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Our Staff

We are professionals who have worked in colleges and high schools supporting students in their postsecondary and career endeavors. We’re committed to using our skills and insight to support Lenfest Scholars as they pursue and achieve their dreams. 

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Dr. Martha Denney
Executive Director  |

Martha Denney, Executive Director since August 2020, grew up in a small town in rural upstate New York. She holds a BA in French from Hamilton College, a Masters in Education from Harvard University, and a PhD in Anthropology from Brandeis University. She has been working in higher education for over twenty years, holding positions at Colby College, Georgetown University, and most recently, Haverford College. She has experience in international education, program administration, faculty development and student affairs, as well as having taught French, music, education and anthropology at a number of levels. She has lived in France, Switzerland, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts but has never been courageous enough to learn to ski downhill. She is deeply committed to access, affordability and student success in higher education, and is delighted to be working with the marvelous staff and committed Board of Directors of LSF, helping Lenfest Scholars achieve their potential.

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Tasha Flowers
Operations & Systems Coordinator  |

Tasha Flowers (they/them/theirs) joined the Lenfest team in June of 2022. They are looking forward to being a worker elf who builds and maintains infrastructure so that Lenfest can continue to support the academic and career success of rural students in Pennsylvania. Tasha’s background is in interdisciplinary arts with formal education at the bachelor’s and master’s level. They have a deep love of music, writing, and performance art in particular, but also practice in several other mediums including photography, graphic design, and experimenting with nontraditional materials. As a lifelong-learner, they value growth and spend a great deal of time watching tutorials on YouTube as well as taking courses in subjects that interest them. Tasha is a huge fan of rugby after playing a bit in undergrad. They root for all New Zealand teams (except for the Crusaders).

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Layshan Gilliard
Events & Communications Coordinator  |

Layshan holds a B.S in Psychology & Clinical Counseling from Kutztown University and an M.S in Higher Education Policy & Student Affairs from West Chester University. As a first generation college graduate, she is extremely passionate about mentoring and providing the tools and resources needed for success to other first gen students. Since graduating from Kutztown, Layshan has put herself in spaces geared towards college access and success where she gained experience in advising, social media, public speaking, and event coordination. After graduating from her master's program in 2020, Layshan went on to work for Upward Bound at Reading Area Community College where she advised and supported 9th - 12th graders who were set for college. She provided small and large-scale events, workshops, and trips both virtually and in person to ensure her students were connected no matter the distance between them. Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Layshan finds joy in traveling, Marvel movies, plants, and music!


Kim Jackson
Associate Director  |

Kim joined the Lenfest team as Associate Director in December 2020 and is thrilled to be on board. She has been working with students in almost every capacity possible to help them with their college and career goals for the last thirty years. Kim grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania and attended West Chester University, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts, her Masters in Higher Education Counseling and her Certification in Secondary School Counseling. She started her career in Student Affairs as a residence hall director and loved it! She then went on to work in Academic Advising, Multicultural Affairs, Disability Services and she has worked with several high school to college transition programs. In 2005, she shifted her focus to work with high school students, becoming a School Counselor. She worked exclusively as a College Counselor for five years, then spent another ten and a half years working with a caseload of 300 high school students on personal and academic issues, helping them to create their postsecondary plans. To her, there is nothing like the palpable atmosphere of a thriving college campus! However, the process of searching, selecting and applying to college can be overwhelming for students and parents. As a first generation college student, Kim understands this all too well. She believes strongly in finding the right fit and is committed to helping Lenfest Scholars choose the college that will provide them the most transformative experience possible. Kim and her husband live in East Norriton and have three daughters. Kim loves to read and listen to podcasts, sometimes practices yoga, enjoys musicals and the theater, and especially loves to cook and bake. Most of the people she follows on social media have something to do with food!

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Jess Lee MacLeod
Associate Director for Operations  |

Jess joined the LSF team in December 2020. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Smith College and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She has twelve years of experience in the education field where she has provided direct student care and managed programs, processes, events, communications, and data. Previously, Jess advised undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also enjoyed supporting PreK-12 populations, including high schoolers in the School District of Philadelphia. Her interests include college access and equity, transitions to and growth during college, and optimizing the administrative practices that affect both. Outside of work, Jess enjoys creative and outdoor activities with loved ones. She's grateful to be part of the LSF community and to celebrate Lenfest Scholars throughout their journeys.


Steve Watter
Associate Director  |

Steve came to the Lenfest Scholars Foundation in June 2020 after a 40-year career in higher education advising and supporting students through the inevitable ups and downs of college. The first ten years of this time span found Steve working at colleges and universities, large and small, across the country--in Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington State, and Illinois. After finally settling down, he served for more than 30 years in the Dean’s Office at Haverford College near Philadelphia. His primary goal is that all students with whom he works enjoy the best possible undergraduate experience. Steve’s association with Lenfest first began in 2016, when he was asked to sit on one of the interview teams charged with selecting the new cohort of Lenfest Scholars. Participating as an interviewer over the next five years Steve became so impressed by the quality and character of the Scholars and the transformative mission of the Lenfest College Scholars Program that, when invited to come out of retirement to join the Lenfest staff, he jumped at the opportunity. Steve considers it an honor to be part of the Lenfest Scholars Foundation. Steve looks forward to getting to know well each of the Scholars and being a source of support and advice as they navigate their college experience, bringing to bear on this important work his expertise and dedication to the success and well-being of his students. A native of industrial northern New Jersey who now considers Philadelphia home, Steve holds degrees from Oberlin College (OH) and Colorado State University and engaged in advanced study at the University of Pennsylvania. When not worrying about his advisees, Steve enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, eating, music, theater, traveling, and bad puns. He is also an avid, but inept, golfer. Fore!

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