Founder & CEO (Board)
Rhonda Broussard founded Beloved Community to create sustainable paths to equitable schools and communities. Her vision for Beloved Community is informed by her leadership in diverse by design schools and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s goal “ to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”
Rhonda leads our Equity in Schools practice, where she designs supports that transform operations, pedagogy, student culture, and adult culture for sustainable inclusion and equity. Rhonda’s education career has been synonymous with creating more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments for youth and adults. As a teenager staffer and intern at Breakthrough Collaborative, Rhonda facilitated PD on white privilege and bias and developed recommendations for recruitment and retention of faculty of color. As a classroom teacher, Rhonda led affinity groups for students and faculty, chaired district-wide DEI initiatives, facilitated DEI workshops and trainings for school and community partners, and specialized in integrating LGBTQ inclusion in K-12 programming. As a minority language speaker, Rhonda’s DEI facilitation lens expanded to include supports for language minority communities, immigrants and refugees.
In 2007, she founded St. Louis Language Immersion Schools (SLLIS). SLLIS is an intentionally diverse school community and was the first public school in the US to offer this rigorous academic model to a socio-economically diverse, majority minority student population. Under Rhonda’s leadership, the network grew from 165 students to 1000 students, the first three schools in the network became IB World Authorized Schools, and SLLIS achieved an AYP of 92%, equivalent to Accreditation with Distinction from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Rhonda is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leaders Network. She has served on the Board of Directors of PROMO Missouri and the Missouri Charter Public School Association and currently serves on the EdNavigator Board.
As a recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship for International Leadership, Rhonda studied in Finland and New Zealand. She focused on minority language education policies, whole system education reform, and teacher education. The fellowship inspired Rhonda to commit to active inquiry in her personal leadership and eventually launch the One Good Question blog. One Good Question features an interview series with education leaders around the world answering Rhonda’s one good question about education investments and surfacing their own good questions.
Rhonda and her bilingual family live in her native Louisiana.
Blog: One Good Question
Erica Freedman is the Operations Manager for Beloved Community. After completing her studies at Fordham University, Erica began her career in literacy advocacy; working to build sustainable and scalable literacy programs in high-need areas around the United States. She shifted gears to develop both Project Management and Operations skills at a variety of web development and technology startups before returning to the nonprofit sector. Erica was most recently an Operations Consultant for Get Online NOLA, a women-owned company focused on helping small businesses to grow their marketing and online presence.
Lesley Brown Rawlings
Lesley Brown Rawlings is a proven education leader with expertise in talent management and human capital practices designed to drive culturally competent, inclusive and transformative academic success for all students. With a passion and commitment for creating pathways to new possibilities and outcomes for our most underserved communities, she delves into the training, recruitment, selection, engagement and development experiences and resources essential to setting students, families and cities up for success. Lesley was most recently the Director of People and Practice Investments for the Memphis Education Fund.
In that role, she focused on securing and coordinating the investments of local and national foundations to drive strategic talent and human capital outcomes in education across the city of Memphis. Previously she led the talent and HR strategy for the ASD-Achievement Schools, as their Chief People Officer, where she ensured the ability to recruit and retain the talent best equipped to serve the students at the state of Tennessee's directly-run turnaround schools.In addition, Lesley has a degree in Management Information Systems with a minor in Technology and Management from the University of Illinois as well as a MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. She is an alumni of the Broad Residency in Urban Education, a wife and mother, as well as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Inc.
Dr. Nicole Caridad Ralston
Associate Director of Education and Programming
Dr. Nicole Caridad Ralston is the Associate Director for Education and Programming at Beloved Community. Nicole Caridad completed her Ph.D. at the University of New Orleans where her research focused on women of color in higher education senior leadership roles and how they navigate multiple intersections of identity and systems of oppression in the workplace. Dr. Ralston has held several roles in higher education including first-year student retention, new student orientation, multicultural affairs, social justice education, service-learning, and community engagement. In her most recent work at Tulane University, she developed a social justice leadership program to increase the critical consciousness of first-year college students, taught a class on the savior complex in non-profits and community service, and led a coalition to support undocumented college students. She also currently teaches the graduate course, “Diversity in Higher Education” at the University of New Orleans.
