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Board of Trustees SA-NYC

  • Samuel A. Cole


    Samuel Cole is a principal at Stonecutter Ventures and an executive-in-residence at Wall Street Share (WSS).  Since 2016, he has worked to incubate, build, and capitalize companies that combine disruptive business models with enabling technologies, from robotics, fintech, and defense to consumer brands, commodities and manufacturing. Before 2016, he was the President and Co-Founder of Phigital, Inc., an early stage company that developed new technology to create and distribute rich media content to consumers based on location.  Previously, Mr. Cole served as Executive Vice President and Deputy Head of eExchange, a technology subsidiary of State Street Bank (and the 4th largest FX exchange globally) providing advanced trading solutions to global clients in the foreign currency, interest rate, and derivative markets.  From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Cole was the Chief Operating Officer and a Managing Principal at BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, a multi-billion asset manager.  Prior to joining BlueMountain, Mr. Cole was a senior consultant (Associate Principal) in the Financial Institutions Group of McKinsey & Co. in New York for nearly six years.  Mr. Cole also worked as a private equity analyst for Global Partner Ventures in the former Soviet Union where he supported projects to commercialize Russian defense technologies and, earlier in his career, was a defense analyst with the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. Mr. Cole sits on the Board of Trustees of JerseyCAN, a leading education reform advocacy group.  Previously, he was a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Managed Funds Association, the primary source of information for policymakers and the media on the global alternative investment community.  Mr. Cole also served on the 2008 Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group III (market resiliency working group) in recommending major financial markets reforms to the U.S. Secretary of Treasury. Mr. Cole holds an M.B.A from MIT, an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and an A.B. cum laude from Harvard University. 

  • Bryan Binder

    Vice Chair

    Bryan Binder is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of VineLight Holdings, LLC, an investment firm focused on unique entrepreneurial opportunities that provides strategic guidance, management support, and expert execution to partner companies. Prior to VineLight Holdings, Mr. Binder was CEO of CastleLine Holdings. Prior to CastleLine, he was responsible for managing a team of investment professionals across several industries, including insurance and financial services. Mr. Binder was a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Caxton Associates, LLC, a $13 billion global macro hedge fund based in New York, NY and a Portfolio Manager at S.A.C Capital, LLC, a $14 billion hedge fund based in Stamford, CT. Mr. Binder was also previously a Vice President at Merrill Lynch focusing on private equity and high yield securities. Mr. Binder holds a J.D./M.B.A from New York University and also holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

  • Scott Friedman


    Scott Friedman is a Co-Founding Partner at Soroban Capital Partners, a multi-billion dollar global investment firm, and is Head of Trading and Risk Management. Before Soroban Capital Partners launched, Mr. Friedman was the Head Trader at TPG-Axon Capital. He joined TPG-Axon in 2006, and traded across asset classes and all parts of the capital structure globally; including equities, fixed income, commodities, foreign exchange, derivatives, swaps and environmental credits. Prior to joining TPG-Axon, Mr. Friedman was a Multi-Product Trader in the Goldman Sachs Risk Arbitrage & Principal Strategies Group. Mr. Friedman started his career in 2001 at Goldman, Sachs & Co. as an Analyst in Trading. He graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a BS in both International Economics and Finance. Mr. Friedman is a CFA charter holder, a FRM (Financial Risk Manager) charter holder, a NYSSA (New York Society of Security Analysts) member and a GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) member.

  • Gregory R. Sawers


    Greg Sawers is the Chief Executive Officer of Assura Group of New York. Mr. Sawers was formerly the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of Evercore Asset Management (EAM). Prior to forming EAM, Mr. Sawers was the Global Co-Head of Equities and the Global Head of Research at Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM). Prior to his role at CSAM, Mr. Sawers worked at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Inc. where he held a variety of positions, most recently as portfolio manager of the firm’s $20 billion Growth and Income portfolio. Before that, he was the Director of Buy-Side Research where he was responsible for managing a staff of over fifty analysts and associates, as well as serving as a member of the firm’s Investment Policy Committee. Prior to that, he served as Chief Investment Officer of Sanford Bernstein’s Small Cap Value Product. Mr. Sawers started his career at Sanford Bernstein in 1987 as a sell-side analyst covering Telecommunications. He earned a B.S. in International Affairs from Georgetown University and an M.B.A from Harvard University.

