Over 50 Years of Dedicated Service
Since 1966 NJEFA has been committed to the advancement of higher education in New Jersey. NJEFA has done so by staying true to the foundation of its mission to support world class higher education throughout the state. As a public fiduciary, our business is to help our colleges and university clients obtain low-cost financing for the development and preservation of campus facilities. In doing so, we are helping our clients make critical infrastructure investments so that they can provide state-of-the-art academic environments for New Jersey students.
Record of Excellence
Since 1966, NJEFA has completed 512 transactions on behalf of New Jersey colleges and universities with a total par value of $17.9 billion and a record of 0 defaults.
Since 2015 NJEFA has secured New Jersey institutions $329 million in net present value savings on debt service costs through refunding transactions.
Low-cost Financing Options
NJEFA is proud to offer New Jersey institutions multiple low-cost financing options to meet their capital needs, including:
- Tax-exempt Bond Financing
- Direct Placement / Bank Purchase
- Tax-exempt Leasing Program
- Public Private Partnership financing
From Concept, to Closing and Through Maturity
- Work with institutions to develop a plan that will meet their capital financing needs
- Manage the financing process & professionals
- Assist in the preparation of borrowing documents
- Bring bond issuances to the market
- Invest Bond proceeds
- Retain arbitrage rebate service providers and swap monitors
- Process bond fund requisitions
- Monitor for potential refinancing opportunities
Over 50 years with no defaults
$17.9 billion issues since inception
$329 million in NPV savings since 2015
Oversight and direction of NJEFA is entrusted to a seven-member board composed of five public, unsalaried
members appointed to five-year terms by the Governor with confirmation by the New Jersey Senate. The State
Treasurer and the Secretary of Higher Education serve ex-officio
Joshua E. Hodes
Joshua Hodes is a Partner at Public Strategies Impact, a government relations, public affairs and association management firm located in Trenton, NJ. Previously, Mr. Hodes served as Chief of Staff to Assembly Majority Leader and as senior staff member of the Assembly Majority Office, advising the Assembly Democratic Caucus on public policy initiatives. Prior to joining the Assembly Majority Office, Mr. Hodes served as an associate in government relations at Public Strategies Impact.
Mr. Hodes is active in local, state and national politics. In 2008, he served as a political advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in New Jersey and was a member of the NJ Delegation as a page at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Mr. Hodes also served on the New Jersey Democratic State Committee's Committee on Vacancies, which was responsible for selecting the New Jersey Electoral College members.
In addition, Mr. Hodes serves as an Advisory Board Member to the New Leaders Council of New Jersey. The mission of the New Leaders Council (NLC) is to train and support the next generation of progressive political entrepreneurs.
Mr. Hodes received his bachelor's degree from Rutgers College and a Master's in Labor and Employment Relations from Rutgers University.
Zakiya Smith Ellis
Secretary of Higher Education, State of New Jersey
Zakiya Smith Ellis has been nominated by Governor Phil Murphy to serve as New Jersey’s Secretary of Higher Education, where she is responsible for policy development and coordination of higher education activities for the state.
Smith Ellis previously led work at Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest foundation focused solely on higher education, to advance federal policy to increase attainment and to develop new postsecondary finance models, focusing on issues of affordability.
Prior to her work in philanthropy, Zakiya served as a Senior Advisor for Education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she was tasked with developing, informing, and promoting President Obama's higher education policy. She also served in the Obama administration as a senior adviser at the U.S. Department of Education, where she developed programmatic, policy and budget solutions to respond to pressing challenges in college access, affordability, and completion.
Before transitioning to work as a political appointee, Dr. Ellis served as Director of Government Relations for the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, where she authored reports on the efficacy of financial advising in college access programs, on community college transfer and articulation, and on the ability of low- and moderate- income families to afford college more broadly.
Earlier in her career, Zakiya worked directly with students in various capacities across the K-12 system, and her goal is to always bring those insights to her current work. She worked on staff in various capacities for Teach For America, helping to train new teachers, and for the federal GEAR UP program in East Boston, Massachusetts, providing college preparation and financial aid information to high school students. Ellis was introduced to federal policy as an intern on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, working for her former hometown Congresswoman.
Zakiya has been featured on C-SPAN and Fox Business News, profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education and was twice named to Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30. She recently completed a three-year term as an appointed member on the board of directors for the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).
Dr. Ellis holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and secondary education from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and holds a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth Maher Mouo
Treasurer, State of New Jersey
Elizabeth Maher Muoio was officially sworn in as State Treasurer on April 17, 2018 after being confirmed by the State Senate. She had been serving as Acting State Treasurer since Gov. Murphy assumed office on January 16, 2018.
