Meet our 2018–2019 class!


Chanda Davis (Mt. Airy)

Chanda Davis is a Cincinnati local from the South bringing southern hospitality and a passion for the education of all youth. She is currently a Board Member for the Mechanical Engineering Department at Northwestern University and a Product Development Engineer for 15 years and counting. She looks forward to working for the community, specifically the youth, parents, and educators of Cincinnati.


David Brenner (Walnut Hills)

David is a CPS graduate and the proud parent of 4 current CPS students, with 2 of them currently attending Breakthrough Cincinnati. He has 30 years of experience in Information Technology at some of the largest companies in the Greater Cincinnati region. An outspoken proponent of and advocate for public education, David is a member of the Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition, a board member for the Tri-State Freethinkers, currently serves as the chairman of the Local School Decision Making Committee (LSDMC) for Sands Montessori Elementary, and he was a 2017 candidate for the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education.

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Heather Couch (Covedale)

Heather Couch is a school counselor, writer, and advocate and is involved in her local church and community. She sits on a number of committees for the School Counseling Association and Junior League of Cincinnati. A West Side resident, she is passionate about urban education and child mental health. It is her desire to meet the needs of the 'whole child.’

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Heather Gerker (Mt. Washington)

Heather Gerker is a Montessori education leader who is wildly enthusiastic about helping teachers and administrators hone their practice. She has coached hundreds of educators in emotional intelligence, leadership, and classroom technique; served as president of the Cincinnati Montessori Society; and founded and led the Kentucky Montessori Alliance. She currently designs global professional development opportunities for the American Montessori Society, serves as a board member of Invest in Neighborhoods, and is a CPS parent.


Jasmine Coaston

Jasmine believes in living her life in the service of her community. Jasmine is a proud graduate of Cincinnati Public Schools and is equally proud to be the parent of a current CPS student. Her mission is to empower youth and advance the efforts of creating an equitable and inclusive society.


Kareem Moffett (Avondale)

Kareem Moffett is an educator with a passion for community engagement and advocacy training. Kareem has graduated two young men from CPS and currently has a senior at Withrow High School where she is the chairperson of the Withrow LSDMC. Kareem considers herself and her role in the community as a conduit to building into and engaging every constituent. For Kareem, "Every voice matters, all the time."


LaVonda Stewart (Evanston)

Ms. Stewart, a Louisville, KY native, has called the Evanston community home for over a decade and has a son who attends Walnut Hills High School. She received a Masters degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Community Development from Northern Kentucky University. She joined P&G with a background in mortgage lending. After spending nearly a decade serving customers through developing Process Improvements and Project and Program Management tools, she ventured out on her own to create her own jewelry and founded Persephone Gems. Additionally, she volunteers with the Queen City Foundation, Wave Foundation/Newport Aquarium, Ohio Anime Expo, and Cincinnati Comic Expo. 


Marlena Brookfield (Green Township)

Marlena Brookfield is a full-time volunteer and activist, focusing in particular on matters regarding public education and student advocacy. She is a member of the Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition and co-sponsor of True Colors, Dater High School's LGBTQ Alliance, as well as a proud graduate of Western Hills High School, supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools, and parent of a CPS student.


Melisse May (East End)

Melisse May is a STEM education advocate and leader, founding the Greater Cincinnati Data Collaborative and serving as a Managing Partner for Leads from Insights. She brings a long history of business and innovation experience to solving the problems education faces today. She is an East End resident, community leader, and the proud parent of a CPS graduate.


Samuel Burbanks (Evanston)

Samuel Burbanks is a graduate of and former teacher in Cincinnati Public Schools as well as an educator with 20 years of dedicated service to the field. Samuel’s dedication to education led him to develop the Supplemental Educational Services program at the Mallory Center for Community Development for which he served as director for eight years. Samuel believes that part of his duty as an educator and scholar is to serve families and the community in the academic and social development of their most prized asset, their children.


Stephanie Norton (Clifton)

Stephanie Norton is a CPS teacher committed to bringing hands-on and authentic learning experiences to all students. She is passionate about using environmental education, citizen science, and social justice issues from the past and present to inform, engage and motivate students to learn 21st century skills and create meaningful work.


Tess Brown (Prospect Hill/Mt. Auburn)

Tess Brown is a lifelong Greater Cincinnatian with a deep passion for communities on both sides of the river. She serves as the Director of Marketing & Communications at Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, where she is the unofficial "chief storyteller" on behalf of the nonprofits that serve Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Prospect Hill/Mt. Auburn.


Tim’m West (Northside)

Tim'm West is an author, poet, educator, and Hip Hop artist who can be best described as a Renaissance man, leveraging a broad and diverse set of skills and interests to advocate for marginalized communities. Since 2014, he has served as Senior Managing Director for Teach For America's LGBTQ+ Community Initiative, which advances safer and more supportive classrooms for all students and their educators. Since returning to his hometown of Cincinnati in 2017, Tim'm has served his community as a Cincinnati Public Schools Strategic Planning and Engagement Committee member, a Wordplay Board member, and member of the Chase Elementary LSDMC, among other points of engagement. Tim'm is a graduate of Duke, The New School, and Stanford universities.