Interested in joining our team? Check out open positions here.
Claire Ackerman da Silva
As Director of School Support, Claire da Silva works with schools to build and strengthen their career pathways programming and optimize opportunities for students in the New Orleans community. Claire has worked in education for over twelve years, including teaching career readiness courses at Edna Karr High School, providing college and career advising to students and families as well as technical support for counselors and career education teachers through the Orleans Parish School Board, and coordinating curriculum and teaching English and media studies in London and Oxford, UK. The common thread of these experiences is Claire’s commitment to educational experiences that promote life quality for young people. Claire graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in English and earned a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from Oxford Brookes University.
Contact Claire at email@example.com
Meredith Barousse, Student Support Program Manager
As a Program Manager, Meredith works as the licensed clinical social worker for our programs and as our graphic designer. Meredith is passionate about empowering the youth of New Orleans. Meredith believes in equity in access to pathways and inclusive opportunities for our young people. Prior to YouthForce NOLA, Meredith worked as a medical social worker. Meredith’s previous experience includes work as a graphic designer in advertising and education non-profits in New Orleans and New York. Meredith decided to pursue a career in social work after a powerful youth mentoring experience at a partner organization.
As a proud Acadiana native and proud transplant New Orleanian, Meredith’s family history is rooted in education — The Edward Hynes school in New Orleans is named after her great grandfather who served as the first Superintendent of High School in New Orleans. Meredith holds a BA in Graphic Design from Loyola University New Orleans and a Master’s in Social Work from Tulane University. Meredith serves locally on the board at Teaching Responsible Earth Education. Contact Meredith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candice Black, Director of Operations
Candice Black serves as the Director of Operations for YouthForce NOLA, overseeing daily operations, finances, special events, and a host of other key projects. Candice is a seasoned executive assistant with over 25 years of experience. Having held positions in a variety of business fields, she is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of a wide array of tasks. In addition to working with the YouthForce NOLA team, Candice also assists The New Orleans Startup Fund, which provides investment capital and mentorship to early-stage companies in the Greater New Orleans region.
Contact Candice at email@example.com.
Paige Boetefuer, Director of Soft Skills
Paige Boetefuer is a seasoned education professional with years of experience expanding opportunities for underserved populations and unlocking the full potential of all students. As Director of Soft Skills Programs at start-up nonprofit YouthForce NOLA, Paige has worked to scale their youth-focused programs, spread city-wide implementation of soft skills curricula, and collaborate with national and local stakeholders to achieve a shared vision for a more economically prosperous, equitable New Orleans. As a graduate of Tulane University, Paige has lived in New Orleans for a decade. Prior to joining YouthForce, Paige was a high school mathematics teacher at Rowley Alternative School in St. Bernard Parish through Teach For America. While she was a teacher, Paige dramatically improved school performance on Geometry and Algebra I End of Course Exams and was awarded the 2016 Alternative School Teacher of The Year award. Paige is driven to create opportunities for all young people to be successful and is committed to fostering a more equitable ecosystem to support that goal.
Contact Paige at firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Ehlinger, Executive Vice President
Melissa Ehlinger leads the employer engagement strategy for YouthForce NOLA. Prior to this role, Melissa served as the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at the New Orleans Business Alliance, New Orleans’ official economic development organization. During her tenure at the Business Alliance, Melissa served as the Interim President & CEO and was an integral part of crafting the organization’s overall economic development strategy. She also oversaw day-to-day business attraction and retention functions, as well as the organization’s research department. Her previous experience includes work with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, where she worked as a Project Manager in residential and commercial corridor redevelopment and work as an Attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. A native New Orleanian, Melissa holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin, Phi Beta Kappa; a JD from The George Washington University; and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans. Melissa was awarded UNO’s College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumna Award in 2016 and serves on the Board of the Good Work Network.
