National leaders come together to support Delaware nonprofit sending Black, Latino, and low-income students to top colleges across the country

TeenSHARP announces its first national advisory board, with plans for

regional and national expansion

Wilmington, Del.—University presidents, CEOs, a former state secretary of

education, and pioneering nonprofit leaders from across the country are among the

founding members of a National Advisory Board that will help a Delaware college

access organization expand the reach of its work to empower Black, Latino, and

low-income students.

TeenSHARP, a nonprofit founded in 2009 to open the door to elite colleges and

leadership opportunities for talented young people from marginalized communities,

announced its new advisory board on August 6.

“We’re honored and excited by the dynamic team of leaders that has chosen to stand

with TeenSHARP during this meaningful time in our history, and help us take our

life-changing work to the next level,” said Atnre Alleyne, who co-founded TeenSHARP

with his wife, Tatiana Poladko. “From Day 1, TeenSHARP has prided itself on being a

small-but-ambitious team that does whatever it takes to ensure our students

succeed. We’ve helped hundreds of students attend and thrive at top colleges and

we have exciting plans to reach many more students and families.”

The members of the National Advisory Board are:

Tre Johnson DEI Partner, Catalyst ED, and author of Black Genius, a

forthcoming release from Dutton/Penguin Random House

Kira Orange Jones Senior Vice President, Teach for America, and

Co-Founder, Systems Learning Lab

Dr. Lindsay Page Annenberg Associate Professor of Education Policy, Brown


Dr. Carol Quillen President, Davidson College

Dr. Suzanne Rivera President, Macalester College

Christopher Ruszkowski CEO, Meeting Street Schools, and former Secretary

of Education, New Mexico

Rey Saldaña President and CEO, Communities In Schools

Andrew J. Seligsohn, PhD President, Public Agenda

Peter Shulman CEO, Urban Teachers

Xan Tanner Co-founder and Board Member, Panorama Education.

For bios on each board member, please click here.

The announcement comes during a season of growth, innovation, and impact for the

nonprofit. TeenSHARP saw record-high enrollment—500 students—for the virtual

version of its annual college readiness bootcamp in June; placed the nearly 100

students in its senior class in top colleges despite the historically competitive

admissions season; launched text message and TV-based college awareness

outreach with the support of a CARES Act innovation grant; and is currently serving

more than 200 students in its Cyber SPARK summer program.

Come fall, TeenSHARP will welcome its largest cohort yet of students for its intensive

Saturday college prep program, Striver.

Against that backdrop, the National Advisory Board will help TeenSHARP and its

local governing board of directors accelerate its growth and expand its reach across

the country.

“I am honored to serve on TeenSHARP’s National Advisory Board,” said Macalester

College President Dr. Rivera, an advocate for social justice who has worked in higher

education for 25 years. “The work this organization does to prepare talented students

from historically excluded groups to succeed at top colleges is critical for assuring

higher education remains a ladder of opportunity in this country. I wish I had been

able to benefit from a program like TeenSHARP when I was in high school.”

Alleyne and Poladko—named among the most influential Delawareans of 2020 by

The News Journal and American Graduate Champions by WHYY in 2016—founded

TeenSHARP in a church basement in New Jersey in 2009 while in graduate school.

Since then, the nonprofit has emerged as a tremendous force in the Delaware Valley

region for developing young leaders and helping students access and succeed at the

most selective colleges.

“TeenSHARP’s unique 10-year commitment, bridging high school aspirations

through employment opportunities, is creating a true ladder to socio-economic

mobility,” said Peter Shulman, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Urban

Teachers. “By investing deeply and at the individual level, TeenSHARP is able to

unlock and grow the assets of our young adults who have been systemically

underserved for too long. TeenSHARP’s countless success stories serve as both

inspirational fuel for so many peer organizations and an embodiment of what we

know all young people to be capable of.”

This year, 89 high school seniors graduated from the program. All are headed to

four-year colleges, including Princeton, UPenn, MIT, Macalester, Pomona, Howard

University, University of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and many more. Six SHARPies are

headed to Cornell University, in a year when the school accepted just 8.7 percent of

record-high applicants. Ninety-five percent of TeenSHARP alums graduate from

college in four years, and 100 percent graduate within six years. The vast majority

graduate with $15,000 or less in student loan debt.


About TeenSHARP: TeenSHARP is a regional organization headquartered in

Wilmington, Del., that is on a mission to prepare talented low-income, African

American, and Latino students to attend and thrive at the nation’s top colleges. This

mission is in service of a bold vision that one day the diversity of those occupying our

nation’s highly-skilled jobs and highest leadership positions will be as rich as the

diversity of our population. Founded in 2009, TeenSHARP has evolved into a leading

provider of innovative, at-scale college access and success support in the Delaware

Valley region (including Delaware, Philadelphia, and New Jersey). TeenSHARP has

achieved incredible results over the last ten years: 100 percent of TeenSHARP

scholars successfully pursue a 4-year college education, with 95 percent of the

scholars being admitted to selective colleges and universities every year.

Sponsored by New Castle County Government Sponsored by New Castle County Government
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