Wendy Samet, Executive Director
Wendy has worked in the non-profit sector for almost 30 years, starting her professional life as a painting conservator. In 1996, Wendy led the multi-racial, economically diverse coalition that established Midtown Academy. She was a key participant in developing the program and structure that led to Midtown’s emergence as one of Baltimore’s most successful and sought-after public charter schools.
In 2003, Wendy became Vice President of the Goldsmith Family Foundation. Over ten years, she restructured and branded the Foundation’s giving program, which donates up to $1,000,000 annually to education programs for underserved youth in Baltimore City. She worked with the board on strategic planning, providing professional development for board members, increasing their engagement, and honing the Foundation’s grant-making program.
Wendy became Executive Director of Middle Grades Partnership in September of 2013.
Wendy attended Hampshire College and received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. She did graduate work in Art History and Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and received an MS in Art Conservation from the Winterthur Museum/ the University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation where she later taught. Wendy continues to be a professional painting conservator and is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation. She has worked at the Walters Art Museum, the Barnes Foundation, and at the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution where she was in charge of the conservation of Whistler’s Peacock Room.
Stephanie Felton, Director of Development
Stephanie Felton joined Middle Grades Partnership on October 1, 2014, as Director of Development. Stephanie comes from Gilman School as the Director of Development Services. She spent 17 years in the Development Office at Gilman handling Alumni Relations, Annual Giving, Database Administration, and administrative duties of all fundraising and event planning aspects of their office. Stephanie stepped into the Director of Annual Giving position partway through her last year, while handing Database Administration, and was able to complete the fiscal year $140,000 over budget, raising over $2.3 million dollars. She attributes much of her success to her long tenure and the relationships she has built in her time at Gilman. Stephanie has experience working with the Board of Trustees as well as managing a 31 member Alumni Board.
Stephanie graduated from Shepherd College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. She lives in Ruxton with her husband Johnny and two daughters, Madison and Olivia, ages 16 and 12, who attend Towson High School and Dumbarton Middle School.
Andre Jones, Program Manager
Andre joined Middle Grades Partnership as Program Director after a decades-long career teaching middle school students. He spent his early years in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools teaching geography, economics, and history. In 2003-2004 Andre was named Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year. In 2006, he took a position at Gilman School where he taught geography and ethics and served as a coach and advisor. At Gilman, he was the recipient of the Dunn Advisor Award and the Walter Lord Teaching Prize. He also served as clerk of the Friends School of Baltimore Board of Trustees Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice.
Andre has an adult son who graduated from Friends School of Baltimore in 2009 and MIT in 2013. He lives with his wife Debbie in the Lake-Evesham neighborhood of North Baltimore. He enjoys his music collection, old house renovation, and studying and teaching geography.
Renee Samuels, Communications Manager, and Digital Content Creator
Renee Samuels is the Middle Grades Partnerships Communications Manager and Digital Content Creator. Prior to joining Middle Grades Partnership Ms. Samuels worked in the administrations of Mayors Sheila Dixon and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as a Special Assistant working with arts, culture, and tourism programs and Director of International Affairs — overseeing the Sister Cities program. She began her professional career as a television reporter in Western Maryland and later as a gubernatorial speechwriter. Renee lives in Baltimore City with her husband Jordan and daughter Ruby Gemma.
Anita Walia, Office Manager
After graduating from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Anita Walia has lived and worked in many different cities around the country. Over 10 years ago, she moved from San Francisco to settle in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. Anita brings a wide range of employment experience to her work at MGP. She has clerked in the Federal 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote, produced, and anchored a news program at a start-up cable TV station. In Baltimore, Anita has worked in Immigration Law and served on the Midtown Community Benefits District Board. In addition to working for MGP part-time, Anita manages her historic rental property and raises her two teenage daughters. Anita loves to travel, has been to Europe, India, China, Iceland, and hopes to take her children abroad before they all get “too old”. Anita has a daughter who is at Northeastern University and another daughter who is at Concordia University in Montreal.