News:

Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency selects KEES to lead its Interim CEO and Chief Executive Officer Search Efforts

In a significant step towards advancing its strategic goals of enhancing housing affordability, preventing homelessness, and expanding housing options, Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA) proudly announces the selection of Kistner Eddy Executive Search (KEES) as its executive search consulting partner. KEES will work alongside LACAHSA leadership in spearheading the Spring 2024 Interim CEO search, followed by the Permanent CEO search anticipated to begin in November 2024. Leading the search efforts at the executive search firm, specializing in both the nonprofit and public sectors, will include the KEES team of President and CEO Heather Eddy, Executive Search Manager Yoo-Jin Hong, and Project Manager Megan Taylor.

Los Angeles County, the largest country in the United States, is facing the most significant housing crisis in the region’s history, as hundreds of thousands of residents experience housing instability, are at risk of homelessness and being pushed out of their communities. The Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA) was born out of the fundamental belief that housing is a human right, regardless of age, race, class, disability, and gender.

In an effort to develop and enhance tools to unlock investment and scale for housing production and preservation of existing affordable housing, and to prevent people from falling into homelessness, a coalition of elected leaders, community organizations, and housing and homelessness experts partnered with multiple stakeholders to pass Senate Bill (SB) 679, which was subsequently signed by Governor Gavin Newsom and officially created LACAHSA. As an independent government agency that has jurisdiction within the County of Los Angeles and is governed by a board composed of 21-voting members and one non-voting member, the long-term vision of the leadership is driving innovative solutions to ensure access to housing all Angelenos can afford.

LACAHSA selected KEES after reviewing several competitive proposals. This choice is a testament to KEES’s commitment to excellence and its ability to align with the goals of LACAHSA. The Interim CEO search is already underway, paving the way for a seamless transition as LACAHSA positions itself for long-term success. The subsequent CEO search slated for a November 2024 timeline, is poised to attract a diverse and talented pool of candidates committed to advancing affordable housing initiatives and making a difference in the lives of residents throughout Los Angeles County.

“I am proud to chair this effort and excited KEES was selected,” said Victor Sanchez, City of Bellflower Council Member and member of the LACAHSA Board. “Working with the LACAHSA Executive Board, chaired by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, we wanted a firm as innovative as we see the initiative. KEES offers a distinctive perspective and extensive expertise in housing and homelessness, and we’re eager to build on our momentum. Our team is committed to identifying candidates who will advocate for affordable housing solutions and contribute to positive community change.”

“We are honored to work in partnership with the LACAHSA Board to advance the important work to ensure every resident in LA County has access to a safe, stable, and affordable home,” said KEES President and CEO Heather Eddy.

Confidential inquiries, candidate recommendations, and questions concerning this dual search may be addressed to inquiries@kees2success.com.

About the Partners

Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency

The Los Angeles County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency (LACAHSA) was created to make housing more affordable, help people stay in their homes, and increase housing options for people experiencing homelessness. It is a regional organization focused on all of L.A. County and by having leaders from across the county, and a single CEO, it is accountable enough to cut through red tape so we can do more than ever before. To learn more, please visit: www.lacahsa.gov

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit KEES. KEES provides services to strengthen leadership teams through Executive Search, Board Coaching, Leadership Development, Human Resources Consulting, Specialty/Interim staffing, and Philanthropy/Fundraising, all with a focus on DEIB and equity lenses. Focusing its partnerships on organizations propelling social change, KEES has partnered with housing-focused missions in 40 states for over 25 years. We believe housing is essential for individuals and communities to thrive. From emergency housing, shelter, supportive and transitional housing, to permanent housing and long-term housing needs, and supportive services related to housing and affordability, KEES is committed to ensuring public and nonprofit partners have diverse and dynamic leadership teams and infrastructure to support success. KEES values the role housing plays in the stability of life, work, and social dynamics. KEES also partners with clients who provide valuable wrap-around services such as food, transportation, employment, and education.

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LACAHSA MEDIA CONTACT:

Lenee Richards (Office of Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell), LRichards@bos.lacounty.gov

KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy selects Michael Kelley as its first Regional Director of Development, Midwest

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and KEES are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Kelley as its first Regional Director of Development, Midwest. Kelley will hold responsibility for a portfolio of donors and prospects in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Nonprofit executive search firm KEES was appointed to lead the search last fall.

Kelley has secured Major Gifts to support internationally focused think tanks and higher education for more than 16 years. Based in Chicago, IL, he brings a robust understanding of issues that are important to philanthropists interested in the Middle East and international affairs.

