James H. Steeley is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Mr. Steeley joined the Agency in November 2015 as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In February 2018, he was also named Chief Operating Officer (COO), then Interim President and CEO in July 2018. He took on the official role of President and CEO in January 2019.
Prior to joining the Agency, Mr. Steeley was Senior Vice President, Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer at Susquehanna Bancshares, Inc., the Assistant Vice President of Finance at the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU) and a Senior Manager in Financial Services Practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Mr. Steeley is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at Elizabethtown College.
Judith S. Bines is Senior Vice President of Internal Audit. Ms. Bines joined the Agency in 2016. Her responsibilities include serving as an independent resource for conducting internal audits and advisory services projects, as well as coordinating various external audit activities.
Prior to joining the Agency, Ms. Bines held Chief Audit Executive positions at FleetBank Boston and StoneMor Partners and was the Director of Information Security at AmerisourceBergen.
Ms. Bines earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business from Arcadia University, her Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from LaSalle University and her Master of Science degree in Taxation from Philadelphia University and holds CPA.CITP, CISA, CRISC, CFSA and CIA certifications.
Nathan Hench is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Guaranty & Strategy. Mr. Hench joined the Agency in 2005 as Vice President of Legislative & Board Affairs. In his current role, he oversees the Agency's guaranty, strategy, public relations, state legislative affairs, marketing, communications, public service, and State Grant & Special Program functions. Mr. Hench’s role also includes executive oversight for the Human Resources and Learning and Development functions for PHEAA.
Mr. Hench serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER). He is also a member of the PennSERVE Advisory Board, providing insight and guidance for the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission, a grantmaking partner of AmeriCorps. He is the designee for the PHEAA Board Chair sitting on the Pennsylvania Tuition Account Program Advisory Board. Mr. Hench also teaches Graduate studies in the discipline of Project Management as a member of Harrisburg University’s corporate faculty.
Prior to joining the Agency, Mr. Hench was Executive Director of the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee. He began his career with the Finance Committee as a Research Analyst in 1999.
Mr. Hench holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College and a Master of Business Administration in Management from the Pennsylvania State University.
Michael J. Hendler is Vice President and Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO). Mr. Hendler joined the Agency in 2018. He is responsible for all aspects of Information Technology and Cybersecurity.
Mr. Hendler previously served as the Agency’s Vice President of Infrastructure and Operations, where his responsibilities included modernizing technology and process while transforming to a cloud-based infrastructure. Prior to joining the Agency, Mr. Hendler held positions at Thryv and Hibu.
Mr. Hendler holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute - NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
Kyle Lefever is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Mr. Lefever joined the Agency in 2009. He is directly responsible for all aspects of financial reporting, accounting, budgeting, public finance, and administration.
Mr. Lefever previously served as the Agency’s Chief Accounting Officer where his responsibilities included all aspects of financial reporting, accounting operations, and financial controls. Prior to joining the Agency, Mr. Lefever held positions at Deloitte and KPMG.
Mr. Lefever holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Shippensburg University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
Stephanie Martella is Senior Vice President of Client Relations, Loan Operations, and External Audits. Mrs. Martella joined the Agency in 1988. Her responsibilities include managing third-party external client relationships, including Federal and Alternative Loan assets, as well as overseeing systems provided to Remote Clients. She also oversees the operations for servicing these portfolios and the contractual testing associated with compliance of these responsibilities.
Mrs. Martella holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Organizational Behavior from Albright College and a Master of Science in Leadership and Business Ethics from Duquesne University.
Kathleen A. Smith is Senior Vice President and Director of Federal Relations. Ms. Smith joined the Agency in April 2019. Ms. Smith represents PHEAA in Washington, DC and serves as the primary liaison between the Agency and the U.S. Congress, along with other federal agencies.
Prior to joining the Agency, Ms. Smith held several senior positions in higher education and student aid-related organizations, including the role of Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Federal Student Aid, Special Assistant to the Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U. S. Department of Education, as well as roles within the Office of Postsecondary Education under multiple administrations. Ms. Smith has held positions with both the U.S. House and Senate Education Committees, beginning her career as a Financial Aid Administrator for D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY.
Ms. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY, a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Haven in New Haven, CT, and a Master of Arts – Communications: Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, DC.
Jean Svoboda is Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer (CLO), and Board Secretary. Ms. Svoboda joined PHEAA in March 2019. Her responsibilities include overseeing and managing the Legal Services Division, being the primary relationship manager for the CFPB and state regulators, and serving as PHEAA's Board Secretary.
Ms. Svoboda previously focused her practice areas in transactional matters, particularly mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, securitizations, fintech, financial reporting, public disclosure, corporate governance, risk management, regulatory affairs and compliance. Prior to joining PHEAA, Ms. Svoboda was in-house counsel for several financial institutions including M&T Bank, Susquehanna Bancshares, Inc., and Sterling Financial Corporation. She was also a partner at the law firm of Shumaker Williams PC.
Ms. Svoboda received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and her Juris Doctorate degree from Creighton University School of Law.