ROMAL TUNE | Founder
Romal is the founder of Faith for Change, an education focused non-profit with the Institute for Educational Leadership serving as its fiscal agent. Romal is originally from San Francisco, CA. As a young child he attended a different school every year from elementary through 10th grade until he moved to New Jersey where he graduated from South Plainfield High School. After graduating high school, Romal joined the United States Army. He was honorably discharged at the end of his four year enlistment and went on to attend Howard University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. After Howard, Romal attended Duke University School of Divinity where he also graduated Magna Cum Laude. As someone who grew up in poverty raised by a single parent, Romal believes that education has been one of the most important factors in changing his life and allowing him to pursue his dreams. According to Romal: "Life can be hard sometimes and young people have a lot of things they have to deal with on a daily basis that make school challenging. But with hard work, support from friends, community and believing in yourself, you can make it."
JOI R. ORR | Organizer
Joi is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park and Howard University School of Divinity where she served as the Student Government Association President and Co-Chair/Founder of Seminarians for Justice. Currently, she is the Director of Organizing with Faith Leaders for Community Change, a faith-based nonprofit dedicated to helping kids in low performing schools reach academic success. For Joi, education means "access" and provides the foundation for social justice and spiritual liberation.
PATRICIA LESESNE | Strategy
Patricia is a Broward County Public Schools social sciences instructor, Broward County, FL. She earned a bachelor's degree, cum laude, from Harvard University, as well as a Masters of Art in Teaching from Tufts University.Patricia currently manages a five-year United States Department of Education High School Graduation Initiative Grant. This grant was awarded to Broward County Public Schools in October 2011 and funds the Mentoring Tomorrow's Leaders (MTL) dropout prevention, student leadership, and educational re-engagement program. Having been a teenage mother, Patricia knows first-hand that supportive communities are a crucial component of academic achievement and personal success for "at-risk" students.
LIZ BROWN | Senior Designer
Founder of Midnight Raven Design in LA, and former Visual Director for CakeLove, an award-winning gourmet bakery in Washington, DC. She has created innovative digital print, web and outdoor branding collateral, and designed unique promotional goods for over a decade with leading organizations including Deutsch LA, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts|VSA, and The National Urban Alliance. Liz has a BFA in Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design [RISD], and an MFA in Film|Animation from California Institute of the Arts [Calarts].
ISAAC DAZER | Associate Designer
A lifelong resident of Southern California, Isaac Dazer began his artistic career as a result of a get well card to his mother in elementary school. This sprang a lifelong interest in everything artistic. Isaac Dazer has attended many Los Angeles schools in his academic career, none more seminal to his pursuit as a designer/artist than Crenshaw High School, in the Los Angeles neighborhood of the Crenshaw District. Upon graduation, he attended The Art Institute of California-Orange County, Santa Ana; where he pursued his Bachelor's of Science in Graphic Design. During his course of study, he was involved in different graffiti art shows.
RAHIEL TESFAMARIAM | Website Designer
Rahiel is the Founder/ Editorial Director of Urban Cusp, a cutting-edge online life.style magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. As is a lifelong writer, Rahiel interned with National Geographic Society and Time Inc. before being appointed, at age 23, the youngest editor-in-chief in the history of The Washington Informer newspaper. Prior to launching Urban Cusp, Rahiel managed a juvenile justice initiative in the nation's capital. Rahiel attended schools in the South Bronx and the District of Columbia before earning a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University and a Master of Divinity (Magna Cum Laude) from Yale University where she was the school's inaugural William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Scholar for Peace and Justice. Rahiel believes that the single most important distinction between her life and that of relatives and childhood friends has been access to quality education.
JOSHUA DOWD | Web/Graphic Designer
Joshua moved to the mountains of North Carolina when he was five. He started drawing comic book characters and winning local awards while still in elementary school. He attended The Atlanta College of Art, then East Carolina University where he graduated with a B.A. in Illustration. Joshua has since pursued a graphics career from textiles to web design for mom and pop companies to multi-million dollar corporations. He is currently developing projects for Bazookaman Design, which he founded more than 15 years ago.
ASHLEY DESTER | Program Coordinator, Blueprint for Success
For me, being an educator is a way of life rather than a profession. I decided that I was to become a teacher at about age 7, and have spent many years studying, practicing, and growing to become the best teacher I can be. Being a teacher is more than simply professing one's knowledge to passive learners. I believe that a great teacher, one that I aspire to be, is one that cares for their students' progress both inside and outside the classroom, and provides lessons that are valuable and practical for the real-world. I chose this profession to make a difference in the lives of my wonderful students in any way possible, and intend on doing so for the rest of my career. Teaching is a passion that is impossible to express, because the rewards that a teacher receives are ones that not everyone gets to experience. I enjoy seeing my students not only improve academically, but enjoy seeing how they apply their academic growth to better their lives and their communities. Being an educator is so much greater than simply teaching a particular subject; it is about finding the special qualities in each student and encouraging them to be great.