Our Team

The RISE Network team includes former school administrators, former teachers and counselors, data specialists, and nonprofit leaders who work hand-in-hand with educators in partner schools. As the conveners and facilitators of the RISE Network, RISE staff provide a range of resources and services to our RISE Network partners. We hold ourselves equally accountable for student outcomes, and we learn as much from our partners as we hope they do from our staff.


The Leadership Team oversees organizational strategy, program delivery, and partnerships.

  • Why Rise?I am proud to be part of a team that is committed to using data to drive equitable outcomes for students.

    Chris Lewine

    Chief of Data Strategy and Product Innovation
  • Why Rise?To collaborate with & learn from passionate educators, working together to beat the odds & change the odds for talented, deserving students across CT.

    Emily Pallin

    Executive Director

Applied Data & Research

The Applied Data & Research Team leads RISE’s efforts to promote meaningful data use.

  • Why Rise?I am committed to utilizing data to empower educators to strategically improve educational opportunities for students.

    Phaedrel Bowman

    Senior Applied Data Strategist
  • Why Rise?Because we must commit to critically reflecting and acting on data in order to create opportunities and support students' need to grow and thrive.

    Melanie Gonzalez

    Senior Program Evaluation and Analytics Specialist
  • Why Rise?Because RISE prioritizes being informed and intentional to best support educators and students.

    Annah Mercer

    Data Analytics Specialist

Data Engineering

The Data Engineering Team leads RISE’s data tool and infrastructure development.

  • Why Rise?Because it provides the kind of support I wanted for my students when I was a teacher.

    Fred Benton

    Deputy Director, Data Systems
  • Why Rise?I believe in the importance of using data and the stories that it tells to inform and empower our network educators.

    Edie Reimink

    Senior Data Engineer
  • Why Rise?At RISE, we empower student success through data and I want to be in the room where that happens.

    Nantawat Samermit

    Junior Data Engineer
  • Why Rise?Because I think education is vital to future success. RISE enables me to use my skills to help others be successful.

    Kevin Williams

    Data Engineer


The Engagement Team facilitates coaching and professional learning opportunities for educators in new partner schools.

  • Why Rise? Every student deserves to have educators who have the support, tools, and community to empower them to be their best, most successful selves.

    Erin Asselin

    Engagement Specialist
  • Why Rise?I love collaborating and brainstorming to uncover the best practices, strategies, and solutions for our incredible students!

    Valerie Hennessy

    Senior Engagement Specialist
  • Why Rise?Because I have the opportunity to create the professional space for educators to develop innovative solutions!

    Peter Lorinser

    Engagement Manager
  • Why Rise?Promoting collaboration among educators across our state is exciting and endlessly thought-provoking—and it benefits kids.

    Sam Purdy

    Director, Engagement

Freshman Success

The Freshman Success Team partners with RISE high schools to support Grade 9 on-track achievement.

  • Why Rise?Every student's narrative should be one grounded in support and success, RISE equips all stakeholders to ensure that is true.

    Linzi Golding

    Freshman Success Coach
  • Why Rise?Because RISE has proven that a sustained commitment to student success by a group of like-minded individuals can create a movement.

    Kristen Negrón

    Freshman Success Coach
  • Why Rise?Because I want to be a part of an equity-minded team committed to supporting and accelerating student success.

    Gretchen Philbrick

    Senior Freshman Success Coach
  • Why Rise?We commit to a collective responsibility of ensuring ALL students reach their full potential.

    Nichelle Woodson

    Director, Freshman Success


The Operations Team advances internal systems to promote organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Why Rise?Some students will not see “ME” in their classes but if they see me in the hallways, it might make a difference.

    Daemond Benjamin

    Program Operations Specialist
  • Why Rise?Through our partnerships we empower educators and support student growth. That is an important story to tell!

    Lindsey Christiani

    Senior Communications Specialist
  • Why Rise?Being part of a team that supports success for all students is inspiring and rewarding.

    Sandra Fryer

    Executive Assistant
  • Why Rise?Because every student and educator deserves the data, resources, coaching, and community necessary to support them during critical inflection points.

    Terrence Kneisel

    Director of External Relations
  • Why Rise?It's inspiring to be able to support a passionate team that's making data and improved systems accessible to educators and students.

    Kerry Maloney

    Manager of Talent Acquisition and People Operations
  • Why Rise?RISE is dedicated to improving the educational experience within my community and I take pride in knowing I’m a part of that.

    Portia Whitted

    Senior Finance and Operations Specialist

Postsecondary Success

The Postsecondary Success Team partners with RISE high schools to ensure that all students graduate with postsecondary plans.

  • Why Rise?This is a place where I can continue to bring to scale best practices that helps ALL students, not just a chosen few.

    Gaby Guity

    Postsecondary Success Coach
  • Why Rise?Because I believe in sustainable growth in schools that promotes equity in practices for all students.

    Rebecca Kruge

    Senior Postsecondary Success Coach
  • Why Rise?Partnership collaboration leads to amazing outcomes for students!

    Abby Marcantonio

    Senior Postsecondary Success Coach
  • Why Rise?To connect students with programs and resources that will allow them to make the best decisions for their future.

    Sherry McLaughlin

    Director, Postsecondary Success
  • Why Rise?Actions speak louder than words! RISE actively works on improving student outcomes and bridging opportunity gaps!

    Sojin Park

    Postsecondary Success Coach

Product Team

The Product Team connects with our users to understand their needs and manages the development process.

  • Why Rise?At RISE, I can provide user-friendly data and tools to empower educators and better help students succeed.

    Scott Allen

    Web Developer
  • Why Rise?I believe all students and educators deserve to be supported by the best, modern data-driven insights.

    Blake Garfinkle

    Growth Product Manager
  • Why Rise?I want to make sure every student has the opportunities to succeed that I've had.

    Alan Thorne

    Product Manager

Student Success

The Student Success Team leads our youth development efforts with Grade 9 students.

  • Why Rise?RISE brings new perspectives and support to help close equity gaps and advocate for students’ On-Track success.

    Laura Ehlinger

    On-Track Coach, Westhill High School
  • Why Rise?I do this work through RISE to empower the youth of my community to have a prosperous future.

    Sharina Jimenez

    Senior On-Track Coach, Brien McMahon High School
  • Why Rise?I love that RISE provides an innovative and collaborative approach to student success, something I wish I had coming up in high school.

    Evan Kelley

    On-Track Coach, Brien McMahon High School
  • Why Rise?Working for RISE, I am surrounded by people who care as much about student success as I do.

    Jamie Meurer

    Senior On-Track Coach, Hartford Public High School
  • Why Rise?Education is the right of EVERY person. So why not RISE to the occasion and make a difference?

    Khanisha Moore

    Senior On-Track Coach, Westhill High School
  • Why Rise?RISE is truly a collaborative approach to help improve student outcomes for students that need it most.

    Karleka Norman

    Deputy Director, Student Success