Michele Mason

Executive Director

Since taking over as executive director of the Newark Charter School Fund in 2016, Michele Mason has worked diligently to ensure that every student in Newark is enrolled in a great school that is preparing them for college and their future careers.

By elevating the voices of parents across the city and working collaboratively with charter and district school leaders, city officials, businesses and community organizations, Michele and the Fund have led the continued evolution of a high-quality charter sector that increases public-school choices to meet every family’s needs and accelerates systemic change to the benefit of all.

Among her accomplishments are working with the charter sector and Newark Public School district to promote equity and widen opportunity by creating a parent-friendly universal enrollment system through which a single application can be used for almost all charter and district schools; and establishment of the New Jersey Special Education Collaborative targeted at improving services to students with special needs in Newark and across the state.

Much of Michele’s effort now is devoted to helping the sector navigate the return to local control after more than two decades of the state running Newark’s schools.

A New Jersey native, Michele is a longtime advocate for high-quality education options throughout the state whose experiences ignited a fire to support, inspire, and enable kids who deserve the best opportunities possible. Prior to joining NCSF, she served as deputy director of JerseyCAN, a nonprofit organization that connects education leaders with the information they need to enact policies that will make great schools available to all New Jersey children.

In 2002, Michele became the first director of college placement at the KIPP Academy in the Bronx, NY. She spent the next 10 years as a counselor supporting first-generation, college-bound students at KIPP and other institutions, including two years as director of college access and success at Newark's North Star Academy. She also spent two years leading the alumni affairs team at Teach for America – New Jersey, where she was charged with motivating and inspiring almost 1,000 TFA alumni across the state.

In 2014, the Black Alliance for Educational Options awarded Michele a yearlong Bailey Sullivan Leadership Institute Fellowship as part of a program that prepares and advances the skills of educational leaders to serve as passionate and effective advocates for change. Michele serves on the boards of the Newark Education Trust, New Jersey Charter School Association, and on NJPAC'S subcommittee on Arts & Education. She is a proud auntie, Philadelphia Eagles fan, and Newark resident.

Michele received her bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, where she was a four-year letter winner on the varsity soccer team. She has a master's degree in education policy and management from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and an advanced certificate in nonprofit business management from Washington University-St. Louis.

Sarah Yan

Deputy Director

Sarah Yan joined the Newark Charter School Fund as the Deputy Director in November 2018.  Sarah has spent her career being committed to ensuring that every school in Newark is one of the highest quality.  She is passionate about ensuring that families have access to information so that they are able to make informed decisions about the choices they make for their children.

Prior to joining the Fund, Sarah was the Director of Recruitment and Staffing for Newark Public Schools, where she led various district initiatives to ensure that students had access to excellent educators in their schools.  She was successful in leading the district to its lowest number of school-based vacancies in recent history for multiple school years and launched an extensive, nation-leading recruitment campaign for NPS.  She worked with the Board as a member of the Personnel Policy Committee and she helped lead the district to a perfect score on the QSAC for Personnel.  Sarah also has charter sector experience, having worked in operations at Success Academy Charter Schools.  She began her career in education as a TFA corps member in Newark teaching high school science.  Her current role at the Fund is another step in her career commitment to the children of the city of Newark.

Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, where she was a double major in Biological Sciences and Nutritional Sciences and a member of their Division I swimming team.  She has a Master’s degree from Syracuse University in Secondary Science Education.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors at St. Hope Leadership Academy in Harlem.

Toussaint Derby

Senior Executive Assistant

Toussaint Derby is the current Senior Executive Assistant at the Newark Charter School Fund. She comes from the luxury fashion industry where she held roles primarily in Visual Merchandising. In 2016 she was selected as one of the NYC Fashion Fellows, a prestigious fashion industry program launched by the City of New York.

While Toussaint is new to the education sector, she comes from a family of educators. When she accepted the position with NCSF, her father’s response was, “Ha! We finally got you!” Toussaint decided to leave fashion because she wanted to feel that she was making a real impact in her community and the world at large.

Toussaint received her bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University where she studied Graphic Design. Toussaint and her husband have lived in Newark since 2015 and just recently welcomed a new baby boy.

Newark Skyline