In his previous role as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Kelley served as the relationship manager for a range of foundation donors and corporate partners and secured organizational major gift support for key areas of the Council’s work, including the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. As Director of Development at Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), a new public-private tech institute led by the University of Illinois System, Kelley built out a new advancement operation and managed over $22M in committed philanthropic support. While at DPI, Kelley managed the fundraising process for a $10M gift from the Pritzker Foundation to launch the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs; he drafted and revised the funding proposal, administered leadership conversations, and worked with DPI staff leads as well as external collaborators to scope out the Tech Talent Lab program goals, partnership agreements, and funding requirements. Prior to DPI, Kelley worked in fundraising at Northwestern University for 12 years; his final role at Northwestern was as Director of Development in support of select top university-level institutes, including the Buffett Institute on Global Affairs.

“We are delighted to welcome Michael to this inaugural Washington Institute Development role in the Midwest,” said Dan Heckelman, National Director of Development of The Washington Institute. “Michael brings an exceptional combination of fundraising experience and knowledge in international affairs, which will benefit The Washington Institute. We would like to officially welcome Michael to the team.”

“My entire career has been centered on building connections with philanthropists who seek to drive knowledge creation and application,” said Kelley. “The Washington Institute’s commitment to researching and advocating policies that benefit American interests in the Middle East resonates deeply with my professional and academic background. I am eager to contribute to the Institute’s impactful work and further its mission in the years to come.”

The Washington Institute competitively selected KEES, a premier executive search firm to spearhead this project. KEES is renowned for its successful placement of remote gift officers in new geographies. A comprehensive search was launched in the Fall of 2023. Kelley was ultimately selected from a passionate and talented pool of finalists. The Washington Institute’s search efforts were led internally by National Director of Development, Dan Heckelman.

Kelley holds both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in history from the University of Illinois. To additionally note, both history degrees are internationally focused. Kelley has also received a Certificate in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations from Northwestern University.

“KEES was delighted to be selected as the search partner of choice for The Washington Institute,” said Laura Weinman, Vice President of KEES. “Collaborating with their dedicated team was truly a pleasure, and we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Michael on his well-deserved appointment. Congratulations all!”

About the Partners

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is America’s leading research organization devoted exclusively to the study of the Middle East, from Turkey to Yemen and from Morocco to Iran. The Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank with an annual revenue of nearly $17M and is funded solely by American citizens. The Washington Institute’s mission is to advance a balanced and realistic understanding of American interests in the Middle East and to promote the policies that secure them. Since its founding in 1985, The Washington Institute has become a trusted source of expertise for policymakers with a variety of political experiences and perspectives in Washington and around the world. Now more than ever, The Washington Institute’s commitment to research, which then directly impacts U.S. foreign policy, is of paramount importance to people in and around the Middle East. To learn more, please visit www.washingtoninstitute.org.

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and human resources support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

An expert on partnering with organizations establishing new roles or adding additional geographic representation to their program and donor portfolios, KEES has successfully placed talented executives throughout the country. For client partners including Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Heifer International, The Salvation Army, Planned Parenthood, and others, KEES has helped place a network of talented Major Gift Officers responsible for connecting passionate supporters with organizational missions.

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KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE MEDIA CONTACT:

Anna Brown, press@washingtoninstitute.org, (202) 230-9550

Washington State Housing Finance Commission Announces Nashika Stanbro as its first DEI Director with support from KEES

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission and KEES are pleased to announce the appointment of Nashika Stanbro as its first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Director.

As a member of the senior leadership team and reporting directly to the executive director, Stanbro will cultivate diversity, equity, and inclusion as foundational principles across the Commission and provide key leadership in implementing anti-racist strategies. Leading the search efforts were Executive Search Manager Yoo-Jin Hong and Project Manager Randi Blasutti of KEES.

Stanbro brings a wealth of experience and a strong track record as a DEI professional and racial equity champion. Most recently, Stanbro was Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Community Transit in Snohomish County, developing DEI strategies and initiatives in support of more than 800 employees. Before stepping into this inaugural DEI position at Community Transit, she served as a crisis communication and media relations specialist.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nashika as our first DEI Director at this crucial juncture for the Commission,” said Steve Walker, executive director of the Housing Finance Commission. “She comes to us at just the right time with the expertise and leadership we need to build on the strong foundation of our Racial Equity Strategic Plan and further our transformation into an anti-racist organization.”

Stanbro says, “The mission of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission resonates with me on a deep level. Increasing housing access and affordability, and expanding community services are vital in developing self-sustaining communities. The Commission’s work aligns with my core value of making a difference in the lives of others, and I am beyond excited to join the team.”

Stanbro holds degrees in Integrated Strategic Communications from Everett Community College and Washington State University. She has also completed extensive professional studies and leadership training focused on DEI, racial equity, and anti-racism.

