With years of experience and a deep commitment to student learning, our staff supports each student project, the Teacher Network, and the many partnerships that connect the classroom with the community.
Executive director Kyra Atterbury (pronouns- she/her) has nearly a decade of experience in the classroom and in public history settings. She has a master’s in public history from Temple University and a bachelor’s in history from Loyola College (MD). Kyra served as Need in Deed’s Program Director for over a decade before assuming the role of Executive Director. A proud graduate of the Philadelphia public school system, Kyra believes that amplifying the voices of students and teachers is critical to the success of our city. When not working, you’ll find Kyra doing yoga, gardening, or reading.
Additional Random Kyra Facts:
✅ Registered yoga teacher
✅ Expert at cooling old large homes in the summer
✅ Loves brussels sprouts, dislikes peas
✅ Gets lost for hours in libraries and bookstores
Associate Director Janet Chance (pronouns-she/her) designs professional growth opportunities for experienced members of the Teacher Network, develops partnerships with colleges and universities, and creates collaborations that extend NiD’s service-learning approach to new audiences. Prior to joining NiD, Janet taught 7th-12th grade English, served as an elementary school principal, and directed the Office of School & Community Collaborations at Arcadia University. Janet holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, an M.A. in English from Middlebury College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Swarthmore College.
Additional Random Janet Facts:
Program Director Julia Chrestay (pronouns- she/her) is passionate about promoting the well-being of Philadelphia’s teachers and students, and creating opportunities for them to honor their full selves in their teaching and learning. Julia’s background is in elementary education and community-based arts programming, and she has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s in multicultural education from Eastern University. She loves to be in her garden, in the woods, and near big water, especially with her loved ones.
Additional Random Julia Facts:
✅ Usually has multiple art projects going at once
✅ Loves singing with other humans
✅ Likes meaningful books and lighthearted tv
✅ Is delighted by birds
Finance and Operations Manager Lisa Johns (pronouns – she/her) manages all of Need in
Deed’s finances, development and office operations. She came to Need in Deed from the
University of Pennsylvania’s Development Office many years ago as a part-time employee and
never left. Her love of her public school education from K – 8th grade is reflected in Need in
Deed’s program and mission. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Psychology and
a Master of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania.
Additional Random Lisa Facts:
✅ Spends too much money on books (yes, all versions)
✅ Loves food, laughing and movies
✅ Loves all types of cartoons and graphic novels and has an extensive comic book collection
✅ Enjoys crocheting, knitting, and jewelry-making and sometimes even finishes projects/presents
Program Coordinator Stecy Mbemba (pronouns- she/her) assists in the organization and facilitation of Need in Deed’s My Voice Framework and supports new members of the Teacher Network. With a passion for educational equity and innovation, Stecy is moved by Need In Deed’s student-centered mission to connect classrooms to their communities. She holds a bachelor’s in sociology from Bard College with a concentration in science, technology, society and experimental humanities. Outside of work, Stecy’s main passions in life are simple: food, relaxing, love, and laughter.
Additional Random Stecy Fact:
Program Manager Helena Miller (pronouns- she/her) comes to this work with a foundation of 12 years of high school classroom teaching in urban public schools, independent schools, and charter schools. She has also served as a coach for K-12 parochial school teachers and student teachers from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Helena focuses on centering student voices, building student skills to participate in a democratic community, and coaching teachers through reflective collaboration. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in History from Brown University.
Additional Random Helena Facts:
✅ Loves Prince, Missy Elliot and Lizzo (but not always in that order)
✅ Channels creative energies into Halloween costumes and pottery
✅ Has never met anyone with a worse first-year-of-teaching mess-up than hers (ask her!)
DaCia Newkirk, Need in Deed’s Summer Intern, is a rising senior at Swarthmore College, with a double major in Educational Studies and Black Studies. At Swarthmore, she is president of the Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society (SASS) and secretary of the Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA)