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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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!”

Bri Wallington Ferguson

Director of Program Operations
DC Metro

James Morgan

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”

Jessica Walbridge Richardson

Chief Operating Officer

Jonathan Smith

Director of Program Operations

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.”

Katey Comerford

Executive Director

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.”

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.”

Ronee Davis

Director of Program Operations

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!”