About the Partners

Washington State Housing Finance Commission

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (the Commission) is a market-driven and self-supporting state agency dedicated to increasing housing access and affordability and to expanding quality community services for the people of Washington. Homelessness and lack of housing affordability are crises that affect many communities across the state. The Commission plays a key role in the solution to these problems by partnering to transform lives, neighborhoods, and communities. For forty years, the Commission has enabled more than 100,000 Washington residents to buy homes and created or preserved more than 110,000 affordable apartments for residents ranging from working families to seniors to the unhoused. To learn more, please visit www.wshfc.org

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and human resources support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

KEES provides services to strengthen leadership teams through Executive Search, Board Coaching, Leadership Development, Human Resources Consulting, Specialty/Interim staffing, and Philanthropy/Fundraising, all with a focus on DEIB and equity lenses. Focusing its partnerships on organizations propelling social change, KEES has partnered with housing-focused missions for over 25 years. We believe housing is essential for individuals and communities to thrive. From emergency housing, shelter, supportive and transitional housing, to permanent housing and long-term housing needs, and supportive services related to housing and affordability, KEES is committed to ensuring public and nonprofit partners have diverse and dynamic leadership teams and infrastructure to support success. KEES values the role housing plays in the stability of life, work, and social dynamics. KEES also partners with clients who provide valuable wrap-around services such as food, transportation, employment, and education. 

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KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

WASHINGTON STATE HOUSING FINANCE COMMISSION MEDIA CONTACT:

Margret Graham, Margret.Graham@wshfc.org

KEES Client Partner, Connections for Abused Women and their Children, Names T’Chana Harden as its Finance Director

Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC), a Chicago-based nonprofit organization committed to ending domestic violence through a self-help and empowerment approach, has selected T’Chana Harden as its Finance Director effective January 29, 2024. Reporting directly to CAWC’s Executive Director Stephanie Love-Patterson and the Board of Directors’ finance committee, Harden will oversee CAWC’s finance, accounting, and business office operations. Nonprofit executive search firm KEES was appointed to lead the executive search following a previous successful search partnership for a Development Director.

Harden is a results-oriented financial leader with over 14 years of experience in managing financial operations. Before joining CAWC, Harden served as the Assistant Director of Business Operations role at the University of Illinois, Division of Public Safety. Leading the financial and personnel activities for more than 100 employees, she managed all operations, including payroll, and accounting, and conducted the analysis, forecasts, and reports for executive leadership. Throughout her 12+ years at the University of Illinois, T’Chana served in various financial roles in three distinct areas of university operations. Skilled in budget development, grants and compliance, and strategic planning, T’Chana is a results-oriented leader who ensures efficiency and compliance with organizational policies.

“Our team was looking for someone with a thorough understanding of nonprofit financials, as well as a diverse organizational skill set,” said Stephanie Love-Patterson, CAWC’s Executive Director. “T’Chana’s experience, talent, and enthusiasm will be a powerful addition to our leadership team and the successful delivery of our important mission. We are delighted to officially welcome T’Chana to the CAWC team. Thank KEES for another successful partnership!

“CAWC’s mission aligns with my career goal of utilizing financial leadership to support organizations that have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said T’Chana. “I am enthusiastic about contributing my financial expertise and passion for community development to aid CAWC in achieving its mission, ensuring sound financial management and long-term sustainability.”

Harden holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, a Master of Urban Planning in Community and Economic Development from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Planning & Administration from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

CAWC’s Executive Director, Stephanie Love-Patterson, steered the hiring process. A comprehensive and inclusive search was launched, drawing in a diverse pool of talented candidates. Harden was ultimately selected from an outstanding group of top finalists. This partnership not only aligns with KEES’s track record of placing top executives in Chicago but also expands its relationships to fill crucial financial hiring needs. In addition to staff roles, KEES also specializes in executive searches for top executive positions such as Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director, and President roles.

“Congratulations to the entire CAWC team,” said Laura Weinman, KEES Vice President. “We are grateful that T’Chana shares the KEES commitment to helping CAWC achieve and deliver its vital mission. KEES is thrilled to have been selected again as the search partner of choice for CAWC and we proudly applaud T’Chana on this Finance Director appointment.”

About the Partners

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

CONNECTIONS FOR ABUSED WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN

CAWC is committed to ending domestic violence. For more than 45 years, CAWC has delivered comprehensive and life-saving services to both adult and child victims of domestic abuse in Chicago. As a leader in the field of domestic violence, CAWC’s services have continually evolved to meet a growing community need. CAWC’s mission is to assist victims of abuse with regaining control of their lives through a trauma-informed, self-help, empowerment approach. CAWC works toward this goal through four primary program areas that together provide a continuum of domestic violence services, including a shelter for survivors and their children as well as counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline. All programs are free of charge. Learn more at www.cawc.org.

