Passionate About Student Success

Nitzan Pelman, CEO

Nitzan Pelman is a social entrepreneur at heart and cares deeply about finding solutions to break the cycle of poverty through education.

Prior to founding ReUp Education in 2015, Nitzan founded the New York region of Citizen Schools and served as its first Executive Director for six years. She grew her team to over 100 staff and managed a $5 million budget. Nitzan tripled the organization’s client base and saw students in the program graduate from high school at a 20% higher rate than their peers.

Nitzan was highlighted as a leader with The Limited’s “What Leading Looks Like” campaign and was profiled on their website.

Prior to her work at Citizen Schools, Nitzan was an Assistant Director at the Department of Education in New York City. She also served as the first Development Director of Teach for America New York. Nitzan holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and a BA from Stern College for Women.

Sarah Horn, COO

Sarah Horn has spent her entire career in higher education, focused specifically on strategies that drive student success and improve student outcomes. For 14 years, she has created, implemented, and managed student retention solutions at dozens of colleges and universities across the country.

From 2013-2016, Sarah led the Retention Services division at Helix Education, and her team coached thousands of students. They saw up to a 5% annual retention improvement at their university partners. At Altius Schools, she managed the retention division for associate’s degree seeking students. Under her guidance, students successfully transferred or graduated at a rate of 65% – compared to a national benchmark of 28%. At the beginning of her career, Sarah was a success coach at InsideTrack and eventually led one of the largest teams in the company.

Sarah has been invited to present her work at Educause, APSCU, UPCEA, NSSR, and CampusTech.

Cody Rapp, Success Coach

Cody Rapp is a founding member of ReUp Education and one of its inaugural Success Coaches. Cody’s career has been focused on developing the career interests and aspirations of students and alumni, primarily at Clarion University in Western Pennsylvania and Canisius College in Western New York, where he held roles as a career coach and an academic advisor. Prior to entering higher education, he worked in nonprofit community development and event planning and was also the assistant director for the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry.

In addition to his work in higher education, Cody has worked one-on-one with people as a health coach and fitness specialist and as a facilitator at college retreats and higher education conferences. He holds a BS in Liberal Studies from Clarion University in Pennsylvania and a MS in College Student Personnel Administration from Canisius College.

Courri Brady, Success Coach

Courri Brady joined the ReUp Education Team for one reason: to help make the higher education experience possible for students who face challenges getting into—and graduating from—college. Courri has been in the business of developing leaders for over a decade, with professional experiences spanning higher education, executive education, and strategic communications consulting. He has supervised leaders at Chico State University with University Housing, catering to 2,100 on-campus residents, and assumed a number of other leadership positions in student judicial affairs. Furthermore, he has partnered with Stanford MBA faculty to manage a portfolio of programs for corporate senior leaders. He has committed his career to coaching and empowering others through lifelong learning.

A native of Long Beach, California, Courri now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children. He has firsthand experience navigating higher education, earning dual BA degrees from UCLA and an MBA from Chico State University. He credits a large part of his success to the mentors and coaches that invested in him and is ready to “pay it forward” to the next generation of future college graduates.

Janelle Viruet, Success Coach

Janelle Viruet joined ReUp Education as a Success Coach because she recognizes the value of a college degree and understands the challenges that come along with balancing multiple priorities as a college student. Her career has been focused primarily on working with young adults to provide career and educational coaching, professional skills building, and goal setting. For eight years, she worked at Year Up, a national non-profit organization, where she focused on cultivating corporate partnerships and generating internship opportunities for young adults ages 18–24. Janelle also has experience in human resources, benefits administration, case management, and mental health counseling.

Growing up in a working class family taught Janelle the importance of having a strong work ethic and following her dreams. A native New Yorker, she has an undying passion and commitment to give back to her community and help others find their way. Janelle has a BA in Psychology from Long Island University and a Master’s degree in Counseling from Pace University. She also holds a Certification in Professional Career Coaching, a continuing education certification in Career Planning & Development, and is a certified DISC Administrator.

Shannon McDonald, Success Coach

To Shannon McDonald, success coaching is more than a career, it’s a calling. Born to a working class family, Shannon was the first person in her family to obtain a college degree. She experienced first hand how a person’s success could positively impact a family, as both her father and older brother graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in the following years. As a married mother and working professional completing her Master’s degree, Shannon has a deep a desire to help others navigate the rollercoaster of life while they pursue higher education.

