Kathryn Fithian Markovchick
Kathryn grew up in South Jersey. She was a trusted advisor of Dr. Acton and talked to him many times about his vision of supporting students from Salem who showed academic promise but were not as able to access rich educational experiences. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo with a concentration in Inner City Education and Learning and Behavior Disorders. She’s worked as a special education teacher, administrator, faculty member and president of the non-profit Syntiro.
Kortney Swanson Davis
Chief Operating Officer
Attorney Kortney Swanson Davis, a scholar, leader and activist, has worked collaboratively over the past several years to promote the well being of children, families and communities.
Mrs. Swanson-Davis received her JD from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and her BBA with a concentration in finance from Howard University. Kortney’s guiding principles include the beliefs that every person has the inherent capacity to learn, and that the learning environment must set the stage for fostering growth and productivity in all students.
She chose a career path in the legal field so that she would have direct impact on ensuring that all persons are uniquely valued regardless of preparation, background, opportunity, financial viability, and cultural differences. When not practicing law, she volunteers her time as a tutor and mentor to children along with acting as a guardian ad litem.
Kortney currently resides in South Jersey with her husband and daughter. She spends her free time volunteering and traveling.
Director of Scholarships
Rick Wilson holds a bachelor's degree in music from Boston University and a masters in education from the University of Maine. Rick joined Syntiro in 2010 as the Operations Coordinator after 33 years in public education as both a teacher and administrator. During that time he provided support to Salem High School graduates who were awarded scholarships funded by Forman S. Acton. In July 2015, Rick resigned from Syntiro and became the full time Scholarship Director for our foundation. In this role, Rick provides a variety of supports to all of our scholars as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of their postsecondary experiences.
Prior to his work with Syntiro and the aforementioned Forman Scholars, Rick served as the Principal at Manchester Elementary School from 1992-2010. Rick also participated as an active member of the Maine Principals' Association and served as chair of the association's Professional Development Committee from 2005-2009. Rick has worked and supported students on multiple levels to achieve academic and career success. His interests and expertise include teacher training and development, educational leadership, team building and school climate. HIs passion and skills in supporting and encouraging high academic achievement for all students has been the foundation of a lifelong career in education.
Acorn Fund College Savings Coordinator
Joyce Elwell was born and raised across the river in Wilmington, Delaware, and has deep roots in Salem City.
Her father-in-law, Dr. Kenneth C. Elwell, was a longtime Salem resident and 1947 graduate of Salem City High School. Her husband is a 1972 graduate of Salem City High School, and they have lived in Salem together since their wedding day, raising two children who attended Salem City public schools and graduated from Salem City High School as well.
Joyce is also a registered nurse, and has worked locally as an intensive care nurse and clinical manager of a dialysis center. She volunteers on the Faith Works Council and the Live Healthy Salem County Coalition as well.
Joyce's goal is to help all youth living or attending public school in Salem City sign up for an Acorn Fund college savings account.
Coleen Souza is the Administrative Manager for the foundation. She is responsible for maintaining the overall efficiency of all office operations and keeps staff on task and on schedule. Her previous office management experience includes human resources, payroll and administrative responsibilities.