NECSN Staff

President

Bill Phillips - President
Bill is the President of the Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN). He oversees the operations of NECSN and maintains a focus on grasstops advocacy.

Bill served in business development leadership positions with Beacon Education Management and SABIS Educational Systems. Prior to entering the charter sector, he worked as a marketing and new product specialist and a manufacturing supervisor with Texas Instruments, Inc. During that period he also served as a school board member in Massachusetts and, during his tenure, founded a regional charter school in Foxboro, MA.

Bill earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University.


Advocacy & Government Relations

Kyle Rosenkrans - VP of Policy & Advocacy

Kyle is our Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, overseeing our policy and legislative affairs efforts for the entire network. Kyle has a long and successful resume in issues advocacy and joins NESCN from the Seton Hall University School of Law, where he was a full-time member of the school’s clinical faculty and practicing attorney with its Center for Social Justice.



Andrea Rogers - Policy Director, Co-Director of Membership and Services
Andrea is Director of Policy. As part of the policy and advocacy team, she helps research and develop positions, coordinate advocacy events and support government relations. She also works directly with member charter schools on technical and compliance issues through the Help Desk. 

Prior to joining NECSN, Andrea was Research Associate at the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability, a non-profit education policy think tank, and worked as a policy analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. She served as a founding member and Board Secretary for a charter school in Albany. Andrea earned a Master of Arts in public policy from the University at Albany, and graduated from the University at Buffalo with a degree in anthropology.


Jeremiah L. Grace - Connecticut State Director
Jeremiah is our Connecticut State Director, where he develops relationships with key legislators and government influencers and works closely with our schools and partners to create a more unified charter advocacy effort.

Before joining the team, Jeremiah was the National Regional Director for Project Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to empower, educate and mobilize marginalized and under-represented voters. He is a former member of the Elizabeth Board of Education in Elizabeth, NJ, and brings an extensive background in state-level education reform and civil rights advocacy, as well as local political campaigns.



Jessica Mokhiber - Communications Director

Jessica joined NECSN in April, 2014. In her role as Communications Director, Jessica works to share the charter school message with media outlets, members, parents, and the public in New York and Connecticut.  After witnessing changes to the charter sector during the 2014 legislative session in Albany, which included rallies and campaigns to highlight the funding inequity between charter and district schools, Jessica became much more interested in advocacy work.  

 

Her background includes three years working at the New York State Senate Majority Press Office, where she honed her writing and got a first-hand look at the way state government works, and the particular quirks of the State Capitol in Albany.

 

Prior to that, Jessica spent five years working as a reporter and a producer for a local Albany-based Time Warner Cable News affiliate. She earned her Master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Siena College.



Nakia Taylor - Special Education Director
Nakia is the Special Education Director for NECSN and Elevate Charter Schools. Prior to this, Nakia served for five years as the Director of Student Services and School Psychologist at Green Tech High Charter School for Boys in Albany, NY. She was responsible for the supervision of the Special Education and Counseling departments, and coordination of all assessments and English as a Second Language.

Nakia offers support to schools around Special Education laws and regulations, Response to Intervention and 504 Accommodation Plans, psycho-educational and behavioral evaluations, and goal creation for Individualized Education Plans. She also helps with direction, coordination and evaluation of the provision of special education regarding policy changes, new programs, compliance and procedural safeguards.


Justin Kwasa - Policy and Research Associate
Justin is our Policy and Research Associate. He plays a critical role in developing and supporting legislative priorities, researching and analyzing policies and legislation, and communicating with charter schools and the general public.

Prior to joining NECSN, he taught 4th and 8th grade at the LEARN Charter School Network in his hometown of Chicago. During the 2012 presidential election, he worked as the Assistant Director of a “Get Out The Vote” campaign office for the Community Voter’s Project in Milwaukee, WI.


Madyson Lubba - Data Analyst, Assistant Director of Membership and Services
Madyson is the Data Analyst and Assistant Director of Membership and Services for NECSN. In this role she supports the advocacy, communications and school services teams with data analysis and research. Madyson manages quantitative information for public schools in both New York and Connecticut. In addition, she supports NECSN’s school services and Elevate work by organizing and displaying quantitative and qualitative metrics for schools. Within the Membership Team, Madyson conducts classroom observations, professional developments and board trainings. 

Prior to joining NECSN, Madyson was a classroom teacher and professional development leader as a Teach for America corps member in South Louisiana. She also served as a corps member advisor at one of Teach for America’s rigorous summer institutes.  Madyson earned a communications degree from the University at Albany.


Member and Consulting Services

Jill E. Shahen - Managing Director, Co-Director of Membership and Services
Jill is the Managing Director of NECSN. She has recently taken over the membership program for the Network, working with schools in New York and Connecticut by providing hands on support and technical advice. Jill provides Help Desk services for all member schools and works with new charter school applicants. She oversees the daily operations for the Network and is responsible for the Network’s annual conference. In the six years Jill has been with the Network, she has provided consulting services to over 40 charter schools located in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Illinois. Jill was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Connecticut State Board of Education’s Advisory Committee to assist in the preparation of the Board’s new five year strategic plan.   

Jill began working with charter schools in 1999 at the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York.


Michelle Wagner - Executive Team Coordinator
In her role as Executive Team Coordinator, Michelle wears many hats. She maintains the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, assists with communications with our member schools and our network, and works alongside the Membership and Services team. Michelle also works on projects that help our network of schools, such as a book drive where she collects thousands of books from area libraries and distributes them to schools across New York State. In addition to event planning and assisting staff with travel, she coordinates the logistics of NECSN's regional conferences.

Prior to joining NECSN, Michelle worked at School Performance, Inc., and also worked as a paralegal for nine years.


Joseph E. Shahen - Research and Communications Associate
Joe is a Research and Communications Associate for NECSN. In this role, he supports policy and media projects to advance NECSN’s advocacy efforts. Joe researches current charter school issues and data trends, as well as coordinates NECSN’s social media channels.


Josephine Frangella-Sesock - Office Manager
Josephine is the Office Manager for NECSN. She oversees the Network's daily office operations, provides personnel and accounting support, and assists with special projects. She also monitors the media for charter school content. Josephine uses her photography skills to document state-wide events, including the annual conference and advocacy day at the Capitol. A paralegal by training, Josephine is an experienced project manager with a background in corporate compliance and finance. She attended Mildred Elley Business School for paralegal training and spent 10 years in the insurance industry.