Our Team

Learn more about the “who” that advance our mission, manage our programs, perform and follow through with our no-cost consulting projects.

Who We Are and What We Do

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Staff

 

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Atrayus O. Goode

President & CEO

Having an obligation to address the educational and social needs of historically excluded populations, Atrayus O. Goode (he/they) founded Movement of Youth (MOY) in 2006 as a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This award-winning mentoring and youth development agency was based on a program that he completed in high school sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Charlotte. At its peak, MOY operated in several states and students achieved a 100% high school graduation rate and 96.5% college attendance rate.

Atrayus has global experience, including consulting in South Africa with Vuleka Schools, leading several all-Black delegations to Cuba to examine historical and present-day Cuban realities, and traveling to Palestine to explore issues of detention and incarceration, the Israeli military court system, and Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace with justice.

Atrayus is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the UNC Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Young Alumni Award and the North Carolina Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, the state’s highest award for volunteer service. He has also been featured on various media platforms, including StoryCorps and TED.

Atrayus holds a Master of Science in Organization Development from the American University School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He resides in Durham, North Carolina, and is the proud father of Everette Rose, 10.

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Malenia Swinton

Vice President of Community Engagement

Malenia Swinton (she/her/hers) has nearly a decade of experience in communications, marketing, project management, strategic planning, and partnership development.

After a two-year stint in New York City, she began the search for a social-driven role where she could make an immediate impact. Malenia transitioned to Communities In Schools (CIS) of Durham in 2015, working in a variety of functions - the last being Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director. There, she oversaw the implementation of evidence-based learning models in schools aimed at driving student success and increasing graduation rates; and piloted initiatives for the national affiliate including data quality improvement and corporate partnership development to nonprofits and small businesses on the east coast.

She earned a degree in integrated marketing communications at Winthrop University; and later, earned professional certificates in Nonprofit Management and Executive Leadership from Duke University. She is also a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard. In her spare time, Malenia enjoys reading, creating new recipes, mentoring, and volunteering in the Durham community.

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Kanalyn Jackson

Vice President of Training and Organization Development

Kanalyn Jackson (she/her/hers) is a Durham native with a background in higher education. She has extensive experience with leadership development, training and facilitation, and community engagement.

Kanalyn has also worked in the non-profit sector providing leadership opportunities and resources to residents in rural North Carolina. It was through that experience that she learned the value of being civically engaged in the community, and it is something that has become important in her career and personal life.

Kanalyn holds a B.A in English Literature and Masters of Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She enjoys interior decorating, spending time with friends and family, and the occasional candle making.

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Hannah McKinney

Manager of Communications & Storytelling

Hannah McKinney (she/they), a dual Canadian-American citizen and Greensboro, N.C. native, currently resides in Durham, N.C. They received their B.A. in Communication with a concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, and a minor in Studio Arts in 2020. Hannah’s professional experience in the philanthropic sector has been in program management and mentoring roles; their creative communications experiences come from academic and professional explorations of arts education, graphic design, and through creating and implementing external communications strategies.

Hannah most enjoys researching, experiencing, and implementing ways to best support and mentor the youth in their life, with specific focus on supporting queer and gender nonconforming youth. When Hannah isn’t at work, they enjoy playing pool, watching and rating movies, and gardening.

Consulting Team

 

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Frank Pollock

Consultant

For more than 20 years Frank Pollock (he/him/his) has worked at the intersection of marketing, innovation, and technology. He honed his craft at Disney/ABC, Frito-Lay, General Mills, and Colgate-Palmolive before founding The Pioneer Group, where he works with high-growth companies to develop marketing strategies, deploy marketing technology stacks, and drive results. In addition to his professional background, he has served on a number of non-profit boards including chairing the Kidznotes Marketing Committee.

