Katherine Marulanda, Co-Executive Director
Katherine hails from Medellín, Colombia and moved to Florida with her family when she was eight years old. She taught as an elementary school bilingual teacher in San Antonio Public Schools as a Teach For America corps member. Prior to joining the Urban Leaders team, Katherine was a legal intern with Florida Legal Services providing legal aid to clients with cases concerning issues affecting people in institutions – prisons, jails, juvenile detention centers, mental health treatment facilities and immigration detention centers. She attended the University of Florida on a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, where she graduated cum laude with a focus in Spanish Literature, Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and International Relations.
Katherine is a 2015 alumna of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristopher Frye, Co-Executive Director
Kristopher Frye is excited to serve ULF as the Co-Executive Director. His career in public service began as a classroom teacher in St. Louis, MO, after which he moved to Honduras to teach at a local bilingual school. Following his time in the classroom, Kris attended law school to explore the intersection between policy and practice. Kris has worked as a policy advisor to school board members of the Indianapolis Public Schools, in the Office of the Indiana Governor, and the law firm Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim. In his most recent role, Kris served as the Chief of Staff at Teach For America-Indianapolis, supporting the regional staff as well as over 500 alumni and corps members in the city. He is a graduate of St. Ambrose University, with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, with a Masters in Education, and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Kris recently moved to Colorado with his wife, Carole, and daughter Nora.
Kris is a 2014 alumnus of the Urban Leaders Fellowship. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Tanasha Mahone, Atlanta Regional Director
Tanasha Mahone is returning to ULF Atlanta as the Regional Director after participating as a fellow in 2018. As an urban educator, she began her career in Atlanta as a Teach for America Corps Member. She has served a diverse group of teachers and students in various roles including the unique experience of living and working abroad with the Japanese Exchange on Teaching (JET) Program.
As a 2011 Indianapolis Principal Fellow, she served as an Assistant Principal and Principal in Indianapolis Public Schools before returning to Atlanta in the Fall 2017. Tanasha holds a Masters in Organization and Leadership with an emphasis on School Building Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Alabama State University. She currently teaches third grade in Atlanta Public Schools and actively serves and volunteers as a member of the Junior League of Atlanta.
Elsie Owolo, Dallas Regional Director
Elsie is excited to join The Urban Leaders Fellowship as the Regional Director of Dallas, Texas. Prior to joining The Urban Leaders Fellowship, Elsie worked at Teach Plus as a policy manager. In her position, she oversaw the policy fellowship and led teachers in elevating their voice amongst key policymakers. Prior to joining Teach Plus, Elsie taught middle school advanced placement social studies in Texas. She started her teaching career as a TNTP Fort Worth Teaching fellow, where she taught 7th grade Texas history. Prior to entering the classroom, Elsie worked as a congressional staffer for two Members of Congress in Washington, D.C., a political consultant, and worked on electoral campaigns. In 2015, she served as an Education Pioneers Fellow in San Francisco, where she worked with the California Charter School Association (CCSA) to create a comprehensive political asset map to engage elected officials in the charter school movement.
Elsie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from Texas Woman’s University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University. She studied British politics, literature, and history at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England. She has received campaign and political training from the White House Project, Yale University’s Women’s Campaign School, and American University’s WeLead Program.
Rebecca Kisner, Denver Regional Director
A social worker by training, Rebecca’s career has bridged direct service, public policy, and systems-level advocacy. Most recently, Rebecca worked at the Donnell-Kay Foundation on a multi-year initiative called ReSchool Colorado. In this capacity, she managed a team of advocates implementing a parent empowerment model. Prior to this role, Rebecca served as the founding Director of Community Engagement at Rocky Mountain Prep, a network of public charter schools. Before that, she was an Education Policy Fellow at the Donnell-Kay Foundation, where she researched and developed the basis for her strategic vision at RMP.
Rebecca served on the Board of Directors for The Gathering Place, Denver’s only daytime drop-in center for women, children, and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty or homelessness. She was selected to be a member of the New Leaders Council class of 2018, as well as the Impact Denver class of 2015. Rebecca graduated summa cum laude from the University of Vermont with a degree in social work and Spanish.
