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Andrew Touchette, Head of School
Andrew Touchette joined the YouthBuild Public Charter School team in 2015-16, as Resident Head of School. He has served students, teachers and communities in various school leadership capacities since 2004, most notably as the founding principal of Chavez Prep in Columbia Heights. He works with school leadership teams to improve student performance and ensure sustained success. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in history from Fordham University and a Master’s degree in education from New York University.
Wellington Crutchfield, Dean of School Culture
Wellington N. Crutchfield came to YouthBuild PCS in 2015-16, after serving as Dean of Students at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School here in Washington, DC. In addition to his experience as Dean of Students, he brings extensive hands-on working knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing YouthBuild students. He established two youth organizations, including Future Success Mentoring, which mentors at risk middle and high school boys. Wellington is a graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.
Eva Camacho, Student Support Service Coordinator / Life Skills Instructor
Eva Camacho has served at YouthBuild PCS since 2006. She manages a team of three case managers and oversees all aspects of student supportive services. Previously, she was a Case Manager at the Latin American Youth Center, and served as Adjunct Faculty in the Psychology Department at Prince George’s Community College. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida International University and an Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Argosy University in Washington, D.C. Eva is bilingual.
John Collier, Construction Manager
John Collier is responsible for the construction component of YouthBuild PCS and has been with the school since its founding. He oversees all on-the-job construction training. John has over 20 years experience in all phases of home building and renovating. He has served as foreman for construction crews, taught general construction to newly hired personnel, and taught construction at LAYC for 5 years. He is OSHA 500 certified and has received certification from the National Center for Construction Educatio and Research (NCCER), to serve as a Core Curriculum, Carpentary, and Green Instructor, using NCCER's standardized training curriculum.
Kano Hudson, Director of Academic Support
Kano Hudson has worked in special education for more than 18 years, in Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia. He has served in a variety of capacities, providing adult educational services for individuals with disabilities—including teaching and educational administration. He brings experience working in both alternative education and urban special education. Kano obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Learning Behavior Disorders, and a Master’s degree in Special Education, both from Hampton University, in Hampton VA.
Fernando Saldana, Transitions Coordinator and Data Lead
Fernando Saldana got his start in community and adult education in his home country of Nicaragua—as a youth leader working within communities to teach adult literacy and health education. He came to the US in 1999 and has worked in a variety of fields since his arrival including construction, health, and education. For the past six years, Fernando has worked in the DC public charter school sector, facilitating student enrollment, career development, and outreach and recruitment, as well as managing data and transition responsibilities. He has dedicated many years of his life to better the communities and the lives of the students he serves. Fernando holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology and a Master's degree in Management from the Catholic University of America.
Iris Mata, Office Manager/Registrar
Iris Mata has served at YouthBuild PCS since the school’s inception. Iris oversees student recruitment, registration, and records as well as facility management. Previously, she held the positions of Receptionist and Office Manager at the YouthBuild Program of the Latin American Youth Center. She is a graduate of the Latin American Youth Center’s Next Step Public Charter School. Iris is bilingual.
Maria Sanchez, Receptionist, Student Attendance Clerk
Maria Sanchez has been with YouthBuild PCS since 2006, where she manages student attendance, stipends, and the front reception area. She is a graduate of the YouthBuild PCS program of the Latin American Youth Center and served on the LAYC AmeriCorps team at LAYC, performing community service in the local area. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice at the University of the District of Columbia. Maria is bilingual.
Academic Instruction Staff
Eugenia Reyes, Instructor
Eugenia Reyes joined YouthBuild PCS in 2013 as the Special Education Instructor. Eugenia has 22 years of teaching experience, including her work as a Spanish teacher at DCPS Oyster-Adams and Lafayette, ESL teacher at Carlos Rosario PCS, and Elementary and High School teacher in El Salvador. Ms. Reyes graduated from the University of El Salvador where she studied Education and earned a Masters in School Administration. She also recently graduated from Strayer University with a Masters in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.
Ligia Arreaga, Instructor
Ligia Arreaga teaches GED subjects in Spanish to Spanish-language students at YouthBuild PCS. She has been with YouthBuild PCS since the founding of the school and before that taught at the YouthBuild program of the Latin American Youth Center. Previously, she has over eleven years of teaching experience from kindergarten through high school in both Guatemala and the United States. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a law degree in Education from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala.