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KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

CAWC MEDIA CONTACT:

Stephanie Love-Patterson, SLove-Patterson@cawc.org

Nonprofit Executive Search Firm KEES Selected by Hawaii Youth Symphony to Lead Recruitment Strategies for Upcoming Positions

KEES takes center stage to orchestrate dual searches for Director of Development and newly created Chief Operating Officer posts

In a significant stride towards advancing its strategic vision, Hawaii Youth Symphony proudly announces the selection of KEES as its search firm of choice to usher in a new era of growth and excellence for the nonprofit music education organization. KEES will be instrumental in identifying and appointing key leaders for two pivotal roles—Director of Development and Chief Operating Officer. Leading the search efforts at the executive search firm, specializing in both the nonprofit and public sector, will include KEES Search Manager Yoo-Jin Hong and Project Manager Megan Taylor.

Hawaii Youth Symphony President and CEO Randy Wong selected KEES after reviewing several competitive proposals. “The KEES team and their excellence in nonprofit executive search stood out to us as being uniquely capable to help fill these dynamic leadership roles. They are familiar with our priorities, recognize the importance of our mission and vision, and appreciate the nuanced needs of youth orchestras.”

KEES holds high standards as an industry leader in Chief Operating Officer and Director of Development searches. With more than 23 years of experience in nonprofit executive search and hundreds of successful client partnerships, KEES continues to have a strong track record placing, creating, and supporting roles nationwide. In addition to success in Chief Operating Officer and Chief/Director of Development roles, KEES provides specialized expertise in all top leadership searches such as CEO and President, Executive Director, and Chief Financial Officer.

KEES’ work helps ensure that missions are fulfilled, visions are achieved, leaders can succeed, and clients can change the world through the meaningful missions they serve. This partnership builds upon KEES’ long list of client partners who serve and support arts organizations, arts education, and youth development in a multitude of ways.

“With a shared belief in the arts as social good and commitment to broadening access to the arts, KEES is poised to shape Hawaii Youth Symphony’s leadership team and contribute to HYS’s strategic vision,” said Yoo-Jin Hong, Executive Search Manager. “It is an honor to have been selected to work alongside Randy Wong and Hawaii Youth Symphony in this stage of growth. We look forward to partnering with HYS leadership in the coming months.”

Confidential inquiries, candidate recommendations, and questions concerning this dual search may be addressed to inquiries@kees2success.com.

About the Partners

Hawaii Youth Symphony

Established as a nonprofit organization located in Honolulu, HI, Hawaii Youth Symphony’s (HYS) mission is to foster fun and creative experiences for youth that inspire a deep appreciation for music and lifelong relationships within the culture of the Hawaiian islands. HYS is also among the largest independent youth symphony organizations in the country, serving over 700 students annually from more than 100 public, private, and home schools across the state. Incorporated in 1964 with a single 80-member orchestra, HYS has grown nearly 8-fold in the past half century with 13 different programs. For more information, visit www.hiyouthsymphony.org.

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

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HAWAII YOUTH SYMPHONY MEDIA CONTACT:

Susan Wright, susan@beckercommunications.com

KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

Grow Your Own Illinois taps Richard Nettles as the next Chicago/Lake County Program Director

Grow Your Own Illinois (GYO-IL), an organization that develops a strong pipeline of teachers of color rooted in their school communities, has announced Richard Nettles as the new Chicago/Lake County Program Director. Effective January 22, 2024, Nettles will lead the Chicago/Lake County program, the largest and oldest of the four consortia in Illinois. KEES was appointed to lead the executive search last fall.

Nettles comes to GYO-IL having served as the Manager of Field Experience and Curriculum at Chicago Public Schools (CPS), where he defined strategies for all pre-service teacher training and managed the teacher pathways training team. Prior to CPS, Nettles held teacher candidate support roles at Northeastern Illinois University and Roosevelt University. He began his career in education as an African American History teacher at CPS’s Urban Prep Academy High School.

“We were seeking someone with a strong commitment to social justice and community investment, as well as deep knowledge of teacher licensure processes to manage GYO-IL’s Chicago and Lake County consortium,” said Dr. Liza Pappas, Executive Director of GYO-IL. “Richard’s experience in teacher education and his alignment with GYO-IL’s mission made him stand out. Undoubtedly, he will play a significant role with our team. An additional thank you to KEES for their professional focus throughout this process.”

“I am beyond excited to join the extraordinary team at Grow Your Own Illinois! As a Waukegan native and a resident of Chicago’s South Side, this work is very close to my heart. GYO-IL represents an opportunity to turn the tide of education exponentially,” noted Richard. “Beyond bridging the gap between what is and what could be, as the new Chicago/Lake County Program Director, I look forward to ensuring Black and Brown people have GYO-IL’s full support on their path to teacher licensure and that our communities are recognized for our assets, character, and contributions to this world.”