Haley Wing-Suttle, Indianapolis Regional Director
Haley Wing-Suttle earned her B.A. in Elementary Education and is currently a SPEA M.P.A. candidate at IUPUI with a concentration in Public Management. Prior to joining OEI, Haley was a Teach For America corps member in Indianapolis teaching second grade. While in the classroom, Haley completed the Urban Leaders Fellowship in Indianapolis, where she worked with the Mayor’s Office and an elected official from IPS on local teacher recruitment initiatives. Haley also completed the Teaching Policy Fellowship with Teach Plus where she focused on recruitment efforts for teachers of color. Her policy brief was recognized by the American Education Research Association in 2018. Haley currently serves on the OEI team as a Policy Analyst.
Charis Moss, Kansas City, Missouri Regional Director
Charis Moss is a Michigan native and attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. During her time at MSU, Charis studied politics and apartheid in South Africa as well as contemporary cultures and politics in Greece. Upon graduating, she relocated to Chicago, Illinois and served as a 2014 City Year Chicago Corps Member in the South Shore community at O’Keeffe Elementary School. Her main roles as a Corps Member were ELA tutor and Resource Coordinator. Shortly after serving with City Year, she joined Teach for America as a 2016 Corps Member serving in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. During her service with Teach for America, she earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Oklahoma. Charis is a 2017 alumna of the Urban Leaders Fellowship, KCMO. She currently teaches 8th Grade Math to English Learners and serves on TFA OKC Alumni Advisory Board.
Molly Weiner, Nashville Regional Director
Molly currently serves as the Director of Policy for Texas Aspires Foundation, an education policy and advocacy organization, where she oversees policy and research efforts to improve the educational outcomes of Texas students. Prior to her current role, Molly taught high school math in Austin before pursuing her Master's in Public Policy from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.
Juan Serrano, New Orleans Regional Director
Juan is a teacher and leader at Abramson Sci Academy, a Collegiate Academies school operating in New Orleans East. As a proud New Orleanian, Juan is passionate about inspiring activism in his students and training them to engage their legislators on behalf of their communities. His course, a Seminar in Social Justice, aims to position high school seniors to affect change through public policy. Over a series of projects, students investigate critical issues affecting their communities, they research sustainable policy solutions, and they pitch their ideas to their local legislators. Beyond teaching, Juan serves as a teacher leader on Superintendent Henderson Lewis’s Student Advisory Board and he is an Associate Consultant at K. Allen Consulting. Juan began his work as an educator with Teach For America, teaching Math and Science in Hawaii. He later traveled to China to launch a mobile learning project for students learning in remote locations across the country. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Dillard University and a MEd. from Johns Hopkins University.
Rachel Williams, Oakland Regional Director
Mary Padden, Oakland Regional Director
Brian Robinson, Washington, D.C. Regional Director
THE HISTORY OF THE URBAN LEADERS FELLOWSHIP
In 2011, newly elected Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston, his then-Chief of Staff Damion LeeNatali, and Meg Lafave developed a bold vision for enacting progressive policies for all Coloradans, but they knew that most local elected officials, school board member, and legislators didn’t have the staff support that they needed to impact change. They knew Denver was a community full of talented young leaders looking to make an impact but lacking a clear path for involvement. Through their work on the front lines of progressive policies in Colorado, they also knew Denver’s robust network of nonprofit and government organizations needed a talent infusion of energetic, determined young leaders.
From this challenge and optimism grew the Urban Leaders Fellowship (ULF), connecting high-achieving, passionate leaders with the opportunity to make a real impact in the community. Partnering with like-minded elected officials and companies set on improving their cities and towns, ULF grew with each passing year, and is now working with ten elected and appointed officials and over 100 partner organizations across eight US cities.
Thanks to the hard work of over 500 fellows across the country, ULF has influenced over 50 pieces of policy, including immigration reform, criminal justice reform, and early childhood education and school finance reform.