Executive Leadership Team

  • Jennifer Carney

    Jennifer Carney
    Chief Data and Assessment Officer

    As the Chief Data and Assessment Officer, Jennifer oversees all local and state assessment and survey administration, results, and reporting. Her team provides research, data reporting, and analysis as well as support to guide decision making for District and school level systems, school improvement, and community engagement. Jennifer has a background in teaching, instructional coaching, building level administration, Curriculum Director, and state-level experience in creating and implementing systems for strategic planning and system transformation. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer.Carney@ppsd.org.



    Jennifer Q. Efflandt
    Executive Director of Multilingual Learners

    Entering her fifth year as the Executive Director of Multilingual Learners for Providence Schools, Jennifer oversees the identification and services of all MLL students in the district. Jennifer uses her own experience as a low income, Multilingual Learner in Providence and the educational discrepancies she has experienced to fuel her drive to help bring education equity to her community. She believes all students, regardless of race, native language, socioeconomic status, citizenship status or disability have a fundamental right to receive a high quality, rigorous education that prepares them to excel in college and their career of choice.

    Previously, Jennifer served as the MLL Coordinator at Achievement First and has also held roles as an MLL coach, coordinator, and consultant, as well as an Early Childhood, Dual Language, and ESL teacher.

    Jennifer holds a Master of Education from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University. She also obtained her administrator certification through the Principal Residency Network at the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity.​ Her studies include Visual Art, Bilingual and Bicultural Education, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and School Leadership.

    Jennifer immigrated from Guatemala and entered Providence Schools as a Multilingual Learner when she was five years old. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.

    Jennifer can be reached at jennifer.efflandt@ppsd.org or 401-456-9100 ext. 13141.


    Arzinia Gill

    Arzinia Gill
    Senior Director of Principal Supports

    Arzinia’s job is to support PPSD in rolling out a robust set of professional development, tools, and resources to PPSD principals. As the Senior Director of Principals’ Support, her job is to focus on the areas of supervision, staff development, and performance management. Her role is to provide support in all areas based on school principals' needs. Prior to her current role, Arzinia was a school principal for 8 years of her 21 years in education in PPSD where she also served as a teacher, central office District Assistance Team member supporting district professional development, instruction, development and implementation of curriculum. Arzinia can be reached at arzinia.gill@ppsd.org.


    Joan Jackson

    Joan Jackson
    Senior Advisor to the Superintendent

    As the Senior Advisor to the Superintendent, Joan provides strategic guidance and support to ensure the successful implementation of the Turnaround Action Plan. Joan oversees the Executive Academic and Student Supports teams to determine programs and policies focused on creating high-quality, equitable, data-driven learning environments for all PPSD students. Joan comes to Providence with 35+ years of experience working in Turnaround schools and districts across the country. Joan can be reached at joan.jackson@ppsd.org.


    Herman JamesHerman James
    Chief Talent Officer

    Herman is the Chief Talent Officer for Providence Public Schools. Herman has over 30 years of educational experience as a classroom teacher, school principal, and as a leader in human resources. Herman served as Chief of Human Resources and Director of Human Resources in Prince George’s County Public Schools, Maryland and Director of Human Resources in Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland. Prior to joining PPSD, Herman served as the Human Capital Administrator for the Government of the District of Columbia. As the Chief Talent Officer, Herman oversees all functions of the Human Resources department including staffing, employee relations, employee services, evaluation, induction, licensure, educational leadership and the professional learning platform. Herman can be reached at herman.james@ppsd.org.


    Krystal Lofton

    Krystal Lofton
    Executive Director of Leadership Development

    As the Executive Director of Leadership Development, Krystal oversees the district's leadership development plan, which includes the leadership pipeline, training and development opportunities for aspiring, novice, and experienced leaders, school leaders and district-based administrators that is consistent with the vision and mission of the district. Her primary focus is to support leadership development, which includes onboarding, development, retention and career progression of aspiring principals. Krystal has served in various roles in PPSD such as Elementary Transformation Officer, Senior Director of K-12 Literacy & Support and Elementary Director of Instructional Support. Krystal can be reached at Krystal.Lofton@ppsd.org.


