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Achievement First Achievement First

The Achievement First Cabinet

We started with a single school. Now we’re 15,000 students strong. As we continue to grow and better serve those students, our cabinet is at the helm of this important work of transforming public education in America.

Our cabinet is made up of content specialists, leadership coaches, operations experts, financial wizards, former teachers and principals, and all around champions for kids.

Meet our leaders.

  1. Lisa Margosian

    Interim Chief Executive Officer

    In her role as the interim Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Margosian will be working closely with the Achievement First (AF) board and leadership team to ready the organization for its search for a permanent successor. Her focus will be on the academic strength of AF schools and building the systems and structures to enable the continued expansion of the network.

    Lisa joined AF on May 2, 2022, overlapping with the current interim CEO Fatimah Barker. In her most recent role, Lisa served as the interim CEO of Ascend Charter Schools. While there, Lisa led between the organization’s founder and now permanent leader during the global pandemic. Lisa’s expertise has helped organizations reshape, restructure, integrate, and implement. In her more than thirty years of experience with for-profits and non-profits, Lisa developed a deep understanding of all facets of leadership: utilizing highly developed stakeholder management skills, rebuilding underperforming businesses, leading businesses through integration post-mergers, scaling non-profits, and transforming organizations after mission shifts.

    Lisa, a proud Wisconsin native and child of public school educators, has always possessed a deep and abiding passion for K-12 education. She believes the key to social justice and racial equity is through a quality education that creates access for all children. She attended Marquette University for her undergraduate studies and Columbia Business School for her MBA. Earlier in her career, Lisa served as KIPP’s Chief Program Officer and Director of Network Growth and the Chief Customer Officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Prior to her fifteen years of nonprofit leadership, Lisa worked in financial services with Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase. Today, Lisa has made New York City her home with her husband and two adult children.

  2. Stephanie Keenoy

    Superintendent

    As superintendent, Stephanie oversees student achievement across the Achievement First network through the training and coaching of principals, the development and implementation of principal best practices, and the evaluation of principals and schools. Prior to serving as superintendent, she was the elementary academy lead responsible for the success of Achievement First’s sixteen elementary schools across three regions. She is focused on ensuring all AF schools are incredibly warm and welcoming places for children to learn and grow. Before becoming academy lead, Stephanie worked as an educator and school leader at AF starting in 2011. She was the founding principal at AF Endeavor Elementary School, which has scored “exemplary” on the AF report card since the school’s opening.

    Later, she became one of AF’s highest-performing regional superintendents, with three out of the four schools she directly coached achieving our top ratings of “strong” or “exemplary,” including our first National Blue Ribbon School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from the College of William and Mary. Stephanie holds her master’s degree in reading and literacy from Boston College. 

  3. Christina Braganza

    Chief Program Officer

    In her role as Chief Program Officer, Christina partners with the superintendent and academy leads to build toward K-12 alignment by coordinating and supporting the student experience, special services, equity, and academic operations teams. Prior to her current role, she was the VP of Special Services at Achievement First for 9 years, and during her tenure established a consistent continuum of service and support. A proud special educator, Christina began her career as teacher in Harlem and is passionate about serving all students. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Maryland at College Park, a master’s degree in teaching special education from Pace University, and master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago.

  4. Beth Cocuzza

    Chief of Staff

    As Chief of Staff, Beth works closely with Cabinet members and network leaders to ensure Achievement First achieves its mission by leading organization-wide strategic planning, promoting cross-functional collaboration and alignment, overseeing the execution of critical strategic priorities, and acting as key advisor to the CEO and senior leaders. Prior to joining Achievement First, Beth was the Executive Vice President of Advisory Support at Student Achievement Partners. She also has experience leading content development for The Grow Network/McGraw-Hill, has worked as an independent education consultant, and started her career as a middle school and high school mathematics teacher. In addition, Beth served three terms as an elected member of her local School Board. Beth holds a B.A from Wittenberg University, an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and is currently completing an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

  5. De-Lea Deane-Allen

    Chief Equity Officer

    As Chief Equity Officer, De-Lea is responsible for developing, implementing, and continuously refining our organization’s plan for how we will lead for racial equity at the network level and across our schools. De-Lea provides alignment, support, and accountability as she leads Achievement First in promoting inclusion and anti-racist practices through our culture, structures, customs, and leadership. Before becoming Chief Equity Officer, De-Lea led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work at Achievement First for six years, as a director, senior director, and vice president. De-Lea previously worked for 13 years as a classroom teacher and dean at three different Achievement First schools, and supported and learned from organizational leaders across the country through the AF Accelerator program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Columbia University, Teacher’s College.

  6. Neil Shah

    Chief Financial Officer

    As CFO, Neil leads Team Finance at Achievement First. Team Finance manages the financial operations functions of revenue, payroll, accounts payable, internal audits and controls, and budgeting and forecasting. Prior to his current role, Neil served as an experienced finance executive in the charter and non-profit space for the last 15 years, specializing in scaling up finance operations. He joined the charter school sector in 2006 with ExEd, a California nonprofit where he managed financial operations for charter school clients. Most recently, he served as the CFO of the Chicago Charter School Foundation, also known as the Chicago International Charter School Network (CICS), serving 14 network campuses. Neil is a graduate of the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business where he earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration.

  7. Xanthe Jory

    Chief Operating Officer

    As the Chief Operating Officer, Xanthe leads teams involved with enrollment, school operations, and facilities. Previously, Xanthe served as the Chief Planning and Policy Officer at the NYCDOE’s Division of Early Childhood Education during a period of time when the City’s early childhood system was expanding to serve every four-year old in New York. Xanthe is also the founder of Bronx Charter School for the Arts, and served as the school’s Executive Director for eight years. Xanthe’s previous experience additionally includes working with various educational organizations on initiatives related to alternate certification pathways, teacher evaluation, principal selection, systems design, program design, knowledge management, and quality assessment. Xanthe holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Stanford University and master’s degrees in teaching and school leadership from CUNY Lehman College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.