Nettles holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) in Urban Education from the University of Chicago. Along with his Illinois Professional Educators License, he has earned endorsements in Elementary Education (K-9) and Secondary Education (9-12).

Grow Your Own Teachers (GYO-IL)

Grow Your Own Illinois’ (GYO-IL) mission is to support racially diverse and community-connected individuals to become certified teachers in hard-to-staff schools and positions to improve the educational opportunities and outcomes for its students. GYO-IL believes that Illinois students, their schools and neighborhoods, and the teacher candidates are all enriched by this process. For more information, visit www.growyourownteachers.org.

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

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GROW YOUR OWN ILLINOIS MEDIA CONTACT:

Valentin Torres, vtorres@gyo-il.org

KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission Announces Dr. Ed H. Noh as Next Executive Director with support from KEES

Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission (the commission) and Kistner Eddy Executive Services (KEES) are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ed H. Noh as the next executive director. With an extensive background in education leadership, including an Ed.D., Noh brings a wealth of experience in Hawaiʻi’s educational system. Serving thousands of children throughout the state, Hawaiʻi’s charter schools have been a source of innovation and community engagement in learning. Joining the commission in mid-February, Noh will sustain the progress made and help define the next decade of the commission. Leading the search efforts were President and CEO Heather Eddy, Executive Search Manager Yoo-Jin Hong, and Project Manager Megan Taylor of KEES.

Bringing 30+ years of professional experience and more than 16 years of executive leadership experience in the education sector, Noh has a proven track record of driving educational excellence in both public and charter school systems. His vision aligns seamlessly with the commission’s goals of fostering innovation and ensuring the highest education standards for students across the state.

“We are delighted to welcome Ed as the new executive director of the Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission,” said Dr. Cathy Ikeda, chairperson of the commission. “As a practitioner, parent, and administrative leader, his passion for education and proven leadership skills make him the ideal candidate to lead the commission forward. This role is the culmination of his career, and we look forward to working collaboratively with Ed to advocate for high quality education in Hawaiʻi’s public charter schools.”

Currently serving as Complex Area Superintendent at the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, Noh provides executive leadership to 16 schools that educate 7,400+ students and oversees a $73.8M budget across the Castle-Kahuku Complex Area. Focused on high expectations, equity, and cultural understanding, Noh has cultivated a shared vision of instructional excellence through the Academic and Financial Planning process, fostering professional development among principals and complex area leaders. Responsible for tracking school performance indicators, Noh collaborates with principals to set professional goals. In his prior position as executive director of the Hawaiʻi Department of Education Leadership Institute, Noh spearheaded initiatives such as a leadership pipeline, teacher innovation grants, and innovative teaching strategies during the pandemic. Additionally, as School Director of Kaʻōhao Public Charter School Noh achieved top-tier elementary school rankings, annual enrollment growth, and a balanced budget while introducing new classroom technologies. Noh holds a doctorate degree in Professional Educational Practice from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington.

Dr. Noh states, “I have always believed that charter schools fill an important need in the educational landscape of Hawaiʻi, and across the world, as the innovative arm of public education. ʻAha Kula Hoʻāmana resonates with me because charter schools in Hawaiʻi are taking education to a ʻhigher level’ and rather than approaching the commission solely as an ʻauthorizer’, I lean on Dr. Peter Hanohano’s translation of Hoʻāmana as ʻto empower.’ Charter schools exist ʻto empower our communities to create schools of excellence.’ The commission can, and will fulfill its legal and fiduciary responsibility as the authorizer, by empowering school leaders and their respective governing boards, supporting them in their pursuit to serve their students, staff, families, and communities as they live out their mission and vision. I am honored, humbled, and excited to be part of this next phase of growth.”

This announcement follows a nationwide search, for which the commission competitively selected KEES, a premier executive search firm. A comprehensive search was launched in the Fall of 2023. Noh was ultimately selected from a passionate, motivated, diverse, and talented pool of nearly 30 national finalists. The commission’s search efforts were led by Commission Chair Cathy Ikeda, Commissioners Makalapua Alencastre, Alex Harris, Matthew Kodama, Roger McKeague, and Carl Takamura. Noh is the first permanent executive director since 2020. Noh succeeds two successful Interim leaders. Yvonne Lau, who is now the executive administrator of the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents, and currently PJ Foehr who has been leading the commission since April 2023.

“Having served in the public and charter educational systems at the school, district, and state levels, Noh understands the charter system in Hawaiʻi from a truly unique perspective. Ed is a bridge builder and a catalyst,” said KEES President and CEO Heather Eddy. “Starting as a classroom teacher, his dedication to public education has been a consistent thread in his career, and it will undoubtedly be a valuable asset for the commission. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Noh as he assumes the role of executive director at the Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission. Congratulations to all!”

