Our Team | Accelify
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OUR TEAM

At Accelify we owe our success to our dedicated leadership, software development, client services, and support team. Together, we have built a culture committed to providing superior technology and service.

Management Team

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Alex Brecher – Chief Executive Officer
Alex has been the CEO of Accelify since 2009. Under his leadership the company went from a niche Medicaid billing company to a leader in education management solutions. Alex has personally directed the development of Accelify’s cutting edge special education data management tools while building out a world class team of domain experts and creative technologists. Alex has also overseen client engagements with districts such as LAUSD (2nd largest in the US), Chicago Public Schools (3rd largest in the US), Broward County Public Schools (6th largest in the US), District of Columbia Public Schools, and many others. Alex also co-founded Accelify Consulting, a boutique Special Education consulting firm staffed by world-class Special Education experts.

Alex began his career with management consulting and venture capital firm Rein Capital, where he advised companies such as IBM Global Services, AT&T WorldNet, and IDT Corporation on organizational development. Alex then served as Vice President of Marketing at IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT), a telephone company with over $1bb in annual sales. His next role was at First Financial Equities as Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, overseeing the company’s expansion efforts into new geographies and additional service areas such as brokerage services and commercial banking.

Alex spent the next four years running the MBO advisory firm, Hawkes Peers TW Associates, where he played a key role in developing portfolio management teams on behalf of private equity companies. He subsequently managed children’s fashion company Faigie Designs and, as CEO, oversaw its development from a startup into a brand carried by retailers such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

Alex currently serves on the Board of Directors of a number of public and private companies and charitable organizations.

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Joe Jacobs – President
Joe has been with Accelify since August of 2008 and is responsible for all back office operations throughout the country, including management of Accelify’s claiming programs in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Florida and California. Joe co-directs Accelify’s Medicaid Reimbursement Maximization Team. The team harnesses the power of Accelify’s robust data analytic tools to examine claiming trends at the national, state and individual client level to identify processes that are producing the greatest results and any outliers and issues that could be negatively impacting claiming levels. The team utilizes this information to implement programmatic changes as needed to improve claiming and compliance.

Joe Jacobs began his career as a consultant for WCR, a workmen’s compensation recovery firm, where he provided risk management consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses. Joe subsequently managed operations for National Mutual Holdings, an investment consultancy focused on financial services companies. He was recruited by a group of investors to oversee the turnaround of a psychiatric treatment hospital in Arkansas where he oversaw all aspects of turnaround operations and billing services.

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The Honorable Robert H. Pasternack, Ph.D. – Chief Education Officer
Dr. Pasternack has over 40 years of experience in public education, including a term as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at the U.S. Department of Education. During his tenure at the US Department of Education, Dr. Pasternack led the 2004 Reauthorization of IDEA, and helped with the implementation of NCLB. Dr. Pasternack served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, the President’s Mental Health Commission, and as the Chair of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee during his time as the Assistant Secretary.

A former classroom teacher, school psychologist, superintendent and State Director of Special Education for the State of New Mexico, Dr. Pasternack has held a number of leadership positions in education. With a focus on improving outcomes and results for all students, particularly Students with Disabilities, Dr. Pasternack has been a leading proponent of changing the identification practices for students with Specific Learning Disabilities from the ‘wait to fail’ model to Response to Intervention (RtI). His advocacy for the RtI model included testimony before the U.S. House and Senate; work on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education; and frequent speaking engagements at state, regional, national and international meetings. Dr. Pasternack’s work on RtI led to the historic reforms embedded in the current Reauthorization of IDEA, including the focus on instruction and results, and considering students with disabilities as general education students first.

Dr. Pasternack is a nationally certified school psychologist, a certified educational diagnostician, a certified school administrator, and a certified teacher (K-12).

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Derek Abraham – Vice President of Field Operations
Derek Abraham became Accelify’s Vice President of Field Operations in 2008 after managing school-based Medicaid claiming programs for Accelify’s predecessor company for over 6 years. He has more than 20 years of experience working with various federal reimbursement programs and is an expert in school-based Medicaid and other federal reimbursement methodologies. During this time he has managed 12 statewide projects that collectively produced hundreds of millions in federal funds for state-level agencies and local school districts.

Derek also directly oversees the Field Operations teams responsible for managing all claiming and related operations within each state. These responsibilities include providing detailed analyses of the results generated for each of Accelify’s school district clients, the resolution of project-specific issues, and Accelify’s training programs nationwide.

Derek plays a leadership role on Accelify’s Medicaid Reimbursement Maximization Team. In addition to identifying aspects of clients’ programming that might be hampering their ability to generate revenue, Derek has played a lead role in client district discussions with state agencies over policy issues. These efforts have led to significant increases in revenue for many Accelify clients nationwide.

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Leonid Shum – Chief Technology Officer
Leo Shum has been driving Accelify’s technology direction, both strategically and tactically, since joining the company in 2009. Leo is responsible for executing the company’s client-driven product development efforts for Accelify’s comprehensive suite of special education management tools. His vision and creative abilities have led to Accelify’s products being recognized among the great enterprise level tools in the education management marketplace. Leo joined Accelify after a successful 10-year career at Computer Associates, one of the world’s largest software companies. While at Computer Associates, Leo was responsible for the development and roll-out of numerous data management technologies.

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David Thomas – Vice President of Business Development
David Thomas is nationally recognized as a leader in education reform. With over 24 years’ experience in education and strong political ties at the local, state, and federal level, David has been committed to ensuring equity and equal access to education is afforded to all throughout his career.

David began his career as a classroom teacher and college professor and has held a number of leadership positions in education, including campus provost and local school board commissioner. In addition to serving as a local school board commissioner, David Co-Chaired the Governor’s Commission on Education Reform, and served as National Chair of the National School Boards Association, Council of Urban Boards of Education. David currently services as a Senior Advisor to the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and as Secretary of the BAEO Action Fund.

Prior to joining Accelify, David spent nine years as Executive Vice President of Grade Results, Inc., a leading provider of online courses and content for virtual and blended learning models. David is also a partner with Nellons-Paige Group, a national education consulting firm led by former U.S. Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, where he leads teams working with district administrations on school turnaround and reform initiatives.

In his role at Accelify, David oversees new business development for Accelify nationwide.

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Natalie Roth – Director of Marketing
Natalie currently oversees marketing initiatives for Accelify nationwide. She began her career in education technology as the Marketing Manager for Sports Business University (SBU), a start-up online university dedicated to the sports business. Following SBU Natalie directed marketing programs and provided sales support at Chief Executive Air, a private jet charter company. In her role at Accelify, Natalie manages marketing on all fronts, including new business development and customer communications to ensure optimal system adoption among Accelify’s clients. Natalie graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University with a major in Digital Media and Communications.

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Sam Soppe – Senior Operations Manager
Sam Soppe has been a leader in the implementation and management of Accelify engagements throughout the state of Florida and the rest of the country. Prior to joining Accelify, Sam spent eight years working in the special education department of Belleville Public Schools (IL), where she was involved in the implementation of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)-related procedures and the development and implementation of a new Medicaid billing program. She subsequently managed Medicaid claiming programs for hundreds of school districts in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Arizona since 1998. Sam currently manages FFS and SDAC Medicaid billing for Accelify’s client districts in Florida. Sam also serves as a member of Accelify’s Medicaid Reimbursement Maximization Team.