Prior to joining the administration of Gov. Murphy, she had served as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the 15th Legislative District in Mercer and Hunterdon counties since February of 2015.
During her time in the General Assembly, Ms. Muoio served on the Assembly Budget, Judiciary, and Commerce and Economic Development committees where her signature legislative initiatives focused on improving access for women’s healthcare, closing the gender pay equity gap, protecting the environment, reducing exposure to hazardous lead, improving prison re-entry services, increasing literacy rates, fighting against concentrated poverty and expanding economic opportunities for all New Jerseyans.
As a result of her legislative efforts, she was honored for her work in the Assembly by the Sierra Club of NJ, the Trenton Chapter of the NAACP, the New Jersey Association of the Deaf, Inc., the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey (COANJ), the National Congress of Black Women – Trenton/Mercer Chapter, and the Trenton Public School system for her efforts to help improve literacy.
Ms. Muoio also served as Director of the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability from 2008 to January 2018.
Prior to assuming that position, she served as a member of the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 2000-2008, serving as Chair in 2004 and Vice Chair in 2003 and 2008. While Chair, she worked with the County Executive to enact one of the first countywide anti-pay-to-play ordinances in the nation and led the effort to ensure that the building of the new $81 million dollar Mercer County Courthouse was constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
She began her career as an elected official serving as a member of the Pennington Borough Council from 1997 to 2002.
Throughout the years, she has been involved in a number of community-based organizations, serving as a Troop Leader for the Girl Scouts of Delaware Valley, coaching youth basketball for the Hopewell Valley YMCA and the Hopewell Hoops Basketball League, and serving as a member of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Pennington Public Library Board of Trustees, the ARC of Mercer Board of Trustees, and the League of Women Voters.
An attorney, Ms. Muoio received her JD from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and her BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She lives with her family in Pennington, NJ.
Ridgeley Hutchinson has served on the board since 2008. He recently retired (2018) as Executive Director of the Northeast Carpenters Apprentice Training and Educational Fund. His 40 year career as a carpenter began with a 4 year apprenticeship, after which he held the positions of Business Representative, Executive Board member, Pension Fund Trustee and finally, Executive Director of the training fund.
Louis A. Rodriguez
Louis A. Rodriguez - Appointed to the Authority Board in November 2013, Mr. Rodriguez is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of New York. He has provided consulting services to electrical utilities throughout the world on projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, the International Development Bank (IDB), the U.S. Trade Organization and others. He is also a qualified Financial Advisor and has worked in that capacity for Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Met Life.
An active civic and community leader, Mr Rodriguez served from 2005 - 2013 on a volunteer basis as Executive Director of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Monmouth County. He is currently a Trustee on the Monmouth County Art Council, the community YMCA, Monmouth Medical Center, and The Parker Family Health Center, among others. He also serves as a Member of the CentraState Children Wellness Committee and the Wilbur Ray Scholarship Committee at Brookdale Community College, and is a former Trustee of the Boys Scouts of America Monmouth County and the Family and Children Services organization.
Mr. Rodriguez has authored numerous technical papers published by the following industry and/or trade magazines: Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE), Power Apparatus and Systems Transactions, The Electrical World, Transmission & Distribution-USA., and Transmission & Distribution-International. He is also a coauthor of The Electric Distribution Power Systems Manual developed by Ebasco Services Inc and published by McGraw-Hill for use by electric utilities throughout the world.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including: George Perrot Macculloch Award for Leadership, November 2013; Red Bank Regional High School the Source Outstanding Community Partnership Award, 2011; Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Certificate of Appreciation, October 2010; Latino American Association of Monmouth County Award for Outstanding Contribution, Dedication and Community Service, October 2006; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, Congressman Frank Pallone, October 2006; Tu Sello Latino Market Award for Contributions and dedication to the Community, September 2006; Brookdale Community College Leadership Shore Certificate of Recognition, 2004; and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Certificate of Achievement Financial Advisor, July 2000.
Mr. Rodriguez holds an Electrical Engineering Bachelor (EEB) degree from the City College of New York.
Eric D. Brophy, Esq.
Eric D. Brophy joined the Authority as Executive Director in September 2018. As the Authority’s Executive Director, he has overall responsibility for the operations of the Authority, including statewide debt issuance by public and private colleges and universities in New Jersey and the issuance of state-supported debt for higher education.
