Our Mission

One day, all students will have the opportunity to earn a college degree that provides them with meaningful economic and personal prospects. Beyond 12’s mission is to dramatically increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically under-represented students who graduate from college.

Through a longitudinal student tracking platform and a personalized student coaching service, Beyond 12 helps high schools, college access programs, and colleges provide their students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education. By collecting and sharing longitudinal data that crosses K-12 and higher education, Beyond 12 not only provides students with differentiated coaching that ensures they earn a college degree, but also provides actionable feedback to high schools and programs about their college preparatory efforts, improves the retention work of colleges and universities by sharing data-driven insights gained from supporting students, and influences the national conversation about student success.

Our History

Beyond 12 was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur, Alexandra (Alex) Bernadotte, who drew inspiration to create the organization from her own experience as a first-generation college graduate. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Alex grew up in inner city Boston, the oldest daughter of immigrant parents who were determined to see her succeed. Like many first-generation college students, Alex struggled with the transition to college. Her first year at Dartmouth was tough. After years of hard work to get into college, Alex was shocked to realize that receiving her acceptance letter had been the easiest step. But she stuck it out, graduated in four years, and became the first in her immediate family to receive a college degree. The challenges Alex faced during those years at Dartmouth planted a seed for what she wanted to do: start an organization to ensure other first-generation college students wouldn’t struggle as she had.

Our Staff

Bold, innovative, and committed. The Beyond 12 team is a small but mighty force that draws on its own experiences and expertise to provide students – and their institutions – with the information and support they need to succeed. Join our team.

Khawla Al-Olefi

College Coach

Khawla is a first-year college coach at Beyond 12’s Oakland office. As a first-generation college student, she graduated from UC Davis, where she earned a BS in sustainable environmental design. During her four years at UC Davis, Khawla became passionate about community organizing and community empowerment and wanted to find a way to empower her community through... Learn More

Donna Arriaga Edmonds

Associate Director of Program

Donna Arriaga Edmonds was born in New York to parents who emigrated from Guatemala. She was the first in her family to graduate from high school and pursue a college degree. She obtained BAs in political science and writing and linguistics from Georgia Southern. She received a MA in public administration from the University of Georgia, concentrating on higher education and... Learn More

Alexandra Bernadotte

Founder & CEO

Alex has more than 18 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Immediately before launching Beyond 12, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence at NewSchools Venture Fund where she conducted the research and developed the business plan for Beyond 12. Learn More

Jazmin Betancourt

Operations Manager

Jazmin has a wide range of experience in direct service, curriculum development, program planning, and evaluation. She has served students from kindergarten to college for over 10 years and is committed to education reform that increases equity, cultural competency, and life-long learning. In her current role she draws from her previous college coaching and... Learn More

Kevin Brown

Associate Director of Program

Kevin Brown is an associate director of program at Beyond 12, and returns after originally serving as a college coach from 2011-2013.  Prior to re-joining the Beyond 12 team, Kevin spent the last 6 years at KIPP Through College both as an alumni advisor working with under-represented students in college and as a team manager helping to both train and ... Learn More

Corrina Calanoc

Senior Data Engineer

Corrina graduated from UC Berkeley, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Math and Science Education. Her mission to utilize technology to increase the presence of underrepresented communities in higher education led her to a summer internship at Beyond 12, that developed into a year-long internship, before culminating in assuming a full-time... Learn More

Chris Co

CTO & Head of Product

Chris has over 10 years of product management, engineering, security, and team leadership experience from eBay and Workday, where he developed and executed product strategies, and hired and mentored dozens of college graduates through their post-college years. Chris has volunteered with College Track and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Bay Area and has… Learn More

Lorena Cortez

College Coach

Lorena was born and raised in Fortuna, California. As a first generation college student, she understands first-hand the difficulties that come with pursuing higher education, but also the immense community support needed to achieve it. Her personal experience fueled her passion towards education and she served as a literacy coach, mentor, ... Learn More