Jonathan Burnette, Instructor
Jonathan Burnette serves as math/GED instructor at YouthBuild PCS. He is a Maryland native and uses his experience as a business owner and in the nonprofit world to help serve DC youth. In his fourth year of teaching in adult education, he focuses on real world experiences to connect with his students. Jonathan has a Bachelor’s degree in Science and Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Beth Kushner, Instructor
Beth Kushner joins Youthbuild PCS as an ESL/GED instructor, after several years of teaching adult ESL and TOEFL test preparation classes. Earlier in her career, she taught English at the Escuela Politecnica Nacional university in Quito, Ecuador, where she enhanced her Spanish skills as well. Beth has tutored students in adult Spanish literacy, and has provided support to Spanish-speaking students at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of Georgia. She is excited to be a part of the Youthbuild PCS team.
Akil Kennedy, Instructor
Akil Kennedy, M.Ed brings 15 years of experience in public education—as a teacher, school founder, teacher mentor and online learning coordinator—to his work as a GED instructor and blended learning specialist at YouthBuild PCS. A graduate of Hampton University and the City College of New York, he spent the first four years of his career as a high school teacher and one of the founders of The Gateway School of Environmental Research and Technology in the Bronx, NY. In 2005, he transitioned to Washington, DC, where he spent six years working for DCPS as an instructional mentor and three years as blended learning coordinator at Luke C. Moore SHS before transitioning to YouthBuild PCS.
Student Support Staff
Gina Fognani, Case Manager
Gina Fognani joined YouthBuild PCS as a Case Manager in 2008. Previously, Gina worked in the Social Services Department at the Latin American Youth Center, working with a diverse population of young adults. Gina continues in this student support role at YouthBuild, where she is responsible for coordinating student services and advocating on the behalf of these young people to address issues at school and home. Gina holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the District of Columbia and a Master’s in Social Work from Howard University. Gina is bilingual.
Makuti Lee, Case Manager
Mr. Lee joined YouthBuild PCS in 2012 as a Case Manager, supporting the young people at YouthBuild PCS as they work to overcome barriers to academic success and career advancement. Mr. Lee earned his Masters of Human Services from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and has over 10 years of experience in youth development and social service work. He has worked extensively with at-risk youth at both public and private institutions, including the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (DYRS), Maya Angelou Academy, and the Department of Employment Services in Washington, DC.
Transitional Services Staff
Marili Alvarado joined the YouthBuild team in the fall of 2014; she is now serving as Placement Specialist. She helps students explore academic and career pathways and reach placements. In her previous experiences, Marili has worked with students of all ages, as a tutor, mentor, interpreter and teacher. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Marili has enjoyed working with diverse populations, particularly minority youth. Marili earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Spanish from Queens University of Charlotte and her Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Durham University in England.
Workforce Training Staff
Andrew Arena, Construction Trainer
Andrew Arena, known as Drew, sees his work as a construction trainer as his calling. A lifelong home remodeling hobbyist and physics major with a passion for hands on work and helping others, Drew is eager to share his knowledge and learn more about YouthBuild PCS students’ knowledge, talents, and interests. Andrew earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, with a minor in Sociology from Binghamton University, and his MS in Physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Andrew’s approach to learning is is guided by the TEAM motto - Together Everyone Achieves More.
Antione Clipper, Construction Trainer
Antione Clipper has been a member of the Youthbuild PCS staff for the last five years. His role as a construction trainer allows him to impact the lives of our students on a daily basis. Along with his consistent effort to implement the Youthbuild PCS education standards, Antione combines his fondness for classroom instruction with his passion for hands on practice. His "Big Brother" teaching style and his dedication to mentorship allow him to teach with his personality. Antione prides himself on his ability to build trustworthy and personable relationships with each one of his students. Antione is also former student and a proud graduate of YouthBuild PCS.
Jeffrey Palacios, Vocational Education Instructor
Jeffrey Palacios joined the YouthBuid PCS family in 2012 as the Bilingual Vocational Education Instructor. Mr. Palacios teaches students a curriculum which integrates construction skills with math and literacy competencies. In additional to his instructional responsibilities, Mr. Palacios is extremely active in extracurricular volunteer programing at YouthBuild PCS. Mr. Palacios attended Syracuse University in New York, where he earned a Bachelors of Science in Managerial Law and Public Policy and minored in Political Science. In addition, Mr. Palacios has extensive experience working with young people including his work as an After School Program Coordinator with the District of Columbia Public Schools and as a Program Coordinator with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the National Capital Area.
Yolanda Torres, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer
Yolanda Torres is a 2015-2016 graduate of YouthBuild Public Charter School. She joined the YouthBuild PCS team for the 2016-17 school year as an AmeriCorps VISTA Resource Developer. Yolanda works in partnership with the team to build connections with potential funders and supporters, and to increase the school’s resources. She is also fully fluent in Spanish and in English.