KEF Team


Nolvia L. Delgado, Director

Nolvia L. Delgado, Executive 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.


Jonathan (Jon) Chavez, Director of Academic Advisement

Jonathan Chavez serves as Director of Advisement for the Kaplan Educational Foundation. As a Kaplan Scholar Alumnus of the Kaplan Leadership Program’s cohort 4, Jonathan was introduced to the complex college transfer process and leadership skills that would later become a foundation of his professional career.

Jonathan graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Bard College in 2012 after completing his A.A. in Liberal Arts at LaGuardia Community in 2011. He holds certifications in Youth Development and College Access Counseling and completed the Emerging Leaders in Nonprofit Management Program with Partnership for Afterschool Education/Baruch College Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Over his career, Jonathan has always emphasized the importance of access to educational opportunity and equity.


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.


Mariana Estrella Rivera, Director of Academic Advisement

Mariana Estrella Rivera, Project Coordinator

Mariana Rivera works closely with the DAA + ED to develop materials and other resources needed for the college transfer process and support any necessary restructuring of KEF’s processes to ensure the smooth delivery of services. The PC synthesizes program materials to make them accessible to Scholars and supporters of KLP, including everything from systems of development to social media posts. and hands-on support services to each of our Kaplan Scholars and alumni to ensure success and positive experience, from transfer to graduation. Mariana is a first-generation college graduate and Kaplan Leadership Program alumna.

She transferred from Hostos Community College and a 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.