Leadership of IMS Network

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Gianna R. D’Angelo

President & CEO 

Gianna joined Independence Mission Schools (IMS) in January 2021 as chief financial and operations officer and since her start has made tremendous impact on the network. As President and CEO Gianna will build on the successes that IMS has experienced and lead the organization as it enters its second decade of delivering affordable and impactful Catholic education, positively changing lives of the 4,000 students in its 14 schools across greater Philadelphia.

Gianna has over 28 years of organizational experience, formerly as a principal in the management consulting division at KPMG, and as partner at IBM. She is a proven leader, strategic-thinker, mentor, collaborator, and, importantly, committed to the belief that every child should have the same opportunity for a quality education that she had at our own St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in South Philadelphia.

As CEO, Gianna will work collaboratively with the dedicated IMS community including the board of directors, staff and leadership, and external partners and constituents to position IMS for its long-term sustainability and continued achievement. She will ensure the mission remains consistent, offering families of all faiths and income levels the opportunity for their children to learn and grow in a culture of love, setting them on the path to a promising future.

Gianna holds a B.S. degree and an MBA from Drexel University. She lives in Philadelphia with her dog Coco.

Jill Valunas

Chief of Schools (COS)

Jill is a mission-driven individual focused on creating an equitable and exceptional education for children. She has been an educator and educational leader for over 20 years in the Philadelphia region and is highly regarded by her respective peers through her vast experience in charter, Catholic and public-school systems. She believes deeply that building a healthy, caring, joyful and thriving culture built on meaningful relationships is key to human development and success.

Jill’s experience of working in Philadelphia schools, coupled with her most recent experience as the Executive Director of the Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), gives her the unique ability to understand our school communities while being able to zero in on academics – making her a great fit for this critical position.

As Chief of Schools for Independence Mission Schools, Jill is instrumental in executing on our strategic plan, which aims to make IMS a leader in achieving positive educational results at a large scale for our families. She is responsible for managing the professional and leadership development within our 14 schools and also ensuring that we are providing best-in-class academics in alignment with our strategic plan to help our students achieve significant growth in math and reading.

Jill was raised in a Catholic environment, attended Catholic school, and understands the inherent value of a Catholic education. She resides in Blue Bell with her husband and two sons.

Beth Alfonsi

Chief of Staff

Beth brings over 20 years of experience to her role as Chief of Staff for Independence Mission Schools (IMS) where she oversees Finance (budgeting, accounting, payroll, financial aid), Human Resources (talent recruitment and onboarding, compliance, and benefits), and Operations (enrollment, facilities, and IT). She works closely with the Central Office team to serve and support our 14 IMS schools, create alignment, and achieve our strategic plan.

Beth has spent her career creating educational opportunities for young people – primarily in the Catholic education space – leading and inspiring teams to create significant impact and results. Her work has been on the business side of schools – universities, high schools, and elementary – strengthening the business model, generating revenue through enrollment and development, and increasing sustainability. She has served as a leader, board member, and consultant.

Beth’s experience includes serving Malvern Preparatory School as the Executive Director of Advancement, where she rebuilt the areas of enrollment management, development, and marketing and communications, increasing effectiveness and achieving ambitious goals. Beth served the Healey Education Foundation for almost a decade, most recently as Vice President. She led program expansion into areas including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Minneapolis. At the beginning of her career, she worked at Neumann University implementing the first admissions fall open house and the university’s first homecoming – both events continue today. Throughout her career, Beth has inspired teams to tackle challenges, create solutions, and make an impact.

Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Temple University and a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Neumann University. 

Erin Wooley

Chief Advancement Officer

With a steadfast commitment to helping those most in need and advancing impactful missions, Erin brings over two decades of experience to her role as Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) at Independence Mission Schools (IMS). In this role, Erin will serve as an active member of the Executive Leadership Team with responsibility for leading and implementing IMS’ fundraising strategies, managing and building the advancement team, and driving advocacy and awareness for IMS’ mission. She will oversee all fundraising functions in support of IMS’ mission: annual, capital, institutional, and planned giving; donor relations and stewardship; and advancement operations.

Erin has a successful track record of fundraising, emphasizing relationship-building and donor engagement. She has been instrumental in transforming underachieving programs into pillars of success for mid-size nonprofits. Erin has consistently elevated leadership and annual giving funds raised, constituent engagement, and donor participation across six organizations. She has successfully led annual giving campaigns exceeding $1 million and secured individual gifts and grants surpassing $1 million.

Much of her career has been spent in higher education, most recently serving as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Chestnut Hill College, a private Catholic college in Philadelphia. During her tenure, Erin raised more than $32 million in just three and a half years, effecting a complete transformation in the philanthropic culture of the College.

Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from York College of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Philadelphia University. She resides in Lansdale, PA with her husband Tim, and their dog Eddie. Her daughter Taylor is 23 and lives in Shippensburg, PA.

Bruce Robinson

Strategic Plan Advisor

Bruce has both private and nonprofit sector leadership experience and has successfully applied his acquired business skills in the education sector. As former President and CEO of Independence Mission Schools (IMS), Bruce will continue to work with the organization focusing on completing the $50 million fundraising goal of the strategic plan.

Bruce has education leadership experience from successfully turning around Ss. Neumann Goretti Catholic High School in South Philadelphia, which was struggling academically and financially. His achievements included developing a strategic plan focused on operational and academic excellence, accountability and creating a culture of compassion and positivity. Under his tenure the school saw freshmen enrollment increase significantly, operating deficits decrease and financial support from Foundations and philanthropists flourish.

Bruce previously was a founding investor and executive officer of GMH Communities Trust, a real estate investment trust specializing in college housing properties and military housing privatization. Bruce’s leadership helped the company grow substantially and it went public on the NYSE in 2004. The Company traded for four years before being sold to strategic buyers, including a $2 billion market cap British construction conglomerate Balfour Beatty. He continued to lead the military housing privatization initiative as CEO/President of Balfour Beatty Capital Group, a real estate company with an asset portfolio valued in excess of $5 billion, and which had over 1100 employees in 23 states. Bruce has also served as an adjunct professor at Drexel University in both their undergraduate and graduate programs.

Bruce grew up in Philadelphia and with his wife Anne has raised four children.