Saymah Nah is the Trio Fellow for the Newark hybrid college site. Saymah is a lifelong educator and proud Newark native. Saymah has served as part of the founding team for charter schools operated by Success Academy Charter Schools in the Bronx as well as Rocketship Public Schools in DC. Throughout her journey, she has served in various capacities, including senior leadership, school culture and climate, family engagement, and school operations. Saymah is a steadfast family and community advocate and her body of work serves as exemplars for building deep relationships with students, community organizations, and community leaders.
Saymah received her Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Howard University.
Danielle North is the Trio Fellow for the Detroit hybrid college site. Danielle is the founder and owner of Kidz Kingdom, Detroit’s first indoor playground, which also operates as a licensed child care center. She launched her 501c3 nonprofit, Biz Kidz. Danielle is a K-12 education and strategic consultant supporting schools and nonprofits in Detroit and across the state of Michigan. She is also the Founder of the Detroit Women’s Leadership Network. In 2021, she and her partners Melissa Hamann and Doug Ross launched Diploma Equity Project, a nonprofit organization committed to eliminating the college completion gap for students of color in Detroit.
Danielle holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sociology from Central Michigan University. She is a proud 2012 alumni of the prestigious German Marshall Memorial Fellowship. In 2019, she became a Detroit Free Press, Shining Light Mayor Dave Bing Future Leader Awardee. Danielle is a wife, mother of three, long-distance runner and author.
Khary is the Trio Fellow for the Camden hybrid college site, and a lifelong dedicated educator. Growing up in Camden, Khary discovered an early penchant for civic engagement and service leadership, embracing his unique voice as a change agent and community advocate. Beginning his career at LEAP Academy Charter School,
Khary positively impacted an entire generation of Camden city students. In joining the Trio team, Khary brings a passion for connecting traditionally underserved and underrepresented student populations to higher education opportunities, and a wealth of experience in increasing college credit attainment through innovative dual-enrollment programming pathways and partnership building.
Khary received his Masters in Public Administration & Education Leadership from Rutgers University, and he is the proud husband to his high school sweetheart and dedicated educator, Anjulie Williams. Together they are proud parents of Christopher King and Cree Khary, who both are avid beach goers, Black Panther fanatics, and aspiring astronauts.
Dr. Henry is an experienced Student-Centered Educational Leader with a demonstrated history of working in K-12 schools, non-profit organizations, out-of-school time sectors and various colleges. She has been in the Educational Field for 15+ years and has worked for well known organizations such as Focus: HOPE, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), Wayne County Community College and Cornerstone Schools.
Dr. Henry has a strong educational background with an earned Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational & Educational Leadership from Oakland University. The knowledge and skills gained in the doctoral program enhanced the academic training she received earning her Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree (also from Oakland University), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Bachelor of Science in Accounting degrees from Wayne State University.
Ebony Jennings is the Senior Recruitment Manager for Degree Forward. A lifelong Michigander, Ebony holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University and has built her career by offering creative, strategic marketing and communications solutions to nonprofits and community-driven organizations. Ebony is passionate about the empowerment of underserved and historically excluded communities. Because of that passion, she has served on various DEI and advocacy teams throughout her career, with a focus on identifying advancement pathways and professional development opportunities for people of color.
Ebony carries with her an enthusiasm for arts, crafts, and design. With childlike curiosity, she regularly seeks out ways to continue learning and growing, often finding her next lesson right in her hometown, Detroit. Ebony is a 2015 BUILD Institute graduate and in 2019, she completed Michigan Women Forward’s “Woman Up and Grow” Entrepreneurship Program. She is the owner of Alvin & Dianne Design Studio, and in 2020, some of her recent artworks were featured in exhibits at Michigan State University's Kresge Arts Center.
Karen was born in Brooklyn and raised in Newark by immigrant parents. She is an ordained pastor who serves in a multilingual church in Newark, NJ, and trains youth and adults in leadership development. She enjoys developing programs that help others discover their untapped potential. Similarly, Karen is a founding Board Member of Leaders of the 21st Century whose mission is to develop civic-minded youth leaders in urban communities. In 2005, Karen graduated from Seton Hall University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in English. While attending SHU, she founded Haitian Organization Promoting Education (HOPE).
In 2015, Karen earned a Master of Divinity degree from Alliance Theological Seminary with a concentration in Church Development. In Karen's spare time, she enjoys cooking, watching movies, and spending time with her family.
Chris Gabrieli is a co-founder and CEO of Trio New College Network. He is also the CEO of Empower Schools, Chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and a lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He has been at the forefront of several movements to expand educational opportunity and improve schooling and has been the founder of three successful non-profit education innovation and policy organizations.
Chris is a Partner Emeritus at Bessemer Venture Partners where he helped entrepreneurs build biotechnology and healthcare companies and began his business career as the founder and CEO of GMIS, a medical software company that became the leader in its field and a publicly traded company. Chris has been active in civic and political life in Massachusetts. Chris and his wife live in Boston where they have raised five children.
Wes Peacock is a co-founder of Trio New College Network. He was formerly a management consultant with Accenture and then made an early career change and spent 4 years teaching AP Physics and AP Calculus at Chelsea High School, where he also served for a year as chair of the Math Department. He is a proud alumnus of Teach for America Massachusetts.
He became frustrated that his smart, capable, hard-working students would do well in his classes but then would face so many barriers and challenges when they moved on to college. He is passionate about helping more students achieve postsecondary success and access a meaningful career.
