Announcing 4.0’s Inaugural Angel Syndicate Cohort
Introducing the 50 inaugural members of 4.0’s Angel Syndicate: a masterclass and community for Black philanthropists
We are excited to introduce the 50 inaugural members of 4.0’s Angel Syndicate: a masterclass and community for Black philanthropists. This cohort is composed of teachers, CEOs, founders, researchers, students, and other leaders from 21 states; of which, 56% are women and 40% are 4.0 alumni. Over the next 6 months, these individuals will build skills and power to impact communities as education philanthropists.
What is the Angel Syndicate?
The Angel Syndicate is a six-month program and giving circle for Black leaders looking to build skills, relationships, identities, and collective power as education philanthropists. Our ambition is to organize 4,000 members in four years to pool funds and co-invest in early-stage education ventures.
From September 2020 to February 2021, angels will meet virtually 2–3 times per month for live workshops, where they will learn from each other, program guides, and guest speakers.
Angels will complete the program by making investments in early-stage education ventures. After the program, alumni will advise future angels, access alumni events and programming, lead more funding rounds, and co-invest with more members of the syndicate.
Learn more at fund4.co
Why is This Needed?
Because sustained social change requires building, renegotiating, and shifting power.
“Because power comes before freedom, not the other way around. Power creates freedom, not the other way around. We can’t be free unless we have power. Freedom is not the power to make choices. Freedom is the power to create choices. And to have the power to shape policy is the power to create choices. That is why power is in the hands of the policy maker.” — Ibram X. Kendi
Today, 92% of foundation presidents and 83% of full-time staff members are white, according to this report. A recent report by Echoing Green and Bridgespan shows that, when you follow the money, the lack of racial representation in philanthropy translates to racial disparities in funding. “When it comes to the holy grail of financial support — unrestricted funding — the picture is even bleaker. The unrestricted net assets of the Black-led organizations are 76 percent smaller than their white-led counterparts. The stark disparity in unrestricted assets is particularly startling as such funding often represents a proxy for trust.”
It’s time to talk honestly and plainly about “who actually gets to control, allocate, manage, and spend that money” said Edgar Villanueva in this interview. In addition to the statistics about foundation presidents and staff, Villanueva cites that “89 percent of executives on foundation boards, 81 percent of management for financial services and 86 percent of venture capital investors are white. We often give to people in our network, and to people that we know and look like us. And so because of that major diversity issue in philanthropy, resources are not going to communities of color.”
We need to talk honestly and plainly about power.
For these, reasons, we began the 4.0 Angel Syndicate with this question from our CEO, Hassan Hassan, noted in the announcement of the Syndicate:
What if we could organize a different model for education philanthropy that operates from different values to make different decisions toward different outcomes? A model more proximate, participatory, inclusive, democratic, representative, and accountable.
We can. This project is our start.
Today, we are proud to announce the official start of 4.0’s Angel Syndicate with the introduction of the 50 Black philanthropists selected to join the inaugural cohort.
Meet 4.0’s 2020 Angel Syndicate Members:
Angela Stepancic | Washington, D.C.
As an educational leader in Washington, DC, Angela B. Stepancic led two schools which targeted historically under-served and marginalized communities. During her twelve-year tenure as a principal, Angela retained approximately 93% of her staff each year. Investment in human capital is a cornerstone of Angela’s leadership. In 2019, she launched Stepancic & Sons, a firm that works with school leaders, business executives, and non-profit organizations, providing leadership coaching, professional learning, and strategy development. Through an equity-based, anti-racist lens, S&S helps leaders galvanize their teams and rethink their systems, creating a culture of collegiality, innovation, and possibility.
Atnre Alleyne | Wilmington, DE
Atnre Alleyne is the co-founder and CEO of TeenSHARP, an organization that prepares students of color for top colleges and leadership. Atnre previously founded and led an education advocacy organization — DelawareCAN: The Delaware Campaign for Achievement Now. Prior to launching DelawareCAN, Atnre was the Director of Talent Management at the Delaware Department of Education. He is an alumnus of the Pahara NextGen fellowship and the Harvard Strategic Data Project. Atnre lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife Tatiana and children Zoryana, Nazariy, and Taras. He blogs at www.fiercelyurgent.com and plays the bass guitar in his church’s band.
