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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Maryelin Garcia

Learning Coordinator, Alexandria
DC Metro

“I find it to be a joy and a privilege to work with the youth in my communities. I am lucky to be a part of Higher Achievement because I understand what it feels like to be overlooked and under-resourced in the world of education. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to recognize a student’s potential and then assist that student in identifying their own strengths. Working for an organization that focuses on this is fantastic. I know how important it is to be seen and heard, Higher Achievement’s staff work hard to make that happen.”

Tanesha Powell

Senior Manager of Program

Arden Schraff

Americorps Achievement Fellow, Brookland
DC Metro

Brandon Villatoro-Sorto

Americorps Achievement Fellow, Ward 4
DC Metro

Felecia Nelson

Learning Director, Boushall

Chloe Bailey

Learning Coordinator, Henderson

Bella Brown

Americorps Achievement Fellow, Ward 6
DC Metro

Beshon Trusty, Ph.D.

Executive Director
DC Metro

Beshon leads an amazing team in DC to support the development and implementation of resources, services, supports, and partnerships that allow Higher Achievement to effectively serve scholars in the DC Metro area.

“I work at Higher Achievement because talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. Higher Achievement seeks to build a world where every child’s promise and potential is realized and I am thrilled to be a part of that mission!”

Chase Evans

Learning Coordinator, Lakeland

Michelle Depelteau

Director of Human Resources and Employee Engagement

As the Director of Human Resources and Employee Engagement, Michelle promotes the organization’s core values through talent acquisition and a variety of strategic and employee-centric initiatives. With an incredible HR team, Michelle oversees HR processes and implements strategies that support employees and their professional development. With a focus on creating a positive employee experience, her role supports opportunities for feedback, access to health and wellness benefits, and relationships between team members.

“Higher Achievement provides me with the opportunity to make a positive impact on employee experience. Leadership is all things inclusive, dynamic, and personable as they model the Core Values of the organization. Higher Achievement supports employees through robust benefits, flexibility, space for creativity, and regular connection. Through my work, I am able to live out my calling to care for and about people. I am delighted to have my part in delivering on the Higher Achievement commitment to employees and scholars. This organization makes a difference!”

Gloria Hodges

Learning Coordinator, Mt. Royal

Ade Sawyer

Board of Directors
Weber Shandwick

Alexis Hill

Learning Director, Ward 6
DC Metro

As Learning Coordinator for the Ward 6 Achievement Center, Alexis creates and fosters relationships between youth and our volunteer mentors and support our scholars academically, emotionally, and mentally through the hardships of middle school.

“I work at Higher Achievement because of their mission to close the education opportunity gap by providing knowledge and information.”

Andrea Archer

Richmond Board of Advisors

Annie Linehan Czerwinski

Emeritus Board

Audrey Hipkins

Emeritus Board
Hurston/Wright Foundation

Bentley Addison

Learning Coordinator, Highlandtown

As founding Learning Coordinator at the Highlandtown Achievement Center, Bentley focuses on recruitment and management of mentors and literacy tutors, and works in-depth with scholars to help them accomplish their academic and personal goals.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I’m passionate about working with youth to remove barriers to educational equity, and I know how important middle school is for closing the opportunity gap.”

Brad Resnikoff

Pro Bono Corporate Counsel
Mayer Brown

Breylon Smith

Director of High School Placement and Alumni Programs

Breylon leads the strategy around our High School Placement and Alumni Programs. He believes our scholars and alumni have meaningful things to contribute to their communities and society now and in the future. As they matriculate through our program, he wants to demonstrate his commitment by leveraging opportunities and empowering them.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I am a change agent for good and an active member of the solution.”

Bri Wallington Ferguson

Director of Program Operations
DC Metro

Brian Flegel

Board of Directors
Clark Construction

Brid Freiberg

AmeriCorps Program Support Fellow
DC Metro

Brittany McGhee

Learning Coordinator, Brookland
DC Metro

Brittany ensures that our 8th graders are placed in schools that best fit their needs. Her goal is to help ease the application process for our scholars, so they can achieve their academic goals in an environment that best suits them.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I want to see every child succeed no matter their circumstances.”

Buff Buffington

Learning Director, Binford

Buff works as the primary director for the Afterschool Academy at Binford Middle School in Richmond, VA. They are directly responsible for all center programming, as well as staff management. In their role, Buff works to create an environment and atmosphere where scholars’ success is encouraged, fostered, and supported.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I am a career educator, having taught public school English for eight years across four school districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Adults who invested in me as a youth, inspired and compelled me to dedicate my working years to investing in youth. Working with Higher Achievement Richmond will allow me to impact and support students in ways not previously possible in the traditional classroom teacher role. Through my work with Higher Achievement, I hope to significantly close the achievement gaps that our middle school students in Richmond face.”

Carlos Garcia

Emeritus Board
Eng Garcia Properties LLC

Carolyn Martin

Baltimore Board of Advisors
DAP Products Inc.

Chavonte Harris

Learning Director, Ward 4
DC Metro

Chavonte is leader of the Ward 4 Achievement Center, she works with school staff, community members, families, and Higher Achievement staff to make the Ward 4 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 get to have a strong impact on the academic, social, and emotional development of middle school youth.”

