Staff & Board Members

Keara Richardson

Keara supports IEL’s internal data work and program evaluation for our WORC project. Prior to joining IEL, Keara worked as a freelance education data consultant for UnidosUS and as a senior associate for data and analytics at Springboard Collaborative. Keara strives to promote equitable learning outcomes for all students of every background. Keara earned her …

Keara Richardson Read More »

Zipporah Olukanni

Zipporah joined IEL in December of 2022. As a program associate, Zipporah is responsible for ongoing administrative and logistic support for the staff and initiatives at IEL. Currently, she supports the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program, the Virginia Career Pathways project, and IEL’s portfolio youth leadership programming. Before joining IEL, Zipporah held a variety of …

Zipporah Olukanni Read More »

Dr. LaShonda Brown

Dr. LaShonda D. Brown is a native of Tuskegee, Alabama.  She graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in May 1992.  In July 1992 she entered the Political Science program at the historical Tuskegee University.  She completed the Bachelor of Science Degree from Tuskegee University in May 1996. Upon completion of the B.S. Degree, she …

Dr. LaShonda Brown Read More »

Lilly Andemicael

A strong believer in using language to drive social change, Lilly enjoys fusing her communications skills with her passion for social justice. 

Ana Garcia Noya

Ana has over 30 years of experience in accounting, including experience in government, education and non-for-profit accounting, among others. Ana was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where she started her professional career with one of the Big CPA firms, Ernst & Young, then held various positions as a Controller for a multinational company, Finance …

Ana Garcia Noya Read More »

Sherene Lewis

Passionate about and committed to helping and bringing people together. Specializing in personalizing diverse events and handling stressful event situations with grace. Creative designs with incredible attention to detail and structured + logistical event flow is a signature.

Christa Rowland

Christa Rowland believes in the power of uniting communities to create a brighter future for all children. Before joining the IEL team, Christa was the Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Treasure Valley in Boise, Idaho. She helped grow the system of Community Schools in Idaho, founded the Idaho Community School Learning …

Christa Rowland Read More »

Dr. Donnie Ray Hale, Jr. Ed.D.

Dr. Donnie Hale is a proud father, husband, son, and friend that loves to create possibilities with others.  Dr. Donnie Hale serves as the Regional Deputy Director, Southern Regional TAC. He is responsible for engaging leaders and networks, coaching and supporting, and building capacity for community schools to positively impact youth and families.  Dr. Hale brings …

Dr. Donnie Ray Hale, Jr. Ed.D. Read More »

Ryan Hurley

Community organizer. Loves family, basketball and poetry. Believes in the power of people to make meaningful change.

Dr. Michelle Lessly Blackburn

Michelle Lessly Blackburn joins IEL as a Policy Coordinator. She brings 15 years of experience in higher education administration and policy research. Her policy work focuses on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Clery Act, and accreditation innovation. Prior to joining IEL, Michelle was the Head of Student Success at an EdTech nonprofit …

Dr. Michelle Lessly Blackburn Read More »

Eddie Koen

A Chicago native with roots in Alabama, Eddie has a passion for education, equity, and criminal justice reform.

Gaby Manriquez-Eschbach

Gaby has a background in domestic violence advocacy and a passion for providing inclusive, equitable, and trauma informed services. Always looking forward to her daily cup of coffee.

Dr. Gislaine Ngounou

Education, Philanthropy, and Organizational Change Advisor Dr. Gislaine Ngounou is a change agent on a journey to embody the practice of freedom, abundance, love, rest, and joy. She believes these elements and practices are essential in the quest to manifest organizations, environments, systems, and societies in which we all flourish. With more than twenty years …

Dr. Gislaine Ngounou Read More »

Mia Perry

Has a passion for creative storytelling that drives action and prioritizes social justice. Loves being a Hokie, exploring the great outdoors, and all things craft beer.

Dr. Ken Simon

Throughout his career in education, his passion & focus has been on ensuring that all students have access to deeper & more meaningful learning experiences.

Pele Le

Rooted in love and justice, Pele (he/him/his) is a second-generation Vietnamese American driven to create impact by bridging communities, building advocates & centering marginalized communities.