Bahiy Watson | New Orleans, LA | 4.0 Alum
Bahiy Watson is a mechanical engineer and founder of The 1881 Institute — a workforce development initiative that prepares underrepresented populations for careers in engineering. Bahiy has worked to expand 1881’s offerings to serve partners in higher ed, secondary schools, and primary schools.
Bunmi Esho | Washington, D.C. | 4.0 Alum
Bunmi was raised in the United States and Nigeria before graduating with a degree in engineering. As a child, she developed a passion for community and education, eventually leading her to a career in educational nonprofits. Bunmi currently leads outreach initiatives for Endless OS Foundation. She believes in the critical intersection between community, education and STEM, and volunteers with Full Circle Fund, RightOn! Education, Christensen Institute Social Capital R&D Project and the Steering Committee for National Academy of Engineering’s EngineerGirl. She loves road trips and has traveled cross-country through the US and abroad.
Caroline Hill | Washington D.C. | 4.0 Alum
Caroline is a thought leader who lives, works, and designs at the intersection of education, innovation, and equity. Her work inspired the creation of equityXdesign, a powerful design framework that merges the values of equity work and innovation with the intentionality of design. Her latest venture, 228 Accelerator, catalyzes the redesign of the relationships that normalize mistreatment and oppression, builds bridges between the powerful and the powerless, and accelerates our journey to a more inclusive society.
Caroline empowers people with the creative authority to reimagine themselves as designers of human relationships. This challenge inspires her to explore innovative organizations and learning models that optimize the role of relationships, leverage technologies, and engage people as agents in their own transformation. She supports several national education organizations as they work to design and create more inclusive and responsive organizations and learning models.
Caroline’s work is rooted in more than 20 years of experience in public education, education innovation, management consulting, and engineering. She has lived the life cycle of school creation and transformation as a teacher, mentor, coach, founding principal, and investor in innovative school models. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia and a Master of Education in Learning and Teaching from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received an additional Master of Science in Administration through New Leaders for New Schools, a principal training fellowship.
Chauncey Nartey | Patchogue, NY | 4.0 Alum
Chauncey is a Senior HR Business Partner at General Assembly and the Founder of Kinnettec — a family of brands committed to the liberation of Black genius. Immediately prior, Chauncey was the Chief Program Officer at a NYC-based nonprofit and a Vice President at Goldman Sachs. Chauncey began his career as a Teach for America corps member before gaining first-hand understanding of the workforce ecosystem via roles across the public, private and non-profit sectors. Chauncey holds a BA in Public Policy from Duke University and a M.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania. He proudly serves as Andrea’s partner and Amelia’s dad.
Dennis Dumpson | Philadelphia, PA
Dennis Maurice Dumpson is a professional troublemaker, inclusive community builder, author, and Founder of #InvestBLK (www.blackcommunityinvestments.com). After more than 15 years leading fundraising/external affairs for nonprofits and government he has secured $38.5MM for disinvested communities. He is also a thought leader on racial equity and has been consulted by the Washington Post, CBS Money, The Socialist Worker, and Medium. In addition, he’s served as a fellow and visiting lecturer for a local college focusing on business, personal finance, and freshman year experience. Dennis is an alumnus of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and earned an MBA in Global Finance from Saint Joseph’s University with corporate residency in South America. He currently resides in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Destiny Shantell Woodbury | Houston, TX | 4.0 Alum
Destiny Shantell Woodbury is from Rhode Island. She is in her 14th year in education, the Founder and CEO of The Anchor School, a 4.0 Essentials Alum and a 4.0 Tiny Fellow. She is also a Doctoral Student at Vanderbilt University. She began her teaching career with Teach for America in 2007. She was a School Leader at YES Prep and Achievement First and taught for 8 years as a Middle School Science Teacher. She received her B.S. and B.A. in Chemistry and Secondary Education with a minor in Leadership Studies from the University of Rhode Island and received her M.ED in Educational Administration and Supervision from National-Louis University.
Evan Taylor | Washington, D.C. | 4.0 Alum
Evan is an Innovation leadership coach, lay leader in Youth and Young Adult Ministry and aspiring school founder. She is equal parts creative & technologist with a penchant for equity, education, and storytelling. She thinks like a designer, implements like a project manager and measures like a data scientist. Evan is committed to building equity in education, tech and entrepreneurship across cultural, political, socioeconomic and racial differences. She uses equity centered design thinking to transform user centered experiences and communities. Evan earned a Bachelors in Mass Communication & a Bachelors in Political Science from Southern University and A&M College, Attended the Institute for Political Journalism at Georgetown University, has an MBA from Strayer University and is pursuing her M.Div at Wesley Theological Seminary.
