Meet Our Team

Mary Carrasco
Director of Institutional Advancement
Phone: 202-537-8126

Mary K. Carrasco joined Sidwell Friends as Director of Institutional Advancement in June 2012. Mary has broad experience in the world of advancement and is widely recognized in the field as a leader in independent school development programs. Before coming to Sidwell, she served for five years as the Assistant Head of School for External Affairs and Chief Development Officer at Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. She had previously served as the school’s Director of Capital Programs for eight years. Mary has also worked in advancement at Georgetown University, Aiglon College: The British International School of Switzerland, the Community Foundation of Greater Washington, Maret School, and the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. She holds a degree in communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University.

Jackie Conrad
Director of Communications
Phone: 202-537-8142

Jackie Conrad joined Sidwell Friends as the school’s first Director of Communications with extensive experience in marketing and communications. She has held various positions including running marketing at two successful (acquired) start-up companies where she was responsible for all communication functions. Most recently, Jackie spent eight years at The Washington Post where she was the Director of Marketing and managed an analytical and strategic team. A native Washingtonian, Jackie attended a local independent school and is passionate about education. Jackie holds a BS in Communications from Northwestern University and a MBA from New York University.

Dionna Gunter
Gifts Processing Coordinator

Dionna joined the Instituional Advancement office at Sidwell Friends School in December 2014 as the Gift Processing Coordinator. Prior to Sidwell, she worked on Raiser’s Edge database projects with a number of organizations in the DC metropolitan area sharing her affinity for database integrity including the American Kidney Fund, Imagine America Foundation, Planned Parenthood DC and Catholic Charities USA. Dionna is currently pursuing her BS in Computer Science and enjoys spending her free time with her family.

Jessie Jacobson
Director of Special Events
Phone: 202-537-8442

Jessie joined Sidwell Friends School in September 2011 as Assistant Director of Special Events and was promoted to her current position in September 2012. Prior to her arrival at SFS, she served as the Program Coordinator at Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles, where she coordinated events for seriously ill children and their families and also managed the volunteer program. Jessie graduated cum laude from American University with a bachelor’s degree in public communication and a minor in art history. In 2012, she earned her certification in event management from George Washington University.

Dia Karakantas
Director of Annual Giving
Phone: 202-537-8440

Dia joined the Institutional Advancement Office at Sidwell Friends School in May 2014 as the Director of Annual Giving. Prior to her arrival at SFS, she served as the Associate Director of Membership and Annual Giving at Ford’s Theatre, where she managed all giving and membership programs for donors at $10,000 and below. Dia has also worked in Development offices at MIT and Cornell University, focusing her energy on annual giving programs. Dia completed her Master’s Degree in Arts Administration at Boston University, where she also earned a certificate in fundraising. She spent her undergraduate years at Penn State University studying classical history and psychology.

Jackie LaFrance
Digital Specialist
Phone: 202-537-8155

Jackie LaFrance joined the Institutional Advancement Office at Sidwell Friends School in January 2014 as the Digital Specialist. Prior to working at Sidwell Friends, Jackie worked as the Communications Manager for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. She also interned at Search for Common Ground and the Elizabeth Stone House. Jackie is a graduate of American University with dual bachelor’s degrees in print journalism and history.

Anna Lindel
Young Alumni Coordinator
Phone: 202-537-8441

Anna joined the Office of Institutional Advancement in July 2013 as the Young Alumni Coordinator. Prior to working at Sidwell Friends, Anna worked in government relations and political fundraising. She grew up in New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. She earned a BA in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles as well as a Master’s Certificate in political management from the George Washington University. Actively involved with Choate’s Alumni Association, Anna currently serves as the co-chair of Choate’s regional alumni club in Washington, DC.

Maria Mihalik
Content Manager
Phone: 202-537-8444

Maria Mihalik brings more than 25 years of experience writing and editing for print and online mediums. She began her career at Rodale, Inc., where she was on staff with three magazines, including Prevention, the nation’s 18th largest at the time. She then became a senior editor with monthly magazines Destination Discovery and TLC Monthly; copyeditor for Discovery Channel Online; and an editor with Discovery’s book division in partnership with Random House. Maria served as a reporter in Stuttgart, Germany, for the U.S. Army’s community newspaper, until becoming the director of corporate communications for a large nonprofit in Colorado.

Caitlin Moses
Director of Advancement Services
Phone: 202-537-8439

Caitlin joined the Institutional Advancement Office in January 2013 as the Prospect Information Coordinator. A Virginian for most of her life, Caitlin graduated cum laude from the College of William and Mary with a BA in American Studies in 2009. Following this, she spent time working as a paralegal in Richmond before deciding to pursue a master’s degree in gender studies at the University College of London, which she completed in November 2012.

Megan Odett
Advancement Systems Analyst
Phone: (202) 537-8127

Megan Odett has been fascinated by databases ever since she tasked herself with writing a CRM user guide at her first nonprofit internship. A graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, she has worked in fundraising and communications at organizations in the performing arts, environmental, and active transportation communities. Megan is delighted to bring her in-depth knowledge of nonprofit CRM systems to the Sidwell community. Megan is also known for her work as a local chapter founder and national leader in the “Kidical Mass” movement, which encourages parents and kids to bike together for transportation and fun.

Melissa Prather
Director of Development
Phone: 202-537-8126

Melissa joined the Institutional Advancement Office at Sidwell Friends School in April 2013 as Director of Development. Melissa started her development career in 1998 at The Holton-Arms School, where she served for three and a half years as the Director of Annual Giving and then the Interim Campaign Director. Melissa went on to serve as Director of Development for BlackRock Center for the Arts, The Ivymount School, and Christ Episcopal School. In January 2009, Melissa returned to Holton-Arms to serve as the Director of Leadership Giving. She holds a degree in sociology and African-American studies from the University of Maryland.

Elizabeth Souder
Director of Leadership Giving
Phone: 202-537-8443

Elizabeth joined the Institutional Advancement Office at Sidwell Friends School in November 2010 as Assistant Director of the Annual Funds. She was promoted to her current position in September 2012. Prior to coming to Sidwell, she worked in development for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Elizabeth grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned her BA in communications with a minor in art history.

Mary Sophia Williams
Advancement Associate

Mary Sophia joined Sidwell Friends as Advancement Associate in November 2014. Prior to her arrival at SFS, she served as Congressman John Carney’s Executive and Press Assistant on Capitol Hill. Mary Sophia is a “Lifer” from Wilmington Friends, and is passionate about Quaker education. She earned a BA in political science from Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

Cassandra Zacharkiw
Donor Relations Manager
Phone: 202-537-8125

Cassandra joined Sidwell Friends School in September 2014 as Donor Relations Manager. Prior to her arrival at SFS, she served as associate director of Stewardship and Donor Relations at American University, where she focused on the stewardship of endowed and current-use funds, donor recognition, development communications, and special events. Cassandra graduated with distinction from American University with a master’s degree in public communication. She spent her undergraduate years at Ithaca College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English.