Leadership Team

Brightside Academy is a company made up of strong, talented individuals including the company’s leadership team. Knowing that children learn the most in childhood, the company’s leadership team, along with their respective teams, work to provide all families access to an excellent educational experience for all children enrolled in our programs.

Jack Safer, Chief Operations Officer

Jack Safer joined Brightside Academy as the Chief Operations Officer after working in the social services sector and a number of health care organizations throughout the last decade. Jack’s hands-on leadership style and creative approach to problem-solving has enabled him to execute highly complex programs and initiatives successfully within the health care field. He brings his community service and innovative management methods to Brightside Academy with the goal of expanding our services for children and families of all backgrounds by providing them with high-quality child care and education. Jack graduated with honors from Fairleigh Dickinson University and holds a Degree in Business Administration.

Ray Wojtowicz, Chief Financial Officer

Ray Wojtowicz joined Brightside Academy in May 2007. He holds a master’s in business administration in accounting and finance from the Katz Graduate School at the University of Pittsburgh. He has held multiple positions in the Finance Department throughout the years within Brightside Academy. As Chief Financial Officer, he oversees all accounting functions, grant administration, and CACFP compliance.

Sharen Woodley, Regional Vice President, Philadelphia

With over 20 years in the ECE field, Sharen brings extensive experience as a trainer, leader, and operational specialist. She has trained locally and nationally on topics such as diversity, leadership, classroom management, succession planning, and difficult conversations and behavior modification. Her experience and proven track record of success in training and leading early childhood organizations to success are an extraordinary asset to Brightside Academy.

Raina Kelly, Regional Vice President, Pittsburgh

Raina brings over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. She has held both teaching and management positions throughout her tenure at Brightside. She focuses on team building, management, training, coaching, employee engagement, and bringing high quality to all areas of our service. Raina is a community partner and takes pride in being able to support and be of service to all families and children. 

Kim Kemp, Vice President, Human Resources

Kim comes to Brightside Academy with over a decade of human resources leadership in healthcare and retail built upon years of operational leadership and business management.  Kim focuses on driving recruiting and talent results by leveraging both traditional and innovative recruiting development strategies.  Kim has a tremendous passion for people and believes in supporting a safe learning environment for all ages.  Kim strives to support and invest in our Brightside Academy employees, wanting to help them achieve their highest potential as they continue to positively influence the futures of the children and the families we serve.

Shawna Starling, Vice President, Intervention and Development 

Having served in a leadership capacity within early intervention and special education for over 15 years, Shawna brings passion, drive, and focus to enrich the lives of our staff and students through optimal growth and learning opportunities.  Shawna’s mission is to not only nurture the early growth and development of young children but to also nurture the nurturer and cultivate sustainability in communities with the intent of achieving long-term positive effects on the global society.

Tracy Sammons-Venonsky, Vice President, Education and Development

Tracy Sammons-Venonsky joined Brightside Academy in January 2010. Coming from a family of educators, Tracy is passionate about the field of education and teacher growth and development. In partnership with her quality coaching team, Tracy supports teachers and leadership in implementing quality standards and best practices, which assists them in providing high-quality educational experiences to the children we serve. Tracy graduated from Rowan University where she obtained a degree in Education. In addition, she holds a highly qualified teacher certification.