Harry Kennedy | Dallas, TX | 4.0 Alum
Harry A. Kennedy is the founder and CEO of HAK Electronics, LLC, where he also serves as the lead STEM teacher for advanced students. Harry’s passion for education and teaching was birthed during his tenure at Texas Instruments. There he quickly learned his talent for education surrounding technical engineering concepts while working with engineers globally. He used that skill while recruiting and volunteering to teach the functionality of devices that go into cell phones, computers and cars. In 2017, Harry left Texas Instruments to focus on HAK Electronics full-time. In June of that year he opened his first innovation lab in Dallas, Texas, with a focus on developing student talent. Now, with over 600 students successfully impacted to date through either a workshop, summer camp, and/or curriculum. HAK continues to be culturally influential in the DFW market, by breaking down complex engineering concepts through hands on experience with everyday tech items. Thus improving students overall STEM proficiency — proving any student can learn how to create dope technology using circuits. Additional engineering industry experience include work at Fortune 500 companies such as General Motors and General Electric. Harry Kennedy is an alumnus of The Ohio State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
Hassan Brown | Boston, MA
As a native New Yorker with the blood of Panamanian, African-American and Indigenous ancestors in his veins, Hassan is a lover of, and fighter for, uplifting historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Hassan is a Doctor of Education Leadership candidate at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and is currently completing his residency at New Profit, a Boston-based venture philanthropy firm. As an education professional, he brings over a decade of cross-sector experience in child protective work, teaching, collective impact, philanthropy, and community organizing. Hassan is an avid hip-hop aficionado with a playlist for every mood and moment.
Hassan Hassan | New Orleans, LA | 4.0 Alum
Sixteen years ago, Hassan and his mother immigrated to the US through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery. Today, he serves as the CEO of 4.0, a national incubator that connects, coaches, and invests in 100+ leaders every year to pilot their visions for promising learning models. His journey would not have been possible without the sacrifices of courageous people who worked intentionally to remove barriers and create opportunities for him and many more to thrive. Hassan is a Pahara and Education Pioneer alumnus. He holds degrees in engineering and economics and hosts amateur dinner pop-ups on the side.
Ify Walker | New Orleans, LA
Ify Walker is the CEO of Offor, the talent broker company with a results-oriented approach to challenging how women executives are hired, promoted, and paid. 90% of Offor talent matches identify as Black, Latinx, or Asian. Ify’s work has been featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review & Fast Company. Ify is an attorney by training and a proud product of Nigerian parents, the original dairy state, and Head Start. She is a mother of two, sister to five, and wife to the best decision she’s ever made. When she’s not running Offor, you can find her running Mom’s School of Excellence.
James Brooks | Philadelphia, PA
For the past twelve years, James has worked in Philadelphia, and it’s surrounding counties, as an educator of students from the ages of six years old, to students who are approaching the tender age of fifty. James has worked to establish an equitable educational experience through the values of joy, organization, determination, and communication. During those twelve years, James has continued to build a reputation as a fun, loving, and insightful educator. James wants to build upon his experience inside of high performing charter schools and affluent suburban school districts, by identifying the keys to success that he has experienced, and bring them to the communities of the marginalized individuals who build their lives in low income neighborhoods.
JaQuinda Jackson | Simpsonville, SC | 4.0 Alum
Dr JaQuinda Jackson is a mother of 2 wonderful little boys and married to one of the most amazing men on Earth. Dr. Jackson is an independent trauma focused counselor who primarily works with children and adolescents. Dr. Jackson is also the executive director of KindCollab which is a non profit that focuses on teaching at risk youth social emotional skills. Dr. Jackson is a proud alum of the College of Charleston where she majored in Sociology with a minor in Women and Genders Studies. After graduating from the College of Charleston, she pursued her dreams of making an impact on the world by moving to Washington, DC where she worked with children who experienced various forms of traumas. While in DC Dr. Jackson received her Masters in Community Counseling with an emphasis on trauma work from Argosy University, where she also received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology. If this is not enough, Dr. Jackson is also an adjunct professor.
