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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Alissa Repanshek

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
PwC

James Doyle

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
Environmental Charter Schools

Brian Flegel

National Board of Directors
Clark Construction

Dom Meier

National Board of Directors
Altria

Donald English

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Jackson Lewis

Kimberly Curry

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
BGE

Jacob Estes

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Ward 4
DC Metro Affiliate
jestes@higherachievement.org

Jacob assists in running programming at the Ward 7 (The Best! The Best!) Center. His primary responsibility at Ward 7 is making sure that the mentoring component of our programming is fun and engaging for mentors and scholars alike. He also leads a study hall and the cooking seminar at Ward 7.

“I work at Higher Achievement because being of service to our scholars is an immensely gratifying and rewarding experience.”

Emma Maxwell

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Lakeland
Baltimore Affiliate
emaxwell@higherachievement.org

Kortney Perry

Manager of Instruction, Henderson
Richmond Affiliate
kperry@higherachievement.org

General Inquiries

Keona Gardner

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Brookland
DC Metro Affiliate
kgardner@higherachievement.org

Keona works closely with the Center Director at our Brookland location. She 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.

“I work at Higher Achievement because all youth deserve equitable access to resources such as education, which no one can ever take away from you.”

Proma Chowdhury

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Alexandria
DC Metro Affiliate
pchowdhury@higherachievement.org

Proma is the Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator for the the DC Metro affiliate, Alexandria Center. As Center staff, she supports volunteer mentors with training and engagement, including the relationships mentors build with their scholars.

“I work at Higher Achievement because community and education are essential for youth to thrive. Opportunities, resources, and options should be available to families in supporting the future of their children beyond the classroom.”

Bri Wallington Ferguson

Center Director, Brookland
DC Metro Affiliate
bwallingtonferguson@higherachievement.org

Erica Berry Wilson

National Board of Directors
PGCPS Board of Education

Tallulah Anderson

Manager of Community Outreach
DC Metro Affiliate
tanderson@higherachievement.org

Talullah is the Manager of Community Outreach. She is integral to building and maintaining the relationships for Higher Achievement’s expansion to Prince George’s County. Her responsibilities include school system development, community-based partnership development, fundraising development, and mentor pipeline development.

“I work at Higher Achievement because of key values that align with Integrity, Dignity, Excellence & Compassion that help us promote positive change & scholar outcomes.”

Andrea Archer

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Altria

Neill Bellamy

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Tredegar Corporation

Lila Blackney

Development Associate
National Office
lblackney@higherachievement.org

Lila oversees our Raiser’s Edge database, gift processing, and development data analysis to support our national and affiliate offices in their fundraising efforts.

“I work at Higher Achievement because while the high school graduation rate nationwide is 84.6% this isn’t true for the cities we serve, where these rates range from at worst 68.5% (DC) to at best 80.8% (Pittsburgh).”

John Boochever

National Board of Directors
Eagle Hill Consulting

Nick Breslin

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Ward 4
DC Metro Affiliate
nbreslin@higherachievement.org

Nick manages mentoring at the Ward 4 Achievement Center and works with Ward 4 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 want to do what I can to give everyone the chance they deserve to succeed.”

Rachel Brock

Volunteer Coordinator
Richmond Affiliate
rbrock@higherachievement.org

Rachel leads recruitment, onboarding, training, and retention efforts for our mentors and other volunteers. She maintains relationships with university and community partners and supports center staff in planning and analysis related to mentor satisfaction. Interested in volunteering? Email her!

“I believe in leveraging the power of communities to help our young people overcome the opportunity gap and reach their potential!”

Mitch Brooks

National Board of Directors
DSI

Kate Brown

Senior Manager of Development
DC Metro Affiliate
kbrown@higherachievement.org

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.”

Katina Burley

Manager of Instruction, Mount Royal
Baltimore Affiliate
kburley@higherachievement.org

Cornelia Calliste

Director of Programs
Baltimore Affiliate
ccalliste@higherachievement.org

Chenire Carter

Senior Manager of Development
Baltimore Affiliate
ccarter@higherachievement.org

Vena Carter

Director of Site Operations
Baltimore Affiliate
vcarter@higherachievement.org

Ryan Chaffo

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Citizens Bank

Ari Chester

Board of Advisors, Board Chair
Pittsburgh Affiliate
McKinsey & Company

Proma Chowdhury

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Alexandria
DC Metro Affiliate
pchowdhury@higherachievement.org

Christa Coleman

Director of Programs
Richmond Affiliate
ccoleman@higherachievement.org

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

Director of Development
DC Metro Affiliate
jcori@higherachievement.org

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

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

Robyn Courtney

Staff Accountant II
National Office
rcourtney@higherachievement.org

Robyn is a Staff Accountant II. She is responsible for maintaining Higher Achievement finances and grants management.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I am dedicated to giving back to my community. I believe that education is a huge part in changing and growing our communities.”

