Staff Detail

Celine Coggins
Executive Director

Celine has been an educator for more than two decades, with a track record as an innovator, leader and connector.  Celine began her career as a middle school teacher in Worcester, MA and went on to serve in a number of education policy leadership roles, including assistant to the Massachusetts Commissioner of Education. 

Celine’s work has always been deeply connected to teachers and disadvantaged schools. In 2007, she founded Teach Plus, a nationwide network of top-performing teachers, where she spent the next decade as CEO. Under Celine’s leadership, Teach Plus grew to over 30,000 participating teachers and offered groundbreaking programs in leadership development and advocacy. Celine was recognized by President Obama at the White House for her organization’s impact on public education.

A nationally-recognized expert on teacher leadership, education policy standards and accountability, and union politics, Celine has addressed audiences at the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Askwith Forum at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and on NBC’s Education Nation. She appears regularly in the media and has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic, among many others. She is the author of three books, including her most recent, How to Be Heard: Ten Lessons Teachers Need to Advocate for Their Students and Profession.

Celine earned her Ph.D. in education policy analysis at Stanford University and holds an appointment as a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

As a young person, Celine’s life and educational trajectory were profoundly altered by an anonymous donor. That experience made fighting for quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged students her life’s work. It also taught her the power of philanthropy, which started her on the journey to this role.

Ulcca Joshi Hansen
Chief Program Officer

Ulcca has been an educator for more than twenty years, committed to transforming American education in ways that ensure that all students have access to learning experiences that help them achieve their unique potential by meeting their developmental and learning needs.

She is the child of two immigrants from Tanzania who began school as an English language learner. With the support of amazing educators, she ended up being the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college program. Her experiences fuel her desire to interrogate and advocate for an expanded vision of what it means to ensure every child has access to a high-quality education. She is committed to ensuring that the voices of diverse learners and communities are represented in conversations about these issues.

Ulcca began her career as an elementary school teacher in Newark Public Schools, and went on to build a career that has included leading nonprofit programs, conducting research, engaging in advocacy and shaping policy. She understands the power of philanthropic investment to influence the direction and work of the education sector, and believes that catalyzing the wisdom of collective networks is one of the best ways to accelerate shifts in strategy and responsiveness, and to increase overall impact.

An internationally-recognized expert on educational transformation at the level of instruction, assessment, organizational design and policy systems, Ulcca has addressed audiences at conferences including World EduLead, SxSW Education and iNACOL, and has presented twice at TEDx events. Her new book, The Future of Smart, will be released in Fall 2021. 

Ulcca earned her Ph.D. (DPhil) in education and philosophy from Oxford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has been recognized nationally for her work and commitment to public service through education as a 1997 Harry S. Truman Scholar; a 2001 British Marshall Scholar; and a 2005 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow.

Kara Komprathoum
Programs and Communications Assistant

Kara joins Grantmakers for Education after previously working for Summer Search Boston and Generation Citizen Rhode Island. She was also a member of Brown University’s College Advising Corps where she served with Americorps as a college adviser in Providence, Rhode Island. Kara’s direct service experiences with students of all ages both inside and outside of the classroom have deepened her love for equity, education and justice. She works passionately to elevate the voices of young people and other historically resilient groups in the hopes of creating a more equitable world. Kara is particularly excited to continue to work with other mission driven professionals to strengthen their philanthropic practices in education. She holds a B.A. in global studies with a minor in public and community service from Providence College.  In her spare time, Kara loves traveling, reading and learning new skills.

Jessie Lea
Systems & Data Administrator

Jessie’s background includes more than eight years’ experience in data management and systems administration. As systems and data administrator, he ensures our IT systems serve us to the best capacity and makes sure we have quality data at our fingertips to support programs and decision-making within Grantmakers for Education. Jessie’s commitment to technology makes him a driver of innovation and efficiency.

Kyle Malone
Associate Director of External Affairs

With more than 30 years of experience in program management, youth development, higher education and philanthropy, Kyle has proudly made a career in education focused on student advocacy and college attainment. As Grantmakers for Education’s associate director of external affairs, Kyle is expanding and deepening the organization’s partnerships to generate resources, create programs and establish connections that align with the current and future needs of our members. Kyle is dedicated to ensuring that all learners, his own children included, are supported and prepared for higher education and life.

Alessandra Piani
Membership Associate

Alessandra believes that education is a basic human right which should be promoted by challenging inequality. In her role as membership associate, she builds relationships with current and prospective Grantmakers for Education members. Before moving to New York to earn a certificate in business management, she put her master's in foreign languages to use at the United Nations in Italy where she gained much insight in the promotion of education in developing countries. This experience contributed to her passion for the philanthropic sector.

Beverly Ross Denny
Managing Director

With professional experience in both the private and public sectors, Beverly is a seasoned operations executive working for over 15 years leading teams, managing change, and engaging in systems improvement to enhance overall organizational performance while maintaining day-to-day management responsibilities.

She began her career in management consulting with Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group and marketing with Microsoft before transitioning into K-12 education. She entered public education through the Broad Residency in Urban Education. In over a decade, she has worked with the Boston Public Schools where she was the deputy of human resources, as well as Research for Better Teaching as the chief operating officer, serving clients such as the Singapore Ministry of Education, Boston Public Schools, Newton Public Schools and Montgomery County Public Schools.

Beverly has a bachelor's degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Rebecca Smith
Associate Director of Communications

Rebecca brings more than 25 years of nonprofit administration and communication experience as well as a M.S. in communication to her position. As associate director of communications, she assures that the value of Grantmakers for Education’s programs and benefits are effectively conveyed to philanthropies that serve the education community. Her passion for increasing empowerment and opportunities for learners of all ages fuels her dedication to Grantmakers for Education’s mission.

Angela Taylor
Accounting and Operations Associate

Angela Taylor is no stranger to accounting, having spent over 10 years as a bookkeeper and accounting assistant.  With a passion for nonprofits, Angela understands how important it is to be on top of your financial footing. She assists Grantmakers for Education's managing director by creating  and maintaining high-quality financial records and efficient operational  organization. Angela's strong belief in the power of change and the importance of transparency aligns with one of Grantmakers for Education’s operating principles: We embrace a culture of change and innovation.