Dr. Ralston is a graduate of the Social Justice Training Institute, is a co-Lead for the LeaderShape Insitute, and is the past Louisiana state director for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. She is also a trained StrengthsQuest facilitator and a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory. Nicole Caridad serves on the board of Ivy Leadership Academy, serves on the board of the ACLU Louisiana, and volunteers as the Publicity Co-Chair for the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Azucar Ball, which raises money for local Latinx youth scholarships. In her free time, she enjoys supporting local businesses by sharing her food adventures on her Instagram blog, Off the Eaten Path NOLA.
Dr. Maya M. Bugg
Maya Bugg has over 15 years of experience in supporting, leading and launching non-profit organizations and initiatives grounded in the theory of DEI. Maya's core areas of expertise include strategy development; program design; and creating internal infrastructures within organizations that place diversity, equity & inclusion at the core.
Maya has deep expertise in K-12 education, having been a National Board Certified teacher; policy consultant for US Dept of Ed; and a non-profit executive for various ed-policy/ ed-support organizations. She has also held positions with various organizations in the capacity of supporting evaluation and strategy for teacher preparation programs; leading school and district-level leaders in advancing school turnaround efforts via extended learning time; and founding a national resource dedicated to training educators in the use of culturally responsive education. Additionally, Maya designed and launched myriad DEI initiatives including the first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council for Williamson County Schools; Community Launch; Board Leaders of Color Collaborative; and the UPLIFT Now! Network.
Maya earned a B.A. in the fields of African American Studies, Latino Studies, & Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an Ed.M. in Urban Education & Leadership from Harvard University, and her Ed.D. in Leadership, Policy & Organizations from Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Jonas Chartock
Dr. Jonas Chartock is an experienced chief executive officer with a demonstrated history of impact working in the nonprofit and government sectors. His career has focused on moving leaders and institutions to greater awareness and action for social impact.
A leadership and strategy consultant, Jonas was the national founder and first CEO of Leading Educators. During his tenure as its first chief executive officer, Leading Educators became a key resource to school districts, charter networks, and policy makers in their efforts to maximize the leadership development and ultimate impact of highly effective teachers. Jonas oversaw the organization’s operations, strategy, outreach, and growth. He came to Leading Educators from the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York where he served as executive director of the nation’s largest university-based charter school authorizer. Previously, he served as the founding president and chief executive officer of the Charter School Policy Institute (CSPI) in Austin, Texas, and as executive director of Teach For America in Houston, Texas. Jonas began his career as a teacher with Teach For America in the Compton Unified School District. He holds a BA from Cornell University, MA from Chapman University, EdM from Harvard University, and earned his EdD in educational leadership at the University of Texas at Austin. Jonas is also an actor and amateur musician, and he resides in New Orleans, LA, with his son.
Dr. June Christian
Global Inclusion Strategist
Dr. June Christian works with educational and organizational leaders to develop sustainable human relations, particularly as it relates to inclusive and equitable learning communities.
She has 17 years of experience as an educator, anti-bias trainer, and qualitative researcher studying the impacts of educational policies and practices on students. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English literature, a Master’s degree in education, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy. Dr. Christian has trained hundreds of educators throughout Germany and the US on implicit bias. She is the author of Understanding the Black Flame and Multigenerational Education Trauma: Toward a Theory of the Dehumanization of Black Students.
Dr. Michael Goetz
Executive Director RSEC
Dr. Michael Goetz is Executive Director of RSEC. His clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Council for Better Education, Foundation for Child Development, National Academies, National Center for Innovation in Education, and several legislative and gubernatorial committees.
