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Leadership of IMS Network

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Bruce Robinson

Chief Executive Officer and President

Bruce has both private and nonprofit sector leadership experience and has successfully applied his acquired business skills in the education sector. He is responsible for managing all aspects of IMS, including strategic planning, fundraising, financial sustainability, academics, Catholic culture, talent development and enrollment management.

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.

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 will be instrumental in executing on our strategic plan, which over the next five years will aim to make IMS a leader in achieving positive educational results at a large scale for our families. She will be 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.

Michelle Brown

Chief Development Officer (CDO)

Michelle has committed her career to the non-profit sector, with 22 years of leadership experience in development, communications, and operational capacities. Since the fall of 2019, Michelle has led fundraising and communications efforts at IMS, creating a new development strategy and team, and working to align communications and marketing efforts across the network. She has played a vital role in the creation of IMS’ new strategic plan, including planning and launching a five-year, $50M funding campaign.

Michelle’s career is rich with experiences in Catholic philanthropy. At the Development and Stewardship Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2000, she successfully led the annual Catholic Charities Appeal campaign, raising over $9m annually for five years, creating a young professional stewardship group and working to support parish stewardship programs. Michelle then focused on annual giving and events for the Franciscan Ministries Foundation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. For the next 10 years she worked on behalf of children and adults with intellectual disabilities at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health before shifting gears to urban education. As the Director of Development at Mastery Charter Schools she was responsible for overseeing fundraising strategy and implementation for a network of 24 schools.

Michelle holds a BA in Journalism from St. Bonaventure University and an MS in Non-Profit Management from Eastern University.

Michelle serves on the board of Focused Athletics, the Committee for the Media Elementary Playground, and coaches youth boys’ basketball. Michelle grew up in Delaware County and currently resides in Media with her two sons.

Gianna D’Angelo

Chief Operations and Financial Officer (COO/CFO)

Gianna brings 28 years of operational and finance experience to Independence Mission Schools (IMS). She has a thorough understanding of finance and systems which includes broad experience with the full-range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, finance, human resources, and information systems. Focused on the bottom-line, Gianna has a proven track record of exceeding goals and thinking strategically to anticipate future consequences and trends, and then incorporating them into organizational plans and financial models.

As Chief Operations and Financial Officer for Independence Mission Schools, Gianna is one of the vital members of the Executive Leadership Team supporting the IMS mission. She is responsible for all of the financial, strategic and operational aspects of the IMS network of 14 Catholic schools. Her key functions include managing finance and accounting, short- and long-term strategic planning, operations including facilities management, legal & risk management and technology, and human resources.

Gianna defines school-based operational excellence for IMS and manages a team of operations, human resources, and finance and counting professionals to ensure each school achieves such excellence. She also works closely with the board of directors and regional and school leaders to ensure the organizations successful impact, sustainability and growth.

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