Meet The Charter Schools Office Team!
Peng works with the Board of Education to set the mission and vision for the Charter Schools Office, and ensures its strategic plan for the CSO team and charter sector is implemented with fidelity. Since joining the CSO team in 2013, Peng has managed projects across the authorizing spectrum including new charter applications, restarts, hearings, and operations. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, he taught middle school math at both charter and District schools in Philadelphia. Peng has a Master’s degree in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers University.
Peng Chao | Acting Chief
Essence oversees the Charter Schools Office’s authorizing teams and ensures the execution of the CSO strategic plan. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, she served as a charter school instructional leader in New York, and also as a Teach for America Corps Member. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching English Language Arts and Special Education from Fordham University, a Master’s degree in English from Rutgers University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University.
Essence Caleb | Executive Director
ANALYTICS & EVALUATION
Sarah focuses on policy, research, data, and analytics. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, she was a policy specialist at the New Jersey Department of Education, where she was recruited through the Strategic Data Project, which is based out of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. Sarah also served as a teacher in Philadelphia prior to her completion of a Ph.D. in Urban Education at Temple University. Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Education from Drexel University, and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Temple.
Sarah R. Gearhart, Ph.D. | Director
DATA & REPORTING
Rebecca serves as Director of Data & Reporting. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, Rebecca worked as an operations leader at a charter school. Rebecca was also a Teach for America Corps Member in Oklahoma and taught kindergarten. Rebecca holds a Master’s degree in Statistics, Measurement, Assessment and Research Technology from the University of Pennsylvania where she conducted research on teacher evaluation rubrics and teacher retention. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Chinese Studies from Wake Forest University.
Rebecca Dunn | Director
Tom supports the Charter Schools Office’s Annual Charter Evaluation, renewal, and new charter application processes, which includes reviewing submitted materials and managing the tracking of charter execution documents. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, he served as a program coordinator for an arts non-profit organization in Buffalo, New York, where he taught poetry and also managed the program’s curriculum development framework and implementation. Tom holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Communication from SUNY University at Buffalo.
Tom Dreitlein | Strategy Analyst I
ENGAGEMENT & OPERATIONS
Stephanie leads engagement initiatives, facilitates District partnerships to support sector operations, and oversees communications mechanisms. Prior to joining the CSO, she served in multiple roles at a Philadelphia charter school supporting Opportunity Youth, focusing on workforce development, vocational training, and student leadership. She also supported teacher effectiveness initiatives in Washington, D.C. Stephanie holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University.
Stephanie Waller | Director
Jasmine manages the Charter Schools Office’s communicative streams, oversees outreach & engagement initiatives in effort to expand sector collaboration and access to resources, and evaluates program operations and strategically recommends areas for refinement. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, Jasmine worked with multiple non-profit organizations that focused primarily on education, workforce development, and community outreach in both New Jersey and Philadelphia. Jasmine holds a Bachelor’s in History from Temple University.
Jasmine Reyes | Strategy Analyst I
Cherron leads the Charter Schools Office’s family and community engagement initiatives, and also supports with operational and logistic planning. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, she served as an elementary school teacher in Philadelphia for six years, worked at a local university in a student support role, and also worked with the Philadelphia International Airport for nine years in various capacities. Cherron has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Chestnut Hill College.
Cherron McCutchen | Project Manager
QUALITY & ACCOUNTABILITY
Biridiana leads the new charter application, charter amendment, and comprehensive renewal processes, which includes the design of systems that review proposals to ensure alignment to Pennsylvania Charter School Law and national authorizing practices. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, she served as an elementary and middle school History teacher in North Carolina. She holds a Master’s degree in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Education, and Latino/a Studies from Duke University.
Biridiana Rodriguez | Director
Cameron focuses on renewals, new charter applications, and amendment processes, which includes reviewing requests and relevant performance data. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, Cameron coordinated a library community engagement training initiative. She also served as a program officer for a charter management organization, and the deputy director of a teacher professional development non-profit focused on early literacy. She holds a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from Temple University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Swarthmore College.
Cameron Voss | Senior Project Manager
Seun assists with the analysis of financial data that informs the understanding of the financial metrics of charter schools. Prior to joining the Charter Schools Office, he served as a financial management analyst with the Office of Transportation at the School District of Philadelphia. He was also a Teach for America Corps Member where he taught high school special education mathematics. Seun holds a Master’s degree in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Seton Hall University.