from BedStuy, Brooklyn, Nana wears many hats as a performance artist, youth educator, community organizer, and loquacious lover – she’s excited to continue to combine her skills in service of young generations. Nana’s identities as a Black queer feminist informs their dedication and excitement to create liberated worlds wherever they go.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marvin (he/him or they/them) enjoys connecting with people and understanding what makes each and everyone unique. They believe that everyone has something about them that makes each person special. Marvin is currently a junior at Baruch College pursuing his B.B.A. in Computer Information Systems with a minor in IT & Social Responsibility. He hopes to one day become a product manager, software engineer, and/or possibly a consultant. For now, being part of SSN’s team is his way of giving back to the community that they grew up in.