Fellows are invited by The Respect Institute to spend one year conducting research, developing new tools and delivering programs to improve the academic and life outcomes of vulnerable youth. The 2016-2017 inaugural cohort is focused on increasing equity in education and ending the school-to-prison pipeline.
Iminah Laura Ahmad
Iminah is a leading authority on increasing the achievement of today’s students, especially those labeled ``at-risk.`` Iminah is a living testament to the power of transformation, as she became a leading authority on many issues facing today’s youth through experiencing these issues firsthand and overcoming them. A speaker, educator and entertainer, she is currently the lead consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice-funded project by the Alliance for Girls to partner with Oakland Unified School District to craft and implement new policies that will ensure that the school system is appropriately and effectively supporting girls of color. She is a graduate of Spelman College and lives in her hometown of Oakland, CA.
``I was born and raised in Oakland, have spent the majority of my educational career in OUSD schools and come from a lineage of educators. Growing up as an African American woman in Oakland during the 80's, 90's and early 2000's gave me a very rich and challenging life experience. I would like to see REAL equity in action, and society working together to meet the expressed needs of all segments of our communities, especially our girls of color who have been chronically underserved and overlooked.``
April is the equity administrator for the Campbell Union School District in Silicon Valley. She received a bachelor’s in Political Science and a double minor in Mathematics and African Studies from the University of California, Davis, and received her Masters in Counseling Education, K-8 teaching credential, and pupil personnel credential from San José State University. She also holds an administration credential. April has been with Campbell Union School District since August 2002. She is a first generation college graduate. As a member of a military family, she has lived in multiple cities across the country, which afforded her cultural experiences that continue to fuel her ability to connect with people of diverse backgrounds.
“Education is the gateway to access some level of equality/choice in lifestyle and helps students overcome basic needs and luxury limitations. I educate students so they can have a fighting chance in an uneven race to their personal definition of success. I'm devoted to true equity in education, meaning: 'people getting what they need, when they need it.’``
Kelly Wickham Hurst
Kelly is the founder and CEO of Being Black at School, an initiative to empower parents and educators to make schools a safe place for Black children. She's a writer and educator who spent 23 years in the school system as a teacher, guidance dean, and assistant principal. Her work included being a consultant at Focus on Results to support school administrators in making necessary changes in student outcomes. Kelly is best known as the author of the award-winning blog Mocha Momma where she chronicles her life as a former teen parent, a birth mom, and a single mother who took her then 3-year old daughter to college with her. She's written for Yahoo!, Huffington Post, and been a guest on NPR. She earned a Master's degree in Educational Administration an a Bachelor's degree in English Literature with a minor in Afro-American Studies. She resides in Illinois between Bloomington and Springfield with her husband and their 6 children.
``I spent 23 years in the public education system as a teacher, literacy coach, guidance dean, and assistant principal. I witnessed first hand how the system helped white students thrive while continuing to marginalize black students.``
Arnold L. Chandler is co-founder of Forward Change Consulting and has been working on efforts to improve the health and well-being of boys and men of color specifically since 2007. Recently, he was a senior policy associate with the Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at U.C. Berkeley Law School working on policies to improve the lives of Boys and Men of color across California. Before that he was a research analyst working with a team to reform the Oakland Police Department to reduce biased policing and police abuse as part of a federal lawsuit settled in 2001. He created ``A Life Course Framework for Improving the Lives of Boys and Men of Color`` that shows how to interrupt their disproportionate cycle of incarceration. Chandler’s work is focused on mission impact strategy, evidence-based practices, and leadership development for social change and equity-focused organizations.
Pedro Carbajal O'limon
Pedro has empowered Latino families through early education, parenting, healthy eating and middle school STEM programs through the Family Engagement Institute at Foothill College and Palo Alto Medical Foundation. He is also a member of the Community Action Team, an organization that focuses on community issues and advocates for better community resources. Born in Mexico, Pedro says he moved to the United States 20 ago to pursue a better life. As a father of five, his goal is to be a role model to his children by completing college himself.