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Megan McCurley

Consultant

Megan McCurley (she/her/hers) is a Latina educator, trainer, and mother based in Durham, NC. She has a BS in Childhood Education and an MA in Anthropology in Education. Since moving to NC in 2008, her work has focused on providing training and technical assistance to college students, K-12 educators and faculty in efforts to support education for children and adults. She has worked at both Duke, as the program manager for the America Read program, and at UNC Chapel Hill, where she served as the Executive Director of the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education and as an Adjunct Instructor, as well as for the Bull City Community Schools Partnership were she served as a Community School Coordinator in Durham Public Schools, implementing Improvement Science to support and transform Public Schools in North Carolina. Most recently she works as a consultant and facilitator for tilde Language Justice Cooperative and the Durham Public Schools Foundation. Megan lives with her partner and two children who attend Durham Public Schools.

Susan Everhart

Susan Everhart

Consultant

Susan Everhart (she/her/hers) is well positioned to offer support to mentoring organizations. She has worked over the past decades in support of organizations dedicated to improving outcomes for young people and families. She has provided assistance in strategic planning, resource development, and program thought leadership for organizations including Communities In Schools, the Bertie County Hive House, Theatre On Main, and the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center. She has navigated NC state opportunities as the Director of the Roanoke River Education Consortium, established the Involvement Office of the NC Department of Public Instruction, and trained multiple organizations to provide services through the Benefit Bank. Susan is an avid advocate for STEAM opportunities and values music and arts as pathways for personal satisfaction.

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Brantli Senn-Joseph

Consultant

Brantli Senn-Joseph (she/her/hers) originally fell in love with community work when she was a Servant Leader Intern for the CDF Freedom Schools Program and later began her journey with the non-profit sector as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat for Humanity. Throughout her leadership roles, Brantli has maintained her commitment to a client centered approach and believes in amplifying the voice of those we serve. Her decade’s worth of experiences working with small, rural agencies and managing cross-sector programming with multiple county service areas quickly taught her how to streamline operations and leverage resources to meet program demands. In addition to helping organizations optimize existing resources to make the best use of staff time, she has assisted in fundraising efforts and grants, procuring over a quarter million local, state and national grant dollars for the state of South Carolina. Brantli's greatest source of joy is experienced while exploring the outdoors with her daughter; her favorite hobbies include reading, baking, and people-watching.

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Jasmin Spain

Consultant

Jasmin Spain (he/him/his) holds a Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree from North Carolina State University in Counselor Education with a concentration in Student Personnel in Higher Education. Jasmin has two decades of higher education experience, currently serving as the Assistant Vice President of Student Support at Pitt Community College. Jasmin also serves on the advisory boards for the North Carolina Community College System’s Minority Male Success Initiative, Student Conduct & Title IX and First Generation. Jasmin has an Equity Coach certification as well. Jasmin is also the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of The M.A.I.N. Initiative LLC, which stands for Males Addressing Issues & Needs as well as the Founder & President of U Good Bro, Incorporated. Essentially, the purpose of both entities is to assist in the holistic cultivation of the male population, with a special emphasis on Black men and boys with their psycho, social and emotional health at the forefront. Jasmin is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and is also a Campaign for Black Male Achievement American Express Leadership Fellow.

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Dr. Harvey Hinton III

Consultant

A native of Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Harvey Hinton III (he/him/his) comes from a tradition of Black people who were leaders, educators, athletes, builders, and healers. Throughout his 20-year professional career in leadership and influencing others, he has relied on such traditions in pursuit of his passion of engaging youth and creating change in his community. His insights are garnered from working closely with higher education leadership, non-profits, local and regional corporations, and community organizations in creating equitable experiential learning experiences. Dr. Hinton is Executive Director at Kuumba, LLC and a Culture of Health Leaders fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Hinton is a proud AGGIE having earned his B.S. in Industrial Technology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University before earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University. AGGIE PRIDE and Boiler Up!

