Nancy Lee Sánchez Badillo, Ed.D., Executive Director
Nancy Lee Sánchez is the Executive Director for the Kaplan Educational Foundation. Nancy is responsible for the design and implementation of the Kaplan Leadership Program, a community college to four-year advisement model, focusing on selective college admissions, developing the whole student while preparing them for a lifetime of socially conscious leadership. Nancy has over 18 years of expertise providing access, improving the college experience, and supporting leadership among low-income, underrepresented and non-traditional students. As a 2014 National Hispanic Executive Leadership Fellow, Nancy completed an Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Nancy’s educational journey started at Kingsborough Community College, where she earned an AAS, went on to earn a BA from Long Island University, holds an MA from Brooklyn College, and a Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Innovation from New York University.
Nolvia L. Delgado, Director
Nolvia Delgado is committed to the idea that education has the power to transform lives. She experienced that transformation herself as the first in her family to attend and graduate from college and is a proud alumna of the Kaplan Leadership Program. This commitment has fueled Nolvia’s work in building public-private partnerships that improve access to education for underrepresented students. Before joining KEF as Director, she was director of partnerships at Cypress Hills (Brooklyn, NY) Development Corporation, the Fundraising and Charitable Partnerships Manager for Kaplan International in London, and a Community Engagement Specialist (overseeing U.S. educational pipeline programs) at global law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.
Nolvia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College and AAS from Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY.
Mariana Estrella Rivera, Director of Academic Advisement
Mariana Rivera manages the delivery of KEF’s mentoring, advisement and hands-on support services to each of our Kaplan Scholars to ensure success and positive experience, from transfer to graduation. Mariana is a first-generation college graduate and Kaplan Leadership Program alumna.
She earned an associate's degree from Hostos Community College and bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with a minor in Gender Studies, from Smith College. She attended Smith as an Ada Comstock Scholar. Before attending college, Mariana was a community organizer and is committed to creatively re-imagining and building environments and policies within educational structures that allow all students to thrive and succeed.
Deborah Shames, Transfer Admissions Advisor
Deborah Shames has been helping students and their families navigate the college process for over 20 years. Deb started her career as a school counselor and guidance department chairperson in public schools and began working as an Independent Educational Consultant in 2002, founding her own business, Personal Best College Coaching. She has been the Transfer Admissions Advisor for the Kaplan Leadership Program since 2008, guiding and mentoring Scholars through the complex transfer admissions process. As the TAA for KLP, Deb is a staunch advocate for her KLP Scholars in the community and at the 4-year colleges!
She firmly believes that access and opportunities should be available to all! She loves serving as the supporter, organizer, myth-buster, family peacemaker and fact-checker for high school students, transfer students, non-traditional students, and the occasional graduate school applicant as they go through the journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
She earned her BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and her MA in Applied Psychology (with a concentration in Counselor Education) from NYU.
Kandace Henry, Program Manager
Kandace Henry is the Foundation’s program manager, helping to create and implement systems of operation and internal coordination. Kandace joined KEF from Kaplan, Inc., where she worked in sales and marketing management roles with its test prep business. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor at the University of North Georgia and previously taught at Auburn University. Kandace began her college career at Mott Community College in Flint, MI and then transferred to and graduated from George Mason University, with a bachelor's in sociology. She earned a master's degree in sociology at Auburn University.