Mr. Brophy joins the Authority having most recently served as a partner at the firm of Diegnan & Brophy, LLC, a Monmouth County, New Jersey law firm specializing in business and municipal law. For the past eleven years, Mr. Brophy served as managing member of the firm, representing municipalities, small and mid-sized businesses, and common interest communities in various capacities including governance and litigation.
Mr. Brophy is a graduate of the University of Scranton where he received a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Seton Hall University School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctor. Mr. Brophy also completed the Masters in Public Administration Certificate Program at Rutgers University. Mr. Brophy is licensed to practice law in the State and Federal Courts in the States of New York and New Jersey. Mr. Brophy is also admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Brophy served on his local board of education for five years, serving as board president for two years. Mr. Brophy was also appointed to serve as a commissioner on the Monmouth County Board of Elections in 2017. Previously, Mr. Brophy served as a member of the University of Scranton Alumni Board of Governors and the Seton Hall Law School Alumni Council.
Sheryl A. Stitt
Deputy Executive Director
Sheryl Stitt is the Acting Executive Director of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. In the absence of the Executive Director, she has overall responsibility for the operations of the Authority. Ms. Stitt serves as the Authority's liaison to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the New Jersey Presidents' Council and New Jersey's higher education sector associations, among others. She oversees the communications activities of the Authority, including legislative and regulatory affairs and public relations communications. Ms. Stitt has been with the Authority since January 2000, most recently serving as Director of Legislative Strategy and Public Communications.
Her prior experience includes service in the Office of the Governor as an advisor on state agencies and independent authorities, including the Economic Development Authority, Educational Facilities Authority, Health Care Facilities Financing Authority, Housing Mortgage Finance Agency, the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Ms. Stitt also served as Legislative Liaison in New Jersey's Department of Treasury, Executive Division, for the Department's Office of Management and Budget, Office of Public Finance and the Division of Pensions. In the private sector, she was a founding partner of Public Policy Advisors Inc., which provided consulting services in the areas of legislative, governmental, regulatory affairs and public relations.
Ms. Stitt is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a BS in Psychology. She is Fellow Graduate of Leadership New Jersey.
Steven P. Nelson
Director of Project Management
Steve Nelson is the Director of Project Management for the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, where he is responsible for statewide debt issuance by colleges and universities. Steve joined the Authority as a Project Manager in March 2014, and prior to joining the Authority, served as a higher education, not-for-profit and generalist banker for issuers across the nation.
The Project Management division was instrumental in the Authority’s record volume of issuance which totaled $1.35 billion in par value in 2016. This record level of issuance earned the Authority the distinction of being the nation’s third largest higher education conduit issuer in 2016. Importantly, Authority refunding activity from Project Management led transactions generated more than $130 million in combined net present value savings in 2016, and more than $200 million since 2015.
Mr. Nelson has a BA in Political Science from Williams College, an MPA in Public Finance from New York University and an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
Ellen Yang, Esq.
Director of Compliance Management
Ellen Yang joined New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority’s Division of Compliance Management in 2016 as a Compliance Manager. In October of 2017 Ms. Yang was promoted to Director of Compliance Management. Ms. Yang’s responsibilities include overseeing the Authority’s Division of Compliance which includes coordination of legal services to NJEFA as well as coordinating and monitoring higher education grant program compliance with the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education; reviewing bond documents related to the Authority’s college and university debt financings; management of post-issuance compliance matters; acting as a liaison to the Attorney General’s Office and the Government Authorities Unit with respect to legal matters related to general administration, grants administration and financing transactions; and providing assistance as to the Authority’s operational activities in regards to compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Ms. Yang also serves as the Authority’s Ethics Liaison Officer and its Public Agency Compliance Officer.
Ms. Yang, a member of the New Jersey Bar with a background in civil litigation and commercial loan operations, has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History from Duke University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University - Bloomington.
Brian Sootkoos, CPA
Director of Finance / Controller
Brian Sootkoos is the Director of Finance and Controller of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. Mr. Sootkoos leads the Finance Division and is responsible for the financial operations of the Authority.
Prior to joining the Authority in April 2017, Mr. Sootkoos was an Audit Senior with Ernst & Young, LLP, and an Accounting Manager and AP Supervisor with Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. His expertise includes SEC, GAAP, and IFRS reporting compliance, developing and monitoring budgets, internal and external reporting, strategic planning, managing various financial audits, and systems review, development and implementation.
Mr. Sootkoos holds a BS in Accounting, a BS in Finance and a Masters in Accountancy from Rider University.