Jason Terrell | Atlanta, GA
Jason began his journey as an 8th-grade teacher in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. In the classroom, he served as a mentor, athletic coach, and tutor and was deeply invested in his student’s pursuit of academic and personal success. In 2015, Jason became the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Profound Gentlemen, a national agency dedicated to increasing the 2% of male educators of color who teach across the nation. Through this work, Jason has received numerous fellowship experiences and was recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 as one of the world’s brightest social innovators who seek to bring about change and equal opportunity for boys and male educators of color. When Jason he not working, he is spending time with his wife and son, going to rap concerts and boxing.
Jian Bland | Edison, NJ
Jian is an edu-preneur working at the cross-sector of private equity, social enterprise, and education. She has 7 years of experience in product design, fundraising, and strategic partnerships. With a background working with corporations, venture capital firms, mission-driven startups, and non-profits alike, she enjoys leading initiatives focused on education, youth employment, and economic opportunity. Currently, Jian leads a community engagement strategy and that aims to propel Black, and Latinx, students into economic and educational mobility. Jian is passionate about the future of work, education, ed-tech, and the empowerment of women and girls. She is currently based in New Jersey.
Jonathan Santos Silva | Rapid City, SD | 4.0 Alum
Jonathan Santos Silva is the Founder of the Liber Institute, an organization focused on developing the leadership capacity of Indigenous students, families, and educators to transform their schools and the communities that surround them. Prior to this, Jonathan served as a school founder, instructional coach, education consultant, and on-the-ground support to South Dakota’s Native American Achievement Schools. His education career began at Little Wound School on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where he taught secondary math and called play-by-play for Mustang Athletics. He is also a 2017–2018 School Systems Leaders Fellow and 2019 TNTP Bridge Fellow.
Jordan Castro | Atlanta, GA
Jordan is a high school student in the Atlanta metro area. He is studying to become an engineer and also has 2 years of percussion experience. Jordan has participated in a couple of robotics competitions, and was part of a team that was invited to Legoland, California for an invitational, where they won internationally for first place in innovation. Jordan enjoys traveling. He has gone to countries with very different cultures such as Mexico and South Africa. Jordan aspires to learn more about cultures and traditions of people around the world.
Katherine Rice | Tampa, FL
Katherine Kylila Rice is an investor, veteran activist , and social entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Poetic Change Inc. Is a Forbes 30 under 30 nominee, and a social impact strategist. Kylila is also a performance artist, and loves fitness. She is the mother of a 2 year old and the wife of a soldier. Kylila uses her talents to heal herself, and create a more harmonious world, one that is equitable, and filled with hope and opportunity.
Krystal Allen | New Orleans, LA
A native of historic Selma, Alabama, Krystal Hardy Allen is the Founder/CEO of K. Allen Consulting, a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, and a former school principal. As a first generation college graduate, Krystal is incredibly dedicated to not only the roles she serves, but serving as an advocate for educational equity and the creation of deeply diverse, inclusive, and equitable ecosystems. A recipient of several awards as well as feature of national news publications, Krystal is very committed to utilizing her voice and resources to fulfill what she sees as her divine purpose and what she feels Black & Brown communities deserve.
Laura Patterson | New York, NY
By day, Laura works as a Senior Researcher at Teachers Pay Teachers, an edtech company based in New York (at night, she also serves as Program Director to Revive the Dream Institute, a fellowship for professionals looking to make an impact in the education space). Prior to joining TpT, she worked at the NYC Department of Education as a Special Projects Manager for iZone and the Analyst for the Office of Strategic Planning. She began her career at Scholastic, where she performed a variety of functions. In addition to broad experience with education organizations on staff, Laura co-organized events in the education space including Startup Weekend EDU, and has volunteered and consulted with several local ed-based nonprofits. Laura received her BA in Sociology at Tufts University and her MPA in Nonprofit Management from New York University.
Letisha Smith| New York, NY
Letisha Smith is a Georgia native who currently resides in New York City. Before relocating to NYC, she lived in Boston and worked with middle school students diagnosed with emotional & behavioral disorders. Her desire to numerically quantify the impact of school-based programs led her to pursue an MS in Applied Statistics for Social Science Research at New York University. Currently Letisha works as Data Scientist at Teachers Pay Teachers, an edtech company with a mission to empower educators. She loves outdoor activities and is currently learning how to kayak in the Hudson River.