Fiifi Deku

Senior Product Manager

Fiifi Deku is a senior product manager at Beyond 12. A self-driven and entrepreneurial product manager, he has over 14 years of experience in web and mobile product development. His passion for life is driven by his love for family, music, soccer, food and the unstoppable desire to find solutions to existing problems whether at home, the office or anywhere in ... Learn More

Heather Desvarieux

Chief Program Officer

Heather is a program management professional with 15+ years of experience in project management and digital marketing. She has led large, integrated project teams of 100+ people focused on end-to-end creation of industry-leading, data-driven digital experiences for clients such as JP Morgan Chase, Prudential, TED, Amway, and Unilever. Heather was most recently... Learn More

Michelle Dew

College Coach

Michelle Dew is currently a college coach with Beyond 12 in Oakland. Prior to her role, she attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in geography and environmental studies. While at Dartmouth, she received both a Legacy Award and the Allison Smith ‘06 Award for her work in leadership roles and creating community, specifically ... Learn More

Shallah Fairbanks

Customer Success Manager

Shallah has a wide range of experience in customer success, operations, compliance, and hospitality. Prior to Beyond 12, she worked at Wish, helping to align policies and improve communication with global outsource partners. Her passion for reducing inequality led her to the role at Beyond 12 and she is focused on working with partners to help close the ... Learn More

Destini Hall

College Coach

Destini is a Colorado native who serves as a college coach at Beyond 12’s Oakland office. She was the first in her family to graduate from Colorado State University with her BA in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Ethnic Studies. Destini mentored first year African American female students and explored education policy through her work at the Office of the Vice President for ... Learn More

Florence Herring

College Coach

Florence was born in West Africa, Liberia and grew up with a passion for education. She has a BS in psychology from Kennesaw State University and a MA in higher education administration from Georgia Southern University. While completing her undergraduate and graduate degrees she was involved in many student-based and national organizations such as... Learn More

Chardonnay Hightower-Collins

College Coach

Chardonnay is a college coach at Beyond 12's Oakland office. Originally from Oakland, Chardonnay graduated from Mills College with a BA in sociology. Prior to working with Beyond 12, she worked as the operations coordinator and interim operations manager at College Track, a national college success program aimed at helping low-income students of color persist to and… Learn More

Erika Holland

College Coach

Erika is a first-year college coach in the Atlanta office where she coaches recent graduates of Atlanta Public Schools. Before joining Beyond12, Erika served as an admissions counselor for Louisiana State University where she recruited students from public schools in the Southeast region of Louisiana. During her graduate career, Erika worked as a… Learn More

Damneet Kaur

College Coach

Damneet was raised on Kumeyaay Territory (San Diego, CA) by way of Punjab. She is the first in her family to graduate from college and holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education and Race and Resistance Studies from San Francisco State University. Before joining Beyond 12, Damneet served high school students in Upward Bound Programs and … Learn More

Bavani Kehoe

QA Engineer

Bavani is a Bay Area native who loves working at the intersection of education, equity, and technology. After six years as a high school math teacher and advisor in Boston, Oakland, and San Francisco, Bavani transitioned to operations and technology work within nonprofits. She was thrilled to join a team that developed the exact product she had wished for when... Learn More

Sarah Keith

College Coach

Sarah is a college coach in the Atlanta office of Beyond 12. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in Arabic language from Georgia Southern University. Prior to joining Beyond 12, she worked in administration with the English Language Program, which sought to bring international students to Georgia Southern University to study. Learn More

Dan Kurtz

Senior Software Engineer

Dan has worked as a software engineer for over 10 years. Before his commitment to reducing inequality led him to Beyond 12, he created mobile games at Big Fish Games and community websites for nonprofits at Trellon. Dan is a San Francisco native with a BA in cognitive science from UC Berkeley and a MA in information studies from the University of Toronto. Learn More

Eril Morales

College Coach

Eril is a native of Vallejo, CA and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017. During undergrad, she was involved in the Pilipinx & Mental Health community, where she served as a student mentor, writer, and leader. Outside of classes, she also volunteered her time weekly to being a crisis counselor, as she understood firsthand how emotional wellness was ... Learn More

