I am energized after wrapping up The Institute for College Access & Success’ annual staff retreat in Oakland. It was the first time we’d met as a full team in-person since the onset of the pandemic, and, for many, the first time meeting face-to-face!

But the best part of the retreat by far was connecting with the many new team members at TICAS. We are pleased to welcome:

Cynthia Schaal, who joins us as our new Chief Operating Officer.  Cynthia was previously the Interim CEO of Exponent Philanthropy, a membership association of small philanthropies. She also served in other roles there, including Chief Operating Officer and Chief Program Officer.

Katie Dorpinghaus will be TICAS’ new Director of Finance and Operations.  Katie was most recently with the City Colleges of Chicago managing the Chicago Roadmap, a collaboration between the community college system and Chicago Public Schools.

Manny Rodriguez joins us as the Director of California College Affordability.  He was previously the Associate Director of Policy and Government Relations at the Education Trust-West.

Onjila Odeneal will be TICAS’ Director of Policy and Advocacy in Michigan.  She had previously served as the Interim Executive Director and Deputy Director at the Detroit College Access Network.

Casey Nguyen is joining us as a Senior Research Associate. She previously was a Higher Education Data and Policy Analyst at the Education Trust-New York.

We’re excited to have them on board!

And along with new faces comes a new look. We’ve streamlined and modernized our logo for the next phase of TICAS, and our new branding reinforces our values with a nod to why we come to work every day – centering education in our work. But while we’ve updated our branding, our mission remains the same – fighting every day for affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education.

We’d like to take the time to recognize our former COO Patricia Balana as she departs TICAS to become the Managing Director of the Grad Partnership. We are so grateful to Patricia for her guidance and perseverance and keeping the ship afloat during the most uncertain times. We have grown and learned so much (including about Northern Ireland!), and we will miss her greatly. And though not gone yet, we would like to recognize the long-time service of our Office Manager Andrea Teodorini who retires this summer after fifteen years with The Institute for College Access & Success. Andrea has helped so many TICAS employees over the years, and we will miss her dearly.

We are excited about what’s ahead, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

In appreciation,

Sameer Gadkaree