  • Edwin Cespedes

    Parent Representative

    Edwin Cespedes is a senior consultant at TalMix and a practice leader in market research, marketing strategy, and customer engagement areas. He helps healthcare, energy and technology companies implement adaptive research systems to align growth plans and to monitor customer behaviors. He has worked with global clients in the US, South America, and East Africa. Edwin is a proud Success Academy parent and an advocate for access to a quality public education. He has served on non-profit boards that foster inclusion, diversity, and empowerment of disadvantaged communities.  He is also a commercial pilot and passionate about aviation. Edwin received his BS from Universidade Positivo, his BLA from Harvard University and his MBA from Johns Hopkins University. 

  • Derrell Bradford

    Derrell Bradford is the executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now (NYCAN) and has more than 12 years of experience successfully building and shaping education reform dialogue in New Jersey and other states across the country.

    Most recently, Mr. Bradford was the executive director at Better Education for Kids, a 501c4 organization supporting bipartisan education reforms in New Jersey. At B4K Mr. Bradford worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. This landmark bill tied the acquisition of tenure to teacher effectiveness and student outcomes, shortened the process necessary to remove an ineffective teacher, and provided systems and support for teachers who needed improvement. Previously Mr. Bradford spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone as its executive director and director of communications. Mr. Bradford led strategy, operations and communications for the organization, focusing advocacy efforts on school choice, high standards and expectations, and financial transparency. While there he also served on Governor Christie’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force, which gave recommendations on a new, statewide evaluation system for teachers and leaders. This policy is currently being implemented across the state.

    Mr. Bradford frequently contributes to education reform debates across print, online, and TV media. He also serves on several boards dedicated to putting the needs of students and families first, including the Partnership for Educational Justice, We Can Do Better New Jersey and St. Anthony High School in Jersey City. Mr. Bradford attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys on a scholarship and then University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.A. in English.

  • Aaron Kinnari

    Aaron Kinnari is the Founder of Aviator Media and Co-Founder of Mobilize Digital. Aaron has helped organizations leverage digital tools and tactics to engage new audiences, rally supporters, advance policy reforms, and raise funding. Most recently, Aaron founded FLTbar, a plant-based protein bar. Previously, Mr. Kinnari was the Director of Operations and New Media at StudentsFirstNY. Prior to joining StudentsFirstNY, he was the New Media Director in the Office of the Mayor, serving under Mayor Bloomberg.

    Aaron is a member of the Success Academy Young Professionals Committee where he served as President and Chair from 2016-2019. He received his B.S. in International Business and Marketing from NYU Stern School of Business.

  • Brian Levine

    Brian Levine is a recent retiree of Goldman Sachs & Co. where he served as the co-head of Global Equities Trading and Execution Services. He joined the firm in Shares Trading in 1994 and was responsible for the Technology sector and IPOs. He became head of the US Program Trading desk in 2005 and co-head of US One Delta Trading in 2007. In 2010, Brian relocated to London as co-head of Global One Delta Trading, and in 2014 returned to the US as co-head of Global Equities Trading and Execution Services. He retired from the firm in August 2019. Brian serves on the boards of IEX Stock Exchange, the University of Florida Investment
    Corporation and the New York City Board of Directors of Success Academy Charter Schools. He is a minority investor in the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights, and an advisor to the 310E professional hockey league.

    Brian earned a BSBA from the University of Florida in 1992 and an MBA in Finance from Emory
    University in 1994.

    He and his family reside in New York City on the Upper West Side.

  • Suleman Lunat

    Suleman Lunat was a Senior Principal and Portfolio Manager in the Capital Markets division of Apollo Global Management where he focused on managing a portfolio of special situation credit and equity investments in both the public and private markets. Prior to joining Apollo, he was a Senior Investment Analyst responsible for generating, evaluating, executing and managing investments in a portfolio of distressed and special situation assets at both Longacre Fund Management and Sandell Asset Management. Mr. Lunat has sat on a variety of official and ad-hoc creditor committees and has been deeply involved in a number of corporate restructurings in both the United States and abroad. Prior to Sandell, he spent seven years at Greenhill & Co., a firm he joined upon its inception, focused on M&A, bankruptcy restructuring and principal investing. He began his career at Lehman Brothers in the Telecommunications, Media and Technology Investment Banking Group. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a BS in Economics.

