WWNFF

Staff Leadership

SENIOR MANAGEMENT

 

Rajiv Vinnakota ([email protected]) is the seventh president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in July 2019, Raj served as the Executive Vice President of the Youth & Engagement division at the Aspen Institute, a new venture focusing on youth leadership development, civic engagement, and opportunity.  Before work at the Aspen Institute, he was the co-founder and CEO of The SEED Foundation, the nation’s first network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools for underserved children. Raj remains on the board of The SEED Foundation.

A graduate and former trustee of Princeton University, Raj has dedicated his career to educating, empowering, and supporting America’s youth, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. His work as a social entrepreneur and non-profit leader has earned him national recognition in the form of prestigious fellowships from Echoing Green, The Ashoka Foundation and the Aspen Institute, as well as awards such as Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson Award, Harvard University’s Innovation in American Government Award, and Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award. | Full bio

Beverly Sanford ([email protected]) is Vice President of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She also serves as Secretary of the Foundation, a position elected by the Woodrow Wilson Board of Trustees. Prior to joining the Woodrow Wilson staff in 2002, Beverly served first as communications director for the president of the University at Buffalo (SUNY), then as associate director of the UB Regional Institute. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she completed an M.A. and Ph.D. coursework at the University at Buffalo.
Ram Capoor ([email protected]) is the Chief Financial Officer of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Before joining the Foundation, Ram was CEO and CFO at TDA Group, an integrated marketing services firm. He has an extensive background that combines both “Main Street” and “Wall Street” skills, including senior level roles at UBS, Morgan Stanley, and Touche Ross & Co (now Deloitte). Ram received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from IIT Kanpur and holds an M.B.A. in finance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Also, as Adjunct Faculty he teaches Strategic Management to MBA students at Adelphi University.
Susie Crafton ([email protected]) is the Chief Development Officer of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Susie operated Apeira Revenue Solutions, a fundraising consulting firm focused on fundraising strategy, systems, and capacity building. She has also led the fundraising function at three education related nonprofits—Education Pioneers, Stand for Children, and IDEA Public Schools—and held positions with the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) of Houston, Texas, and the Center for Reform of School Systems. Susie grew up in Michigan, lived in Texas for 16 years, before returning to Michigan in June 2018.  She earned both her B. A. in English and M. A. in student affairs administration from Michigan State University. 
Bernard Laryea ([email protected]) is the Chief Technology Officer at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. His career has spanned multiple industries from finance to commerce, and in the last 5 years he has focused on the field of higher education. Most recently he was a Director of Implementation at the Education Advisory Board in Washington DC. There he oversaw the launch and growth of technologies designed to further both initial enrollment as well as student ultimate outcomes for multiple institutions of higher learning, touching over 300,000 college students across the country.  Bernard is a graduate of University College London, UK, and emigrated to the United States in 2014.

PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

Symeon Braxton ([email protected]) is Director of Fellowship Solutions at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. He previously worked for over 14 years in higher education administration, first at The New School and then at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences. Symeon also worked in fundraising and communications for Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City and the Franklin Institute Science Museum. He holds a B.A. in English from Penn, an M.A. in media studies from The New School, and a doctoral degree in higher education finance from Penn’s Graduate School of Education.
LeAnnBuntrock_crop LeAnn Buntrock ([email protected]) joined the Woodrow Wilson staff in 2013 as Director of the Woodrow Wilson M.B.A. Fellowship in Education Leadership. She was formerly Executive Director of the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education at the University of Virginia. LeAnn earned her J.D. from the University of Richmond and her Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Virginia. Her background demonstrates her deep commitment to education, ranging from her early years as a teacher in elementary education to several years of advocacy in education and family law.
Arianna Gordon ([email protected]) is the Program Officer for the WW HistoryQuest and Higher Education Policy Programs.  She joined the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in 2018 as Executive Assistant to the President and EVP/COO, and prior to that served as office manager for a private elementary school.  Originally from New York City, Arianna is a cum laude graduate of the City University of New York and holds a B.A. in communications and media and the psychology of management and organization.
Frances Micklow Hannan ([email protected]) is the Program Officer for the WW Higher Education Media Fellowship and the Director of Multimedia Projects at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2014 as the communications associate. Prior to WW, she was a multimedia journalist and photo editor at The Star-Ledger and Inside Jersey magazine in Newark, NJ, where she won several award for her work from the National Press Photographers Association and the New York Press Photographers Association. A metro Atlanta native, she holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Georgia.
Jeré Hogans ([email protected]) is the Program Officer for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies. She joined the Foundation in 2010, working on the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Programs. Previously, Jeré served as the Assistant Director for Placement and Alumni Relations at New Jersey SEEDS, where she helped prepare high-achieving, low income students for admission to private schools across the nation. Jeré earned her B.A. in political science from Rider University and her M.A. in leadership and public administration from Centenary College.
  Melanie Meinzer ([email protected]) joined the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in 2019 as Program Officer for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation programs. She previously held a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at Denison University and taught courses at St. Olaf College on decolonizing international relations, middle eastern politics, and environmental justice. Melanie earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Connecticut, where she held a Draper Dissertation Fellowship at the UConn Humanities Institute, and a Boren Fellowship to the West Bank. She also previously managed the British Marshall Scholarship Program at the British Consulate-General in Boston.
Audra M. Watson ([email protected]) is the Director of the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. Before coming to WW in 2010, she was a 19-year veteran of the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE). Her multiple leadership positions there included Principal, Director of Mentoring, Director of Professional Development, As NYCDOE’s Executive Director of Teacher Development, Audra led strategy and planning to increase alignment between pre-service and in-service teacher development and oversaw initiatives for early-career teachers.  Audra received her master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and earned her Ph.D. in education policy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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