Goetz leads projects related to educational policy and school finance research. He has worked with academics and policymakers to analyze fiscal data and develop models for PK-12 school finance equity and adequacy in Kentucky (2013-14), North Dakota (2013-14, 2007-08), Maine (2012-13), Texas (2012), Arkansas (2005-06), Washington (2005-06), Wisconsin (2005-06), Wyoming (2005-06), and Arizona (2003-04). Goetz has also performed analyses of school-based resource allocation and restructuring in Alaska, Hawaii, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of RSEC, Goetz leads projects related to educational policy and school finance research. He has worked with academics and policymakers to analyze fiscal data and develop Evidence-Based and Professional Judgement models for PK-12 school finance adequacy in Kentucky, Maine, Texas, North Dakota, Arkansas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Arizona. Goetz has also performed analyses of school-based resource allocation and restructuring in Hawaii, Missouri, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Before focusing on school finance policy, Goetz was a Researcher with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining CPRE, he managed K-8 educational centers for Score Learning, Inc. in New York and taught middle school math and science in Kansas City.
Dr. Goetz received a B.A. in Educational Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at University of Wisconsin—Madison. He received a Wisconsin-Spencer Doctoral Research Program Fellowship, a dissertation grant from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the American Education Finance Association (AEFA) New Scholar Award.
Curriculum & Instruction Specialist
Sandra N. Gutiérrez is a life-long educator and learner committed to social justice and high quality education for all children. She has 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and school and system leader.
She started her career working in World Bank Latin American education projects, but soon decided to become a teacher to have greater impact in her local immigrant community. In the classroom, she made sure her students learned not only to read critically and write convincingly, but also to see themselves as leaders and shapers of their own destinies. Aware that she could positively impact more children by supporting other teachers, she left the classroom to work in professional development, coaching and instructional leadership in organizations such as the National Council of La Raza, the Center for Applied Linguistics and the school system Innova Schools - Perú. During the past eight years, she has served as an instructional coach for one of the oldest and highest performing dual language schools in the US. In this role, she leads teams of teachers to develop culturally responsive curriculum and improve biliteracy and language development instruction across content areas. Ms. Gutiérrez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University and a Masters of Education, focused on teaching English to speakers of other languages, from George Washington University. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, dancing, reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two teenage children.
Sandra Gutiérrez es una educadora comprometida con el aprendizaje constante, la justicia social y el brindar una educación de alta calidad a todos los niños. La Sra. Gutiérrez tiene 20 de años de experiencia como profesora, capacitadora de maestros y líder al nivel de escuela y de sistema. Empezó su carrera trabajando en proyectos de educación en América Latina para el Banco Mundial, pero muy pronto decidió dedicarse a ser profesora para tener un mayor impacto en su comunidad de inmigrantes. En el aula, se aseguró que sus estudiantes no solo aprendieran a leer textos de manera crítica y a escribir convincentemente, sino que también se desarrollaran como líderes capaces de forjar sus propios destinos. Consciente de que podía impactar a más niños si se dedicaba a apoyar a otros profesores, dejó el aula para trabajar como capacitadora de maestros, entrenadora y líder pedagógica en organizaciones como el Consejo Nacional de la Raza, el Centro de Lingüística Aplicada y el sistema educativo Innova Schools – Perú. Durante los últimos siete años, se ha desempeñado como entrenadora de maestros en una de las escuelas bilingües más antiguas y con mejores resultados en los Estados Unidos. En este rol, ella lidera equipos de maestros para desarrollar currículo que es culturalmente relevante y mejorar sus prácticas pedagógicas de lecto-escritura y desarrollo de lenguaje, en todas las materias. La Sra. Gutiérrez tiene una Licenciatura en Estudios Latinoamericanos de Wesleyan University y una Maestría en Educación, con especialización en la enseñanza del inglés como segundo idioma, de George Washington University. En su tiempo libre, a ella le gusta hacer yoga, bailar, leer, viajar y disfrutar de la compañía de su esposo y sus dos hijos adolescentes.
Executive Director Memphis Music Initiative
Darren Isom is currently the Executive Director of the Memphis Music Initiative, an organization that uses music to empower youth in Memphis, TN. Prior to leading Memphis Music Initiative, Darren was a manager with the The Bridgespan Group where he was a strategic advisor to nonprofit and foundation leaders in youth and community development, foundation strategy and education policy.
Before Bridgespan Darren worked in direct services in New York, with funding for public art and performance initiatives throughout the Times Square District (Times Square Alliance) and youth services (Groundwork). Darren worked as the director of Global Logistics for CSI, an international trade finance group, where he managed strategy, organization, and change management projects in Belgium, Spain, France, The Netherlands, and Germany.