Ma’at Lands | Indianapolis, IN
Ma’at is a native of Indianapolis, IN. She is a graduate of Tennessee State University where she received her B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She received her Masters and Building Level Administrative License from Marian University. She serves as the Executive Director and Founding School Leader for Rooted School Indianapolis at Eastern Star Church, a high school with a mission to provide students personal pathways to financial freedom. She is also a certified facilitator in cultural intelligence and unconscious bias, working with individuals and organizations assessing and improving effectiveness in culturally diverse situations.
Marques Whitmire | Lake Wylie, SC
Education has provided Marques with unique opportunities. When he was born, four generations of his family lived in the same housing projects in South Carolina. His mother, a first generation college student, became a teacher and ensured they would escape from a life of generational poverty. Six years ago, Marques finally acted upon an idea that he had known his entire life: “education could and should provide better opportunities to others like himself”. Since then he has worked across the K-12 education space in a district, with a charter, and with service providers to ensure that all students are provided with opportunities to learn and succeed. Today he works as a Senior Account Executive at Allovue, a company whose mission is to Empower educators to strategically and equitably allocate resources to best meet student needs. Marques is a Broad Residency and Pahara Next Gen alumnus. He holds an MBA and an M. Ed. In his spare time he makes music and coaches his sons sports teams.
Marvin Pierre | Houston, TX | 4.0 Alum
Marvin Pierre’s career started in an unexpected place for a leader in Education — at the financial firm Goldman Sachs. But when the economic downturn of 2008 forced him to re-evaluate, he decided to pursue work that truly inspired him. When a friend who was teaching in Brooklyn public schools asked him to speak to her 5th grade class, he felt connected to the students. Marvin also recognized that, because they were largely reading below grade level, these students had a higher chance of dropping out or being caught up in the criminal justice system. At that moment, he took a leap of faith and decided to pursue a career in education. Along with his co-founder Vanessa Ramirez, Marvin became educated about the school-to-prison pipeline, which routes 12,000 of Houston’ kids aged 10–18 to the juvenile justice system each year. Over the course of a year, they worked together to create 8 Million Stories, a nonprofit supporting disconnected youth with education, employment skills training, and social and emotional support. 8MS works on the change theory that, with support and empathy, youth who’ve been pushed out of the school system can return to lead healthy, happy lives. Whether they need support with GED completion, job placement, or mental health counseling, participants complete their education and find pathways to success.
Marvin Vilma | Boston, MA | 4.0 Alum
Marvin was raised in Queens, NY. His parents, both Haitian immigrants, taught him the value of education at a young age, and consequently, Marvin developed a curiosity for teaching and learning. He became a teacher and entrepreneur to design meaningful and human-centered learning experiences, most recently Teaching & Learning Lab, a professional learning venture for teachers. In all of his entrepreneurial pursuits, Marvin is an advocate for coalition building and collaborative design, because we are better together. He is currently a fundraiser at MIT, college counselor, nonprofit consultant and facilitator. Marvin is a graduate of Colgate University and UPenn GSE.
Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz | Santa Fe, New Mexico
Dr. Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Ed.D., is a cultural leader and oral historian who shares narratives of personal transformation and community change. As the founder and Director of the New Mexico Women of Color Nonprofit Leadership Initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, she works with communities across the themes of sovereignty, transformation, healing and equity. Mi’Jan is also a 2019–2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist and BMW Foundation Responsible Leader, represented by FRESH Speakers. She graces audiences with her visionary, story-rich talks at a range of institutions, from Carnegie Hall to the Institute of American Indian Arts, to SXSW. Her goal? To make the historical contemporary and personal, while surfacing the marginalized stories that need to be heard.
Mia Howard | St. Louis, MO
Mia hails from Brooklyn, NY and is based in St. Louis as a Partner at The Opportunity Trust, where she leads the team’s $21M investments in public schools and talent in the region. Mia began her career in education teaching constitutional law to high school students in Philly. Most recently, Mia founded and led Intrepid College Prep Schools, a growing network of high-performing schools in Nashville. Under her leadership, Intrepid schools received recognition as a Tennessee Reward School in 2015 and 2018, and annual acknowledgement as an Excelling School for Economically Disadvantaged students and English Language Learners. Mia was a Fellow at BES. She received her B.A. in Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University and a J.D. from Penn Law. She enjoys playing with her dog Fizzy and is in the process of launching a pop culture podcast.
