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Independence through Education
Education should be an attainable goal for even the most disadvantaged. That's why we're here.
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Board Members

Darius G. Nevin
Co-Founder, G3 Capital Partners

Darius G. Nevin is co-founder of G3 Capital Partners, LLC, an early-stage investment company and expert advisor to private equity firms regarding the security industry.  In July 2013, Mr. Nevin joined the Board of WCI Communities, Inc. (NYSE: WCIC), a leading luxury home builder. He serves as Chairman of WCI's Audit Committee and as its audit committee financial expert.  He is also the former CFO of two publicly-listed security monitoring companies: Protection One, the third-largest in the U.S. during his tenure; and Guardian International, which he helped grow into one of the larger companies in the industry.  He has served as an Educate Tomorrow mentor since 2012 and as a board member since 2013.  Mr. Nevin is the current chairman of Educate Tomorrow’s board of directors.   

Melanie Emmons Damian
Partner, Damian & Valori, LLP

Melanie Emmons Damian is co-founder and partner at Damian & Valori, a miami based law firm where she represents public and private companies and individuals in a variety of complex business and securities litigation.  She is a founder of Educate Tomorrow and is dedicated to child advocacy and education. She has received numerous awards for her service and leadership including the 2012 Big Brothers Big Sisters Miracle Maker Award.  She was the chairwoman of the Educate Tomorrow board of directors from 2004 to 2014.      

Virginia Emmons McNaught
Educate Tomorrow

Virginia Emmons McNaught is co-founder, President and Chief Business Development Officer of Educate Tomorrow.  She served as the founding CEO of Educate Tomorrow from 2003-2010.  In 2015 Virginia was recognized at the Red Cross Women's Spectrum Awards for her work in Education.  She was awarded the Junior League's Women Who Make A Difference Award and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Everyday Freedom Hero Award.  She was featured in the book America's Way to Change and was recognized at the White House by President Obama as developing one of twenty-five Programs With Promise.  In 2012 Virginia was a finalist for the White House Fellowship.  Virginia served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a remote village in Niger, West Africa and continues to support the schools she helped establish. She has represented the Peace Corps as a spokesperson for White House events.  Raised as the youngest of eight from humble beginnings in Greendale, Wisconsin, she has traveled to over 45 countries. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where she was student body President and captain of the soccer team. She is a graduate of the University of Miami with a M.S. Ed in Community& Social Change.

Chris Damian
Chief Lending Officer, Gibraltar Bank

Chris Damian joined Gibraltar Bank in 1999 after a fast-rising career at Citibank Private Bank where he served as Vice President for five years and NationsBank where he served as Assistant Vice President for the previous six years. At both institutions, he oversaw portfolios in excess of $100 million consisting of law firms and middle market companies.  Mr. Damian currently provides sales leadership to Gibraltar Private's lending areas and manages three high-performing teams.  Mr. Damian has served on the board of Educate Tomorrow since it’s inception and has dedicated much time and financial support to the organization.   

Dr. Donnie Hale
Director, The Education Effect, Florida International University

Dr. Donnie Hale, Ed. D, is the Florida International University Faculty Director of the Education Effect at Booker T. Washington Senior High School, a university community school partnership with Miami Dade County Public Schools and the Lennar Foundation. His research agenda is focused on race, equity, educational opportunity, college access, and human development. He teaches Sociocultural foundations of Education, History of Public Schools, Sociology of Education, African American History, Democracy in Schools, and Cultural Diversity for Preservice Teachers.  

Garth Headley
Associate Director of Public Affairs, FIU, Center for Leadership

Garth D. Headley is an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist and Associate Director for the Center for Leadership (CFL) at Florida International University. Garth was instrumental in the development and growth of The Center and the design of its leadership development offerings, resulting in The Center’s leadership programs being ranked #1 among educational institutions in the USA by and Leadership Excellence. Garth is also an Adjunct Instructor of Organizational Behavior for the FIU Department of Psychology and College of Business.  

