PENCIL is Growing!

NASHVILLE, Tenn., November 10, 2021 – We have welcomed several new team members so far this fall, and we want you to meet them:

Partnership Managers

Hamid Abdullah – Graduated from Hunters Lane High School and from Tennessee State University. “The bulk of our work is connecting community members with MNPS. I have the opportunity to meet so many people. I love being connected with good people.”

Alayna Cate – Has a Master’s in Education Policy (MPP) from Vanderbilt. “I loved the idea of PENCIL before I even knew the extent to which PENCIL really operates. Our public schools need a lot of resources. It’s just a matter of connecting the dots, and that’s where PENCIL comes in.”

Mike Rossi – Has a Bachelor’s from Penn State University and is pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at Vanderbilt. “I like PENCIL’s unwavering focus on students and desire to extend kindness and gratitude through our business. I’m learning so much from the incredible PENCIL team and our MNPS partners.”


Robert Moxley, Manager – Graduated from Brooklyn College. “After jobs in the film and TV industry, I really wanted my first job in Nashville to be one where I felt like I contributed to society. I realized that the thing that gave me purpose is helping people, and at PENCIL I get a chance to do that every day.”

Max Coppola, Ingram Scholar – First-year student at Vanderbilt University in Peabody College. “I’m a huge nerd when it comes to data and spreadsheets; and I’m planning to implement a deep data-driven approach towards measuring success within the Teacher Ambassador Program.”

Family Resource Centers (FRCs)

April Holman, Coordinator – Antioch High School – Tennessee State University grad. “I’m helping bridge the gap for families/students in need. PENCIL allows me to live and breathe my passion by supporting a wide range of families and building relationships with MNPS scholars.”

Maggie Kissinger, Coordinator – Glencliff High School – M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University. “My passion is educational equity through community schools and PENCIL is a leading force in this work. I’m glad to be part of this team.”

Fundraising & Admin

Mackenzie Duncan, Individual Giving Manager – Graduate of the University of Arkansas. “I enjoy getting plugged-in to Nashville through outreach experiences, meeting donors, and events! Being new to the area, I’m excited to see so many new faces and connect through the common interest of PENCIL’s mission.”

Brenda Greene, Executive Assistant – Is a graduate of UT Chattanooga and the University of Northern Colorado. “It is incredibly helpful having community members supporting schools. PENCIL does this on a greater scale. It’s a privilege to be a part of the team serving the next generation of world changers.” 

AmeriCorps Members

Ajda Celebi – Graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. “This work is exciting. I’m the High Impact Tutoring (HIT) Assistant Coordinator. We’re working to make HIT as easily accessible to our volunteer tutors as possible; and a happy experience for tutors and for students.”

Giselle Hengst – A Vanderbilt University grad, Giselle manages the Classroom Creatives Project and is helping coordinate the opening of a satellite PENCIL Box store focused on east Nashville. “I’m looking forward to embedding myself in the Nashville community and using my time and skills to serve others.”

Come out to meet PENCIL’s new staff members at our Holiday Open House on December 8. Please RSVP at