John Gabrieli is a co-founder of Trio New College Network. After teaching middle school math & science through Teach for America, John went on to work on expanding access to college for non-traditional students as a Senior Innovation Research Associate at Southern New Hampshire University's Sandbox Innovation Center.
At the Innovation Center, John got the opportunity to work first-hand with SNHU's pioneering community partner programs across the country, and became convinced that the hybrid college model had the potential to transform higher education. He is passionate about building an equitable higher education system that gives every student the opportunity to lead a choice-filled life.
In addition to his work at Trio, John also served as founder & co-chair of the Every Voice Coalition, a grassroots movement to combat sexual violence on college campuses and support survivors.
Marcone Correia is the head of brand and design of Trio New College Network. He was previously a management consultant with EY-Parthenon, where he primarily contributed to education projects focused on strategy and financial analysis for school districts and public universities.
Through both professional and personal experiences, Marcone has become familiar with the structural barriers students face to pursuing their higher education goals. He is enthusiastic about addressing inequity in education and believes the hybrid college model has the potential to empower communities with an innovative college opportunity.
Michael is a Senior Advisor to Trio New College Network. Previously, Michael worked at Duet, a hybrid college that partners with Southern New Hampshire University to help people enroll in and complete degree programs. Through his work, he has built relationships between the Duet program and various organizations, including Boston Public Schools (BPS), Boston Centers for Youth and Families, and several community based organizations.
Prior to working for Duet, Michael served as a Case Manager at Youth Options Unlimited Boston (YOU) where he supported young people, all of who were court-involved, gang-affiliated, or reentering the community from incarceration, to obtain educational and employment opportunities. Michael has also served as a Legislative Aide to former Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and as a Partnership Specialist with the United States Census Bureau.
Michael brings a strong dedication to community-centered service, as evidenced by his professional and volunteer experiences. After leaving Boston to attend college, it was important to him to come back to the community he grew up in and positively impact young people of color. This commitment has led him to roles in community organizing, politics, and nonprofit case management and partnership development focused on helping young people achieve their educational and career goals.
Benjamin Feit is a Senior Advisor to Trio New College Network. As an independent consultant who is passionate about fusing his backgrounds in law, educational leadership, and nonprofit management to promote equity, Ben provides strategic and technical assistance to a range of mission-driven organizations. Over the past decade as a CMO executive, turnaround school leader, teacher, board member, capacity-building partner, and researcher, Ben has worked closely with charter school operators, authorizers, and support organizations across the country to broaden access to high-quality educational opportunities.
Ben clerked for the former chief judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia prior to pivoting to a career in education, and he has also served as the chief legal officer on a state-level Massachusetts political campaign.
Eleanor Laurans is a co-founder of Trio New College Network. Her career has spanned the for-profit, nonprofit and public sectors. Together with her husband, Eleanor founded SimpliSafe, a disruptive innovation that has grown to become one of the country's largest home security companies -- now protecting millions of Americans and employing over a thousand team members.
Eleanor has also spent the last 20 years in and around large school districts. Most recently, she served for four years as the Chief Financial Officer for the Boston Public Schools, where she oversaw the district’s $1.4B budget. Prior to BPS, Eleanor spent eight years as a consultant in the Education Practice of the Parthenon Group.
She is currently a member of the faculty at the Harvard Business School, where she teaches strategy in the first year program.
Paymon Rouhanifard is a co-founder of Trio New College Network. He is also the CEO and co-founder of Propel America, a non-profit organization that empowers young adults with the skills, experiences, credentials, and social networks necessary to transition to a good job with career mobility.
Previously, he served as the superintendent of Camden, New Jersey from 2013 to 2018 where he helped lead improvements in student outcomes, reductions in out-of-school suspensions, stronger family engagement, and critical capital investments in school facilities.
Paymon started his career in New York City as a 6th grade teacher in West Harlem and went on to work in the central office of the New York City Department of Education. Prior to that, Paymon worked as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs and a private equity associate.
Melina Engel is the former Chief Marketing Officer of SimpliSafe. Starting as SimpliSafe's first hired employee, Melina helped transform the small startup into the country's fastest-growing home security company with over one million customers, as well as the largest private tech company in Boston.
In 2018, she was featured in Forbes' CMO Next, a prestigious list of 50 CMOs who serve as models of a new, emerging and disruptive chief marketer.
Fred Mutsinzi is an alumnus of the Duet program, where he leveraged the ability to work at his own pace, not bound by classroom meeting schedules or seat-time requirements, to complete his bachelor's degree in only 14 months.
Fred is now an Investment Analyst at Cybernetix Ventures, a venture capital firm leading the way for investment into early-stage robotics, automation, and AI startups. Cybernetix connects its portfolio to the national and global robotics ecosystems, bringing unparalleled expertise to companies poised to make major impacts in sectors including advanced manufacturing, logistics/warehousing, architecture, engineering and construction and healthcare/medical devices.
In addition to serving on the board of Trio New College Network, Fred also serves on the Year Up Leadership Council board and mentors current YearUp students. He is passionate about giving back and helping to grow the organizations that have helped him get to where he is today.
Ted Mitchell is the president of the American Council on Education, the coordinating body for higher education institutions in the United States. ACE’s work encompasses policy advocacy; program development; and research focusing on equity, access, and student achievement. Ted’s leadership of ACE and of the nation’s higher education sector is informed by a lifetime of work in higher education as a professor, dean, college president, trustee, and most recently as U.S. Under Secretary of Education in the Obama administration.
Ted also has deep experience in K–12 education, having served as CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund—a venture philanthropy investing in K–12 innovation to support low-income students, schools, and communities—and as the president of the California State Board of Education.