Saga Expands its National Governing Board

August 25, 2021

Saga Education is pleased to announce three new members of its national governing board—Karin Apollon, Kassie Davis and Julia Quinn–bringing the Board’s total size to 10 voting members and four senior advisors.

“This is the largest expansion of our national governing board in our seven-year history,” said Alan Safran, CEO of Saga Education. “Our newest board members will help us execute our strategic anchors while supporting Saga’s next phase of growth and development.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented disruptions in K-12 education and there is national interest in Saga’s high-impact tutoring model as a strategy to help accelerate student learning. One recent report revealed that since the pandemic, students have learned just 87 percent of the reading and only 67 percent of the math that their grade-level peers learned during more typical years. But in schools that primarily serve students of color, the numbers are substantially lower — 77 percent in reading and 59 percent in math. Saga is working closely with policy makers and district leaders to share what it knows about its evidence-based practices and offering technical support and best-in-class math tutoring and learning technology.

Karine Apollon

“I look forward to supporting the important work that Saga Education is undertaking to help District and school leaders as they confront the large learning challenges due to COVID-19. Researchers agree that high impact tutoring is effective and a powerful strategy for educators to support students. Saga Education is leading the way with an innovative platform, tutor training and advocacy that will provide the necessary resources to close the high school math gaps and increase graduation.”  -Karine Apollon

Karine Apollon, former CEO of Reading Partners, has had a long-standing commitment to literacy. After graduating from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a double major in international finance/marketing and finance, Her passion for children’s literacy led her to join Scholastic, Inc. where she was a highly skilled and valued leader for 20+ years. While at Scholastic, Karine spearheaded numerous partnerships and learning/mentorship initiatives centered on expanding literacy opportunities for students. Karine launched the Scholastic Family and Community Engagement (FACE) business in 2009. FACE improves literacy development and raises academic achievement in underserved communities by increasing access to books and other literacy resources through an integrated family, school and community engagement model. Karine has served on several nonprofit boards including Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, Raising A Reader and continues to serve on the Advisory Board of Eagle Academy Foundation.

Kassie Davis

“I’m honored to join the Saga Education Board. I’ve been a fan of its work since CME Group Foundation began funding it three years ago. Its ability to pivot to remote instruction during the pandemic has been even more impressive” -Kassie Davis

Retired as Executive Director of CME Group Foundation and CME Trust in September 2021. She joined CME Trust in October 2006 as its first Executive Director and became Executive Director of CME Group Foundation with its creation in 2008. She was responsible for overall operation of the Foundation and Trust, including strategy development, proposal review, grant evaluation, communications and investment management. Davis was with The Chicago Community Trust from 2004 to 2006, where she was senior program officer for arts and culture. From 2000 to 2003, she served as project director of Giving Greater Chicago, an initiative of the Donors Forum of Chicago promoting the creation of permanent philanthropic capital. Earlier, Davis was executive director of the Illinois Arts Council, the state agency responsible for funding the arts. Davis, who holds a B.A. degree from Stephens College and a M.B.A. degree from Loyola University Chicago, entered the world of Chicago philanthropy in 1990 when she started the corporate contributions program at Marshall Field’s.

Julia Quinn

“Personalized instruction is a powerful way to accelerate learning not only during COVID recovery, but well beyond. But to realize its full potential, it must be cost effective. Saga’s model, commitment to R&D and investment in scalable platforms reflect that reality – and I look forward to advancing its critical work as the country rethinks its approach to supporting students in all environments.” -Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn is the Deputy Director of Philanthropy at Citadel, where she works with Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin on his personal philanthropy and on the firm’s engagement in the communities where Citadel employees live and work. She was previously the Associate Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab, where she worked across a portfolio of research projects in Chicago and New York City in partnership with government agencies and local nonprofits to use data and data science to improve educational outcomes, prevent violence and reduce the harms of the criminal justice system. Her work included large-scale randomized controlled trials of educational and social-emotional interventions, work on domestic violence and police reform and a multi-city, multi-methods study of underground gun markets. She also helped to lead communications and fundraising efforts for the Labs. Prior to the University of Chicago, Julia worked on gun violence and juvenile justice reform, including research on the economic implications of changing the age of juvenile jurisdiction.

About Saga Education

Saga Education is an evidence-based, personalized tutoring intervention designed to support students struggling with math, to give them the confidence and academic strength to graduate high school and pursue their dreams. In 2020, the organization was named to Fast Company’s prestigious list of the World’s Most Innovative Educational Companies, recognized for its evidence-based, scalable tutoring model which serves students in high-need schools. Since it was founded in 2014 Saga has grown to 6 cities, this year serving roughly 7,500 students in 59 schools.  Cumulatively, Saga has served about 25,000 students in the US, and consults in the Netherlands (6 years) and widely in the US to support states and districts.