Chris Leech

Emeritus Board
McKinsey & Company

Chris Newkirk

Board of Directors

Chris Olszewski

Learning Director, Ward 8
DC Metro

As the Learning Director for our Ward 8 site Chris works with school staff, families, and scholars to make the Ward 8 Achievement Center an intentional learning environment that supports scholars’ academic and social growth.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I get to support students in the pursuit of their lifelong goals.”

Christine Lattanzio

Board of Directors

Christopher McGowan

Richmond Board of Advisors

Connor Smith

Development Manager

Connor provides fundraising and administrative support to senior fundraising staff, and provides logistical support for Higher Achievement fundraising events.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in its mission: to bring talent and opportunity together in order to launch our scholars into lifelong success.”

Councilmember James Torrence

Baltimore Board of Advisors
Baltimore City Council

Cynthia Brown

Richmond Board of Advisors
St. Christopher’s Episcopal School

Dom Meier

Board of Directors

Donald English

Baltimore Board of Advisors
Jackson Lewis

Emena Quattlebaum

Learning Coordinator, Ward 8
DC Metro

Emena manages mentoring at the Ward 8 Achievement Center and work with the Ward 8 center staff to create a safe, impactful, and positive learning environment where our scholars can grow and realize their potential.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I enjoy having an impact on the scholars and the city I grew up in!”

Eric Gaier

Emeritus Board
Bates White

Erykah Rivera

Learning Coordinator, Ward 6
DC Metro

Erykah is on the ground with our scholars every day at Center. Alongside Ward 6’s Learning Director, she executes the daily ins and outs of programming. In addition, Erykah ensures that all of our volunteers have up-to-date clearances and manages our amazing Ward 6 mentors.

“As an alum of a very similar program I personally understand the importance of educational access programs—and I am a prime example of the impact they have on scholars’ lives!”

Fred Morton

Richmond Board of Advisors
Former Henrico County Superintendent

Howard Johnson

Baltimore Board of Advisors
Higher Achievement Baltimore Mentor

James Morgan

Managing Director of Program

James manages the Center Support Team – to offer strong org-wide trainings, services, and supports for Center staff across core elements of our program model.

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

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”

Jay Epstien

Board of Directors, Treasurer
Millrose Partners

Jeanelle Johnson

Board of Directors

Jessica Mullery

Manager of Fundraising Communications

Jessica works alongside the development team, overseeing Higher Achievement’s communication channels, digital fundraising, and annual appeals.

“I support Higher Achievement because I believe in closing the opportunity gap and giving our scholars the opportunities they deserve.”

Jessica Walbridge Richardson

Chief Operating Officer

Johanna Wallace

Senior Manager of HR and Operations

“I work at Higher Achievement because it takes an organization like Higher Achievement to create and foster opportunities that will build the future in my community.”

John Boochever

Emeritus Board
Eagle Hill Consulting

John Linn

Baltimore Board of Advisors

Jonathan Smith

Director of Program Operations

Josh Bailey

Executive Director

Josh leads the tremendous team in Baltimore, in service to our scholars and their communities. This involves overseeing our programming as well as organizational stewardship and development.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in the power of communities and recognize the vital role schools, community organizations, and families play in supporting our scholars.”

Julie Herwig

Board of Directors
New York Life

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.”

Kate Brown

Director of Grants and Fundraising Operations

Kate manages DC Metro’s foundation and government grant portfolios. She also manages our volunteer sustainability team, Middle School Matters tours, and annual appeal. She is a proud Ward 7 mentor.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in our scholars and their potential.”

Katey Comerford

Executive Director

Katina Burley

Senior Manager of Volunteers and Curriculum

Kayla Wilson

Learning Coordinator, Greenbelt
DC Metro

Kedisha Ebanks

Board of Directors

Kelly Hernandez

Board of Directors
Clark Construction

Kim Curry

Board of Directors

Kimberly Yates

Senior Manager of Development

Kimberly manages the grant portfolio for Higher Achievement’s DC Metro affiliate.

“I work at Higher Achievement because nobody should be denied a bright future because of zip code. In uniting as a community and raising each other up, we can really make a difference.”

Kortney Perry

Learning Director, Henderson

Lamont Gordon

Board of Directors, Chair
College Visions

Lucy Marks

Learning Coordinator, Binford

As a Learning Coordinator, Lucy works with two very important groups of people—our scholars and mentors. She supports the implementation of our mentoring curriculum by recruiting, training, and assisting volunteer mentors. She works with scholars in several different capacities including creating meaningful programming, assisting scholars through the high school application process, homework help, discipline, and supporting scholars in any other way they might need. She works closely with the Binford Center Director to keep Center running smoothly and safely.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I understand the importance of providing meaningful, educational, and safe after school time. Our staff and volunteer mentors provide support, enrichment, and a sense of community that is impactful to our scholars both on a daily basis and in the long term. I know how much our scholars value their time with their mentors, and I’m happy that I can assist in creating and supporting those relationships.”