Contact Melissa at email@example.com
Emily Ferris, Executive Director of Launch Initiative
Emily Ferris has lived in New Orleans for the past 17 years and is committed to providing opportunities of excellence for all students in New Orleans. Emily Ferris serves as the Executive Director of YouthForce NOLA’s LAUNCH initiative, and is committed to providing a wide variety of meaningful opportunities for all students in New Orleans. Emily brings over 17 years of education experience, beginning as a middle school math and science teacher, and most recently as an Academy Principal with InspireNOLA Charter Schools, at Eleanor McMain Secondary School and Edna Karr High School. Her duties have also included recruitment and admissions, grant writing, coaching and evaluation, program design, and standardized test coordination.
Emily holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of New Orleans, and a Master of Arts in Secondary Curriculum and instruction from Xavier University of Louisiana. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Messiah College in Grantham, PA. She also completed the National Principals Academy Fellowship through Relay Graduate School of Education.
Contact Emily Ferris at Emily@youthforcenola.org
Rahmel Fuller, Program Manager
In his role as a program manager for YouthForce NOLA, Rahmel wears many hats. In addition to serving as a soft skills coach for the school-year internship program, he spearheads intern recruitment at partner high schools, and co-leads the YouthForce’s inaugural Soft Skills Teacher Fellowship. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia’s school of education, Rahmel began his work in the classroom as an ACT/SAT prep coach for multiple high schools in the Atlanta area. After relocating to New Orleans, he taught physical science and engineering at Lake Area New Tech before transitioning into his current role. Fueled by a vision for a more equitable and inclusive city, Rahmel remains an active advocate for high-quality college and career pathways for young people.
Contact Rahmel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Geraldlyn Johnson, Launch Success Coach
As a Launch Success Coach, Geraldlyn guides recent high school graduates through career exploration ensuring a successful transition into their future. Geraldlyn has worked with YouthForce as a summer internship coach for three years and in education for over ten years. Her experience includes teaching business and programming classes at Edna Karr High School, as well as providing technical support for teachers and students throughout various Orleans Parish Schools. The common fiber of these experiences is the commitment to educational experiences that promote life quality for young people. Geraldlyn graduated from Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Master of Business with a concentration in Management.
Contact Geraldlyn at email@example.com
Sarah Leverett, Program Manager, YouthForce Internships
Sarah serves as the Internship Program Manager on the YouthForce NOLA team. In this role, she is in charge of making sure our 250 rising senior interns get the most valuable experience as possible during our YouthForce Internship Summer Program. Prior to taking on this role, Sarah taught middle school English Language Arts in New Orleans as well as in Birmingham, Alabama. Before moving to New Orleans in 2018, she lived in Birmingham for eight years where she attended undergraduate and graduate school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Throughout her time in Birmingham, she worked at UAB as a Graduate Assistant in the School of Education, a Teacher Consultant for the Red Mountain Writing Project, and a Cooperating Teacher and Mentor for preservice educators. Sarah's work in the world of education is fueled by a passion for growth-- personal, academic, professional, etc. She is dedicated to being a lifelong student herself and looks for ways to learn on a daily basis. Sarah sees it as her life's purpose to share her own growth and the wisdom she picks up along the way with others.
Contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Imani Miller, Vice President of Programs
As Vice President of Programs, Imani Miller leads YouthForce NOLA’s school partnership strategy and oversees the execution of the internship and soft skills programs. Imani joined the YouthForce NOLA team with over ten years of experience in education. Imani served as Academy Principal for two years and as an instructional coach for three years at Edna Karr High School. Additionally, Imani has eight years of experience teaching middle-school, high-school, and developmental college mathematics. Imani has a Bachelor of Arts in physics from Xavier University, a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Tulane University, and a Master of Arts from Xavier University.