Max Curran

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Venable, LLP

Ronee Davis

Center Director, Binford
Richmond Affiliate
rdavis@higherachievement.org

Mark DeBord

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Community Volunteer

Stephen Demarais

Manager of Staff Engagement
National Office
sdemarais@higherachievement.org

Todd Derby

Director of Programs
Pittsburgh Affiliate
tderby@higherachievement.org

As Director of Programs for Higher Achievement Pittsburgh, Todd collaborates with our center teams, volunteer mentors, and community partners to provide quality academic programming for bright and talented middle school scholars.

“I work at Higher Achievement because ever since I was a middle school student, I’ve been deeply committed to service, education, and being a helper. Higher Achievement allows me to serve in a town that I love with bright young people whom I deeply admire.”

Mike Di Marco

Chief of Strategy
National Office
mdimarco@higherachievement.org

Mike oversees Higher Achievement’s program in Baltimore, DC Metro, Pittsburgh, and Richmond. He is also responsible for strategic plan implementation and evaluation.

“I work at Higher Achievement because Higher Achievement’s model allows our scholars to teach and learn from our staff and volunteer mentors, and strengthens bonds within our communities.”

Kevin Doyle

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Ward 1
DC Metro Affiliate
kdoyle@higherachievement.org

Rick England

National Board of Directors
President’s Council
DC Metro Affiliate
Madison Wealth Management

Jay Epstien

National Board of Directors
Treasurer
DLA Piper LLP (US)

Jacob Estes

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Ward 7
DC Metro Affiliate
jestes@higherachievement.org

Keona Gardner

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Brookland
DC Metro Affiliate
kgardner@higherachievement.org

Keona works closely with the Center Director at our Brookland location. She 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.

“I work at Higher Achievement because all youth deserve equitable access to resources such as education, which no one can ever take away from you.”

Elyse Harris

Center Director, Ward 7
DC Metro Affiliate
eharris@higherachievement.org

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.”

India Harris-Jones

Manager of Innovation and Research
National Office
iharris-jones@higherachievement.org

Alexis Hill

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Ward 6
DC Metro Affiliate
ahill@higherachievement.org

Anne Finnegan

Operations Coordinator
Richmond Affiliate
afinnegan@higherachievement.org

Johanna Flores

Manager of Programs and Operations
DC Metro Affiliate
jflores@higherachievement.org

Johanna manages field trips, electives, seminars, overnight college trips, center meals, center supplies, and transportation for DC Metro scholars.

“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.”

James Fogarty

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
A+ Schools

Candice Foster

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
US Steel Corporation

Todd Henry

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
T. Rowe Price Associates

Dan Gahagan

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company

Swata Gandhi

Board of Advisors, Board Chair
Baltimore Affiliate
Consultant

Richard Heppner, Jr.

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
Duquesne University

Julie Herwig

National Board of Directors
Vice Chair
New York Life

Michelle Gilliard

National Board of Directors
VPP

Jazmin Hooks

Center Director, Henderson
Richmond Affiliate
jhooks@higherachievement.org

Dimelza Gonzales-Flores

Director of Site Operations
DC Metro Affiliate
dgonzalesflores@higherachievement.org

Janelle Hunter

Manager of Fundraising and Events
DC Metro Affiliate
jhunter@higherachievement.org

Lamont Gordon

National Board of Directors
Jackie Robinson Foundation

Sarah Gravitt Baese

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Community Volunteer

Yancy Jimenez

Accounting and Payroll Coordinator
National Office
yjimenez@higherachievement.org

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.”

Lynn Greer

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
BrownGreer

Tierra Gregory

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Law Offices of A Dwight Pettit

Jenice Jordan

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Boushall
Richmond Affiliate
jjordan@higherachievement.org

Madeline Grygiel

Manager of Instruction, Binford
Richmond Affiliate
mgrygiel@higherachievement.org

Taylor Keeney

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Hunton Andrews Kurth

Kris Knieriem

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
Blender, Inc.

