Alan Washington, President and CEO of Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC), believes that all communities across the nation should have the real estate facilities needed to empower its members to lead rich and vibrant lives. To that end, he has dedicated his life to helping underserved communities control and own their real estate, whether directing real estate operations within an organization or leading a corporation founded on this mission. Throughout a distinguished 19+ year career, Alan has continuously paved the way for transformational results through expertise, diligence, and innovation.
Since joining CSDC in June of 2022, Alan has worked with the existing leadership team to analyze all functional areas, identify strengths and opportunities, and launched a strategic planning process to implement robust initiatives to help drive CSDC to the next level of success.
Previously, Alan was the Executive of Real Estate for Success Academy Charter Schools. He was brought on board to create and execute the real estate vision for the organization, with full responsibility for an incredibly ambitious, multi-year real estate expansion strategy targeting, in excess of $1 billion future growth. Over a 5-year period, Alan built the entire Real Estate organization from the ground up, launched a $455 million project (building a K-12 campus that had never been achieved previously in the organization or at this scale in the City of NY).
Prior to this, Alan enjoyed a successful career with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership as a Director of Real Estate & Planning and Managing Director, Real Estate & Economic Development, respectively. As a key member of the Executive Leadership team, he spearheaded efforts to revitalize Downtown Brooklyn by facilitating 3.1 million square feet of new commercial office space, as well as funding for $3,000 new elementary seats in the area.
Alan earned his Master of Science in Real Estate from NYU and is also an alumnus of Dartmouth College. His is proud of his long tenures as Board Member of multiple organizations, including Harlem Academy in New York City and Camp Timanous in Raymond, Maine.
Risa Assakul, Senior Manager, joined CSCD in June 2023. She is part of the development team and is responsible for pipeline identification, project management, underwriting and budget maintenance for new projects. Her work also involves overseeing special projects and supporting the scaling efforts of the organization.
Prior to joining CSDC, Risa was the Director of Real Estate Growth & Strategy at a charter network in New York City. She also led the development of Brighton College International School Bangkok’s 1.2 Million sq ft campus located in Bangkok, Thailand.
Risa holds a BS degree in Environmental Sciences and Economics from New York University, and an MBA in Strategy from Columbia Business School.
Shanta Bacon, Senior Project Accountant, joined the organization in 2015 as CSDC’s first dedicated project accountant. Shanta is primarily responsible for performing all of the project accounting and financial reporting and compliance functions for the real estate development and loan programs of CSDC and its affiliates. She also works closely with project managers to provide administrative support to projects, assist with property acquisitions and sales, and communicate with prospective investors, lenders, and capital providers as appropriate.
Prior to joining CSDC, Shanta spent 10 years in private and public accounting with both real estate and construction companies where she gained a unique perspective on multiple forms of development.
Shanta holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Tim Behrens, CSDC’s Project Manager, is primarily responsible for managing the property development and facilities construction process on behalf of our charter school clients participating in the real estate development programs of CSDC and its affiliates (CSDC Property Corporation and CSDC Facilities Corporation).
Tim will conduct financial analyses and modeling for proposed projects, structure and negotiate lease or ownership arrangements, conduct site visits and perform assessments and evaluations of potential buildings and vacant land for projects, secure and negotiate architect and other contracts, oversee and coordinate due diligence and predevelopment on potential properties, and summarize results of analyses for clients and governing boards by providing them with strategic direction and guidance throughout the development process.
Prior to joining CSDC in 2015, Tim worked in the financial industry in both construction and property management.
Michele Cerwin, Chief of Staff, is a dynamic seasoned executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in private and non-profit sectors, in prior roles as COO, President, Principal, VP, and Executive Director positions. Throughout her career, she has maintained a successful track record of driving growth for diverse types of organizations. Michele is highly collaborative and enjoys leading cross-functional teams who know what it takes to achieve short and long-term goals.
Prior to joining CSDC, Michele was most recently the Head of Board Relations and Enterprise Projects at Success Academy. She oversaw all activities of two boards from cultivation, engagement and governance, acting as a liaison between the CEO and the Executive Leadership Team. In addition, Michele led the Continuing Improvement internal consultancy team working on cross functional projects to drive efficiency and excellence.
Prior to Success, she was the COO of Public Preparatory Network, a network of five single sex Charter Schools, Pre-k-8, responsible for all non-academic functions across five campuses with 2,200 scholars.
Lindsay Erickson, Project Manager, joined the organization in 2018 and is primarily responsible for providing project support for continuous improvement activities for the executive team. She works closely with internal and external stakeholders and in collaboration with the Chief of Staff to support CSDC’s Board of Directors.
Prior to joining CSDC, Lindsay spent 11 years in healthcare providing administrative support to senior leadership. During that time, she gained a unique perspective about operational workflows and process improvement.
Lindsay holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Laura Fiemann, Chief Development Officer, joined CSDC in 2010. She is largely responsible for marketing and administering CSDC’s Building Block Fund (lease and loan guarantees), Mountain West Charter Schools Fund (direct loans) and other CDFI & direct lending initiatives nationally. Laura also administers CSDC’s Turnkey Development Program for those projects in the Western U.S. She is also responsible for facilitating communication between CSDC’s charter school clients, commercial banks, potential landlords and its credit committee.
She has been in the public finance business for over 30 years, working with municipalities and non-profits on their project finance needs. As a bond underwriter at a registered broker dealer firm for 9 years and then Vice President at a private capital company, she fine tuned her skills to serve the unique needs of charter schools regarding facilities financings.
