Friends of Foundation Academies Welcomes Seven New Leadership Council Members

In the 2022-2023 school year, Foundation Academies welcomed seven new members to its Leadership Council, each bringing their enthusiasm and unique expertise to our school community!

The Leadership Council was launched in 2018 as a mechanism to involve and connect the broader community in the important work of our schools. The Council is made up of professionals across sectors, ages, and perspectives. The group meets throughout the year to discuss our city, our advancement initiatives, and our innovative work in K-12 public education. Meet the new members of the Council.

Rich Balka

Rich is the President and CEO (Owner) of The Home Rubber Company (Trenton) since 1996, Chairman of the Board of the Employers’ Association of NJ, and on the Board of Directors of Zia, a Philadelphia Based Food Insecurity Charity. He is a former Board Member of the National Association of Hose and Accessory Distributors, Former Founding Clerk of the George School Fathers’ Committee and Former Member of the George School Strategic Planning Oversight Committee. He is the proud father of two young men and lives in Bucks County with his wife Paula.

Krystal Cohen

Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, Krystal Cohen is currently a graduate fellow with the U.S. Department of Education in the Office for Civil Rights. With a focus on education equity, she is passionate about creating opportunities for low-income students and students of color to thrive. Krystal has worked with several nonprofit organizations geared toward K-12 education and youth development, including spending three years as a grant writer for Foundation Academies. She holds a BA in Sociology from Princeton University and is currently pursuing an MPA at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, painting, and practicing yoga.

Paul Disdier

Paul Disider is a retired financial services executive. He has extensive investment experience, as well as economic analysis and public finance expertise. His professional career began in Philadelphia in 1977, working for Girard Bank’s Trust Department, where he eventually managed the bond investment division. After working for eight years in Philadelphia, he spent the balance of his investment career working in New York City. His first job in New York was establishing and managing the first tax-exempt bond mutual funds for Smith Barney. He soon moved to The Dreyfus Corporation (now a subsidiary of BNY Mellon Asset Management), where he managed the firm’s multi-billion dollar tax-exempt fixed income division. He also served as a global fixed income investment strategist for BNY Mellon. Before retiring in 2020, Paul worked as an investment portfolio manager and strategist for SMC Fixed Income Management, in Princeton, NJ. Paul and his wife, Anne, reside in Princeton, NJ. They have three adult children, Andrew, Claire and Ryan.

Kent Hogshire

Kent Hogshire is a private investor with a focus on both public and private equity markets. He is the proud father of five children and has spent two decades as a parent with a passion for improving local education. He was previously a Managing Director and portfolio manager within the Multi-Asset Strategies Group at BlackRock. He is a CFA Charterholder and holds an AB degree from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Maritza Raimundi-Petroski

Maritza I. Raimundi-Petroski has worked in the field of non-profit management for over 20 years and has expertise in organizational development, program design, program implementation and contract management. Maritza is currently Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives, Prevention Programs and Community Engagement at Children’s Home’s Society of NJ. Previously, she served as the Chief Program Officer for a county-wide Community Action Agency in Middlesex, NJ and she worked for 13 years as CHS’s Division Director for Maternal Child Health, Family and Community Support Services in Mercer County. In the capacity of VP, she’s responsible for contract management and administration of programs in Mercer, Ocean and Monmouth Counties. She received a Master in Public Administration with a concentration in non-profit management from the Graduate School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers-Newark and a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the same institution. She is a graduate of Thomas Edison State College’s Leadership Trenton Fellowship Program at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy. Maritza is proud to be a graduate of the New Jersey Latino Leadership Institute at the Center for Urban Development at Rutgers University and the Governor’s Hispanic Fellowship Program at the NJ Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development.

Miles Smith, Jr.

Miles Smith, Jr., is the Associate Director of Athletics for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Princeton University. A veteran of collegiate athletics administration with over 13 years of experience as a coach and administrator in addition to competing as an athlete in college, Smith brings a wealth of experience supporting student-athletes to his role. Miles previously served as Associate Director of Athletics for Compliance and Student Development at TCNJ. Smith came back to New Jersey from Northern Vermont University-Johnson, where he served as assistant director of athletics and as the head men’s basketball coach. He held several other roles at NVU-Johnson, including as the Diversity & Inclusion Designee and the head men’s basketball coach. As the Diversity & Inclusion Designee, Smith was a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force and the Racial Equity Alliance of Lamoille. He also implemented diversity and inclusion initiatives for the athletics department and developed programming for BIPOC student-athletes. As the men’s basketball coach, Smith was named North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year in 2015, and he’s served as the conference’s men’s basketball committee chair and on the NCAA Regional Advisory Committee. Prior to his time at Northern Vermont-Johnson and a two-year stint as head coach at Wilson College, Smith was an assistant men’s basketball coach with the Lions in 2012-13. He was also an assistant coach at Mercer County Community College for three years.

Deborah Wall

A longtime NJ resident and active volunteer in the nonprofit sector, Deborah Wall received her MBA from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, and brings decades of corporate volunteer leadership experience including fundraising. Deborah is a Data Analytics executive who is completing a PhD in Applied Management Decision Science. Previously, segueing her proven success in analytic leadership, product development, and AI technology into the life insurance industry, Deborah was recruited and served as a senior executive for the third largest multi-billion life insurance company in the US. She led a 25-person team in a foundational enterprise transformation via applied AI, user-needs-driven product design, and process management turnaround, and developed AI product administration functions including an engagement model and supplemental tools.

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Foundation Academies Support Staff