Nancy Lee Sánchez, Executive Director
Nancy Lee Sánchez joined KEF in 2006 and designed the Kaplan Leadership Program model to serve underrepresented minority community college students seeking transfer to competitive four-year institutions. Due to her work in leading our Scholars to success, she won the Kaplan Way Leadership Award for Student Success in the fall of 2013.
Nancy has over 16 years of expertise providing greater access to higher education, improving the college experience, and supporting leadership among low-income, underrepresented and non-traditional students through collaborative partnerships and services that directly target factors affecting degree attainment gaps. Previously, Nancy worked in Kingsborough Community College’s College Discovery Bilingual Studies Program, ensuring greater access and delivering support services to highest-need students.
Nancy graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Education from Long Island University and holds a Master’s in Sociology from Brooklyn College, as well as an A.A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from Kingsborough Community College. She is a native of Puerto Rico and resides in Brooklyn.
Rhoda K. Tamakloe, Program Manager
Rhoda Tamakloe is the Program Manager for the Kaplan Educational Foundation. She earned her Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Wesleyan University.
Always active in her community, Rhoda discovered her true passion for mentoring and college access while running a teen support group for high school girls during her time at Wesleyan. She currently volunteers as an admissions representative for her alma maters Phillips Exeter Academy and Wesleyan University, is a mentor with iMentor, and on the programs committee for Net Impact NYC.
Rhoda is an active fellow with StartingBloc, a fellowship focused on social entrepreneurship. Born and raised in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Rhoda now resides in Brooklyn.
Ayania Wellington, Program Associate
Ayania Wellington joined the KEF team in July 2015. She graduated from Syracuse University, C'15, with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism and a minor in African American Studies. Before attending Syracuse, she graduated with honors from Borough of Manhattan Community College as a proud Kaplan Leadership Scholar.
Born and raised in Brooklyn and seeing the lack of resources in many of the public high schools, Ayania decided to work as a college access counselor through the CUNY Bridge to College Program at her high school, Brooklyn Preparatory High School. While studying at Syracuse, Ayania also developed a great interest in the use of social media to engage students.
As the program associate for KEF and experienced KLP alumn, Ayania wants to bring her media and communications skills to help our Scholars remain informed about world events and their communities. During her free time, she enjoys keeping up to date with world events and online discussions, listening to music, and blogging.
Deborah Shames, Transfer Admissions Advisor
Deborah Shames has served as the Transfer Admissions Advisor for the Kaplan Leadership Program since 2008. She has been a college advisor for over 20 years, working in high school settings, as well as privately and in the not-for-profit sector
Deborah is a Certified School Counselor in NY and NJ and has helped numerous students and their families in the college search and application process, for both freshman and transfer admissions. She has also helped some former students through the graduate school application process. She has helped hundreds of students and their families navigate the complicated college process, and prides herself on finding the college that is the best fit (academically, socially, and financially) for each and every student.
Deborah earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and her Master's Degree in Applied Psychology with a concentration in Counselor Education from NYU.
Deborah resides in Northern NJ with her husband and 3 children.
David green, English Instructor
David Green has a long and abiding interest in the area of education, starting with his undergraduate years at the experimental Residential College of the University of Michigan, and including positions at the Northwest Regional Education Lab and on public school advisory councils in Portland OR and in New Jersey. His professional writing career has spanned magazine journalist, advertising copywriter, strategic communications specialist, and “corporate storyteller” for corporations, professional organizations and not-for-profits.
Now, David applies his communications savvy and attention-grabbing perspectives to assist college applicants in crafting application essays that are compelling and differentiating, while capturing the authentic voice of the student. Students working with him have been accepted at more than 100 colleges and universities, including dozens of the most highly selective institutions in the country.