She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in English Literature, values a strong community, and is known for a fierce commitment to the people with whom she works with. She brings over 10 years of success coaching experience in higher education to ReUp Education, where she hopes to continue supporting future college students with their educational goals through compassion, understanding, and an unwavering belief that education will always be worth it.

John Paul Castiaux, Success Coach

John Paul Castiaux comes to ReUp Education with over 10 years of experience coaching college students to get the most out of their education and graduate. He knows firsthand the challenges of navigating the higher education system and the positive impact mentorship and individualized attention can make on the student lifecycle. Passionate about being of service to students from application to graduation, John Paul relies on his experience teaching English in Brazil and his tenure as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia to forge relationships with students of diverse personalities and backgrounds. He is driven to improve student outcomes and college completion rates and believes proactive outreach and engagement from college personnel is instrumental to this vision.

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, John Paul now lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and tiny house neighbors and enjoys spending his weekends along the Columbia River Gorge. He holds a BA from UC Davis and an MBA from UT Dallas.

Board Members

Paul Freedman

Paul Freedman, Chairman and CEO of Entangled Ventures

Paul Freedman is the CEO of Practice, an e-learning company that uses interactive video and mobile platforms to scale the development of skills that require practice to learn and demonstration to assess. He is also Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO of Entangled Ventures, a San Francisco-based educational technology studio. A longtime advocate for the transformative power of a college education, he has founded, managed, and invested in several successful education ventures.

Prior to Entangled Ventures, Paul was the Founder & CEO of Altius Education, an innovator in higher education focused on creating effective, personalized pathways to postsecondary degrees.

After finishing college at the University of Chicago, Paul created Academic Engine, a college recruitment technology company that he later sold to Hobsons in 2004. After selling the company, Paul spent 5 years as the president of Hobson’s subsidiary focused on online student recruitment technologies prior to founding Altius.

Ryan Craig

Ryan Craig, Managing Director of University Ventures

Ryan Craig is the Managing Director of University Ventures, a leading investment firm focused exclusively on the global higher education sector. Prior to University Ventures, Ryan founded and built Wellspring, the largest and leading organization of treatment programs for overweight and obese children, adolescents and young adults, including boarding schools, summer camps and after-school programs. Ryan headed the Education & Training sector at Warburg Pincus from 2001 – 2004 where he was the founding Director of Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI), one of the largest online universities in the U.S. Ryan has advised the U.S. Department of Education and served as VP Strategic Development for Fathom, the Columbia University online education company, from 1999 – 2001.

Ryan began his career as a consultant with McKinsey & Co. He received bachelor’s degrees in Literature and Economics summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, and his law degree from the Yale Law School. Ryan leads the firm’s investments in Revature, Credly, Portfolium, ProSky and ReUp Education. Ryan is the author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education, published by Palgrave Macmillan in March 2015 as well as many articles published in a range of higher education, technology and general interest publications. He is on the Advisory Boards of Credential Engine, the National Center for Opportunity Engineering & Analysis, and UCLA Extension.

Julius Mokrauer, Managing Director of Serious Change Investments

Julius Mokrauer is the Managing Director of Serious Change, a socially driven venture capital firm with a portfolio of 50+ companies. He is also on the Investment Board of The Tamer Fund for Social Ventures, which provides seed grants to nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid early-stage social ventures affiliated with Columbia University. He has spent the majority of his career as an impact investor, entrepreneur, and/or strategic advisor to early stage domestic and foreign organizations in a wide range of arenas. Julius feels quite fortunate to have landed in his role as a socially driven venture capitalist, as it satisfies his passion for helping others and influencing societal change, while leveraging his strategy, business development and diverse operating experience.

Prior to his work at Serious Change, Julius co-founded both Rangeview Capital, an investment firm specializing in algorithmic high frequency trading, and Milestone Partners International, an international management-consulting firm. Prior to this, he was CEO of e-services startup FlexMind, a Vice President at Lehman Brothers, and a Group Leader at Merck Research Laboratories. He received his BS and MS in Chemical Engineering at Rutgers University, and his MBA at Stanford Business School.

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