Michellea Millis | San Antonio,TX | 4.0 Alum
Michellea has 20 years experience in Education and 10 years in Non-Profit Administration. She has served in every role in Education except a Superintendent. In the last 10 years, she has been an instructional and leadership coach working with charter schools to improve teacher and leader effectiveness to increase student achievement and organizational performance. In her 20 year history, Michellea as worked in New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. She is passionate about creating, nurturing, and sustaining high performing cultures of learning in underserved communities. She is an avid movie watcher and traveler.
Mike Davis | Atlanta, GA | 4.0 Alum
Mike Davis is a first-generation college graduate of Morehouse College. A lawyer by training, he is an alumnus of The Broad Residency in Urban Education. He currently serves as the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships for Sheltering Arms, an early childhood education organization operating 13 sites in Metro Atlanta. Davis is also the co-founder of RedDrop, a direct-to-consumer feminine hygiene brand for middle school students. Previously, he served in leadership roles with two large urban-suburban school systems. He is a father of three, a Texas Hold’em enthusiast, an aspiring DJ and a Philadelphia Eagles fanatic.
Mimi Aboubaker | New York, NY | 4.0 Alum
Mimi Aboubaker is a recent graduate with a background in finance and social entrepreneurship. Her first venture, Willo, which focused on improving financial aid allocations to college students, was winded down when universities closing down in light of COVID-19 put Willo’s spring pilot on hold. Mimi quickly repurposed her social entrepreneurship efforts to Perfect Strangers, a COVID-19 crisis response effort delivering meals and essential goods to homebound individuals. Perfect Strangers currently delivers 30,000+ meals per month for local government and nonprofit partners. Prior to these endeavors, Mimi spent time in finance at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Nathan Hoffman | Chicago, IL
Nathan is an accomplished education policy and advocacy leader. He has successfully led efforts across multiple states to improve K-12 education access, quality, and innovation through legislative and advocacy work at the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Nathan currently directs all policy and research initiatives for Empower Illinois, principally seeking to expand quality educational pathways for students. He’s a former member of the University of Illinois-System Board of Trustees, former member of the Springfield, IL Public Schools Foundation Board, and a current member of the American Enterprise Institute Leadership Network, participating as part of the inaugural Millennial cohort.
Nathaniel Turner | Zionsville, IN | 4.0 Alum
Nathaniel A. Turner is the author of multiple books, including the history-making Raising Supaman. Turner’s books, videos, speeches (including TED Talk), and workshops empower countless people. Nate holds numerous degrees: Accounting (Bachelors), History & Theology (Masters), and Juris Doctor. The diversity of his education, combined with a wide range of personal experiences and professions, makes him a modern-day renaissance man. Nate’s been privileged to speak at some of America’s top universities and corporations. Business, government, and community leaders value his out-the-box perspective. Parents and guardians count on him for genuine and timely counsel.
Nyesha Trusty | San Antonio, TX | 4.0 Alum
Nyesha Trusty operates with an intrinsic belief that the future of our world lies in instilling the newest generation with a sense of purpose, passion, and self-worth. A native New Yorker, her experiences as a TFA alum and military spouse have placed her in front of classrooms in multiple states as an English teacher and grade-team leader. Currently, she continues to fight for educational equity as a Manager, Teacher Leadership Development with Teach For America. In this role, she coaches new teachers throughout the San Antonio region. Nyesha enjoys laughing at corny jokes and re-watching old episodes of Moesha.
Pamela Moore | Mobile, AL | 4.0 Alum
As a lifelong learner, Pamela R. Moore considers making a difference in her community, her calling. A proud graduate of numerous regional universities, her career in public education spans over 20 years. She has touched the lives of students and educators in the areas of educational technology, library media education, education administration, history and Spanish. Her interest in the entrepreneurial startup community developed through participation in hackathons and local startup competitions. She supports arts projects, environmental awareness, along with initiatives in equity and access in education. She finds ways to intertwine her interests while looking for the next new idea.
