Our Staff

Alexandra Arcaya

Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

As an immigrant coming from a Latin American country, I have seen how many different communities are negatively impacted by the lack of resources available to them. Helps Education Fund’s commitment to promoting educational equity and providing access to high-quality, evidence-based programs is fundamental and life-changing. I am proud to be part of a team that works hard to meaningfully advance learning outcomes and make a difference for so many.

Read more about Alexandra Arcaya

Erin Banks, Ph.D.

Chief Impact Officer

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am an advocate for equity and inclusion. I am keenly aware of the importance of quality education on the career trajectory and long-term opportunities for our youth. I joined Helps Education Fund to be a part of an organization that strives to create access and open doors for all children and families, regardless of socioeconomic status. I want to be a part of a movement to educate our next generation.

Read more about Erin Banks, Ph.D.

Finley Baldwin

Scheduling Assistant

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because I have a passion for literacy and helping students reach their utmost potential. I am excited to work with an organization that tackles educational inequities and makes a strong impact in communities. 

 

Read more about Finley Baldwin

John Begeny, Ph.D.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Why I started Helps Education Fund:

Educational inequities are far too prevalent around the world. Such inequities hinder individual and community empowerment and opportunities, and they foster systems of oppression and poverty.

Read more about John Begeny, Ph.D.

Darian Buck

UNC Chapel Hill MSW Intern

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am excited to begin my work with Helps Education Fund as I pursue a Master’s in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill. With a passion for child advocacy and strength- based frameworks, I am looking forward to learning from an organization like the Helps Education Fund that aims to tackle educational inequalities and purposefully provides evidence-based programs that meaningfully advance learning outcomes for students of all ages.

Read more about Darian Buck

Anissa Burwell

Virtual Implementation Coordinator

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am excited to work at Helps Education Fund because I believe in our commitment to promoting equity and providing access to high-quality, evidence-based educational programs. Helps Education Fund’s programs strengthen key foundational skills, in reading and math, which are pivotal academic stepping stones. I appreciate the opportunity to work with an intentional team that addresses educational inequity and empowers historically underserved students and communities.

Read more about Anissa Burwell

Tony Callwood

Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

Education is a key to unlocking the worlds of possibilities and opportunities needed for true equity in our world. I’ve experienced and witnessed this truth firsthand. The existing educational inequities allow for the continuation of other societal problems that keep underserved populations trapped within systems of oppression. I’m excited to join the team at Helps Education Fund and further work to create an equitable future.

Read more about Tony Callwood

Nhi Cao, Ph.D.

Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I joined Helps Education Fund:

I am passionate about empowering others with skills and knowledge they can use to reach their full potential. I believe that education is a powerful tool and that it should be accessible to all. I joined Helps Education Fund because I support the practice of using research-based methods in educating students and in fostering equitable education in our communities.

Read more about Nhi Cao, Ph.D.

Joy Alcantara Chuquiruna

HELPS Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because I am passionate about educational equity and social justice work. I believe education should be a right and not a privilege and I want to be part of an organization that gets us closer to that reality.

Read more about Joy Alcantara Chuquiruna

Jennie Copeland, MSW

Advancement Manager

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am inspired by the impact Helps Education Fund makes in connecting parents and educators with high-quality, evidence-based resources. Building foundational learning skills is an essential piece in creating equity in schools and our communities.  I am grateful to join Helps Education Fund’s team and look forward to creating meaningful change together.

Read more about Jennie Copeland, MSW

Felicia Davidson

Project Manager and Implementation Coach
Business Operations Manager

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because the organization strives to diminish educational inequity by providing evidence-based practices. I am excited to continue to watch this organization grow and positively impact our community.

Read more about Felicia Davidson

Lacey Frownfelter

MSW Intern and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am excited to be interning with Helps Education Fund this year as I work toward my Master’s of Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill! With a background in public service and nonprofit work, I have become attuned to the systemic inequities we face in our daily lives, which has pushed me to pursue work in social justice. I am grateful that organizations like Helps Education Fund are tackling educational inequity and empowering students and families to improve their outcomes.

Read more about Lacey Frownfelter

Jasmine Fuentes

Lead HELPS Implementation Coach and Site Coordinator, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I joined Helps Education Fund because of their sole purpose of bridging the educational equity gaps that are seen in most schools.