Kerry Rapport
Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor, Bessemer Trust

Kerry Rapport has been the Managing Director and Senior Client Adviser at the Bessemer Trust since 2002.  She received a B.A. in Economics and a J.D. from Wayne State University.  From 1992 to 2002 she served as the Vice President of Northern Trust.  Rapport is a member of the Florida Bar in the trusts, estates and real property section and of the Estate Planning Council.  Kerry has served on the board of the United Way of Miami-Dade County and Education Fund and is a reader for the blind at the Miami Lighthouse. Kerry joined the Educate Tomorrow board of directors and became a mentor for an Educate Tomorrow college student in 2015.  She is co-chair of the Educate Tomorrow 2016 Gala on January 30th.  

Patrick Gannon
Principal, Kauffman Rossin & Company

Patrick Gannon has been with Kaufman Rossin since 1989 and is an assurance and advisory services and litigation support services principal. He concentrates on public and private entities in various industries. As a forensic accountant, Pat has led many internal and external investigations, FCPA investigations, Ponzi scheme analyses and other forensic accounting investigations, many of which required working directly with regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the DOJ. Gannon has served as a receiver, as accountant to other receivers and as accountant to trustees in various matters.  Gannon also serves as a board member to the Seed School of Florida.   

Jennifer Pakradooni
Director of Corporate Communications, DHL, Global Forwarding, Americas

Jennifer graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in Mass Communications & Journalism with a minor in Spanish.  Following her long-time interest in studying and working abroad, Jennifer moved to Miami and began her career with a leading global Public Relations firm, Burson-Marsteller.  Jennifer's career in Corporate and Marketing Communications has had her working across Latin America Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific with both agencies as well as large multi-national companies.  In 2001-2002, Jennifer's love of travel encouraged her to take some time off and backpack around Asia and Africa. She speaks Spanish and has basic knowledge of German and French after living in Germany and Belgium. Jennifer currently works as the Director of Corporate Communications for DHL Global Forwarding, Americas in Miami, FL and is involved with several local South Florida organizations which work in the area of Foster Care to independence. In addition to serving on the Board for Educate Tomorrow, since the fall of 2007, she has been a Board Member for the Andrus Family Fund in New York City.

Kara Sharp
Principal, Kauffman Rossin & Company

Kara Stearns Sharp joined Kaufman Rossin in 2006 after 12 years with Arthur Andersen LLP. She is a Firm principal with our forensic, advisory and valuation services practice.  Kara has over 21 years of experience in the accounting industry, including general business consulting, due diligence, investigative and forensic accounting services, litigation consulting and expert witness testimony. Kara has qualified as an expert witness in the US District Court, Southern District of Florida, and the Circuit Court in Miami-Dade County and Lee County, Florida. 

Jason Mazer
Shareholder, Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, PA

Jason S. Mazer concentrates his trial and appellate practice in the areas of Insurance Coverage Litigation, Insurer Bad-Faith, Unfair Insurance Practices, and Employment Law.   He represents individual, corporate, and municipal policyholders and claimants in all types of first and third-party insurance coverage and bad faith disputes, and has tried insurance coverage and bad faith cases to policyholder verdicts.  Mr. Mazer has been selected as a Best Lawyer in America for the past three years for his work in the practice area of Insurance and was also selected for Commercial Litigation in 2015.   He is annually recognized as a Florida Super Lawyer, Florida Top Lawyer, andBest of the Bar.    

Sarah Clasby Engel
Partner, Harke Clasby & Bushman LLP

Sarah Clasby Engel is a partner with Harke Clasby & Bushman LLP whose practice includes insurance litigation, employment matters, professional malpractice, products liability, consumer class action litigation, and general commercial litigation. She has been named one of the State's Legal Leaders by South Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite 2004 through 2007 and was named one of Florida's Super Lawyers by Florida Super Lawyers Magazine in 2008. 

Melissa Visconti
Of Counsel, Damian & Valori

Melissa D. Visconti is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer who has appeared in state and federal courts across Florida and around the country.  Ms. Visconti is Of Counsel to the Firm and focuses her practice in the areas of state and federal court appeals, complex litigation, and receiverships.  Ms. Visconti has extensive experience in state and federal appeals courts, as well as in the areas of products liability, whistleblower and False Claims Act cases, securities, multidistrict litigation, and class action litigation. 

