Meet the Leaders Behind the Leaders
LLA's team is comprised of former principals with an impressive history of results. They channel specialized expertise in instructional leadership, executive management, and disrupting inequity into a shared mission: to develop leaders capable of elevating outcomes for all students.
Jenne Colasacco has served in the role of Executive Director of Lynch Leadership Academy since February 2018, and is deeply committed to leading LLA through the next level of impact, by expanding our reach to new regions and by deepening and expanding our program with our current partner districts and sectors. Jenne joined Lynch Leadership Academy in July 2013, in the role of Leadership Effectiveness Director. In this role, Jenne led the design of the Fellowship programming and coached Sitting Principal Fellows. She focuses particularly on supporting leaders as they implement change initiatives in their schools, and in ensuring that principals are able to apply their new knowledge and skills learned in other aspects of the fellowship as they strive to create change, disrupt inequity, and continually improve their schools to raise student achievement.
Before joining the Lynch Leadership Academy, Jenne was a school leader at Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School, in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. She led APR first for three years as the Middle School Principal and then for six years as the High School Principal. Under Jenne’s leadership, APR’s high school consistently demonstrated strong results, including being the highest-scoring school in the state on the 10th grade ELA MCAS in 2009 and in 2012. In the six years of her tenure, APR’s graduates have matriculated to college at a rate of 95%, and have persisted in college at a rate of 85%. Prior to her work at APR, Jenne taught high school science in Providence, RI and in Baltimore City Public Schools, where she was a 1999 Teach For America corps member. Additionally, Jenne served as an adjunct faculty member at Boston University, where she instructed incoming Teach For America corps members in general teaching methods.
Jenne earned a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Simmons College and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology from Brown University.
Marlena Afonso joined the LLA team in August of 2019. Prior to that, she worked at the Bentley Academy Charter School in Salem, MA for five years. She served as the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction and then as the Head of School. During her tenure as principal, she helped develop systems for instructional improvement and coaching that moved the school from Level 4 to Level 1 in only one year. Marlena also worked as a principal intern, an elementary and middle school special education teacher, and a teacher leader. Additionally, Marlena participated in LLA as a member of Cohort V.
Marlena earned an Ed.M. in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a MEd in Special Education from Arizona State University and a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Providence College.
Cristin Berry Pizzimenti
Cristin Berry Pizzimenti joined the LLA team in July of 2018. Prior to that, she worked for City on a Hill Charter Schools for twelve years. During that time, she was the principal at the flagship campus, City on a Hill Circuit Street, for four years before moving to a Deputy Chief Academic Officer role in the Network. Cristin also worked as a high school mathematics teacher, Lead Teacher, and Assistant Principal. Additionally, Cristin participated in LLA as a member of Cohort IV.
Cristin earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from John Carroll University and a Master of Arts in high school mathematics from Simmons College.
Erin joined the LLA team in 2017. Prior to that, she was the principal of Wolfgang Mozart Elementary School in Roslindale for four years, where she led the school to Level 1 status and DESE recognition as a Commendation School for narrowing proficiency gaps. She worked with staff, students, and families to develop an anti-racist learning community and implemented an innovative and effective inclusion model for students with autism. During her tenure at the Mozart, Erin participated in the LLA Fellowship as a member of Cohort IV and twice mentored LLA Aspiring Principal Fellows. She also served as an assistant principal, teacher leader, and teacher in Boston Public Schools for eight years prior to becoming a principal.
Erin earned an Ed.M. in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Secondary Education and Political Science from American University.
Consulting Leadership Coach
David has spent the past 13 years as an educational leader in some of our nation's most underserved and disadvantaged communities. He most recently served as the Regional Manager of Philadelphia Metro for Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), a non-profit working with pre-k through 5th grade teachers to improve early literacy instruction so children become powerful readers, writers, and thinkers. Prior to CLI, David served five years as Principal at Forest Hill Elementary in Camden City, New Jersey. During those years, David led the school community through significant growth and development in the areas of student and staff culture, family engagement, and data-driven and standards-based instruction.
As a Teach For America alum, David remains committed to the movement of educational equity in our nation and approaches his work with a culturally responsive pedagogical philosophy. During his time as a corps member, he worked as a founding teacher at Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School not only to ensure student academic growth and achievement, but also to establish school-wide procedures and policies while creating a supportive environment for positive student culture.
