Navigating Forward: Reflections and Plans from Our Transitioning CEO


When I joined the team of Students Rising Above at the end of 2019, I knew this was a very special community. Not only had SRA’s comprehensive programs and services been built by dedicated staff and volunteers over many years directly in response to the unique needs of our students, the organization’s supporters were unwaveringly committed to our young people’s journeys to and through college and into fulfilling careers. This commitment has strengthened over time, enduring through the challenges of a global pandemic, the repeal of affirmative action, skyrocketing tuition costs, and most recently, the uncertainty around availability of financial aid due to the delayed FAFSA release. Together, we have moved toward a brighter future, one in which education is not just a privilege but a fundamental right for all.

Today, I am writing to share news of an upcoming transition in SRA’s CEO position. I will be stepping out of my role at the end of May to complete my dissertation as the final step in a doctorate of education. My departure will invite new leadership to SRA, propelling our organization into its next stage of growth and continued effectiveness. SRA’s board of directors has been apprised of this transition and is initiating the search process for qualified candidates.

In the meantime, I am delighted to introduce Angela Bugayong, our Chief Program Officer, as SRA’s Interim CEO. With more than fifteen years of experience in nonprofit management and the field of college attainment, Angela is well equipped to guide SRA through this transition period. In her three prior years with SRA, first as its Senior Director of Program Strategy and then as Chief Program Officer, Angela has led the organization to new levels of effectiveness in its support to first-generation students from low-income backgrounds. Her work to establish systems and processes for data collection, management, and use has been transformative to SRA’s impact, as has her leadership to culturally adaptive and strength-based service designs.

SRA is in extremely capable hands, thanks to the dedication of our talented team and the continued support of donors like you. Your support of SRA’s work has been the cornerstone of our students’ journeys. As I move on, I carry with me great gratitude for our shared efforts and the also knowledge that our work is far from finished. Here’s to another 25 years of SRA’s success, and most importantly, the success of every young person we touch.

With my great appreciation,

Elizabeth Devaney
CEO, Students Rising Above