The BUILD Team dreams big
BUILD's Big Idea is that all students have the potential to graduate from high school and attend college - if they have the access to the right support, resources and people. Thanks to BUILD's talented and committed staff, our Big Idea is becoming a reality for young people across the country.
Meet our National Executive Team here. Click on the links at left to read more about our dedicated staff.
Suzanne McKechnie Klahr - Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Suzanne McKechnie Klahr founded BUILD in 1999 with a public service fellowship from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. As the CEO, Suzanne works with the board of directors to ensure a clear vision and strategic direction for the college success organization. Under Suzanne’s leadership, BUILD has grown from an initial four students to serve more than 1,100 students from 19 partner public high schools. BUILD currently operates its transformational four-year entrepreneurship program in the San Francisco Bay Area, DC and Boston. For her accomplishments with BUILD, Suzanne has received numerous awards:
Suzanne created and has continued to teach a course on social entrepreneurship at both Stanford Law School and Harvard Law School. She serves as a trustee of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation and is an Honorary Board Member of the Until There’s A Cure Foundation.
Suzanne earned a dual degree from Brown University and a JD from Stanford Law School, and she has successfully completed the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program in Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management.
Charles Salter - President & Chief Operating Officer
Chuck brings over 15 years of management and education reform experience to BUILD, having begun his career in East Palo Alto, California as a Teach For America corps member (at the same time Suzanne was starting BUILD in the same city!). During his three years in East Palo Alto, Chuck founded the Ravenswood Youth Soccer Club and served as the president of the Ravenswood Teachers Association. Following his time in East Palo Alto, Chuck went on to work as a master teacher, school leader, principal and charter school superintendent in different communities throughout the country. In addition to his direct work in public education, Chuck has held senior management positions with the national non-profit organizations Teach For America, After-School All-Stars, and Lighthouse Academies.
He earned his B.A. magna cum laude with university and departmental honors from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania and his J.D. from the Mauer School of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington. Chuck has also completed graduate studies in Nonprofit Management and Business Management from Indiana University and Ball State University respectively. He is a trained mediator and a member of the Indiana State Bar. When not working, among other things Chuck enjoys cooking, photography, mountain biking and practicing aikido.
Judy Madden, Ed.D. - Vice President of Programs and Evaluations
Dr. Judy Madden has more than 40 years of experience as an educator focused on serving students in under-resourced communities. She taught at every school level—from preschool to graduate school—and served as an elementary school counselor in the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland’s largest and most diverse school district. Her work as a counselor in high poverty communities fueled her passion about the urgent need for equitable access to opportunities and services. Judy held various leadership positions within MCPS, including Supervisor of K-12 School Counseling Services. Her work as a school counselor and counselor supervisor has been recognized with local, state, and national awards for excellence.
In 2005, Judy retired from MCPS to develop a multicultural mental health initiative for immigrant families at the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Montgomery County. Following her work at MHA, Judy served as Vice President of Education at College Summit, a national non-profit dedicated to increasing college enrollment rates for youth in low-income communities. She and her team pioneered a number of programs designed to forge college-going culture. She served as an educational consultant before joining the staff at BUILD.
Judy holds a doctorate in educational and organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She also earned her B.A. in English and secondary education at Penn. She earned an Ed.M. from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and studied counseling for a specialist’s degree from George Washington University.
Chrystine L. Villarreal - Managing Director of Partnerships & Investments
Chrystine was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and received her B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining BUILD in 2012, Chrystine worked at Khosla Ventures, a $1.4B fund, with luminaries such as Vinod Khosla, Tony Blair and Gideon Yu. She evaluated entrepreneurs in the technology, media, social media and clean tech sectors. Previously she was a lead negotiator for city, county and state workers in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and for the State of California. She was responsible for over $17mm in employee contracts in her region. Chrystine has also served as a Political Director at South Bay Labor Council where she worked on political strategies that affected working families. Now in her role as Managing Director of Partnerships & Investments, Chrystine establishes relationships with BUILD’s strongest supporters and is championing BUILD’s mission to serve more students nationally. Chrystine is the proud mother to four beautiful boys--Carlitos, Joaquin, Daniel and Emiliano--and fortunate wife to her husband, Carlos.
Christopher Brown - Vice President of Regional Management & Growth
Christopher Brown oversees all aspects of program operations, is chief strategist for regional growth, and serves as the development lead for BUILD in the National Capital Region. Before BUILD, Chris served as Project Manager for College Summit’s research and development team at the national headquarters. Previously, Chris was an NYU Reynolds Graduate Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, during which time he also taught entrepreneurship in Long Island City Queens. Before NYU, Chris served as Program Director for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship New York Metro office. In 2001, he launched the social enterprise Youth Action in Johannesburg South Africa. Chris was also a founding staff member for City Year Washington DC and service leader for City Year Boston. A graduate of Valparaiso University, Chris was awarded the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, was a Coro Leadership New York member, and a Comcast National Leadership Award Winner.