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.
Ms. Stitt is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. 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 has issued $5.1 billion in par since 2014, including pricing and closing the two largest financings in the Authority’s history, and was instrumental in the Authority’s record volume of issuance which totaled $1.4 billion in par value in 2017. Importantly, Authority refunding activity from Project Management led transactions generated more than $340 million in combined net present value savings since 2014.
Mr. Nelson has a B.A. in Political Science from Williams College, an MPA in Public Finance from New York University, and an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.
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 B.S. in Accounting, a B.S. in Finance and a Masters in Accountancy from Rider University.
Ellen Yang, Esq.
Director of Compliance Management
Ellen L. Yang, Esq. joined the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority in 2016. Ms. Yang is the Authority's Director of Compliance Management, Ethics Liaison Officer, and EEO/AA Officer. Ms. Yang’s responsibilities include overseeing the Division of Compliance as to legal and compliance matters related to financings, grant administration, post-issuance matters, corporate governance, and administrative operations. Prior to joining the Authority, Ms. Yang was engaged in private practice in New Jersey, Ohio, and Indiana with a focus on civil litigation and creditor's rights. Ms. Yang also has a banking background, having spent a number of years with Bank One Corporation in business banking and commercial loan operations. Ms. Yang received a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and History from Duke University.
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).
Public Information Officer
Ed DiFiglia is the public information officer for the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. Mr. DiFiglia is responsible for the day to day communications of the Authority, as well as developing and implementing internal and external communications strategies that advance the Authority’s mission.
Before joining the Authority, Mr. DiFiglia was a program manager at New Jersey Future where he oversaw the Jersey Water Works collaborative. A strong believer in community service, he serves on his local planning board and chairs his local environmental commission.
Mr. DiFiglia holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Saint Michael's College in Vermont and a master's degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University.
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.
Sarah M. Kaplan
Sarah M. Kaplan, Esq. serves as Compliance Manager of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. Ms. Kaplan assists in the management of all compliance matters related to the Authority’s capital financing programs while also providing support related to corporate governance and administrative operations.
Prior to joining the Authority, Ms. Kaplan worked at the New Jersey Department of Health beginning as the Licensing Coordinator & Special Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner for Health Systems and then moved on to serve as the Legal Analyst & Special Assistant to the Executive Director for Certificate of Need and Licensing- Behavioral Health. She previously was a founding Partner, Chief Development Officer, Director, and Chief Officer of Quality Assurance for a biotech startup.
Ms. Kaplan holds a BA from Brandeis University and JD from Widener University- Delaware Law School. She is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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 finance department including the bond fund general ledger and investments. She also works on the administration of the State’s Higher Education Capital Grant Programs.
Ms. Middleton holds a BSBA from Shippensburg University.
Grant Program Manager
Jamie O’Donnell is the Grant Program Manager for the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority. In her role as Grant Program Manager, Ms. O’Donnell manages the Authority’s overall grant program administration efforts for programs statutorily implemented by the Authority and programs administered on behalf of other State agencies. Responsibilities of the Grant Program Manager include: support the development of regulations and solicitations; manage the application intake process; coordinate the development and execution of various documents; and provide support on various post-grant award administration matters from requisitioning to post award compliance. Ms. O’Donnell 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
Human Resources Manager
Sheila Toles currently acts as New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority Human Resources Manager where she serves as the Certifying Officer on behalf of staff in the administration of State benefits programs and is directly responsible for the overall oversight and administration, coordination and evaluation of the human resource functions for the Authority.
Ms. Toles continues to have 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.
Ms. Toles joined the Authority in May of 2000 as Executive Assistant. Over 19 years with NJEFA, Ms. Toles has acted in various capacities working with executive management.
Ms. Toles’ career in State service includes work in the New Jersey Department of Labor and the Office of the Governor.
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, including payroll, 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 B.S. in Accounting from Rowan University.