Zeta Network Leadership

Emily A. Kim, CEO

Emily Kim has a decade of experience in education - as a teacher, in special education and early intervention, and on the senior management team of Success Academy Charter Schools, a world-class NYC nonprofit charter school network.  Ms. Kim studied at the Teachers College, Columbia University (Ed.M., Teaching of English), the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. & M.A., English), and Columbia Law School (J.D.).  She is the mother of three boys and a dedicated charter school parent.

Paola Zalkind, Managing Director of Academics

Paola Zalkind's commitment to educational excellence began in the classroom, as a kindergarten teacher.  During her school's first testing year, 97% of students passed the New York state assessments, ranking in the top 1% of all New York Schools.  After serving as an Assistant Principal, she became the Founding Principal of Success Academy Union Square Elementary School and then Managing Director of Schools, managing a large cohort of elementary and middle schools.  She has conducted numerous widely acknowledged trainings for principals of various experience levels and in various school settings.  Her primary training focus is on personnel management, teaching leaders how to get rigorous outcomes through their teams.  Ms. Zalkind is a Teach for America corps member, and holds an M.A. in Politics and Education from the Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Law and Society (Literature minor) from American University.

Jessie M. Ferguson, General Counsel & Director of Special Projects

Jessie Ferguson has dedicated the majority of her career to improving educational outcomes for high-needs students, both as an attorney and as an educator.  Ms. Ferguson previously served as Legal Counsel for Success Academy Charter Schools, where she provided advice on matters involving special education, facilities, construction, teacher certification, and general compliance.  Prior to joining Success Academy, Ms. Ferguson practiced in the Executive Compensation group at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.  Ms. Ferguson taught Head Start preschool as a Teach For America corps member.  She received her J.D from New York University School of Law and her B.A. in Music and Government and Legal Studies from Bowdoin College.

Aaras Shah, Associate Director of Finance

Aaras Shah joined Zeta as the Associate Director of Finance in 2018. In this role, he leads budgeting, accounting, and financial analysis. Prior to joining Zeta, he worked with KIPP DC, primarily supporting their academic team. Aaras began his career and spent several years as a management consultant at Bain & Company in Texas, where he focused on strategy and cost work for Fortune 500 clients across a variety of industries. Aaras obtained general business and finance degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. In his spare time, he serves on the Advisory Board for Reading Partners NYC and can be found rooting on his Longhorns and Rockets.

Jessica Stein, Director of School Advising

Jessica Stein has devoted her career to advocating for students with disabilities.  She is passionate about supporting schools and ensuring that all children receive the educational programming and supports they need.  Ms. Stein served as Special Education Advisor and Special Education Manager at Success Academy Charter Schools.  She was responsible for ensuring that bureaucracy did not get in the way of students with disabilities receiving appropriate special education services quickly.  She has developed and delivered a wide variety of special education trainings and managed special education compliance and reporting matters.  Ms. Stein is a graduate of Cardozo Law School and Washington University in St. Louis.