Dr. Nicole Garcia
Principal, Storefront Academy South Bronx
Dr. Nicole Garcia serves as principal of Storefront Academy South Bronx and has been an elementary and middle school principal for nearly a decade. Prior to joining the Storefront community, Dr. Garcia was principal of Staten Island Community Charter School. She began her career teaching fourth grade and Spanish immersion in Northern Virginia and has spent much of her career focused on the startup and improvement of urban schools, including the SEED School of Washington, the nation’s first and only urban charter boarding school. She was awarded the 2011 Dissertation of the Year award from the University of Maryland for her dissertation on parental engagement in urban schools. A New Jersey native, Mrs. Garcia graduated from Delaware State University, received a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University, and earned a Doctoral degree from University of Maryland at Bowie State.
Dr. Karen H. Putnam
Interim Executive Director
Dr. Putnam recently joined Storefront Academy as Interim Executive Director. She has extensive experience in the charitable world, including higher education, the arts, social services, and public-private partnerships. In addition to working at Harvard and Yale Universities, she served as Vice Director of The Brooklyn Museum and President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy. At the Conservancy, Dr. Putnam worked with cultural and social organizations in Harlem, focusing on families and children. During that tenure, she was named a partner in the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Subsequently, as Principal and Director of Philanthropic and Family Wealth Stewardship Services at Bessemer Trust, she served on professional advisory committees at major New York charitable organizations. Dr. Putnam received her Ph.D. from Yale University and her B.A. from Wellesley College.
Chief Development Officer
In her role at Storefront Academy, Ms. Strand provides the leadership, strategic direction, and management to expand and deepen Storefront Academy’s fundraising and outreach to new and existing constituencies. Prior to joining Storefront Academy in 2013, Ms. Strand was the Director of External Relations at Read Ahead (formerly Everybody Wins New York), where she oversaw all donor relationship management and communications-related functions for this longstanding volunteer organization. Before entering the non-profit field, she taught fourth grade in the South Bronx as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows. Ms. Strand graduated from Mount Holyoke College and earned a master’s degree in education from Mercy College.
Principal, Storefront Academy Harlem
Prior to joining the staff of Storefront Academy, Alexis Thomason was Dean of Students at the Harlem-based Success Academy Charter Network. Prior to her time with Success Academy, she served as the Director of Accountability and Family Support at Harlem Day Charter School, supporting the social/emotional development of at-risk youth. Before entering the field of education, Alexis held various positions in finance and non-profit development. Ms. Thomason graduated from Baruch College with an undergraduate degree in Management and received her M.S. Ed in Educational Psychology from New York University. She is Harlem-born and a proud supporter of school choice and education reform.