Read more about Jasmine Fuentes

Amy Garner

Assistant Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I joined Helps Fund Education because I believe every child, regardless of their race, ethnicity, and/or socio-economic background, deserves the opportunity to achieve academic success. Having been a teacher for the last 15 years, I have seen firsthand educational inequities that are far too common in our current system.  I am beyond excited to join the team at Helps Education Fund and work to promote educational equity through evidence-based programs that create meaningful outcomes for students of all ages.

Read more about Amy Garner

William Gibson

Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am beyond excited to be a part of the highly diverse team at Helps Education Fund in our collective work to advance educational equity alongside schools, families, and communities. We desire to leverage this good work and help cultivate the kind of society each one of us wants to embody. That all begins with equitable access to effective, evidence-based programs and the opportunities that come from high-quality education.

Read more about William Gibson

Gwen Hinton

Lead Program Trainer and Coordinator
Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because it gives me the opportunity to promote and pair literacy and parenting skills to adults. I believe when adults receive an equitable education, they gain confidence to promote the importance of education to their children.

Read more about Gwen Hinton

Ben Iuliano

HELPS Implementation Coach and Site Coordinator, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

After studying abroad in Spain and volunteering to help elementary students with their literacy skills, I realized the necessity for bridging both the language and equity gaps around the world, particularly for children. Through the promotion of educational equity and societal equality, Helps Education Fund works to ensure that children are given true opportunity, means, and encouragement necessary to harness their skills and grow in a supportive community.

Read more about Ben Iuliano

Lauren Joyce, Ph.D.

Project Manager, Guilford County
Quality Assurance Manager for HELPS Programming

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I joined Helps Education Fund to support the organization’s mission of providing free/low-cost research-based literacy resources to students and educators. I want to be a part of an organization that creates positive, meaningful change and work collaboratively with educators and other organizations to create opportunities for students to become successful readers.

Read more about Lauren Joyce, Ph.D.

Jenny Kim

HELPS Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I believe that an equitable education is one of the most important foundations that build and shape a person’s life and is needed for students to reach their full potential, especially those who come from marginalized groups. Therefore, I strongly advocate for Helps Education Fund’s mission and commitment to enhance educational equity and to improve the educational outcomes for students. As someone coming from a Korean immigrant and ESL background, I wish I knew about or had a program like HELPS when I was in grade school.

Read more about Jenny Kim

Jiwoo Kim

Program Assistant and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

Helps Education Fund has allowed me to combine my passion for supporting students with my interests in advancing educational equity. I believe that the evidence-based programs and services provided by Helps Education Fund foster meaningful growth for students of all ages, and ultimately equip learners for long-term academic success.

Read more about Jiwoo Kim

Amy Lau, M.Ed, MSA

Program Trainer and Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I began working at Helps Education Fund because of their commitment to social justice and educational equity. Much of the work I have done in education focuses on student empowerment and community engagement. Helps Education Fund allows all families, teachers, and children access to high quality instruction. I believe that all children are innately curious, that every person has the ability to learn, and that we all have the right to a quality education.

Read more about Amy Lau, M.Ed, MSA

Anam Lodhi, MAT

Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

As an educator, my goal has always been to ensure that all students get equal opportunities to reach their full potential. I joined Helps Education Fund because this organization aims to give students, educators, and families access to high-quality, evidence-based tools and strategies that meaningfully improve learning outcomes.  

Read more about Anam Lodhi, MAT

Kate Llewellyn, M.Ed

Tutor Operations Manager

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because of the opportunity to support students as they make meaningful advancements in their foundational academic skills. I believe literacy is one of the greatest tools we have for connecting with others, expressing ourselves, and making community-based change. I am inspired by Helps Education Fund’s commitment to using evidence-based educational programs to purposefully and systematically address the educational inequities that persist today.

Read more about Kate Llewellyn, M.Ed

Amy Mattingly, Ph.D.

Director of K-12 Programs

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because I am an educator and child advocate with a passion for ensuring access to high-quality, evidence-based instruction and interventions.

Read more about Amy Mattingly, Ph.D.