Lyla Rossi

Learning Coordinator, Ward 1
DC Metro

As the Learning Coordinator at Ward 1, Lyla communicates and engages with volunteer mentors from our community, matching them with middle schoolers and facilitating curriculum on social-emotional learning, high school placement, and general self-development. Lyla also helps students during our center programming, planning fun enrichment activities, assisting them with their homework, and making sure they know they have a friend in her. The job is a lot of coordination and administrative work, but being face-to-face with scholars and volunteers makes the job so special and motivating!

“I work for Higher Achievement because I have always valued the influence and importance of educational opportunities. I was lucky enough to have so many formative relationships with teachers and peers and other mentors who showed me how to love learning, which I carry with me today. I wish I had gone through school believing in myself and my abilities more, I wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself, and I hope I can pass the lessons I learned through those experiences onto our scholars. “

Lynn Greer

Richmond Board of Advisors

Lynsey Wood Jeffries

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.”

Marcia Rollins

Learning Coordinator, Ward 7
DC Metro

Mark DeBord

Emeritus Board
Community Volunteer

Mary Lloyd Parks

Board of Directors
Richmond Board of Advisors, Chair
Community Volunteer

Max Curran

Baltimore Board of Advisors
Venable, LLP

Michelle Gilliard

Board of Directors, Vice Chair

Mike Ruff

Learning Director, Greenbelt
DC Metro

Mike is responsible for the recruitment, supervision, training, and support of volunteer teaching mentors, ensuring that they are able to implement the curriculum and actively engage scholars in learning. As a VSC, he also plans and executes center events, field trips, and other activities to enhance the scholars’ learning experience.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I am passionate about Higher Achievement’s mission, and this is the perfect position that will allow me to continue working with youth in the DMV area so that I can be an ally.”

Milan Harris

Learning Director, Highlandtown

As a Learning Direcor, Milan ensures that our scholars, families, and center are thriving. Milan also leads programming for our scholars including tutoring, mentoring, community meetings, and more.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I’m committed to serving, uplifting, and working with children of color. I’m especially concerned with targeting inequities that children of color face.”

Mitch Brooks

Board of Directors, Secretary

Mitchell N. Schear

Emeritus Board
Camber Creek

Mushanea Robinson

Learning Coordinator, Henderson

MyAsha Cheatham

Manager of HR and Operations

Natia Gordon-Howell

Learning Director, Mount Royal

Much of Natia’s role involves contributing to volunteer recruitment, training volunteers, facilitating communication with mentors, curating curriculum for mentoring sessions, and participating in the fun/excitement of Center!

“I work at Higher Achievement because…I have a background in health education, and so I support the organization’s holistic approach to academic enrichment and SEL.”

Neill Bellamy

Richmond Board of Advisors
Tredegar Corporation

Niki Whitecar

Baltimore Board of Advisors
Miles & Stockbridge P.C.

Nikki Perkins

Learning Director, Alexandria
DC Metro

Nyasha Rusununguko

Director of Program Operations
DC Metro

“I work at Higher Achievement because the mission of Higher Achievement aligns with my personal mission of working directly and advocating on behalf of today’s youth.”

Radiya Buchanan

Learning Director, Ward 7
DC Metro

Radiya works with scholars, their families, and the community to provide opportunities for scholars to thrive.

“I work at Higher Achievement to be a resource for my scholars on their journey to personal success.”

Rick England

Emeritus Board
Madison Wealth Management

Ronee Davis

Director of Program Operations

Sameer Bhargava

Emeritus Board
Clark Construction

Sarah Gravitt Baese

Richmond Board of Advisors
Feed More

Sean Quinn

Learning Coordinator, Ward 4
DC Metro

Shelley Thompson

Senior Manager of Development

Shelley manages the grant portfolio for Higher Achievement’s Richmond and Baltimore affiliates.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe that Youth Development takes time and Higher Achievement’s program model allows us to see our impact, over the course of 4 years.”

Sherry Rhodes

Emeritus Board
Community Volunteer

SJ Janjua

Development Manager

Steve Goldstein

Emeritus Board

Tammy McCubbin

Learning Director, Lakeland

Thomas Waskom

Richmond Board of Advisors
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Tiffany Garcia

Learning Director, Ward 1
DC Metro

Todd Henry

Baltimore Board of Advisors
T. Rowe Price Associates

Toni Woodlon, Ed.D.

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Woodlon develops, implements, and monitors DEI-related strategies and initiatives that support equitable outcomes for colleagues, scholars, and communities. At the heart of her work at Higher Achievement is relationships – which serve as the foundation for a positive organizational culture in which DEI work may thrive.

“I work at Higher Achievement because…the people are second to none! Higher Achievement’s team of dedicated and motivated folks truly care about the scholars and communities we work with each day!”

Yancy Jimenez

Accounting and Payroll Manager/Government Grants Administrator

Yancy guarantees that Higher Achievement can fulfill its mission by working closely with affiliates to provide them with billing support. She also is responsible for processing accounts payable and receivable, and payroll.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I love what Higher Achievement’s mission is: help scholars meet their goals and become someone in life, no matter what.”