Paris Woods | Houston, TX | 4.0 Alum
Paris Woods is a college access and success strategist who provides expertise, training and support to high schools, colleges, and programs serving students from low-income communities. She currently serves as the founding Managing Director of Harris County Promise with Good Reason Houston and is excited to lead college access work in one of the country’s largest and most diverse cities. A 4.0 alumna, Paris is co-founder and former executive director of College Beyond in New Orleans. She has received numerous fellowships and awards for her work, and is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin.
Riley Jones | Chicago, IL
Riley Jones received a B.A. from Columbia in Political Science and American Studies. He’s also a 2020 J.D. graduate from the New York University School of Law. At NYU, he was the inaugural Nordlicht Scholar in the Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Bloc, a company using artificial intelligence to create and facilitate opportunity pathways for the new economy. He was named a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. He’s a professional singer and regular theatergoer in his spare time.
Shari Long Lawrence | Lost Angeles, CA | 4.0 Alum
Shari has dedicated her entire career to working in education in hopes of creating more transformative and liberatory experiences for ALL students, especially BIPOC students. Today, Shari is a School Design Partner for the national nonprofit, Transcend, where she supports schools around the country in the early stages of their design journeys to create bold new visions of school. She is an alumna of 4.0 Schools Essentials Fellowship and Education Pioneers and holds advanced degrees in education and politics. Shari currently lives in Los Angeles, California where she enjoys yoga and going on hikes with her husband and dog.
Sherman Whites | Kansas City, MO
Sherman serves as a program director at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. His mission is to teach prospective grantees both the art and science of philanthropy, to disrupt current narratives, and to put more resources in the hands of the people who aspire to actually solve the problems of our society. He takes pride in being an equal opportunity agitator. Sherman holds degrees in mechanical engineering and business from two different schools, but in speaking with him you would think that he only attended Florida A&M. He values good food, good conversation, and good bourbon, not in that order.
Sherita Love | St. Louis, MO
Sherita Love is a native St. Louisan, mother of 3 brilliantly beautiful daughters and catalyst for anti-racist education. She currently serves as the Founding Executive Director of Changing Systems + EdHub STL, a platform for educators to reimagine education with equity and action at the center. She is also the co-founder of GLAMM (Girls Lead and Make Moves) a non-profit promoting education and empowerment for young women of color, founding board member for The Leadership School, board member of Educators for Social Justice, board member of ConnectED Learning, advisory board member with the Education Foundation of the St. Louis Aquarium, as a consultant with a lens for supporting girls and students of color with Washington University’s STEM Teacher Quality Institute, and a lead consultant with Education Equity Consultants.
Soenda Howell | Chicago, IL
A proud daughter of immigrants, Soenda has always seen education as a path to greater opportunity and liberation. She strives to spend her time in roles where she can lead with radical empathy and create supportive spaces where people of color thrive. Currently, Soenda is an Investment Principal at Charter School Growth Fund. In this role, Soenda leads the early stage strategy that funds the growth of charter school networks led by entrepreneurs of color. Before this, Soenda provided strategic support for replicating schools in the KIPP network. She also led three of KIPP’s leadership programs for school founders. Soenda began her career as a Teach for America corps member and later transitioned to be a teacher and a principal. She has a BA from Swarthmore College, and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently pursuing her MBA from Kellogg, Northwestern University.
Sydney Thomas | Oakland, CA
Sydney works at Precursor Ventures where she has check-writing abilities and focuses her time on investing in and supporting Pre-Seed companies that democratize access to products and services for the mass market economy. To increase knowledge of these types of companies, she founded and hosts the Be About It podcast, where she profiles companies that fit this thesis. She also participates in several extracurricular activities to increase diversity in tech and level the playing field more broadly. She is the creator of The Interrupters — a list that highlights investors committed to investing in black and LatinX founders. She serves on the Advisory Board of Invanti — a startup generator in the midwest. In 2019, she was honored to join the HBCU.vc 31 under 31 in VC list. She is deeply involved in her community, Longfellow Oakland. In 2020, she was honored to receive the Champion of Justice Award from Esq. Apprentice, an Oakland-based nonprofit she supports that creates alternative pathways to the legal career. In her free time, she works with her life-partner on designing their urban jungalow. Sydney joined Precursor 4+ years ago and built the software and systems that grew the firm from a Solo Operating GP with 10 investments to a 3-person team with 100+ investments. Before joining Precursor, Sydney gained experience working in technology startups in business development and product marketing. She has done everything from writing federal SBIR grants to managing customer success teams. Prior to her work in tech, she served in the Bloomberg Administration in NYC. Over the course of her tenure, she drafted federal legislation, negotiated a multi-million dollar contract and received a full-ride scholarship to her business school of choice. Sydney graduated from Berkeley with her MBA and Duke with her BA.