David holds Principal certifications in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is a proud alumni of The University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education where he earned a Masters in Education. David earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Ithaca College.
Senior Director, Learning & Innovation
Before joining the Lynch Leadership Academy team in October 2014, Joe Dolan served as the founding principal of the Cambridge High School Extension Program, a non-traditional high school sponsored by the Cambridge Public Schools, for ten years. During his time in Cambridge, he was responsible for designing and developing all aspects of the school, which has graduated 300 students since its inception. He was also a founding member of the Cambridge Leadership Network, a partnership between Richard Elmore of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Cambridge Public Schools.
Prior to his work in Cambridge, Joe worked in charter schools in Lowell and Boston and was a state official with the Massachusetts Department of Education.
He has a B.A. in History & Social Science from Eastern Connecticut State University, an M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from Fairfield University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Boston University.
Since 2011, he has been an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University where he has taught courses in curriculum and instruction, adolescent development and engaging high school learners.
Mona Ford Walker
Consulting Leadership Coach
Mona Ford Walker, committed and devoted educator for almost 20 years, was most recently principal of Winship Elementary School, a Boston Public School. At the Winship, which was designated a 2018 and 2019 Massachusetts School of Recognition school, she proudly served for five years. Mona led the community in creating student-centered learning environments for all.
Mona is a proud graduate of the Boston Public Schools, where she also began her teaching career. Her passion for education is fueled by her familial history in public education and her own educational experiences as a student, and as a result, her desire to ensure all children reach their infinite potential, have access to rigorous learning opportunities and attain academic success.
Mona has served as a teacher, assistant principal and school leader, where she worked to provide high quality educational experiences and opportunities to all children. She is committed to ensuring all students acquire the knowledge and develop the skills and habits necessary to prepare them to succeed in college, career and life.
Mona is currently a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is a consulting Leadership Effectiveness Director at Lynch Leadership Academy.
Consulting Leadership Coach
Shenette is a native of Chicago Illinois where she attended some of Chicago’s finest public schools. She received her B.A. in Accounting from Hampton University and shortly after graduating; she joined Teach for America and taught first and second grades in Washington D.C. She received her MBA from the University of Maryland.
She spent several years in city government helping to resolve quality of life issues and ensured that the citizen’s voice was heard. After leaving city government, she returned to education. She has held leadership positions within several charter and public schools, responsible for managing the daily operations of the school and ensured that all students received an outstanding education. In her role, she provided conceptual guidance, vision and direction to the school’s entire instructional staff.
Currently, Shenette is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is a Consulting Leadership Coach at Lynch Leadership Academy.
Eileen McLaughlin joined the LLA team in August of 2019. Prior to that, she worked at Mount Alvernia High School in Newton, MA for nineteen years. Eileen worked as an English teacher and served as the English Department Chair before taking on the role of Head of School in the fall of 2010. During Eileen's tenure as Head of School, Mount Alvernia took on significant building projects to improve the learning environment, as well as expanding the Advanced Placement program, growing scholarship and financial aid funding, and creating a culture motivated by a moral imperative guided by the belief that every student is capable of learning at high levels. Additionally, Eileen participated in LLA as a member of Cohort IV.
Eileen earned an Master of Arts in Teaching from Emmanuel College and a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Boston College.
Akosua joined LLA in 2019 after serving 9 years with Boston Public Schools. In the Fall of 2014, Akosua became the founding principal of the Pauline Agassiz Shaw Elementary school where she served the Mattapan/Dorchester community for 5 years. Under her leadership, the school grew to its full capacity, developing a clear instructional vision, systems and procedures building towards a safe and vibrant learning community. In addition, Akosua consistently scored above average on the BPS Teacher Climate and Insight Surveys in the following areas: Observation and Feedback, Professional Development, Evaluation, Peer Culture, and Leadership. As a BPS Lead Principal, she provided professional development to Early Childhood principals across the district. Prior to the principalship, Akosua taught 4th Grade at Orchard Gardens K-8 school through Teach for America.
Assistant Director, Program & Operations
Prior to joining LLA in 2018, Michelle was an independent education consultant. She worked with school systems and foundations to bring programs from concept to deliverable product. She worked for many years in the Massachusetts K-12 arena in both the charter and district sectors.
Michelle earned a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Nonprofit Management, both from Northeastern University.