    Dr. Nkolika Etell Onye

    Dr. Nkolika E. Onye
    Chief of Equity & Belonging

    As the Chief of Equity & Belonging, Nkoli defines the overarching vision, identity, and strategy to become a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization both in our central office and across our network of schools and classrooms. This includes: defining an equity identity and lens, and what our vision of success is for applying them to all that we do; partnering with leaders and ensuring that our strategies, designed to achieve our Turnaround Plan, are fully reflective of and inspired by an equity lens, and reflect our equity identity; collaborating with other departments to develop and monitor key performance indicators, and analyze and share internal and external DEB metrics, and organizational culture and practice; monitoring progress toward our DEB vision and achievement of our DEB goals as well as the execution of strategies that map toward those goals.

    Nkoli is a first generation Nigerian-American. She earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University, an MA in Education, from the University of Rhode Island, and a BS in Medical Technology from California State Los Angeles. Wife of a retired Army officer, and a mother of three, Nkolika has taught high school chemistry and biology in Los Angeles, CA, Anchorage, AK; Columbus, GA; Riverside, RI, and Providence, RI. She has also served as an instructional coach, and as a high school turnaround principal in several secondary schools, resulting in well documented, measurable gains and outcomes for students. Nkoli can be reached at Nkoli.Onye@ppsd.org

    Salvador Pellerano

    Salvador Pellerano
    Chief Operating Officer

    Sal’s job is to ensure that all PPSD schools are fully operational and ready for staff and students each year. As Chief Operating Officer, he oversees the District’s school operations (student registration, food services, transportation), student support services, and all facilities related items. Prior to joining PPSD, Sal was a Regional Director of Operations for Achievement First Rhode Island, and prior to that he was a Partnership Manager at The MET High School. Sal can be reached at salvador.pellerano@ppsd.org.



    Christopher Petisce
    Executive Director of Finance

    The Executive Director of Finance oversees the Local Budget Department, Non-Local Budget Department (Federal Programs), Purchasing Department, Controllers Department (Accounts Payable, Payroll, Benefits, Fiscal, Asset Management), and Medicaid Department. Chris has been with the district since 2001, all of these years have been spent in the Finance Division. Chris can be reached at Christopher.Petisce@ppsd.org.


    Patricia Royal

    Patricia Royal, Ed.S.
    Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools

    Assistant Superintendent is responsible for driving educational excellence across all elementary schools in Providence Public School District.  The Assistant Superintendent  successfully initiates, implements, and sustains transformational change to improve student outcomes.  The Assistant Superintendent leads the educational performance of the district by establishing a clear vision and strategic direction for instructional leadership, school culture and school improvement initiatives.  The Assistant Superintendent will lead efforts to build world-class schools that will provide for powerful, personalized learning that is engaging and joyful for all students and staff.  In addition, pursue the district’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion focusing on ensuring equitable access to high-quality instruction for students closing the achievement and opportunity gap.  The Assistant Superintendent will work in close with the various divisions across the organization to improve instructional quality and school cultures with the goal of creating a high-performing learning organization that ensures students will graduate ready for success in college, career and in life.  Patricia has over 30 years of experience and has served in various roles such as Elementary Teacher, Reading Coach, Assistant Principal, Principal, Human Resource Partner, Leadership Specialist K-12, Executive Director and Elementary Transformation Officer for PPSD.  Patricia can be reached at Patricia.Royal@ppsd.org.


    Zach Scott

    Zack Scott
    Deputy Superintendent of Operations

    Zack’s job is to oversee the smooth and effective functioning of school and District operations. As Deputy Superintendent of Operations, he oversees the District’s Talent, Finance, and Administration (facilities, food services, transportation, etc.) departments. Prior to joining PPSD, Zack was the Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Human Resources at Boston Public Schools, and has also held roles in the District of Columbia Public Schools and other education organizations. Zack can be reached at zachary.scott@ppsd.org


    Sandra Stuart

    Sandra Stuart
    Chief Student Support Service Officer

    Sandra's job is to organize, coordinate, and evaluate student support services ensuring compliance with district, state, and federal policies and regulations. As Chief Student Support Service Officer, she oversees the Office of Multilingual Learners, Office of Specialized Instruction, Office of Early Childhood Education and the Wellness Office. Sandra has served PPSD students and families for over 20 years. Prior to coming to PPSD, she worked in the​ private educational sector. Sandra can be reached at Sandra.Stuart@ppsd.org.