About the Partners

Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission (ʻAha Kula Hoʻāmana)

The State Public Charter School Commission is the State of Hawaiʻi’s statewide charter school authorizer. The mission is to authorize high-quality public charter schools throughout the state. The commission’s strategic vision for the chartering of these high-quality schools is that they provide excellent and diverse educational options for Hawaiʻi’s families, prepare students for future academic or career success, and contribute meaningfully to the continued improvement of Hawaiʻi’s public education system as a whole. The commission has responsibility for oversight of all 37 Hawaiʻi charter schools. For more information, visit www.chartercommission.hawaii.gov.

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman-owned-and-operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and human resources support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

Focusing its partnerships on organizations propelling social change, KEES matches education-focused client partners with leaders who help grow and shape education and systems to impact students, families, communities, and economies. From early childhood education to general and independent schools, community colleges, and public universities, KEES values the role education plays in shaping society’s future leaders. KEES also partners with clients that provide valuable wrap-around services such as mentoring, tutoring, and other support to K-12 programming. Our collaboration with Hawaiʻi State Public Charter School Commission adds to our growing portfolio of education and charter school partnerships.

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KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

To schedule interviews regarding the KEES process, contact Jamie Sheffler.

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

HAWAIʻI STATE PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL COMMISSION MEDIA CONTACT:

Meetings with Dr. Noh or Chair Ikeda can be arranged by emailing (info@spcsc.hawaii.gov)

Sheryl Turbeville, Sheryl.Turbeville@spcsc.hawaii.gov

KEES Executive Search Client Partner, Association House of Chicago, selects Margarita Rosas as its Director of Finance

Association House of Chicago, which provides comprehensive programming in English and Spanish in Humboldt Park that promotes health and wellness and creates opportunities for educational and economic advancement, has named Margarita Rosas to the position of Director of Finance effective January 16, 2024. Reporting directly to the President and CEO Juan Carlos Linares, Rosas will collaborate with the other members of the leadership team, as well as the Board of Directors, to support the financial goals of the organization. Leading the search efforts included President and CEO Heather Eddy and Project Manager Randi Blasutti of KEES.

Before joining Association House, Rosas, a seasoned finance executive, served as the Director of Finance with New York Sun Works, driving the financial functions and performance. New York Sun Works constructs innovative science labs in urban schools across New York’s five boroughs, teaching climate education and emphasizing program accessibility for diverse learners. In her five years, Rosas was instrumental in expanding the organization from 90 to over 400 school partners, impacting 120,000+ students annually. She adeptly managed revenue, staff costs, and program expenses, implementing efficient systems for improved grant reporting and enhanced capacity to manage various revenue sources, including federal, state, and city contracts.

Juan Carlos Linares, President and CEO, expressed, “In our search for a Director with expertise in strategic nonprofit finance to enhance operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness, Margarita stood out. As a hands-on leader, she prioritizes continuous improvement and high performance by establishing a clear and actionable vision. We anticipate she will play a key role in driving the organization’s strategic plans forward. With the addition of Margarita to our leadership team, I look forward to working with this strong team to move the Agency forward into new paths. Our gratitude to KEES for their expertise in successfully identifying and presenting a diverse and talented pool of candidates.”

Born and raised in Colombia, Rosas was deputy director for social investments at the Colombian’s national government and the Founder of New Life for Everyone, a foundation that supports education, learning, and exploring opportunities to over 400 children in marginalized communities and the slum areas of Bogota city.

“As a Latina immigrant, I feel strongly connected to Association of House’s mission for inclusion and creating opportunities for marginalized communities, including immigrants, Latinos, and black communities,” said Margarita. “Contributing to growth, sustainability, and efficiency will be an incredible professional challenge and an ideal way to fulfill a deep personal purpose. I am truly honored to have been selected to serve as the Director of Finance.”

Association House of Chicago retained KEES, a premier executive search firm specializing in searches for top nonprofit executive roles, in 2023, and a comprehensive search launched. Rosas was ultimately selected from a passionate, diverse, and talented pool of finalists. This is the second new leadership level hire for Linares, who came to lead the agency in 2021 and transform it for the future.

Rosas holds a Master of Public Administration from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in Regional Planning with an emphasis in Local Economic Development from Universidad de Los Andes, and a dual degree in BA Business Administration and BSc Economics, also from Universidad de Los Andes.

“Margarita is more than ready for this next step in her career. She is excited to bring her knowledge to nonprofit work locally,” said Heather Eddy, KEES President and CEO. “On behalf of the KEES team, we would like to officially congratulate Margarita and the entire Association House community on this exciting news. Chicago is getting a stellar finance executive, and we are proud to be the search partner of choice!” This hire augments the portfolio of Finance Executives we have placed in recent months.