Melissa Emmons McCarthy
Medical Student, American University of the Caribbean

Melissa Emmons McCarthy is a former US Army Captain and Defense Sector Executive, having served as the General Manager/CEO of OCAS Inc. and the VP of Business Development for Innovative Concepts both based in Washington DC area. Melissa is a graduate of the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management. Since her visit to Niger in 2001, Ms. McCarthy has become especially involved with the Educate Tomorrow International Outreach Program. Melissa is currently attending medical school and hopes to return to Miami soon to continue to support the Miami community.

Brett McNaught
Chief Executive Officer, Educate Tomorrow

Brett is the CEO of Educate Tomorrow, a Miami-Dade County based 501c3 whose mission is to create independence for disadvantaged and foster youth through education, mentoring and the development of life skills. The White House named Educate Tomorrow a top 25 “Program of Promise” and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce awarded Educate Tomorrow the NOVO Innovation award in 2014 for non-profits. Voices for Children Foundation named Educate Tomorrow the child protector of the year in 2013. In 2014 Brett was selected to the National Urban Fellows Executive Leadership Program and to the Miami Foundation Miami Leaders program where he is sponsored to attend the FIU High Potential Leader Program. Before Educate Tomorrow Brett was an officer of buildOn where he led their International programs from 2005-2012 overseeing the construction of over 1,000 classrooms for more than 40,000 children in rural Haiti, Nicaragua, Senegal, Mali, Malawi, Niger, Nepal and India. Brett served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa from 2001-2003. He lived in a remote rural village without a road, running water or electricity and learned to speak the local language, Hausa, fluently enough to build a school, run adult literacy programs and institute multiple health and agriculture based projects. Brett has an M.S.Ed in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. He is currently a board member of the Miami-Dade County Community Based Care Alliance, buildOn and Learning 1 to 1 Foundation. He is co-chair of the Education and Employment committee for the Miami-Dade County Homeless Youth Collective Impact. He is married to Virginia Emmons, co-founder of Educate Tomorrow and has a 3 year old daughter named Emma and a 2 year old son named Miles.

Erika Leigh Lucas
Associate, Baker & McKenzie

Erika L. Lucas practices in the area of corporate law and has experience representing public and private companies in various business and financial transactions. She is recognized as a “Rising Star” in Florida Super Lawyers.  Ms. Lucas counsels companies on general corporate matters and routinely prepares agreements and organizational documents. She represents clients in cross-border and domestic merger and acquisition transactions. Ms. Lucas also represents investment and private fund advisors. 

Erica French Rubin
Director, International Society for Autism

Erica French Rubin is a graduate of Michigan State University where she obtained a degree in Education. She is currently working on a masters in Community Psychology at the University of Miami. After a year of teaching, she decided to join the United States Peace Corps. A fellow Peace Corps volunteer inspired Ms. French to move to Miami after her service in Niger. Together they expanded and invigorated Educate Tomorrow, a non-profit that provides support and mentoring for youth aging out of the foster care system.  Ms. French currently serves as the Director for the New Directions’ non-profit, The International Society for Autism, and works with clients to obtain volunteer and employment opportunities.  

Tony Jones
Senior Director, Cushman & Wakefield

Tony Jones is a Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield's Miami office.  Tony is a commercial real estate veteran with more than a decade of experience.  Prior to Cushman & Wakefield, Mr. Jones was Managing Director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank where he became the top producing broker in 2012.  Tony is married with a son and two daughters.   

Robert Levenson
Senior Trial Council, Securities and Exchange Commission

Mr. Levenson is a lawyer with the Miami Regional Office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Since May 2004, he has been Regional Trial Counsel, overseeing all litigation in the Miami office. Prior to joining the SEC in 2002, Mr. Levenson was in private practice in the Miami office of Holland + Knight LLP. He is a 1996 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Miami School of Law. After graduating, Mr. Levenson clerked for the Hon. Edward Davis, Chief United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.  Prior to going to law school, Mr. Levenson spent 13 years as a newspaper reporter with the Chicago Tribune, the Omaha World Herald, and the Orlando Sentinel. He has bachelors and masters degrees in journalism from Northwestern University.Mr. Levenson also has a lifetime history of volunteer and pro bono work, including serving as a big brother with Big Brothers and Big Sisters organizations in several cities, serving as an Educate Tomorrow mentor, and coaching youth sports teams. In 2000, he was the first winner of the John Edward Smith Award from Lawyers for Children America for his work representing dependent children in Florida state court.