Stacy Haney

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Haney Phinyowattanachip

Heather Harding

National Board of Directors
Schusterman Foundation

Chavonte Harris

Center Director, Ward 4
DC Metro Affiliate
charris@higherachievement.org

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.”

Sarah Krefting

Operations Coordinator
Baltimore Affiliate
skrefting@higherachievement.org

Christine Lattanzio

National Board of Directors
PwC

Hannah Lauck

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
US District Court Judge,
Eastern District of VA

Chris Leech

National Board of Directors
Board Chair
Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
McKinsey & Company

Christie Lerro

Deputy Director
DC Metro Affiliate
clerro@higherachievement.org

Christie is responsible for high-level oversight of the program, operations, and administration of the DC Metro office.

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

John Linn

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
PwC

Mary Lloyd Parks

National Board of Directors
Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate, Board Chair
Community Volunteer

Sophie Mackey

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate

Carolyn Martin

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
DAP Products Inc.

Rob Martin

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Cherry Bekaert

Lorena Martinez

National Director of Programs
National Office
lmartinez@higherachievement.org

Lorena supports Directors of Programs at all four 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.”

Alex D. Matthews

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Robert McCutcheon

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
PwC

Christopher McGowan

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
PwC

Jesse McLean

Board of Advisors
Pittsburgh Affiliate
Pressley Ridge

James Morgan

Director of Site Operations
DC Metro Affiliate
jmorgan@higherachievement.org

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.”

Fred Morton

Board of Advisors
Richmond Affiliate
Former Henrico County Superintendent

Jennifer Niyangoda

Chief Development Officer
National Office
jniyangoda@higherachievement.org

Jennifer is an executive leader passionate about youth and community development. At Higher Achievement, she oversees development, communications, and marketing for the national office and affiliate network. To support our scholars, she is focused on driving revenue and strengthening brand relevance.

“I believe that education is the key to equity. The opportunity for a quality high school education and college success shouldn’t be lost because of a student’s zip code.”

Chris Perkins

Senior Manager of Volunteer Engagement and Development
DC Metro Affiliate
cperkins@higherachievement.org

Damian Popkin

Center Director, Ward 1
DC Metro Affiliate
dpopkin@higherachievement.org

As the leader of the Ward 1 Achievement Center, Damian works with school staff, community members, families, and Higher Achievement staff to make the Greenbelt Achievement Center a safe, positive, and effective learning environment where our scholars can grow and realize their potential.

President’s Council

Many thanks to DC Metro’s dedicated President’s Council.

Please find a list in recognition of their work at the link below.

Emena Quattlebaum

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Ward 8
DC Metro Affiliate
equattlebaum@higherachievement.org

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!”

Sherry Rhodes

National Board of Directors
President’s Council
DC Metro Affiliate

Heather Rosenbloom

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Penn State University

Mike Ruff

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, Greenbelt
DC Metro Affiliate
mruff@higherachievement.org

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.”

Antonio Ruffin

Volunteer and Scholar Coordinator, West End
Pittsburgh Affiliate
aruffin@higherachievement.org

Nyasha Rusununguko

Center Director, Ward 8
DC Metro Affiliate
nrusununguko@higherachievement.org

As the leader of the Ward 8 Achievement Center, Nyasha works with school staff, community members, families, and Higher Achievement staff to make the Ward 8 Achievement Center a safe, positive, and effective learning environment where our scholars can grow and realize their potential.

“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.”

Deborah Santiago

National Board of Directors
Excelencia in Education

Ade Sawyer

National Board of Directors
Weber Shandwick

Allison Schafer

Director of Human Capital Management
National Office
aschafer@higherachievement.org

Mitchell Schear

National Board of Director
Camber Creek

Margaret Service

Manager of Scholar Events and Fundraising
DC Metro Affiliate
mservice@higherachievement.org

Margaret is responsible for scholar events, scholar and alumni programming at fundraising events, middle-level donors, corporate field trips, center tours, and DC Metro communications.

“I work at Higher Achievement because all young people should have access to engaging and rigorous academic opportunities.”