A seventh generation New Orleans native, Darren is a graduate of Howard University, Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, and Columbia Business School’s Institute for Nonprofit Management. As a volunteer, Darren has been an activist around issues concerning disconnected youth and LGBT communities of color. He has served as an advisor to the leaders of several Bay Area and national foundations and currently serves on the board of Horizons Foundation.
David J. Lewis
David Lewis combines his background in education and non-profit community engagement to support intentional, strategic change within organizations. A higher education administrator by trade, David has worked in college readiness and persistence work since 2006.
In 2006, David founded College Student Serving Communities (CSSC), a small community group of college students committed to advancing awareness and educating high school students as they prepared for post-secondary education. In his work, David remains committed to developing systems for individuals and organizations which support meaningful development experiences, implementation strategies, and effective assessment methods to improve outcomes.
Throughout his career, David has worked with youth of all ages but finds his passion most in exploring challenges for successful post-secondary matriculation and completion. He is experienced in developing and influencing strategic transitions, as well as in designing program assessment and service evaluation. David’s specific interest in post-secondary matriculation and completion centers largely around urban youth and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. His focus in this work is multi-faceted with a dynamic approach using a four-frame structure to assess both individual and organizational needs. A deep believer in the idea that people and organizations are always in transition, David works to help others develop agency and ownership to spark new thinking and innovation. He is a founding Board Member of the Alpha Economic and Education Development Foundation of Acadiana, Inc., and is a past Board Member of Praise Entertainment, a Christian-based, community impact organization. David resides in his hometown of Lafayette, LA.
Her research focuses on women of color in senior leadership roles in higher education, and how they navigate multiple intersections of identity and systems of oppression. She serves as the current state co-director for NASPA, the National Association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and serves on the board of Ivy Leadership Academy, an all-girls charter school slated to open, soon. She also facilitates leadership, values, and visioning curriculum at various college campuses as a facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute. Lastly, she volunteers as the Publicity Co-Chair for the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Azucar Ball, which raises money for local Latinx youth scholarships. In her free time, she enjoys sharing her New Orleans food adventures on her Instagram food blog, @eatenpathnola.
Lauren Young is a Data Strategist who works with educational leaders to engage teams in developing an organizational culture that promotes accountability and innovation.
Lauren’s expertise is in data visualization for decision-making and in building strategic data systems to encourage intentional and ongoing evaluation of academic and operational practices in the pursuit of excellence. She also supports schools in serving as guardians of the large volume of data collected in the digital age. Lauren’s passion is developing strategic data practices that empower educators to improve instruction, allow support staff to increase efficiency, and lighten the load for educational leaders. Lauren believes that a commitment to continuous improvement is a critical factor in affecting change for children. Her work supports school staffs to reach their highest potential for effectiveness and efficiency and promotes informed innovation of high-achieving schools.
Lauren holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & International Studies from Saint Louis University. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and resides in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a graduate of the Focus St. Louis Women in Leadership program, and has served in leadership roles at non-profit organizations and in intentionally-diverse charter public schools.
Kira Hudson Banks, Mouse and Elephant
Andy Cheng, Apple
Matt Chingos, Urban Institute
Tanya Clay House, ClayHouse Consulting
Joiselle Cunningham, Harvard EDLD candidate
Aimee Eubanks Davis, Braven
Krupa Desai, The Broad Center
Lisa Dorner, University of Missouri
Kriste Dragon, Citizens of the World
Rachel D'Souza-Siebert, Gladiator Consulting
Elsa Duré, Coalition of Diverse Charters
Vanessa Foster-Cooksey, Wells Fargo
Antoinette Hayes-Triplett, Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative
Christie Huck, City Garden Montessori Charter School
Roxana Maiorescu, Emerson College
Ian Rowe, Public Prep
Carmita Semaan, Surge Institute
Heather Schwartz, RAND Corporation
Derwin Sisnett, Seavest Investment Group
Phil Tegeler, PRRAC
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart
Kira Van Niel, Boeing
Mary Wells, Bellwether Education Group
Ellen Winn, School System Leaders Fellowship
Lauren Young, Today and Tomorrow Scholarship Fund