Higher Achievement has assembled a team of passionate social justice advocates to lead our scholars in becoming life-long learners.

From our dedicated staff to the National Board of Directors to the affiliate Boards of Advisors, the vision we’re working toward wouldn’t be possible without the whole Higher Achievement community.

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Katey Comerford

Executive Director, External Affairs
Richmond Affiliate

Garima Bhatt Handley

Executive Director, External Affairs
Baltimore Affiliate

Garima works toward increasing the number of Baltimore City scholars we support by leading development and fundraising efforts, expanding partnerships to grow our mentor base and elevating the profile of the program across the city.

“I support Higher Achievement because after-school activities have an extraordinary impact on the academic and career outcomes of students. I am committed to providing under-served students with every opportunity to succeed.”

Carla Watson

Chief Program Officer

Julie Koh

Senior Director of Finance

Julie manages all finance and accounting activities and works closely with senior management and staff to ensure sustainability of the organization. She prepares, analyzes, and interprets financial reports for management and facilitate annual audits.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in its mission and want to bring my finance, communication and leadership skills to help build and sustain the organization.”

Christa Coleman

Director of Program Operations
Richmond Affiliate

Christa supports the center staff at Higher Achievement Richmond. She works to provide impactful and helpful resources and support to the Achievement Center teams.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe that middle school is such a pivotal time in a young person’s life. With the right support from caring adults, young people can come to believe in all that’s possible for them.”

Janice Cori

Managing Director of Development

Janice oversees DC Metro’s fundraising and volunteer recruitment activities.

“I work at Higher Achievement to create incredible opportunities for our scholars”

Elyse Harris

Director of Program Operations
DC Metro Affiliate

As the leader of the Ward 7 Achievement Center, Elyse works with school staff, community members, families, and Higher Achievement staff to make the Ward 7 Achievement Center a safe, positive, and effective learning environment where our scholars can grow and realize their potential.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I want to help close the opportunity gap by supporting scholars, families, and community members in Ward 7.”

Christie Lerro

Director of Human Capital Management

“I work at Higher Achievement because middle school is a pivotal time in young peoples’ lives, and opportunities matter.”

Lorena Martinez

Senior Director of Programs

Lorena supports Directors of Programs at all three affiliates and develops standardized program resources for all affiliates to use. Lorena also travels to Higher Achievement Centers to learn from Center staff and ensure Centers are effectively serving scholars.

“I work at Higher Achievement because everyone should have opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive. These opportunities should not be denied based on someone’s zip code.”

James Morgan

Director of Program Operations
DC Metro Affiliate

James oversees the Ward 8, Ward 1, Greenbelt, Ward 6, and Brookland Achievement Centers, support the implementation of strategic programming, and manage Summer Academy teachers.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I enjoy collaborating with scholars, families, and schools to support scholars’ academic and social growth.”

Jessica Walbridge Richardson

Chief Operating Officer

Thalia Washington

Executive Director, External Affairs
DC Metro Affiliate

As Executive Director, Thalia has operational responsibility for the DC Metro affiliate where ­­­ we serve 550 scholars at eight centers in DC, Alexandria, and Prince George’s County, MD. She engages in senior staff management, stakeholder engagement, fundraising, and organization-wide leadership.

“I work at Higher Achievement because as a first-generation American this mission is personal – the middle to high school transition launched my path to college and it’s an honor to help other young people do the same.”

Lynsey Wood Jeffries

Lynsey supports Higher Achievement scholars across all four regions, making sure that we advance our mission and run an effective organization. Lynsey works with the Board of Directors, staff, supporters, and partners to raise funds, grow and evaluate our program, and continually improve.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I’ve witnessed the power of our model as a volunteer and staff member for 19+ years, with countless successful alumni and hard data. Our model bridges divides and advances justice.”