Our Staff

Our Staff

Mission-oriented professionals

Building Hope’s staff includes builders and bankers, accountants and advocates, and lenders and school leaders. Together, we have a track record of creating charter school solutions.

Just as important, we are mission-oriented professionals who believe in the promises of school choice and charter schools, and who want to be a part of turning big ideas and hopes into reality.

Leadership Team

S. Joseph Bruno

S. Joseph Bruno

President, Building Hope Holdings, Inc.

Robin Odland

Robin Odland

President, BH Finance

Dru Damico

Dru Damico

President, BH Real Estate

Richard Moreno

Richard Moreno

President, BH Services

Building Hope Staff

Northeast Region

Alice Barnes

Alice Barnes

Our StaffAlice is responsible for maintaining the accounts receivable portfolios across all three Building Hope divisions. She first joined the company in 2009 as an administrative assistant, later became office manager, and took on her current position with Building...

Mohammad Bashshiti

Mohammad Bashshiti

Our Staff Mohammad joined Building Hope Services in April 2018. He has been a licensed CPA in the Commonwealth of Virginia since July 2013. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2012 with dual degrees in Accounting & Information Systems and Finance. Outside of...

Michael D’Alessandro

Michael D’Alessandro

Our StaffMichael plays a lead role in drafting and reviewing loan and real estate related documents, as well as serving as corporate secretary to handle corporate governance matters. He has been with Building Hope since 2014. Michael has a bachelor's degree in...

LeighAnne Daly

LeighAnne Daly

Our StaffLeighAnne works with charter schools throughout the Northeast to site search; negotiate leases; and finance, design, construct, and occupy their facility. Prior to joining Building Hope’s team, LeighAnne was a Project Manager at JLL in Washington, DC, where...

Leda M. DiLeonardo

Leda M. DiLeonardo

Our StaffLeda joined Building Hope in 2016. As loan administrator, she is responsible for maintaining compliance on loans and real estate transactions. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Oral Roberts University and has extensive experience in the...

Matt Frost

Matt Frost

Our StaffMatt works to structure project solutions that set schools up for long-term success and minimize potential risks. He joined Building Hope in 2017 and has since worked on over 30 charter school transactions. Prior to joining Building Hope, he worked in lending...

Sherece Gasaway

Sherece Gasaway

Our StaffSherece is the Paralegal to Michael D’Alessandro, Building Hope's General Counsel. She came to Building Hope in 2018 with a background in the real estate and title insurance industries “Everyone at Building Hope works together as a team to ensure our clients...

Lance Helming

Lance Helming

Our StaffLance came to Building Hope in 2017 with significant experience as an accountant in the audit practice at Ernst & Young and in the transaction services practice at PriceWaterhouseCoopers; a finance and strategic planning manager at National Express...

Derrick Holloway Jr.

Derrick Holloway Jr.

Our StaffDerrick is a native Washingtonian, a product of both the DCPS as well as the Public Charter School systems. After majoring in Finance with a minor in Real Estate from Temple University, he spent the next decade sharpening his skill set in the commercial real...

Tim Merritt

Tim Merritt

Our StaffTim is responsible for financial reporting and operations for both Building Hope Finance and Building Hope Services. He came to Building Hope in 2015 with over 15 years of experience accounting, finance, and operations. A certified public accountant, Tim has...

Thao Nguyen

Thao Nguyen

Our StaffThao joined Building Hope in August 2019. Previously, she was the corporate accounting manager at Discovery Communications Inc, providing her with a strong background in financial accounting and reporting. She has a bachelor's degree in accounting from the...

Earnest L. Offley

Earnest L. Offley

Our StaffAs the Director of Human Resources, Mr. Offley is responsible for organizational development, recruitment and staffing, performance management, employee relations, compensation and benefits. Mr. Offley comes to Building Hope with extensive experience as a...

Esther Owusu

Esther Owusu

Our StaffEsther began her accounting career at a non-profit educational institution in 2014, where she realized the importance of assisting others receive a strong education. She joined Building Hope in 2020, and her current role is to support the financial reporting...

Vanessa Rowan

Vanessa Rowan

Our StaffVanessa has worked in tax consulting, compliance, and a variety of other accounting and operations roles for non-profit organizations, including arts and educational institutions. She has a Bachelor's degree in accounting and dance from Muhlenberg College and...

Esther Owusu

Cecila Walker

Our StaffCecilia Walker, Chief Credit Officer, joined Building Hope in February 2020. Ms. Walker oversees all aspects of credit risk assessment and credit management control for the organization. Cecilia began her career in the banking industry. In 2003, Ms. Walker...

Jerry Zayets

Jerry Zayets

Our StaffJerry Zayets is responsible for managing the development and construction process for BHRE. In conjunction with his team, he manages acquisition, entitlements and project management, pre-construction, and construction management. He also advises schools on...