Board of Directors

 

Barbara Jessie-Black

Barbara Jessie-Black

Board Chair

Barbara Jessie-Black (she/her/hers) received her BBA from Augusta University in Augusta, GA. During her 15 year career as a retail manager with a national retail chain, Barbara received her MBA from Meredith College, in Raleigh, NC and became co-founder of a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to search for innovative ways to achieve socio-economic equalities in communities through holistic and entrepreneurship based education. Currently, Barbara is the President/CEO of CommunityWorx (formerly the PTA Thrift Shop, Inc.) whose mission is to enrich lives by building collaborative partnerships and transforming charitable donations into educational and community investments. She is active in both the communities in which she lives and works by serving on several boards and volunteering her time to causes close to her heart, which include workforce and economic development; access to health care; issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as other issues in the social justice space. She is fluent in German, a yoga enthusiast, and includes in her spiritual practice daily meditation and annual silent retreats.

Kenny Bond

Kenny Bond

Board Treasurer

Kenny Bond (he/him/his) spent his early years growing up in Southern Maryland. The oldest of 14 children he was a mentor, leader, and role model to his siblings as well as his young cousins.  In 1972 Kenny moved to Washington DC where he began what became a 37-year career with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/Grants Management Branch. Kenny rose in the ranks as he pursued his studies at George Washington University. Applying both his natural talent for mentoring and his years of experience in leadership, his career led him to the position of Section Chief, Grants Management Officer, a position he held for over 20 years. The greatest highlight of his career was laying the groundwork for starting Neuroscience Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and successfully creating 12 neuroscience programs at HBCUs within the continental US and domestic territories.  After retirement in 2008, Kenny married Dr. Sheila Bridges and moved to join his wife in Durham, NC. In his retirement he pursued his passions in mentoring youth, genealogy research, and memoir writing.  Kenny has published seven short stories along with his co-authors in, The Storyteller’s Pen: Friday Morning Writers Collected Works 2008-2015.He continues to engage in memoir writing with plans to publish his next book. Kenny is motivated to serve, guided by the philosophy “to much is given, much is expected.”

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NaShonda Bender-Cooke

Board Member

Ms. NaShonda Bender-Cooke (she/her/hers), an award winning and internationally recognized eighth-generation educator, is a 23 year veteran of North Carolina’s public school system. Originally from Pennsylvania by way of Mississippi, she grew up the eldest of 5 children in a single-parent home. A graduate of Edinboro University of PA, she earned honors for academic and athletic performances. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and received her Master's in Special Education from UNC at Chapel Hill in 2010. Ms. Cooke is active in several roles advocating for marginalized students such as increasing the number of educators of color in schools. Ms. Cooke has been director and lead mentor of after school programs serving Durham and Raleigh students 3rd through 12th grade. In her free time, she is a blog writer on topics of equity in and out of the classroom, addressing the needs of students and teachers, as well as raising a child with Autism. She teaches in Wake County and serves as Vice Chair for Governor Roy Cooper’s Teacher Education Advisory Committee. Recently serving as a steering team committee member for Wake County Public School’s Helping Hands mentoring program, she chaired the task force to begin the mentoring program STARS that addresses the needs of Black and Brown female students. Currently she is a lead mentor of DIAMONDS at Millbrook High School. She continues to serve as a consultant to support participants and parents of similar programs statewide as well as a beginning teacher mentor. Ms. Bender-Cooke teaches at Millbrook Magnet High School and lives in Raleigh with her two daughters.

Dr. Shauna Cooper

Dr. Shauna Cooper

Board Member

Dr. Shauna M. Cooper (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Strengths, Assets, and Resilience (StAR) Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Faculty Excellence, RTI Scholar, and an affiliated faculty in the Frank Porter Graham Institute/Center for Developmental Science and the Institute of African American Research. Currently, Dr. Cooper is an Equity Scholar at the Urban Institute  in Washington, DC.

Dr. Cooper’s areas of expertise include examining how race-related experiences and inequities are related to the well-being (e.g., mental health; school adjustment) of racially and culturally diverse children and families. Highlighting the individual and interactive influences of family, school, and community contexts, her work spans several areas of expertise, including the racial and cultural context of parenting, father involvement and engagement among African American fathers, girls’ health and well-being, and community-level risk and protective factors. Dr. Cooper has published in a variety of scientific journals, including the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of School Psychology, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, American Journal of Men’s Health, and Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. Dr. Cooper’s research has been funded by several agencies and organizations, including the National Institute of Minority Health Disparities and National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, as well as the distinguished National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award. Dr. Cooper is also an Associate Editor for Child Development, an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Family Psychology, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, Social Development, and Child Clinical and Family Psychology Review as well as an ad-hoc reviewer for over 15 journals.