Laura is responsible for raising capital to support the growth and expansion of CSDC’s CDFI Operations and direct lending program, and oversees real estate development projects in the Western U.S. She provides ongoing technical assistance to client schools during the early/start-up years to prepare them to eventually finance a permanent home through bank or tax exempt bond transactions.
Andrea Gallo, Staff Accountant, joined the organization in 2023. Andrea is responsible for the oversight of accounts receivable, accounts payable, invoicing and project support, banking and portfolio maintenance, month end close financial reconciliations, and general accounting. In addition, she assists CSDC in the monthly/yearly financial accounting close processes.
Andrea holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from The University of Baltimore.
Joined the organization in 2023. Amy is primarily responsible for day-to-day accounting operations and office support to CSDC’s Maryland office. She maintains all bank accounts, note payables, accounts receivables, and monthly billing for CSDC and its subsidiaries and affiliates. Amy also assists CSDC’s portfolio monitoring process through her collection of school financial, enrollment and academic reports.
Amy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Ave Maria University.
Annette High, Vice President of Accounting, is responsible for overseeing the organization’s accounting and finance functions, financial reporting, coordinating audits, and meeting compliance and tax requirements for the various programs of CSDC and its subsidiaries and affiliates.
Prior to joining CSDC, she began her career in the private sector where she gained a wide range of experience in financial accounting, mergers and acquisitions and real estate development. She previously served in the capacity of Financial Controller and is proficient in a variety of accounting and CRM software programs.
Annette holds a Bachelor’s in Accounting from the University of Baltimore and is currently seeking a Master’s in Accounting from Strayer University.
Britt Kozlewski, Project Accountant, joined the organization in 2017. Britt is primarily responsible for providing project accounting for CSDC’s Turnkey Development program, as well as financial reporting for the organization. Her work in these areas is essential to ensuring overall project success from construction through completion. She collaborates with CDSC’s project managers and school clients to provide accounting support and to ensure accounts are properly reconciled. Britt also supports CSDC’s portfolio monitoring process through her analysis of school financial reports and statements.
Prior to joining CSDC, Britt worked for a large global asset management firm in the Fixed Income Fund Accounting department. She also held a Senior Accountant position at a major income investment organization.
Britt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Tyler Platt, Project Accountant, is dedicated to CSDC’s Western projects and joined the organization in 2022. Tyler is primarily responsible for performing the project accounting, financial reporting, and compliance functions for the real estate development and loan programs of CSDC and its affiliates. He also works closely with project managers to provide administrative support to projects, assist with property acquisitions and sales, and communicate with prospective investors, lenders, and capital providers as appropriate.
Prior to joining CSDC, Tyler spent time in public accounting, auditing both public and private companies. He also spent time in private industry helping healthcare companies grow and scale their business. Tyler has over 5 years of experience in the accounting field and brings a unique perspective to CSDC’s projects.
Tyler holds a Master’s Degree in Accounting Information Systems from the University of Utah.
Michelle Prosperi, Chief Operating Officer, has overall responsibility for the operations of the organization, including programs, asset & grants management, investment/capitalization strategies, philanthropic partnerships, new product development, and HR. Michelle assumed her current role in January 2020, having previously served as CSDC's Executive Vice President. Michelle has been with CSDC since its founding and has had management responsibility across all areas of the organization. She works closely with the President & CEO and the Board of Directors to implement strategic and business plans, identify potential funding sources, and manage corporate assets and personnel.
Prior to joining CSDC, Michelle was the Program Director of Women’s Leadership Programs at the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. She also worked as a legal assistant for the Federal Education Association and served as a substitute teacher for the Arlington County, Virginia Public Schools.
Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in Education Policy from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Tulane University.
Rebecca Salvo, Senior Vice President, is primarily involved with CSDC’s Turnkey Development Program, performing the role of Project Manager on facility development projects from the initial feasibility study through full underwriting, credit analysis and predevelopment through financing, acquisition and project completion. She represents CSDC and its charter school clients with commercial banks, CDFIs and landlords. Rebecca is also the Assistant Corporate Secretary of CSDC.
Prior to joining CSDC in 2006, Rebecca worked in the financial industry in both the fixed income and equity sides of the industry. After leaving the financial industry, she focused her career on marketing as the primary Marketing Coordinator for a transportation engineering firm.
Rebecca received her MBA through the University of Maryland’s Executive Program and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing / Communication from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nia Walker is project coordinator, who originates from Lanham, Maryland. She has worked in the real estate field as a project manager for the past 6 years. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Bowie State University in Political Science and Public Relations. In her free time, Nia serves as the assistant track and field coach for her high school alma mater and enjoys giving back to her community in any way she can.
Mark Zeizel, Vice President, joined CSDC in 2013 and serves as a project manager for CSDC’s Turnkey Development Program in the Eastern U.S. Mark’s primary responsibilities include initial underwriting, & credit analysis, arranging project financing and overseeing development and construction management from predevelopment through project delivery. Mark also provides ongoing technical assistance to charter school clients during the early start-up years, and portfolio monitoring of all charter school clients participating in any of the organization’s programs.
Prior to joining CSDC, Mark worked for a DC-based real estate investment and development company with primary responsibilities in its Capital Markets/Acquisitions Group. During this time he participated in approximately $800 million of acquisitions and in the debt and equity structuring of a 2 million square foot commercial and multi-family portfolio. Mark started his career in the financial industry working in the fixed income group of a mutual fund company.
Mark is a CFA Charterholder and holds a Master’s of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California and Bachelor’s of Arts with a Business Management concentration from Gettysburg College. Mark also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for City Arts and Prep Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.