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The Cushman School

An Identity Linked to Excellence

Meet the Advancement Team

  James A. Knapp
  Chief Strategy Officer for Advancement

James A. Knapp, Chief Strategy Officer, joined Cushman last year. With more than 15 years of experience in strategic plan development, program management, organizational leadership and fundraising, James will serve as trusted Cushman leadership and lead relationship builder for the school. Knapp will be working alongside Dr. Arvi Balseiro, Head of School, the Board of Trustees and the faculty/staff to build a vision and corresponding development strategy to meet the needs and mission of the school and drive strategic growth. In addition, he will work to strategically connect Cushman to the community and build meaningful collaborations.

Prior to arriving at Cushman he served as Director of Community Relations at Florida International University (FIU) where he managed FIU’s President’s Council and continuously developed community relations strategies through strong relationships aimed at building meaningful collaborations to help bolster and develop stronger community ties, and establish new relationships, initiatives, and partnerships in top key areas for FIU. With years of experience in higher education and organizational leadership, James was named one of South Florida Business Journal's 40 under 40 for 2018, and was recognized as a part of the Winners Circle for the Top Leader in the Under 35 for the LEAD initiative.

James also serves as the chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) Education Committee and is the chair-elect of the Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce. In addition, James volunteers his time with several community organizations helping at-risk youth, including serving on the board with the Lil Abner Foundation and working as a leadership facilitator for the Do What Counts organization. James earned both his Bachelor's in Sports Management and a Masters in Higher Education from FIU and is currently completing his Doctorate in Business Administration at St.Thomas University.

  Lisa Arvin
  Manager of The Cushman Fund & Parent Engagement

Lisa Arvin, Associate Director of Parent Engagement & Philanthropy, is a lawyer-turned-Cushman enthusiast. Lisa was a passionate parent, actively volunteering and engaging in all activities including Friday pizza delivery since her son Andrew started in the Nursery class.  As a Cushman parent, Lisa served as the Cushman School Parents’ Association (“CSPA”) President for six years before transitioning into a position working at Cushman.  Lisa works in the Office of Advancement where her focus is on parent engagement and fundraising. Lisa has two children, Lilly and Andrew, who both attend The Cushman School and is known for wearing funky shoes.

  Jennifer Corzo
  Events Manager

Jennifer Corzo, Events Manager, has been part of the Cushman family for the past nine years.  Starting off as a Cushman volunteer, Jennifer quickly became part of the Advancement team, helping with all events, including the Annual Cushman Gala.  She spent a few years as a 5th-grade assistant and is now back full time in the Office of Advancement, managing all the Cushman School events and fundraising activities including Give Miami Day and the Cushman Gala.  Jennifer has two children, Alex and Olivia who is in Cushman Middle School.  Say hi to Mrs. Corzo at the blue awning.

   Kitty Phanthavong
  Advancement Services Manager

Kitty Phanthavong, Advancement Services Manager.  Approaching her 14th year at The Cushman School, Kitty's primary duty is managing gifts & data with additional tasks ranging from reconciliation to graphic design.  Kitty is known for troubleshooting all of our office issues.  She spent one year in the Finance department assisting with purchases.  For the past three years, she has been the co-captain of The Balance Scorecard Committee for the Internal Process team.  Kitty became a mom of two while working at Cushman.  Her two boys both attend the elementary school at Cushman. 

  Karen Smith-Gulaskey
  Director of Marketing

Karen Smith-Gulaskey, Director of Marketing, has worked at Cushman for over 15 years.  Starting as a Cushman mom when her daughter, Chloe was in Pre-K, she joined the Office of Advancement in fundraising.  As the School grew, Karen was charged with promoting and marketing the newly formed High School and managing social media. Prior to Cushman, she worked in consumer product marketing. Karen has two daughters, Chloe and Emma, who both attended Cushman. In her free time, she can be found at volleyball games, cheering Emma.