``I remember one middle school student I worked with. He was standing in the crowded cafeteria, overwhelmed and frozen, with his $12 meal voucher in his hand. He got up the courage and ordered his lunch. The next day, he was more confident. The day after, a summer school student came up to him and asked him what classes he was taking over the summer. After this encounter he ran up to me and said, ‘Pedro! He thought I was a college student!’ From that moment on he saw himself as a college student, in a way that he hadn’t before, because of the opportunity he had through FEI and the STEM summer camp.``
Tia Martinez is co-founder of Forward Change Consulting. Previously she was chief equity officer at the Stupski Foundation. Tia came to the foundation from the Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at UC Berkeley Law School, where she was acting director of education, leading a policy unit that produced research, policy prescriptions and curricular innovation on issues related to education reform and racial justice. Prior to joining the Warren Institute, she served as strategic consultant to the Office for Civil Rights in the US Department of Education, and was a manager at the Bridgespan Group, where she worked with a range of clients including the nation’s largest constituency-based Hispanic civil rights organization and an urban school district reform intermediary. As a senior fellow at the Hewlett Foundation, Tia worked on issues related to disadvantaged adolescents and immigrant families. She has also worked as a policy analyst for the Corporation for Supportive Housing and the San Francisco Mayor’s HIV Health Services Planning Council. Tia has an AB in History from Harvard University, a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy, and a JD from Stanford Law School.
Facilitators are certified Respect 360 Leaders who deliver programs at our National Respect Labs and train-the-trainers for our partners.
- Amanda Rodriquez
- Vanessa Guiterez
- Brian Sparkes
Board of Directors
Courtney is the visionary who started our mission more than a decade ago. She is a domestic violence survivor whose multi-racial family struggled for respect amid issues like substance abuse, incarceration, high-school dropout and teen pregnancy. As a young adult, her mission became to create a world where “respect for all” is the status quo. A nationally recognized youth development expert and award-winning journalist, Courtney is co-author of the best-selling book, RESPECT, and led the creation of groundbreaking self-respect building tools, such as The Respect Basics, used by more than 50,000 youth and their influencers in schools, jails, and prevention/intervention programs around the globe for the past decade. She’s been featured by CNN, ABC, National Public Radio, USA Today, Teen Vogue and tapped as a resource by the White House and the Clinton Global Initiative. Most recently she was a top-five national finalist for the American Express NGen Leadership Award, was most named one of the '42 leading women in education' by the University of Southern California, and was a Local Hero Award Winner by Cosmopolitan for Latinas. In 2015, she was appointed to the Juvenile Justice Commission for Santa Clara County, California. Courtney has a B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University and is a certified professional co-active coach (CPCC). A native of San Jose, she lives there with her husband Jeremy and son Tru.
Kim is senior vice president (enterprise business & community engagement) for Bank of America. She has worked with community organizations and social venture startups in a variety of roles as board member, advisor, and consultant for over 20 years. Formerly she was vice president of community investment for Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) and social impact and executive director of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation, as well as vice president of social impact, innovation and community relationships, for Tech CU. Most recently, she was selected by Governor Inslee to serve in an appointed seat for the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership and is on the national board for Juma Ventures. Kim earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from San Jose State University and master’s degree in leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California, and a certification in Strategic Philanthropy and Foundation Management from Cannon Financial Institute. She's been recognized as a 100 Women of Influence, 40 Under 40, and Women of Distinction in Banking & Finance by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Xochitl is founder of Latino X-Roads to help support and encourage at-risk Latino youth to take the road to college. Currently she is an MSx Fellow at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and is a business operations executive with 15+ years of experience shaping strategy into execution to drive growth and scale operations primarily at Cisco Systems Inc. She has spearheaded business transformation across finance and marketing operations, and led expansion into 26 emerging markets. She is an influential and well respected alliance builder with work experience in the US, Europe, and Asia. Xochitl grew up in East San Jose and is the daughter and granddaughter of Mexican Immigrants. As one of the first in her family to graduate from college, she is passionate about helping at-risk Latino youth overcome the social and economic pressures that prevent them from pursuing higher education.