Contact Imani at email@example.com
Joe Robinson, Launch Success Coach
Joe serves as a Success Coach with Youth Force NOLA's LAUNCH program. In this role, Joe guides recent high school graduates through their first year of college coursework and career exploration. Prior to joining the YFN team, Joe taught middle and high school English and Language Arts in New Orleans and his homeland of Chicago for five years. In addition to his work in the classroom, Joe ran a wellness program as a member of the just keep livin' foundation where he facilitated students' navigation of healthy lifestyle choices with nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness, three aspects of life Joe continues to explore for himself. His passion comes from nurturing a growth mindset; he strives to become better both personally and professionally by exploring new activities and approaches. Joe strives to experience as much of life as possible and encourages the students he works with to do the same.
Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha Parent, Project coordinator
Martha serves as the Project Coordinator for YouthForce NOLA. A native of Galway, Ireland and a new resident to New Orleans, Martha brings over 25 years of diverse experience with organizations such as Wells Fargo Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, FDIC and Amazon. Martha is a seasoned Project Coordinator in Banking, Compliance, Event Planning, Policies and Procedures. When she is not working, Martha can either be found experimenting with new culinary ventures or embarking on unique adventures with her husband, Frank, and neurotic Great Pyrenees, Bentley. Other hobbies include tending to her garden, throwing parties and trying to convince her daughter, Catherine, to move from Richmond, Virginia to New Orleans.
Contact Martha at email@example.com.
David Shepard, Director of Policy
As YouthForce NOLA’s Director of Policy, David leads YouthForce’s support of CTE training providers and executes YouthForce’s policy agenda. Prior to joining YouthForce, David worked for seven years at the Louisiana Department of Education, where he redesigned Louisiana’s charter school application process and helped lead the launch of the Super App, a first of its kind consolidated planning and budgeting tool completed by all school districts in the state.
David began his career as a middle school math teacher in Philadelphia with Teach for America. He holds a BA in Economics and Urban Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, a Masters in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters in in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Born and raised in New Orleans, David is proud to serve on the boards of the Breakthrough Collaborative and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.
Contact David at firstname.lastname@example.org
Steph Slates, Chief of Staff
Steph serves as the Chief of Staff at YouthForce NOLA, where she leads organizational culture and systems, data strategy, and funder engagement. Prior to this role, she was the Executive Director of School Talent at New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) for six years, where she managed the citywide strategy for recruiting and developing educators and oversaw multiple federal grants. Most recently, she led NSNO's strategy to curb citywide teacher attrition. Her previous work experience includes serving on the New Orleans founding team of New Leaders for New Schools to recruit and train principals; designing summer training for Teach For America novice teachers; and training and supporting Tulane University students conducting service activities in public schools across the city. She began her career in education in 2002 as a New Orleans public school teacher.
Steph holds a BA in history from Harvard University, a Masters in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans, and a Masters in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University, where she was a U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow.
Contact Steph at email@example.com
Cate Swinburn, President
Cate Swinburn has led YouthForce NOLA since our inception in summer 2015. Cate began her career in education fifteen-plus years ago as a first grade teacher. Prior to YouthForce NOLA, Cate worked as an independent consultant, working with clients such as Relay Graduate School of Education to inspire and prepare non-education major college undergraduates to become teachers, and with the Recovery School District and New Schools for New Orleans to develop a citywide blueprint for high quality special education services. Prior to independent consulting, Cate served as the Chief of Data and Accountability with DC Public Schools, President and Executive Director of DC Public Education Fund, and Portfolio Director for The Fund for Public Schools in New York City, as well as teaching for five years in rural and urban Texas.
Cate holds a Master of Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, where she was a Dean’s Scholar, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish. Cate is an alumnus of both Teach For America and Education Pioneers.
Contact Cate at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindsay Voves, Employer Partnerships Coordinator
Lindsay serves as the Employer Partnerships Coordinator at YouthForce NOLA. In this role she provides technical and logistical support for all employer facing programming. This includes employer recruitment and relationship management as well as internship programming for high school students and recently graduated young adults.
Lindsay moved to New Orleans to attend school at Tulane University in 2016. She graduated in 2019 with majors in English and Environmental Studies. Lindsay came to YouthForce NOLA through Venture For America, a nonprofit fellowship program with a goal to revitalize American cities through entrepreneurship.