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Our Team

Three decades of combined experience in higher education.

Focused on student success.

Sarah Ancel

Founding Partner and CEO

Sarah Ancel founded Student-Ready Strategies to accelerate the nation's progress toward a more equitable postsecondary system that serves all students. Sarah has a unique combination of local, state and national experience in higher education policy and practice and a proven record of successful student-focused reforms. She is a policy expert, a strategic and tactical implementer, and a keen analyst of data, environment, and opportunities. She is a leading national voice in serving non-traditional student populations more effectively. 

Before forming Student-Ready Strategies, Sarah served as Senior Vice President for the national nonprofit Complete College America. Sarah grew and coordinated support for its 46-member Alliance of States and its network of CCA Fellows. She provided policy consultation, coordinated with funders, delivered in-state technical assistance, and developed and launched a strategy for returning adults. Before joining CCA, Sarah served as Associate Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Policy for the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. In that role, she was responsible for implementing the Commission’s strategic plan, including developing and advancing the Commission’s legislative priorities. She came to that role after spending nearly a decade contributing to the fiscal management and oversight of Indiana’s state and local governments.

​Sarah holds a master’s degree in economics from IUPUI and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Indiana University Bloomington. She served as an adjunct professor for her alma mater for three years and currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Liberal Arts.

Vanessa Keadle

Partner and Chief Strategy Officer

Vanessa Keadle serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Student-Ready Strategies. In this role, she supports efforts to help more education leaders, institutions, and systems transform through policy and process evaluation, strategic planning and agenda-setting, custom implementation support, and myriad other student-centered, equity-focused higher education services.

​Prior to joining Student-Ready Strategies, Vanessa served as the Senior Strategy Director at Complete College America where she worked with states, systems, and institutional consortia to implement student success strategies. Her expertise is in developmental education reform, particularly corequisite support. Additionally, Vanessa spent nearly three years working for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission as the Coordinator for Research and Evaluation in the Division of Student Affairs.  In that role, Vanessa worked with West Virginia GEAR UP to evaluate the grant program by incorporating data collection strategies to enable rigorous research designs that supported the work of the college access program.

​Vanessa’s prior experience in higher education include serving as the Director of Student Life at Marshall University in West Virginia where she worked for almost five years to assist students, parents, and other university stakeholders in navigating key institutional policies to better support retention and success. Before Marshall University, Vanessa served as the Assistant to the Director of Student Affairs at Penn State, New Kensington campus where she planned student engagement activities, including new student orientation and leadership development workshops.

Josclynn Brandon

Director of Equity Projects

Josclynn serves as the Director of Equity Projects at SRS, where her primary responsibilities include project management, research, and data analysis with an equity lens. She contributes years of higher education experience in research, student affairs, and as an instructor. 

Before joining Student-Ready Strategies, Josclynn served as a Research Project Associate at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University (IU). In this role, she contributed to the management of three different nationally administered surveys. Further, in her time at IU, Josclynn was an associate instructor for a History of Black Women in Higher Education course. Additionally, Josclynn previously served as the Coordinator for Leadership, Volunteerism and Diversity at Western Kentucky University, where she advised several student organizations, planned service-learning experiences, and implemented leadership development programs. She also was an instructor for the University Experience course at WKU. She has additional experience in career services and residence life.

Prior to a career in higher education, Josclynn’s experience includes serving as an Associate Content Producer for a news station, where she focused her efforts on telling the stories of marginalized communities in the Chicago metro area.

Josclynn holds a doctorate degree in education from Indiana University, a master’s degree in Journalism from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast News from Western Kentucky University. She currently serves as the president for the WKU Society of African American Alumni.

Abbey Ivey

Director of Policy and Research

Abbey Ivey serves as the Director of Policy and Research at Student-Ready Strategies. As a higher education professional with experience at both the state and institutional levels, Abbey has years of experience serving students in a variety of capacities focused on student access, acceleration, progression, transfer, and success.

Prior to joining the Student-Ready Strategies team, Abbey most recently served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Articulation at the Division of Florida Colleges in Florida Department of Education, where she worked to facilitate the effective and efficient progression and transfer of students through Florida’s K-20 education system. In that role, Abbey was a leader in developing, analyzing, and implementing state policy related to articulation and student success, particularly in the areas of transfer, CTE credit articulation, dual enrollment, credit for prior learning, and credit-by-exam. Prior to transitioning to that role, Abbey served the Division as the Director of the Florida Student Success Center, leading various statewide initiatives focused on guided pathways implementation, mathematics reform, and the adoption of alternative placement methods policies to promote equitable student access and success.

Abbey's previous experience includes spending several years serving students at Miami Dade College as the Director of Articulation and Academic Pathways. She also held the position of Director of Academic Affairs at the Division of Florida Colleges.  

Abbey holds a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy from Florida State University, a Master of Science in Higher Education from Florida State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Florida.

Larry Locke

Director of Postsecondary Strategy

Larry joined SRS as Director of Postsecondary Strategy. After 10 years of full-time direct service to students across multiple institutional types in four different states, he was inspired by his students and their activism to explore ways he could support macro issues related to student access and success - which led him to pursue his Ph.D. in Higher Education and work supporting institutional and system related enhancements.

Larry is highly skilled in assessment, leadership development, program/project management, relationship building, and research. He began his career in Higher Education at Michigan State implementing their first comprehensive sexual assault and relationship violence prevention training for students. He has worked in or led nine different student affairs functional areas and co managed several successful student success and pre college programs with a variety of faculty members. In addition, he served as the Publication Coordinator of Journal of College Student Development, the second most read Higher Education journal internationally from 2020-2024. Larry’s own published works have centered on highlighting reasons barriers to student success exist and presenting creative ways to dissolve those barriers.

Larry holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College (Go Geoducks!), a Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University, and will be graduating with a Ph.D. in Higher Education, minor Education Policy, fall 2024 from Indiana University.

Outside of work, Larry loves to spend his time traveling, going to Crossfit, and a good true crime documentary.

Jen Perez

Director of Storytelling and Brand Strategy

As the Director of Storytelling and Brand Strategy at Student-Ready Strategies, Jen brings extensive expertise in strategic communications, partnership development, and project management in higher education. 

Previously, she served as Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement at the University of La Verne's LaFetra College of Education, where she crafted communication strategies, fostered collaborations, and championed initiatives for diverse student populations. 

She received national recognition, including the Crystal Marketing Award from ACHE in 2023, for her outstanding communication and marketing campaign supporting AB130 legislation.

Jen holds an MS in Educational Counseling & Guidance from California State University, San Bernardino, a BA in Psychology and Political Science from the University of California, Davis, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne. 

Kata Traxler

Director of Postsecondary Strategy

Kata is the Director of Postsecondary Strategy, recently joining Student-Ready Strategies and bringing with her extensive experience in student support across private and public institutions in areas such as admissions, multicultural affairs, DEI, residential life, and academic advising. 

She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Services with a specialization in College Student Personnel from the University of Louisville, where her research focused on implicit racial bias in multiracial college students. 

Kata also earned a Master of Education in College Student Personnel Administration from Marquette University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Communication Studies from DePaul University.


Let’s Work Together

2509 North Delaware Street, Suite 200

Indianapolis, IN 46205


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