Lisa Askins is founding partner of Full Glass Corp. Lisa’s passion is to help individuals and teams discover and develop their ability to communicate authentically. She has founded several innovative learning and development companies such as Leap Forward Publishing and UnconditionalU. In her corporate life, Lisa held various executive and management positions focused on marketing and selling enterprise systems. She also developed expertise in helping remote workers improve productivity while gaining visibility and recognition. Lisa is a UCSD communications major and graduate and has created a niche for herself as a virtual presence educator and strategic thinking coach.
Lori is executive director of the Northside Charter High School in Brooklyn, which serves the educational needs of one of the lowest performing districts in New York City. She's also the former COO of More Than Me, an organization driven to transform education for Liberian girls, and also served as the COO for Girls For A Change, a national nonprofit that provides training and empowerment in social change for middle and high school girls living in low-income neighborhoods. Lori began her work in the private sector, working for 11 years as a branch manager and senior director at Charles Schwab & Co., in California and Massachusetts. She been part of the non profit world for almost two decades, working in children’s grief support in New England, and in education and conservation at the San Francisco Zoo.
Caroline Frye Burruss
Caroline is vice president of global partnerships at AEG Live. She has a 20+ year career in music, media and entertainment as a vice president or director for companies including Austin City Limits Live, Live Nation and Seventeen Magazine. She has built grass-roots fan bases for artists as the founder and CEO of Revolution Promotion Management (clients sold over 30 million records to date), created one of the first online communities for girls and women, ChickClick (2.3 million registered users), and established new destination music festivals such as Rothbury. She is a former national board member for Girls For a Change and is currently a board of governors member of the The Recording Academy and is on the board of advisors for Marathon Kids. She lives in Austin with her two children.
Our Program Advisory Circle includes Respect 360 facilitators and informs the development of our toolkits, educational materials, training, research and impact model by lending their experience, collective wisdom and feedback to Ri. The circle is not an Ri board with governance responsibilities.
- Program Dana Bunnett, Executive Director, Kids in Common, a program of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Santa Clara County Opportunity Youth Partnership
- Carrie Ellett, Academic Director, Akilah Institute for Women
- Dr. Jennifer Gkourlias, Founding Principal of Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester, The Respect Institute’s founding nationwide Respect Lab
- Laura Rebell Gross, Director of Girls’ Education, Young Women’s Leadership Network
- Scott Seaman, Retired Chief of Police, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno (CA) Police Department
- Dr. Nancy Niemi, Ri Visiting Professor, 2010-2015. Dr. Niemi conducted research about the science of building self-respect and mutual respect among children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Niemi has been proudly associated with the Institute’s predecessor, Respect Rx, since 2004 and advised on the book RESPECT. Currently she is Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Education Department at the University of New Haven where she works with pre-service teachers and teaches courses in subjects across the pedagogical spectrum.
- Christopher Bogosian, Ri Visiting Mental Health Clinician, 2012-2014. Christopher Bogosian consulted on the development of The Respect Institute’s programs, conducted original research on the development of self-respect, and led the collaboration to create a self-respect indicators scale for youth development.
- Jessica Baker
- Lisa Cochran Hall, Co-Founder
- Lisa Askins, Full Glass Corp
- Dixie Laite, TeenNick
- Caroline MacNeill Hall, The Coaches Training Institute
- Michael MacNeill, Mac Advisors
- Mary Lou Rodgers, Real Living Lifestyles
- Kim Vu, Bank of America
- Julie Wadler, Epiphany Productions
- Sherman Wang, Kaiser Permanente
- Courtney Macavinta, Ri
- Jessica Arana, Creative Director
- Amy Vest, Graphic Designer
- Kristin Gomez, Program and Evaluation
- Caroline Rustigian Bruderer, Partnerships
- Erica Stalder, Social Media