OUR TEAM

Paymon Rouhanifard
Co-founder & CEO

Paymon Rouhanifard previously 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.

John White
Co-founder & Board Chair

John White was named Louisiana State Superintendent of Education in January of 2012. That year he launched Louisiana Believes, the state’s plan to ensure every child is on track to a college degree or a professional career.

Kristen Smith
Executive Director, Louisiana

Kristen Smith previously served as the Director of Organizing Strategy Louisiana at Leadership for Educational Equity. Smith was a founding member and Co-Chair of South Louisiana Coalition for Education (SLCE) and has served as a policy advisor fellow in the office of policy and governmental affairs at the Louisiana Department of Education, congressional intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C., and as a national advisory board member with Advance Illinois.

Debra Kurshan
COO

Debra Kurshan previously served as a Vice President in EY-Parthenon’s Education Practice where she consulted with school districts and foundations related to strategy, district finance and organizational redesign. Prior to joining EY-Parthenon, Kurshan served as the Chief Turnaround Officer at the Connecticut State Department of Education.​

TBD
Executive Director, New Jersey

Laura Jakimowicz
New Jersey Program Manager

Jakimowicz previously served as the Program and Policy Analyst for the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors where she supported the development and coordination of academic programs focused in the health sciences. Prior to that she worked as a Program Manager for Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers supporting regional and national education and training programs in healthcare. Laura Jakimowicz started her career as a Program Assistant for the Rutgers Future Scholars program. She holds a BA in Urban Studies from Rutgers University.

Contact

info@propelamerica.org

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