About the Partners   

Association House of Chicago

Founded as a settlement house in 1899, the Association House of Chicago (Association House) was formed to meet the needs of new immigrants on Chicago’s West Side. Serving a vibrant, multicultural community, the mission is still vibrant today and fills the educational and economic gaps that leave individuals and families struggling. A dedicated and professional team utilizes a trauma-informed, culturally responsive model to promote health, and wellness, and create opportunities for educational and economic advancement. For more information, visit www.associationhouse.org

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public entity sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

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ASSOCIATION HOUSE MEDIA CONTACT:

Lillian Bui, LBui@associationhouse.org

KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, jsheffler@kees2success.com

KEES Executive Search Client Partner, Envision Unlimited, selects Dennis James as its next Chief Financial Officer

Envision Unlimited, one of Illinois’ most prominent providers of programs and services for people with intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities, has selected Dennis James as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Assuming his new role effective January 8, 2024, James will work directly with the Chief Executive Officer and executive leadership team to create, initiate, analyze, and recommend effective financial strategies to maximize operations and mission fulfillment. Leading this executive search included President and CEO Heather Eddy and Project Manager Randi Blasutti of KEES, which exemplifies a collaborative and continued partnership.

With a rich history of over two decades serving in key financial leadership positions and statewide leadership among CPA peers, James brings a strategic and collaborative approach to senior leadership and partnership with the board of directors. His track record demonstrates proficiency in driving growth, optimizing efficiency, and steering value-driven change for prominent nonprofit organizations. James is recognized for his proven ability to elevate organizational performance, foster employee engagement, and successfully implement cutting-edge business software technologies. Recent nonprofit roles included leadership with Chicago-area institutions including The Salvation Army North & Central Illinois Division, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

“We were seeking a passionate, strategic, and collaborative leader to help our organization grow into the future,” said Envision Unlimited CEO Mark McHugh. “James’ dedication to and enthusiasm for the mission of Envision Unlimited is inspiring to our entire community. We look forward to growing and flourishing with James as a key strategic partner on the leadership team. On behalf of everyone affiliated with Envision Unlimited, we welcome Dennis and thank the entire KEES team for their commitment and expertise throughout the search process.”

“I am thrilled to join the Envision Unlimited team,” said James. “Working for a nonprofit organization focused on people with special needs is deeply personal and profoundly meaningful to me because of my own experience as a parent. Having a daughter with special needs has given me a firsthand understanding of the unique challenges and aspirations of individuals facing these circumstances. It has ignited a passionate commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of those who, like my daughter, may require extra support and opportunities to thrive. This personal connection infuses my work with a deep sense of empathy, determination, and a genuine desire to create a more inclusive, compassionate, and supportive society. I look forward to advancing this important mission.”

Envision Unlimited retained KEES, a premier executive search firm specializing in searches for top nonprofit executive roles, as its CFO search partner earlier this year. A comprehensive search was launched, and James was ultimately selected from a passionate, diverse, and talented pool of regional finalists who could best lead the organization’s mission to fulfill its long-term goals.

In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant, James holds a Master’s Degree in International Management and Banking/Finance from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Speech Communications from St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN.

“With a proven track record of success, coupled with a personal dedication and passion for serving those in need, Dennis will undoubtedly successfully guide Envision Unlimited into this next phase of organization growth,” said President and CEO of KEES. “We are proud to have continued our relationship as Envision Unlimited’s choice search partner and are excited about what the future holds. Congratulations are extended to the entire Envision Unlimited community on this momentous announcement, with great anticipation for the financial milestones ahead!”

About the Partners

Envision Unlimited

Envision Unlimited is a full spectrum of care organization serving people with intellectual, developmental and psychiatric disabilities regardless of age, gender, background, or ability. Since 1948, it has built a legacy of evolving care delivered with empathy, every time and everywhere. Innovative services offered across Chicagoland and Central Illinois services include community living options; novel day programs; employment, respite and mental health services, and foster care for children with disabilities. Today Envision Unlimited supports 4,500+ members and their caregivers in becoming part of the community, transitioning to safe homes, and accessing support services so they can live their lives to their greatest potential. Learn more at www.envisionunlimited.org.

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

As a premier search firm, KEES specializes in executive searches for top executive positions and has a successful history of placing accomplished nonprofit executives nationwide. This partnership builds upon KEES’ executive search history, commitment, and growth to building meaningful partnerships and relationships with nonprofit organizations serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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ENVISION UNLIMITED MEDIA CONTACT:

Suzanne Ross, Chief External Affairs Officer – sross@envisionunlimited.org

KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler – jsheffler@kees2success.com

Learning Bridge Early Education Center announces Bernice Mahan as its next Executive Director

Learning Bridge, a community-based, nonprofit early education center founded in 1944 as the Child Care Center of Evanston, has selected Bernice Mahan as its next Executive Director. Assuming her new role effective January 3, 2024, Mahan will build on its past, strengthen mission expansion, and create a stronger and more dynamic future for families served in Evanston, IL, and the surrounding neighborhood communities. Leading the search efforts included President and CEO Heather Eddy, Executive Search Manager Yoo-Jin Hong, and Project Manager Megan Taylor of KEES.