  • Jarrett Posner

    Jarrett Posner is currently a partner and the COO at Argonaut Capital, which is an NYC based Global macro hedge fund. Mr. Posner has worked at Argonaut for more than ten years as one of the firm’s two senior partners and was instrumental in building from a firm that had less than $40 million in AUM and four professionals in 2003 to one that peaked at more than $1.9 billion in assets and 27 employees in 2011. During that time, Mr. Posner built and ran the firm’s risk management guidelines and process, oversaw Argonaut’s registration with the SEC and the installation of its compliance framework and continues to manage the firm. Prior to Argonaut, Mr. Posner worked at Triarc Companies, INC, a NYSE listed company, from 1993-2003. At Triarc, Mr. Posner raised approximately $1.8 billion in various debt instruments since for Triarc and its subsidiaries as senior most corporate finance employee and he analyzed, structured and negotiated debt offerings, including bank credit facilities, subordinated debt, asset backed securitizations & convertible debentures. Also, Mr. Posner is the Chairman and a large investor in BMC investments, a Denver based real estate company that owns and manages approximately 2,000 apartments. Currently, Mr. Posner is a member of the leadership committee at Brown University. Mr. Posner holds a BA in Economics from Brown University.

  • Robin Pzena

    Robin Pzena is a founding board member of Success Academy Harlem 2 and is a former member of the Success Academy Leadership Council. Since 2010, she has served as a mentor to majors at the University of Delaware. Previously, Robin volunteered at Community Personal Services (CPS) where she helped young adults with special needs with employment opportunities. Prior to CPS, Ms. Pzena was a contacts manager for New American Library and Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group and then served as an independent consultant to literary agents. She and her husband have been supporters of Success Academy and its mission since 2008. Ms. Pzena has a BA from the University of Delaware.

  • Cate Shainker

    Cate Shainker is an independent consultant focusing on education reform and specifically charter schools. She was previously a Principal at Bain and Company in New York where she focused on Financial Services and Education. Prior to Bain she worked at UBS in Switzerland. Ms. Shainker has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Finance and Accounting from Indiana University. She was a founding member of the Success Academy Brooklyn Boards and is now leading the Academics, Culture & Talent Committee for the Success Academy NYC Board. She lives in Brooklyn and has three young boys.

  • Lorenzo Smith III

    Lorenzo Smith III is a Private Banker in the New York office of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, responsible for managing relationships with ultra high net worth individuals and families with a specific focus on hedge fund principals. Mr. Smith advises clients on public and private investments, cash management, credit and liquidity needs, and sophisticated estate and charitable planning. Mr. Smith joined the J.P. Morgan Private Bank in 2014, after serving as a credit analyst on TIAA CREF’s Distressed Investments Team where his team managed a $2.5 billion portfolio. Lorenzo earned his MBA from Columbia Business School and his undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a CFA Charterholder and member of the New York Society of Security Analysts. Mr. Smith is a founding member of Success Academy Upper West; and continues to serve on the Success Academy Leadership Council. Prior to joining the financial services industry, Lorenzo represented the US Army and Team USA at the 2006 Olympic games in four-man bobsled. He currently resides in Scarsdale, NY with his wife and two children.

  • Andrew D. Stone

    Andrew D. Stone is the Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Petra Capital Management. Mr. Stone has been involved in all phases of the firm’s development since its founding. Prior to founding Petra, Mr. Stone was a Managing Director and head of the Principal Transactions Group (“PTG”) at Credit Suisse First Boston where he was responsible for the firm’s worldwide real estate effort, including debt origination, equity investments and securitization. Prior to CSFB, Mr. Stone was Senior Managing Director in charge of the Mortgage, Asset- Backed and Real Estate Securities Group at Daiwa Securities America. Mr. Stone founded the department and was responsible for managing the origination, trading, structuring and sales of all mortgage and asset-backed securities. The department became an industry leader and major market force in the securitization of unique complex and unusual assets. Mr. Stone’s visionary approach not only further developed the securitization industry, but also carved out a successful niche for Daiwa. Prior to Daiwa, Mr. Stone was Managing Director and head of the Mortgage and Asset-Backed Group at Prudential Bache. Mr. Stone began his career at Salomon Brothers in the Mortgage Backed Securities Department where he helped pioneer the creation of many new mortgage products and was one of several key employees instrumental in establishing Salomon as the pre-eminent force in the MBS markets. Mr. Stone received his B.S. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with dual majors in finance and entrepreneurial management and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago with a double concentration in finance and marketing.

The situation with coronavirus/COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. Please check our COVID-19 FAQs page for the most up to date health and safety information for Success Academy Charter Schools.

  • Stay in Touch!

    Prospective Parents: If your child will be entering Kindergarten through 4th grade for the 2018-19 school year, please register below to receive more information regarding your neighborhood Success Academies.

  • Register

    Prospective Parents: Register below to be notified when the application for the 2017-18 school year becomes available and to receive more information about Success Academy Charter Schools.

The situation with coronavirus/COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. Please check our COVID-19 FAQs page for the most up to date health and safety information for Success Academy Charter Schools.