Aakash Shah

Special Assistant and Operations Coordinator
National Office
ashah@higherachievement.org

Aakash provides high-level support to the CEO and COO. He helps achieve cross-team connectivity by leading the management of the national office facility, serving as the systems administrator for the organizational SharePoint system, and supporting special projects.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in the power of learning. I want to continue learning more about the education nonprofit space.”

Tiara Shelton

Center Director, Greenbelt
DC Metro Affiliate
tshelton@higherachievement.org

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

I work at Higher Achievement to have the space to provide a voice for youth who are often overlooked. I vision a world of confident youth of color, and it is my job to make sure they have the skills and space to achieve this.

Breylon Smith

Center Director, Ward 6
DC Metro Affiliate
bsmith@higherachievement.org

Breylon is the leader of the Ward 6 Achievement Center, he works with school staff, community members, families, and Higher Achievement staff to make the Ward 6 Achievement Center a safe, positive, and effective learning environment where our scholars can grow and realize their potential.

“I work at Higher Achievement because the opportunities we leverage and create matter for our scholars to succeed.”

Jonathan Smith

Center Director, Lakeland
Baltimore Affiliate
jsmith@higherachievement.org

Derrick Sydnor

Center Director, Mount Royal
Baltimore Affiliate
dsydnor@higherachievement.org

Mike Tascher

National Board of Directors
KPMG

 

Shelley Thompson

Center Director, Boushall
Richmond Affiliate
sthompson@higherachievement.org

Shelley manages the Boushall Achievement Center. Through a dedicated and compassionate staff team, she strives to build a community that ensures every scholar at her Center has a sense of belonging.

“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.”

Stephanie Valencia

Center Director, Alexandria
DC Metro Affiliate
svalencia@higherachievement.org

As the leader of the Alexandria Achievement Center, Stephanie works with school staff, community members, families, and Higher Achievement staff to make the Alexandria 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 appreciate that we focus on preparing middle school youth for long term success and opportunities”

Jessica Walbridge Richardson

Chief Operating Officer
National Office
jwalbridge@higherachievement.org

Bri Wallington

Center Director, Brookland
DC Metro Affiliate
bwallington@higherachievement.org

Thalia Washington

Executive Director
DC Metro Affiliate
twashington@higherachievement.org

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.”

Niki Whitecar

Board of Advisors
Baltimore Affiliate
Miles & Stockbridge P.C.

Taylor Wilkerson

Operations and Outreach Coordinator
Pittsburgh Affiliate
twilkerson@higherachievement.org

Taylor leads office operations at the Higher Achievement Pittsburgh affiliate. She is responsible for accounts payable, HR, supply ordering and inventory, and vendor outreach, along with a handful of other duties.

“I work at Higher Achievement because every child should be afforded the opportunity to benefit from quality activities that prepare them for high school and college.”

Courtney Wilkins

Center Director, Homewood
Pittsburgh Affiliate
cwilkins@higherachievement.org

Courtney supervises a team of full and part-time staff. She manages the relationships and operations necessary to run an Achievement Center that provides year-round academic programming for middle school students.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in Higher Achievement’s mission. I enjoy having many opportunities in my role as Center Director to help scholars see their potential and achieve their academic and personal goals.”

Nubia Williams

Coordinator of Recruitment and Family Engagement
Pittsburgh Affiliate
nwilliams@higherachievement.org

Nubia recruits prospective scholars and mentors for the Pittsburgh affiliate. She provides targeted outreach, presentations, follow-up calls, and assists scholar and families with the enrollment process.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe in the incredible work that we do. I truly believe there are not enough opportunities for minority scholars and I want to help close the achievement gap.”

Amy Wincek

Program Assistant
Pittsburgh Affiliate
info@higherachievement.org

Amy provides support for both Program and Office Staff. Through graphic design, support in the office and at Center, and preparation for annual events, Amy works to make sure that all scholars are supported and Higher Achievement’s reach within the community expands.

“I work at Higher Achievement because I believe talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Everyone should have opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive, and those opportunities should not be limited based on one’s zipcode.”

Kimberly Yates

Interim Manager of Development and Communications
National Office
kyates@higherachievement.org

Kimberly works across the Higher Achievement affiliates to support our teams in fundraising and outreach, furthering the organization’s reach and guaranteeing that all scholars are afforded all the opportunities they deserve.

“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.”

Lynsey Wood Jeffries

CEO
National Office
ljeffries@higherachievement.org

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.”

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