Founding Staff

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Mitchell Flax

Founder & Head of School

Mitch Flax is the Head of School of Valence College Prep. Mr. Flax was a member of the 2017-2018 BES Fellowship, a rigorous and selective training program for charter school leaders. Mr. Flax led the ninth-grade team, science department, biology content team, and staff culture leadership team at Leadership Public Schools in Richmond, CA, and he has worked in a variety of roles in schools in Oakland, San Jose, East Palo Alto, and New York City. Prior to his work at LPS Richmond, Mr. Flax was an analyst in People Analytics at Google, where he produced modeling and advising on organizational growth, research on team dynamics, analyses of hiring practices, and reporting on organizational culture.

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KRIZIA LOPEZ

Founding Director of Operations

Krizia Lopez is the Founding Director of Operations at Valence College Prep. Prior to Valence, Ms. Lopez was the Regional Program Lead for Sales Onboarding at Google, where she ran the flagship business training program for Google’s salesforce across 45+ countries. She also worked as the Diversity Business Partner for Google Latin America, developing a comprehensive diversity strategy to improve representation and inclusion of minorities in tech. Ms. Lopez was a 2013-2014 Fulbright Research Scholar in Managua, Nicaragua, where she completed a year-long study on the lives of deaf citizens and their changing access to society and human rights. Ms. Lopez graduated cum laude with a B.A. from Columbia University, where she studied cognitive science, anthropology, and Chinese. She is originally from Peru and grew up moving around the world, becoming fluent in four languages and developing a passion for bridging gaps across cultural and socioeconomic divides in society.

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ANNA CAPUNAY

Outreach & Office Manager

Anna Capunay is the Outreach and Office Manager at Valence College Prep. A native of Queens, Ms. Capunay has spent most of her career working in a range of administrative and technical positions in television, at companies such as AMC Networks and Charter Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable). She is also a playwright, having self-produced numerous stage plays in Manhattan and Queens-- the latest was La Gota Fria, which was funded by the Queens Council on the Arts and performed at Thalia Spanish Theatre in Woodside, Queens. Her other works have been adapted to the screen in the forms of a television pilot and an independent feature from artists in Chicago and New York City.

Founding Board of Trustees

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Shruti Chopra

Shruti Chopra is an Associate at Morrison Cohen LLP. Ms. Chopra is actively involved with the New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Asian American Bar Association, including in leadership positions. She is the incoming Young Lawyer Fellow in the Intellectual Property Law Section of the American Bar Association. Prior to joining Morrison Cohen, Ms. Chopra worked at a social enterprise start-up with a focus on devising solutions to complex legal and business issues, and with a civil society non-governmental organization leading policy and advocacy efforts for the organization at the United Nations. She has assisted in providing pro-bono services to low-income entrepreneurs and start-ups through Volunteers of Legal Service. Ms. Chopra is a dual-qualified attorney – admitted to practice and authorized to work in New York and India – who graduated from the LL.M. Program at U.C. Berkeley’s School of Law in 2012 with a concentration in Law and Technology.

Luke DeGrossi

Luke DeGrossi is an Associate at HKS Capital Partners, where he is responsible for structuring and sourcing commercial capital for clients as it pertains to debt, equity, and structured finance. Prior to joining HKS Capital Partners in 2017, Mr. DeGrossi worked at RPM Development Group, where he oversaw the daily financial analysis and accounting for several commercial real estate properties within the firm’s $1B portfolio. He obtained his B.S. in Finance and International Business from Villanova University and also studied at Columbia University and La Universidad de Cadiz. Mr. DeGrossi has mentored and tutored children in a variety of settings and currently dedicates his time to The Big Brother Big Sister Foundation of America and The Daytop Village Preparatory School.

Rashid Duroseau

Rashid Duroseau is a sixth grade history teacher and Grade Level Leader at Democracy Prep Charter Middle School. Mr. Duroseau also serves as Civics Coordinator, creating and facilitating programs to engage the community in activism and politics. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts with a B.A. in Political Philosophy and a certificate in Africana Studies. Mr. Duroseau is also an alumnus of the 2009 Teach For America (Mid-Atlantic) Corps and a Cohort VII fellow of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education. He brings extensive experience in curriculum development and instruction to the founding board.

Angie Guerrero

Angie Guerrero is an Investment Associate at Civic Builders working on the Building Equity Initiative, a $250MM partnership with the Walton Family Foundation to strengthen capital access for charter schools. Ms. Guerrero is an experienced public finance professional, having held positions at The PFM Group and Fitch Ratings. Her work in public finance introduced her to the charter school sector, where she has worked with over 30 schools nationwide on their facilities plans. A resident of Queens, Ms. Guerrero is active in the local alumni networks for Harvard College and NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and volunteers at a women’s healthcare facility in Jamaica, Queens.

Arjun Kapoor

Arjun Kapoor is an Investment Analyst in Real Estate and Corporate Credit at MSD Partners LP, an investment firm formed by the partners of Michael Dell’s Family Office. Previously, Mr. Kapoor was an Associate at Morgan Stanley trading Equity Derivatives. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics-Operations Research. Mr. Kapoor has tutored low-income Manhattan area youth in mathematics and is passionate about addressing inequities in education.

Jose Santiago

Jose Santiago is Assistant Vice President of Client Services at Columbia University Information Technology. Raised in Spanish Harlem and educated in New York City public schools, including Aviation High School in Queens, Mr. Santiago persevered through dropping out of community college to eventually earn two degrees from Columbia University. He worked his way from entry level in the university’s IT department to his current position overseeing the Client Services organization and is the first Latino to serve at this level in the organization. He is a parent of a charter school scholar, and he brings experience as a board member and advocate for excellent charter schools in our city.

Tony Shan

Tony Shan is a Category Leader for TMall in the Americas Region at Alibaba. He is a multi-faceted professional with deep experience in the retail, e-commerce, and consumer goods industry. His previous experience includes merchandising and marketing lead roles at VIP.com, Amazon, and Coach. Mr. Shan also brings to the board experience in youth mentorship and nonprofit advising. He is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Elisabeth Shovers

Elisabeth Shovers is Executive Director of Global Language Project (GLP), a New York City-based nonprofit that promotes the study of world languages through innovative teacher development and best-in-class curricula. Ms. Shovers taught kindergarten and first grade as a Teach For America corps member in Chicago where she also earned her M.Ed. Prior to that, she received a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University, and spent a year teaching English in France. Ms. Shovers brings experience in professional development, grant writing, and nonprofit governance.

DENA SOFFER

Dena Soffer is a Curriculum Specialist at Pearson. She was previously Dean of Curriculum and Instruction and the founding 5th Grade Reading Teacher at Excellence Girls Middle Academy. Prior to working at Excellence Girls, she taught fifth grade at Brooklyn East Collegiate as a Teach For America Corps Member. Dena graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University, and went on to earn her Masters in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education, graduating with distinction.

Rona Yang

Rona Yang is Director of External Initiatives at New Classrooms, a non-profit organization focused on providing a personalized learning model to middle and high schools across the nation. Prior to this role, Ms. Yang was the Founding Director of Operations at Achievement First University Prep, a charter high school in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of University of Oregon and the Stern School of Business at NYU, an Education Pioneer Fellow, and an INROADs Alumna. Ms. Yang brings extensive experience in school operations and strategy in charter schools to our board.