Ashley Mullins

NC LiteracyCorps Member

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am passionate about advancing educational equity and building lifelong learners which is what drew me to the Helps Education Fund! I enjoy seeing students excited as they reach academic milestones. I’m excited to join Helps Education Fund and look forward to creating meaningful learning opportunities.

Read more about Ashley Mullins

GraceAnna McCray

Assistant Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

Access to quality education is a long-standing passion of mine. As a child, I saw the impact of equitable education in my own family and how often our current system perpetuates inequality.  This experience inspired me to pursue a career in educational advocacy, as a means to empower historically underserved communities. Now working with Helps Education Fund, I am excited to join a team dedicated to creating a more just and fruitful society through equitable access to education.

 

 

Read more about GraceAnna McCray

Natasha Newson

Project Manager and Level 1 Research Associate

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I care deeply about addressing systemic barriers to quality education and supporting the kids who need it most.  As such, I firmly support Helps Education Fund’s mission of working toward educational equity through identifying evidence-based practices and interventions that are low-cost and feasible for teachers and/or parents to use.

Read more about Natasha Newson

Moné Norman

Administrative Coordinator, Leadership Team

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am excited to work at Helps Education Fund because of our mission to promote equity in education by providing access to evidence-based programs and services that create meaningful outcomes for historically underserved students, starting at birth and through adulthood.  I believe in the “it takes a village” mantra when it comes to supporting children and their development. I believe that students thrive when they are supported not only by their family, but by the whole community, including their schools, faith-based and civic-based organizations, and the government.

Read more about Moné Norman

Shannon O’Neal

Project Manager and Level 1 Research Associate

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work with Helps Education Fund because educational equity is a priority we share. By striving to provide programs and services to communities that are too often underfunded and overlooked, my work aligns with my belief systems and I’m able to make a difference for the kids who need it most.

Read more about Shannon O’Neal

Trevor Osterhaus

Lead Operations and Strategy Manager

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I have worked with and in a number of nonprofit organizations and have seen firsthand the impact that education, or lack thereof, can have on a child’s life. Working with Helps Education Fund to improve educational equity and provide effective evidence-based educational programs and services is an immense honor. I look forward to working with and supporting the students and families in our communities.

Read more about Trevor Osterhaus

Gia Paige

Sr. Project Director for HELPS Programming, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because of its dedication to promote educational equity for a more just society. Working at Helps Education Fund affords me the unique opportunity to align my personal and professional desires to advocate for educational equity; particularly for students who look like my sons and daughters, and others, who are marginalized because of their skin tone or ethnicity. 

Read more about Gia Paige

Kim Perkins

Director of In-School Programs, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

My time spent helping women who were survivors of human trafficking, and learning about the circumstances that led them to their current situations, reinforced my belief that education is the key to escaping the cycle of poverty that many disadvantaged communities fall victim to. At that point I realized I wanted to be proactive, rather than reactive, in fighting the problems Charlotte faces. I am so proud to be part of a team that not only works towards educational equity but also shows results in improving childhood literacy and is helping to break the cycle of poverty.

Read more about Kim Perkins

Yanitzmarie (Marie) Polanco

Program Trainer and Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because I am passionate about understanding the lived experiences of marginalized communities and how we can use this knowledge to promote educational equity and social justice. As a first-generation college student, I experienced firsthand the positive impact that early interventions have on underserved communities. I strongly believe in providing feasible, evidence-based interventions to improve educational equity while also creating safe spaces for communities to work and grow together. I am proud to be part of a team that prioritizes student learning, accessibility, and authentic collaboration.

Read more about Yanitzmarie (Marie) Polanco

Sheltia (Tia) Powell

NC LiteracyCorps Member

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I joined Helps Education Fund because I want to embark on a journey that will create positive impacts on students’ education and their lives. Being able to work with students and track their progress is rewarding. I am excited about the opportunity to grow with Helps Education Fund and to help students achieve their full potential and academic goals.

Read more about Sheltia (Tia) Powell

Reem Salah

HELPS Implementation Coach and Business Operations Assistant

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

Growing up, I always found education important. I spent many years volunteering at a weekend school and taught biology for a couple of years. I respect Helps Education Fund’s aim to address educational inequity and am honored to work with them.