Calvin Orr, II

College Coach

Flint Community Schools, industrious parents, Flint’s Fifth Ward, and a fair share of luck have contributed to the professional that is Calvin Orr, II. Calvin’s parents, a hair stylist and outdoor services provider, modeled the importance of cultivating relationships, while his stepmother exemplified brilliant teaching. Calvin earned a BS in communications, … Learn More

Payal Patel

Senior Director of Finance and Operations

Payal has over 15 years of experience in finance, operations and human resources management in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. Before joining Beyond 12, Payal was the Director of Finance & Operations for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights where she helped manage a $21M capital campaign and helped launch Restore Oakland.  Payal is passionate about ... Learn More

Ian Pelton

College Coach

Ian, a Bay Area transplant originally from Brooklyn, NY, is a college coach at Beyond 12. In college Ian was a Posse Scholar and was apart of the first “Posse" to successfully graduate with all 10 scholars from Lawrence University in Wisconsin. After college he worked as a senior college advisor with a Beyond 12 partner, College Advising Corps, where he helped... Learn More

Khadijah Powell

Senior College Coach

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Khadijah graduated from the University of San Francisco (USF) where she earned her B.A. in Critical Diversity with a minor in African American Studies. As a first-generation college student, she sees educational access and support for underrepresented youth as her calling. Learn More

Tyra Preston

College Coach

Tyra, a Houston native, works as a college coach in Oakland, CA. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2015 with a BS in Child Professional Services. Prior to becoming a college coach, Tyra worked as a senior college advisor for College Advising Corps, where she assisted over 1,200 students to successfully apply and enroll in college and financial aid. After ... Learn More

Alejandro Ramos

College Coach

Alejandro is a college coach at Beyond 12’s Oakland office. Prior to joining Beyond 12, he worked at Youth Spirit Artworks, a nonprofit organization that provides job training and case management services to underserved and unhoused youth in the East Bay Area. In college, Alejandro was involved with college media, including newspapers and podcasts. As a first generation college student, … Learn More

Jianna Robinson

College Coach

Jianna is a first year college coach with Beyond 12. As a first generation and transfer student, Jianna completed their bachelor's of science from the University of California, Davis in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Jianna has served as a sustainability programmer for student housing, an elementary school and pre-school teacher as well as a farmer prior to ... Learn More

Natalie Ruiz

College Coach

Natalie is a college coach at Beyond 12’s Oakland office. Prior to Beyond 12, Natalie worked for Renewing Communities, a statewide initiative aimed at restructuring California's approach to supporting formerly and currently incarcerated college students. Natalie’s dedication to supporting non-traditional students in higher education stems from her experiences as a... Learn More

Arielle Sanders

Manager of Data Operations

Arielle joined Beyond 12 as a data analyst with a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Georgetown University and a B.A. from UC Riverside. Prior to Beyond 12, Arielle was Associate Director at Mathnasium in Arlington, VA, and through her work with K-12 students she truly realized the importance of a college degree... Learn More

Eve Shapiro

Senior Director of Data and Research

Drawing on a decade of experience in higher education and extensive research experience, Eve is dedicated to developing a robust and nuanced understanding of student success and persistence. Eve's previous experience includes teaching and advising at four universities, developing university-based mentorship programs for first-generation students, researching the efficacy of... Learn More

Lara Sidhu

Director of Program

Lara brings both personal and professional experience to her dual roles as chief of staff to the CEO and interim director of program, coaching. Since joining in 2013, her work strengthens her passion for serving youth and commitment to developing systemic interventions that generate more equitable outcomes for individuals from underserved communities. She has served... Learn More

Julian Straker

Associate Software Engineer

Julian is an associate software engineer, specializing in mobile application development. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in engineering physics. After taking a course on educational technology and equity, he spent his subsequent spring break on a service trip which explored educational issues within the Bay Area. This experience led him to seek out... Learn More