Bringing over 28 years of experience in early childhood education as a licensed daycare provider for children from birth to five years as well as experience as an Adjunct Professor for National Louis University, Mahan is a passionate advocate for children and families who strives to establish a positive and effective learning environment for all children regardless of race, cultural identity, or socioeconomic status.

“As Learning Bridge proudly celebrates 80 years of dedicated service to the community, we are thrilled to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director,” said Deb Schlies Board President. “Bernice is a positive cultural influencer who leads with transparency and is ready to represent and empower our staff to create an environment of excellence. On behalf of the Learning Bridge community, we welcome Bernice and thank the KEES team for their expertise throughout the search process.”

In her previous role as Founder and Director at Tender Loving Daycare, Mahan managed all aspects, from curriculum development to staffing and financial oversight. Lauded for an inclusive approach, Mahan integrated Action For Children subsidized payments into Tender Loving Daycare’s payment options to increase accessibility to high-quality early childhood education for financially disadvantaged families with parents unable to work due to a struggle with mental health issues. Charged with developing yearly and long-term program goals along with establishing evaluation mechanisms, Mahan tracked progress toward strategic goals as well as program participation, quality, and effect while supporting teachers and parents.

As an Adjunct Professor at National Louis University, Mahan teaches online courses in early childhood education to a diverse student population. A people-centric nature has enabled Mahan to develop excellent communication skills which she utilizes to work collaboratively with Academic Advisors, students, and faculty to ensure student engagement and success.

“In my 28 years in the early childhood education field, I’ve consistently prioritized building strong relationships and advocating for practical, hands-on experiences with principles that align seamlessly with Learning Bridge’s mission,” said Mahan. “I am thrilled to have been selected as the next Executive Director and look forward to partnering with the Board to foster an inclusive school culture at Learning Bridge that promotes the well-being and academic success of the entire community – children, teachers, and staff alike.”

Leading the search efforts included Search Committee Chair Nikki Jarvis and Search Committee Members Ellen Collar, Candace Corr, Katerina Forbis, Liz Holding, Deb Schlies, and Mary Watt.

Learning Bridge retained KEES, a premier executive search firm specializing in searches for top nonprofit executive roles, with experience in the early childhood space, earlier this year after reviewing several competitive proposals. A comprehensive search was launched, and Mahan was ultimately selected from a passionate, diverse, and talented pool of regional finalists.

Mahan holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and a master’s degree in early childhood education from National Louis University in Chicago, IL. She additionally holds an Aim 4 Excellence National Director Credential.

“With a balanced perspective on administration, teaching, community engagement, and policy advocacy, Bernice will undoubtedly successfully create innovative solutions and proven outcomes that will resonate with Learning Bridge’s mission and goals,” said Yoo-Jin Hong, Executive Search Manager of KEES. “We are proud to have been selected as the search partner of choice for Learning Bridge and thank the entire board for their partnership. Congratulations to all on this exciting news!”

About the Partners

Learning Bridge Early Education Center

Learning Bridge Early Education Center (formerly Child Care Center of Evanston) is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that began as a daycare for 3-to-5-year-old children in 1944 during World War II. Providing equitable access to high-quality early learning in a caring and safe environment, Learning Bridge believes in affordable and accessible childcare and preschool education for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds so that every child thrives. Learning Bridge is licensed through the Department of Children and Family Services and accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and has earned the ExceleRate’s Gold Circle of Quality. Gold Circle programs are actively engaged in continuous quality improvement and have met the highest quality standards in three areas: learning environment and teaching quality; administrative standards; and staff training and education. Learning Bridge is additionally a recipient of ExceleRate’s ‘Award of Excellence for Preschool Teaching and Learning’. For more information, visit  www.lbeec.org.

KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. Our collaboration with Learning Bridge adds to our portfolio of Early Childhood Education partnerships and commitment to the success of ECE nonprofits and clients. Previous placements include Cornerstone Children’s Learning Center, Concordia Place, Louisiana Policy Institute for Early Learning, and multiple Educare sites across the nation. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.

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LEARNING BRIDGE MEDIA CONTACT:

Deb Schlies, 847-707-9004, debschlies@gmail.com

KEES MEDIA CONTACT:

Jamie Sheffler, 719-671-1129, jsheffler@kees2success.com