LaTanya Patillo

LaTanya Patillo

Board Member

LaTanya Pattillo (she/her/hers) has served in various roles in K-12 education as a former Business Education teacher, a media assistant, and as a parent volunteer. Prior to her career in K-12 education, LaTanya served as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at American University in Washington, DC, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Education from the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, DC. From 2017-2021, she served as Teacher Advisor to Governor Roy Cooper, engaging with educators and other stakeholders to share the Governor’s educational priorities and to inform educational policy across the state. LaTanya is a 2022 William C. Friday Fellow for Human Relations, a 2013-2014 Kenan Fellow with NC State University, and has been recognized as the 2015-2016 Columbus County Schools Teacher of the Year as well as a finalist for the Sandhills Region Teacher of the Year. LaTanya currently serves as Director of Policy and Advocacy at NWEA. She is the wife of Duane and of the mother of 5 children.

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Kennedy Ruff

Board Member

Kennedy Ruff (she/her/hers) is a youth board member on the Youth Mentoring Collaborative Board of Directors. She is originally from Durham, NC and attended Durham School of the Arts. She was introduced to mentorship in high school where she participated in Movement of Youth while engaging in other extracurricular activities. She is a recent graduate from Guilford College where she studied Psychology and Biology. During her time at Guilford, she participated in the Guilford Student Body Association, Black Student Union, Enrollment Committee and a Peer Mentor. Upon graduating Guilford college, she is now working as a research associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Inequity; she coordinates for the Hank & Billy Aaron Suber Young Scholars Research program, collaborates with researchers projects, and conducts her own research. In her free time, Kennedy enjoys spending time with her family, exploring North Carolina with her son, and catching up on movies.

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Justice Skinner

Board Member

Justice Skinner (he/him/his) is in his third year at North Carolina State University, majoring in Animal Science; he plans to attend veterinary school upon completion of his B.S. Currently, Justice serves as a Youth Board Member at Youth Mentoring Collaborative. In his spare time, he enjoys archery, cooking, photography, and traveling. One of his professional and personal passions is working with youth in mentoring and advocacy capacities.

Vivianna Strong

Vivianna Strong

Board Member

Vivianna Strong (she/her/hers) is currently a freshman at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. She is a double major in Social Work and Psychology, with a goal to later work with youth in foster care and follow through with her passion with racial injustice. She has some proud accomplishments including being the first youth board member on the then MENTOR North Carolina, now Youth Mentoring Collaborative, Board of Directors, being in the band for seven years, and starting a nonprofit of her own next year. She is dedicated to making an impact in the lives of many others and leaving a legacy that will live on forever.

Salima Thomas Headshot

Salima Thomas

Board Member

Salima Thomas (she/her/hers) is an award-winning leader, strategist, speaker, and trainer with a passion for systems-thinking and meaningfully engaging communities. She grew up in the Triangle area with roots in the "Big Apple" of New York. Salima has spent over fifteen years of her professional career serving the public sector including nonprofits, government, and faith-based organizations. Salima exemplifies her passion and commitment to organizational capacity building that leaves a positive impact on people and communities. She is a diligent advocate for equity and inclusion. She uses her platform to champion causes that excite her including leadership development, health & wellness, and the performing arts and culture. Salima has served on boards and committees throughout the state and nationally. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In addition, Salima has been recognized with awards such as the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Award and the Association Executives of North Carolina’s Rising Star. A Spartan and Forty-Niner alumnae, Salima received her bachelor’s in music education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s in public administration with dual concentrations in arts administration and nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In her free time, she enjoys the arts, traveling to new places, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.