Tamira Samuel | Houston, TX
A fierce advocate for black and brown children, Tamira Samuel serves as the Dallas Regional Director for the Urban Leaders Fellowship (ULF); a nonprofit that builds capacity by transforming communities through people, policy, and partnerships. She has served in several roles including dean, interim school director, nonprofit consultant, policy fellow, appointed commissioner, and as a charter school founding leadership team member. Prior to ULF, she was the New Teacher Support Manager in Houston ISD. The former Miss Black Kentucky USA, author, and half-marathon finisher, is a graduate of the Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Program Business Fellowship for School Leaders; Northwestern University in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA); and Austin Peay State University in Curriculum and Instruction and English (MAT & BS).
Terrill North | Silver Spring, MD
Terrill North is Executive Director of the Hoffberger Family Philanthropies, which focus on children’s mental health and workforce development in Baltimore, Maryland. He formerly led the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth, and Families. Additionally, Terrill has served as a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting and Booz Allen Hamilton. He previously served as a senior advisor to two Members of Congress. Terrill holds a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University and Master of Education from the Broad Center for Management of Urban School Systems. He completed his undergraduate studies at Howard University.
Tiana Massaquoi | Frederick, MD
Tiana Massaquoi is a Prince George’s County, Maryland native who fell in love with the community and charm of Frederick, Maryland. As a youth development and micro business consultant, Tiana is passionate about using economic empowerment to impact youth. In addition to her consulting work, she loves to support women through The Malkia Company, a Black women owned firm that supports women and girls’ mental health through strategic ventures, promoting positive images of women of color. Her greatest joy is loving on her husband, children, family, and friends!
Tiara Mahoney Paulino | Charlotte, NC
Tiara Mahoney Paulino is the Principal Consultant and Executive Coach for Dual Vida Language Academy. She received her BA in Spanish from Vanderbilt University and has spent the majority of her professional career supporting organizations in delivering equitable and inclusive service to members of the Spanish-speaking community. With over fifteen years studying and utilizing the Spanish language and its associated cultures and over twelve years of educating others in the same, Tiara delivers dynamic instruction and practice opportunities for others to build their capacity to best experience and serve the Spanish-speaking world.
Tracey Dumas Clark | Smyrna, GA | 4.0 Alum
Dr. Dumas Clark is a teacherpreneur and mother determined to leave the planet in better shape than she found it. She’s the CEO of Dumas Clark Curriculum Consulting (DC3), a LLC focused on equipping educators with the art, smart, and heart of teaching by facilitating dynamic, engaging, and reflective learning experiences that liberate and empower. She’s the founder of the Greenhouse Academy of Professional Partners (GAPP), a teacher powered student designed micro-school whose mission is to empower the next generation of innovative servant leaders by providing hands on problem based educational opportunities in a student centered, impact focused, toxic free, healthy and sustainable learning environment.
Vance Lewis | Oakland, CA
Vance has been passionate about educational equity since he first witnessed the opportunity gap in his transition from middle school to high school. After graduating from Howard University, Vance joined Teach for America in Philadelphia as a middle school special education teacher, where he taught for five years. Vance credits his greatest professional and personal learning experiences to his time as a classroom teacher. Today, Vance serves as a Senior Program Manager at Promise Venture Studio, a nonprofit venture studio that attracts, supports, and connects promising entrepreneurial talent, capital, and stakeholders focused on early childhood development.
Wisdom Amouzou | Aurora, CO | 4.0 Alum
After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Communication and a certificate in Leadership Studies, Wisdom taught and was awarded the 2015 Sue Lehmann Teaching & Learning Award through Teach for America. In 2016, Wisdom co-founded the HadaNõu Collective. He was a 2017 Camelback Ventures Fellow and winner of the 2017 TFA Social Innovation Award. Wisdom currently serves as Executive Director of Empower Community High School, an innovative student-led high school grounded in Transformative Resistance. His life goal is infusing an African spirit and love ethic in all he does — whether it’s writing tall tales or co-creating a community high school in Aurora,CO.