Southeast Region

Derrick Holloway Jr.

Bassel Brown

Our StaffBassel, who comes from a family of accountants, has been in the field himself for almost 10 years. Currently, his role at Building Hope involves full cycle accounting for various charter school clients. He was born in Queens, New York, but raised on the...

Curtis Fuller

Curtis Fuller

Our StaffCurtis leads the Charter Support Unit, providing operational assistance to help charter schools improve efficiencies. He was formerly the principal of a high-performing public charter school in Florida. Curtis holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership...

Amy Garcia

Amy Garcia

Our Staff  Amy is a Staff Accountant, offering back office support services from the Ft. Lauderdale, FL office.  She is a veteran of the United States Air Force that joined the team in 2014 and has over 22 years of Accounting experience. She has 5 children, and...

Trisha Leitem

Trisha Leitem

Our Stafftleitem@bhope.orgTrisha joined Building Hope in 2019 with a background as an educator and school administrator. She enjoys assisting charter schools in moving toward their missions and visions. Trisha has a bachelor's degree in Music Education and a master's...

Mark Levine

Mark Levine

Our StaffMark's work with Building Hope Services includes financial reporting; representing the organization and its partner schools at school board meetings; joining school representatives to attend workshops on grants and other financial programs; and advising...

Kevin Lugar

Kevin Lugar

Our StaffKevin manages business transactions for public charter schools in Florida. He is an active CPA. His background includes leadership in the medical staffing, environmental services, and investment sectors, with expertise in budgeting, accounting, finance, and...

Derrick Holloway Jr.

Rafael Mestre

Our StaffRafael oversees the budgeting process for charter school clients in Florida. Prior to joining Building Hope in 2017, he spent 25 years running investment portfolios for various banks in Miami. Rafael has a degree in Finance from Florida International...

Henrique Rojas

Henrique Rojas

Our StaffHenrique is responsible for construction management of Building Hope’s work in the southeast. He has estimated and managed construction projects for different uses including schools, residential, commercial, and mixed-use facilities. Henrique is a licensed...

Macarria Stovall

Macarria Stovall

Our StaffMacarria has over 13 years of experience in the accounting and finance industry.  She started her career as a Financial Account Analyst, by measuring the financial risk of new and existing clients while maintaining a diverse accounts receivable portfolio. ...

Opal Thompson

Opal Thompson

Our StaffOpal is a Florida-based staff accountant with our back-office services team. She came to Building Hope in 2016 with over 18 years' experience working in Finance and Accounting. Opal is also a business teacher and holds a bachelor's degree in Professional...

Joan Walker

Joan Walker

Our StaffJoan is a charter school business manager, covering areas such as financial accountability, policy and quality control. She is also a grant writer, and serves as an AdvancED (Cognia) Charter School Accreditation Team Member at the PreK to High School level....

Western Region

John Hill

John Hill

Our StaffWith more than 25 years experience in construction, John is responsible for project management and oversight of charter school development and construction projects in Idaho.  Prior to joining Building Hope, John worked with a general contractor as a project...

Amy Sisneros

Amy Sisneros

Our StaffAmy works in asset management and real estate analysis, transforming complex processes and data into successful projects. She joined Building Hope’s Real Estate team in 2018 as a consultant, working in scheduling and records before transitioning into her...

Southwest Region

Shawn McCormack

Shawn McCormack

Our StaffShawn joined Building Hope in 2018 and works to build locally based partnerships in education reform and to develop trusted relationships with high-performing charter schools. He was previously a CPA, a Broad Resident in Urban Education, and the Director of...

Lisa Nyquist

Lisa Nyquist

Our StaffLisa leads the Texas Charter Support Unit, providing technical and operational assistance to charter schools and building relationships and partnerships in the state. Before she joined Building Hope in 2019, Lisa spent nine years working in administrative...

Esther Owusu

Barbara Tavares

Our StaffBarbara started her construction career at an early age as a free laborer sweeping custom home jobsites when her father was a superintendent. After college, she spent several years in the field gaining valuable hands-on experience with large general...

Building Hope
Board of Directors

BOARD CHAIR
Marianne Keler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) – Retired

GOVERNANCE & COMPENSATION COMMITTEE CHAIR
Sheila Ryan Macie, Senior VP, Chief of Staff, Navient Corporation – Retired

AUDIT & FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIR
Steve Hauber,
Senior VP, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, Navient Corporation

BOARD MEMBERS-AT-LARGE
Fernando Barrueta, Managing Director, Colliers International DC

Joe Fisher, VP for Investor Relations & Corporate Development, Navient Corporation

Jennie Niles, President and CEO, CityWorks DC

Jeffrey Siegal, Owner, MK Partners

Bill Quinby, Co-Regional Manager, Savills