New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority
103 College Road East, 2nd Fl.
Princeton, NJ 08540
The NJEFA is located on College Road East
at the intersection of Route 1
Unless otherwise noted, the address, phone, and fax number are applicable to all NJEFA staff.
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 Deputy 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 served as the Acting Executive Director of the Authority on three prior occasions, overseeing the sale of nearly $1.2 billion of bonds for New Jersey’s colleges and universities. Ms. Stitt has been with the Authority since January 2000, most recently serving as Director of Legislative Strategy and Public Communications.
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 $1.42 billion in par value in 2017. This record level of issuance earned the Authority the distinction of being the nation’s third largest higher education conduit issuer in 2017. Importantly, Authority refunding activity from Project Management led transactions generated more than $330 million in combined net present value savings 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.
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.
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.
J. Zachary Barby
Communications / IT Coordinator
John Zachary Barby joined NJEFA’s Communications Division as the Communications / Special Projects Assistant in March of 2016. In January 2019, Mr. Barby was promoted to the role of Communications / IT Coordinator. In this new role Mr. Barby is responsible for developing internal and external communications strategies for the Authority as well as IT modernization efforts. Mr. Barby is a graduate of The University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Communications Studies.
Associate Project Manager
Rebecca Clark joined the Authority’s Project Management Division as the Project Management Assistant in March 2016 and is currently the Associate Project Manager. Ms. Clark’s responsibilities include finance transaction activities, including preparing requests for proposals (RFPs), developing resolutions, managing the document review process, maintaining project files, preparing reports and managing compliance with professionals. She also works on the administration of the State’s Higher Education Capital Grant Programs and bond issues to fund the grant programs.
Matthew Curtis is the Manager of Information Technology (IT) for the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. Mr. Curtis is responsible for the planning, acquisition, implementation, and maintenance of the Authority’s IT infrastructure, including continuously monitoring the infrastructure to ensure it aligns with the Authority’s business needs while improving service delivery, enhancing efficiencies, reducing cost, and strengthening security. Prior to joining the Authority in February of 2017, Mr. Curtis served as the Information Technology Manager for two State Agencies, The Office of the State Comptroller, and The Highlands Water and Protection Planning Council.
Mr. Curtis has a BS in Computer Science from Kean University and is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
Linda J. Hazley
Office Manager / Document Specialist
Linda J. Hazley joined the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority in 1997 and is currently Office Manager and Document Specialist. Ms. Hazley is responsible for greeting and assisting visitors, managing office supplies and equipment, assisting on special projects, and providing general administrative support across departments. As Document Specialist, Ms. Hazley assists in the management of records, organization of data, and the maintenance of secure and accessible electronic and paper data bases.
Carl MacDonald is a Project Manager with the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, having the responsibility of facilitating statewide debt issuance for the benefit of colleges and universities in New Jersey, both public and private, and state-supported debt issues for higher education programs. Mr. MacDonald joined the Authority as a Project Manager in October 2016. Prior to joining the Authority, he served as an associate investment banker for Commerce Capital Markets and its successor firm, TD Securities, for nine years. During this time, Mr. MacDonald was involved in numerous local transactions throughout New Jersey. Mr. MacDonald has also served as Project Manager with the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority since July of 2012. He has experience with issuing both public offerings and direct placements, structures for fixed rate, variable rate and multi-modal transactions, as well as issuing both taxable and tax-exempt financings.
Mr. MacDonald has a B.S. in Computer Science from Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ, as well as an MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business.
Kristen Middleton has been with the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority since October 1993. She has been in her current position as the Assistant Controller since 2003. As the Assistant Controller she has responsibility for managing several areas of the accounting department including the bond fund general ledger and investments.
Ms. Middleton holds a BSBA from Shippensburg University.
Senior Communications Manager
Jamie O’Donnell is a Senior Communications Manager for the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. Ms. O’Donnell’s responsibilities include: developing internal and external communications strategies for the Authority; developing and managing all Authority-hosted workshops, webinars and special events; and writing Authority presentations, speeches and other communications materials. Ms. O’Donnell provides support the Deputy Executive Director on policy matters, legislative and regulatory affairs, and the administration of the Capital Grant Programs. She also serves as the Authority’s OPRA custodian.
Ms. O’Donnell is a graduate of Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology.
Sheila R. Toles
Exec. Asst./Human Resources Manager
Sheila Toles joined the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority in 2000 as Executive Assistant. As Executive Assistant, she has primary responsibility for direct administrative support to the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director and facilitates communications with the Board of Directors and related committees. She is also responsible for coordinating the Authority’s monthly board meetings and providing daily administrative support to staff.
Ms. Toles is also assisted the Deputy Executive Director in human resources matters and was promoted to Executive Assistant/Human Resources Manager. As Human Resources Manager, Sheila serves as the Certifying Officer on behalf of staff in the administration of state benefits programs and is directly responsible for the overall administration, coordination and evaluation of the human resource function for the Authority.
Ms. Toles’ career began at the NJ Department of Labor where she was selected by the Director of Disability Insurance to interview for a position in the Governor’s Office. She served as Aide to the Governor for 11 years before coming to the Authority in May of 2000 when she was hired as Executive Assistant.
Gary D. Vencius
Gary Vencius joined the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority in 2001. His responsibilities include administration of the Authority’s operating general ledger, annual budget, monthly reporting, procurement, and arbitrage rebate compliance.
His experience includes several accounting positions in the private sector with Automotive Rentals Incorporated and Franklin Electronic Publishers, Inc.
Mr. Vencius holds a BS in Accounting from Rowan University.