Who We Serve

CT graduation rate

Shepherds serves the needs of inner-city Connecticut high school students who show the potential to thrive in a private college preparatory high school and are motivated to excel academically and personally with the guidance of a dedicated adult mentor.

Typical 8th Grade Shepherds Student Profile

  • Most lack financial resources to attend a private high school
  • Come from single parent households
  • Often perform below grade level in middle school
  • English may not be the primary language at home

Become A Student ››

Typical Student Demographics

Partners in Student Success

Shepherd partner schools offer quality college preparatory education at a relatively affordable cost to students and their families who seek superior academic challenges and personalized attention in a structured and caring environment.

A key element of Shepherds school partnerships is being able to engage with teachers and school administrations to actively track and guide students through their four years of high school with the goal of them graduating and enrolling in institutions of higher education.

“Partnering with Shepherds gives our students the advantage of a mentor and additional resources that enhance the school experience. Together, Kolbe Cathedral and Shepherds, send students to college or to the world of work, ready to make a difference.”

Camille Figluizzi, Principal
Kolbe Cathedral High School

“We are blessed every day with the opportunity to work both with students and with mentors who give so much to each other, benefiting all who are involved in the program.”

Robert F. Curis, President
Notre Dame High School

Our History

Shepherds, Inc. was co-founded in Fairfield County, Connecticut in 1998 by Barney Phillips, a partner at a major NYC-based international law firm and Brendan Fisk, a former FBI Special Agent and Connecticut businessman. It was modeled on the successful NYC Student Sponsor Partners.

Shepherds’ pilot school, Kolbe Cathedral High School in Bridgeport, had five students. Today, Kolbe Cathedral remains a core Shepherds school partner and provides educational opportunities to young men and women in the Bridgeport area.

Notre Dame West Haven High School was added as a partner school in 2000 to serve the needs of qualified male students in the West Haven and New Haven area. Over our history, several other private schools in Fairfield and New Haven counties also participated as Shepherds school partners.

Since its inception, over 350 Shepherds students have successfully graduated from high school and gone on to institutions of higher learning or pursued in careers in military and civil service.

Shepherds has relied heavily upon the great work of volunteers who serve as mentors and often as sponsors of Shepherds Students. As a non-profit organization, Shepherds also depends on the financial generosity from many individuals and organizations, including our Board of Directors, family foundations, corporations, churches and community funds.

A key to our success has been an engaged and dedicated Shepherds Board of Directors who bring their professional experience, skills, significant time commitment and energy to building, shaping and guiding students.

Together, the Shepherds team and staff, Board of Directors, school partners and volunteers work to fulfill our mission in making a difference in the lives of underserved students and their families and ultimately in our own families and communities.

Board of Directors

Lisy Currier-Martinez, Chair

Barnet Phillips IV, Esq., Vice Chairman, Founder
Retired Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LP

Hugh McCrory, Secretary
SVP & Chief Counsel, MetLife Investment Management

Louis W. Taylor, Treasurer
Retired Partner, Paulson & Co.

Timothy J. Stuart, Founding Partner
Past President, Louis Dreyfus Energy Services

Gregory Dillon
Author, Former FBI

Gina Garzon
Vice President, Portfolio Manager, TD Bank, N.A.

Daniel R. McAuliffe, Jr.
Retired Executive, Citigroup, JP Morgan & Co.

Frederick A. McMullen
Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

Jim O'Neil
Retired, Constellation Brands

Jane Purcell
Head Teacher, St. Paul's Nursery School

Carrie Sindelar
Human Resources and Training Executive

Sara Tieke
Self-employed Math Tutor and Former Secondary Teacher

Thomas W. Wynne
Financial Executive

Glenn F. Xavier, MSW
Mental Health Clinician for Hamden Public Schools and Post University


Tim Magee
Executive Director

Jackie Gratz
Director of Administration

Jane MacDonald
Director of Development

Cecilia Hatton
Kolbe Cathedral HS Liaison

Joe Elbertson
Kolbe Cathedral HS Faculty Advisor

Dennis Yacono
Notre Dame HS Liaison