Kenisha Syphertt

College Coach

Kenisha is a first-year college coach at Beyond 12’s Atlanta office. She is a two-time HBCU graduate from North Carolina Central University. While completing her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Kenisha served in various leadership roles, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and founded a business to promote the beauty in being naturally yourself while ... Learn More

Eddie Torres

College Coach

Eddie is a college coach at Beyond 12, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to Beyond 12, Eddie worked toward exonerating inmates from wrongful convictions in California. In NYC, Eddie participated in the NYC Urban Fellows, strategically combining hip-hop and philosophy into a class for incarcerated youth. As a student at Ursinus College, Eddie experienced culture shock, sparking... Learn More

Amber White

Associate Director of Program

Amber White is associate director of program at Beyond 12. Prior to this role, Amber served as the behavior support specialist and multi-tier systems of support coordinator at Education for Change Public Schools where she managed a team of behavioral and academic paraprofessionals providing 1:1 services to high needs students.  Before joining EFC, Amber … Learn More

Katherine Zepeda

Director of Customer Success

Katherine is director of customer success at Beyond 12. In her role she provides integral support to coaching partners by communicating students’ educational outcomes and sharing coaching best practices that work toward attaining college persistence and graduation. As a recipient of multiple college access, success, and scholarship support services, Katherine has... Learn More

Our Board

Beyond 12 Board members are dedicated and passionate about ensuring that all students have access to a quality education. Their experience spans the nonprofit, education, technology, entertainment, and financial services industries.

Ethan Beard

Entrepreneur in Residence, Greylock Partners

Prior to joining Greylock Partners, Ethan served as Director of the Facebook Developer Network, where he oversaw worldwide developer relations, operations and product marketing for the Facebook API. Prior, he served as Director of Business Development at Facebook leading the team responsible for... Learn More

Alexandra Bernadotte

Founder & CEO, Beyond 12

Alex has more than 18 years of executive management and strategic development experience in both the nonprofit and private sectors. Immediately before launching Beyond 12, she was an Entrepreneur in Residence at NewSchools Venture Fund where she conducted the research and developed the business plan for Beyond 12. Learn More

Renuka Kher

COO, Tipping Point Community (Board Chair)

Renuka has over 14 years of experience in philanthropy and, through various roles, has helped direct over $100 million toward poverty alleviation. Prior to working at Tipping Point, Renuka served as a Principal at NewSchools Venture Fund. And prior to that she was a Senior Program Officer at the Robin Hood Foundation where her work included developing... Learn More

Deborah McGriff

Managing Director, NewSchools Venture Fund

Deborah has been committed to transforming the lives of underserved urban school students for more than four decades. In 1993, Deborah became the first public school superintendent to join Edison Learning (formerly Edison Schools). There, she held numerous positions including, President of Edison... Learn More

Scott Morgan

CEO & Founder, Education Pioneers (Board Secretary)

Scott is the Founder & CEO of Education Pioneers, an organization dedicated to identify, train, connect, and inspire 10,000 diverse leaders and managers working to accelerate systemic change across the education sector by EP's 20th anniversary in 2023. An educator, attorney, and social entrepreneur with... Learn More

Shonda Rhimes

Creator and Executive Producer of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal

Shonda is an award-winning writer, director, and producer who created the hit ABC series Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Shonda also created the Grey's Anatomy spinoff series, Private Practice, which ran on ABC for six seasons. Now in its eleventh season, Grey's Anatomy continues to be hailed by audiences and critics. Learn More

Natalie A. Walrond

Education Consultant (Board Treasurer)

Natalie is the founder and principal of Natalie Walrond Consulting LLC. Her advisory, communication, project management, and group facilitation skills were developed in a variety of roles: investor, management, board leadership, and outside consultant. Before becoming an education... Learn More

Barbara H. Whye

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and VP of Human Resources, Intel

Barbara H. Whye is Intel’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and VP of Human Resources for the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG), the company’s largest business group. This group is responsible for aligning technology, engineering, product design and business... Learn More


A growing number of individual donors, foundations, and corporations, make our work possible. We are so grateful for their partnership and support. The following are some of our major supporters. Get involved.