Read more about Reem Salah

CeCe Sellers

HELPS Implementation Coach and Site Coordinator, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am thrilled to join Helps Education Fund, because fostering a true love for literacy while addressing educational inequity is something I’m passionate about. Providing effective, evidence-based educational programs, is crucial in supporting teachers and empowering every student to succeed.

Read more about CeCe Sellers

Jesslyn Smith

Project Manager and Level 1 Research Associate

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

Coming from a low-income family, I’ve experienced the power that a quality education can bring to individuals and their families. Having witnessed the immense educational inequities that exist in our systems, I am proud to work with an organization that strives to bridge those barriers by bringing free/ low-cost evidence-based interventions to students, their caregivers, and their communities.

Read more about Jesslyn Smith

Haruna Suzuki, Ph.D.

Director of Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs
Assistant Director of Development

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I wanted to work for an organization that cares deeply about educational equity, community, and justice.

Read more about Haruna Suzuki, Ph.D.

Laura Tucker, M.Ed.

HELPS Implementation Coach and Site Coordinator, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I choose to work at Helps Education Fund because I want all students to gain confidence and success as a reader. This organization creates a positive environment for children to thrive, grow, and close gaps in reading; which allows them to become successful life-long learners. I love that a community is built around celebrating reading success by tutors, students, teachers, and parents.

Read more about Laura Tucker, M.Ed.

Amy Van Oostrum-Engler

Program Trainer and Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

As both a K-12 and adult educator, I have seen the challenges faced by historically marginalized students and families. Through its advancement of foundational academic skills, Helps Education Fund works at the most basic level to address academic inequities. I feel blessed to work within this dynamic team to support teachers, caregivers, and students with evidence-based educational strategies. I truly believe that education is the key to ensuring equality in our society and the advancement of all peoples.

Read more about Amy Van Oostrum-Engler

Melissa Walker

Program Trainer and Facilitator
Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am a former elementary teacher and literacy facilitator. I have seen first-hand that when students come into the classroom behind in reading, they struggle and are frustrated with learning. I was very excited to begin working with Helps Education Fund because it brings a research-validated and evidence-based approach to reading fluency, which is a critical life skill. I am also proud and honored to work with an organization that puts equity in education at the forefront of decision making. Helps Ed Fund advances educational equity by providing high-quality programs that advance children’s academic skills at low or no cost.

Read more about Melissa Walker

Jiayi Wang, M.S.

Project Manager and Level 2 Research Associate

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I would like to be part of a team that strives to address educational inequity and to empower students and families who are marginalized in society.

Read more about Jiayi Wang, M.S.

Bryanna Washington

HELPS Implementation Coach and Site Coordinator, Charlotte

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:
I joined HELPS because I love children. Working with children has been a joy of mine, and once I started, I couldn’t stop. I love watching first-hand the difference Helps Education Fund’s programs make for the students and families we support. Reading is such an important skill to have, and I want to do my part to continue helping students improve their reading fluency.

Read more about Bryanna Washington

Pierce Watson

Project Manager and Implementation Coach

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I believe a primary purpose of education is to cultivate a culture of critical thinking. Every child deserves the opportunity to become a critical thinker, but that opportunity cannot be realized without foundational math and reading skills. I’m pleased to join the team at Helps Education Fund, and provide access to high-quality, evidence-based programs that will help further continue this purpose and promote educational equity. 

Read more about Pierce Watson

Elizabeth Wilson

NC Literacy Corps Member

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I am thrilled to work for the Helps Education Fund because I am inspired by the work we do to support students, families and educators build foundational skills in reading and math. I believe in our evidence-based approach in providing programs and services that address educational inequity. As an avid reader myself, I want every student to find it as rewarding as I do and want to give back to my local community.

Read more about Elizabeth Wilson

Katie Yow, MSW

Program Trainer and Facilitator
Adult, Family, and Community Empowerment Programs

Why I work at Helps Education Fund:

I work at Helps Education Fund because I believe literacy empowers connection. I’m grateful to be part of an organization with such a strong vision for advancing equity and justice through providing high-quality, evidence-based programs and services that build foundational skills in reading and math.

Read more about Katie Yow, MSW