Meet The Team
Chief Executive Officer
Caitlin Baron is the founder and CEO of the Luminos Fund, an education nonprofit dedicated to giving the world’s most vulnerable, out-of-school children a second chance to learn. Luminos has set 152,051 children across Ethiopia, Liberia, and Lebanon on a path to lifelong learning. Caitlin believes in the power of creative pedagogies and activity-based education to transform children’s lives, even in the poorest corners of the world. She spent the previous decade as a senior leader within the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, helping to grow the organization to steward over $1 billion in charitable giving. She founded and led the foundation’s office in South Africa and built MSDF’s impact investing portfolio. Caitlin graduated from UCLA in Political Science and is pursuing an executive master’s with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Senior Director of Programs
Nikita is Senior Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she oversees program curriculum, pedagogy, and delivery, working in close collaboration with governments and our local implementing partners. Previously, she served as part of the senior management team at STIR Education where she helped set-up the organization’s India operations. Nikita played a critical role in helping STIR grow to $1.8M over two years and impacting 400,000 children globally. Prior to working at STIR, Nikita was a manager in the marketing team at Parikrma Humanity Foundation where she worked with the CEO to help de-risk Parikrma’s funding model by exploring new donor segments. Nikita began her career as a software engineer with TechMahindra Ltd and worked with some of the biggest telecom companies globally. Nikita holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering from SGSITS India and an MBA in Finance and Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Oxford.
Senior Director of Programs
Angie is Senior Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she oversees the design and delivery of the Luminos Second Chance program in different geographies, working in close collaboration with governments and our local implementing partners. Previously, she served as the Programs Manager at Dubai Cares where she managed the portfolio of Dubai Cares’ Education in Emergency (EiE) programs and informed the organization’s strategic thinking and priorities in the EiE space. Prior to working for Dubai Cares, Angie was the Education in Emergency Programs Manager at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). There she led the implementation of the Agency’s emergency education response to the Syrian crisis and supported the integration of Palestine refugees from Syria into UNRWA’s education system in Lebanon. Angie has worked in the development and humanitarian sector for over ten years, designing and implementing programs that provide critical services to people impacted by crises. She believes education has the transformative power to improve lives and create peaceful, tolerant, and prosperous societies. Angie holds a MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Ethiopia Country Director & Regional Strategic Advisor
Dr. Alemayehu Hailu Gebre
Dr. Alemayehu “Alex” Hailu Gebre is the Ethiopia Country Director & Regional Strategic Advisor for the Luminos Fund and is based in Ethiopia. Alex advises on the Luminos Fund’s growth strategy; provides guidance and support to Luminos classrooms, curriculum, and monitoring & evaluation; and helps Luminos liaise with partners and governments.
Alex is an accomplished international development and education leaderwith over twenty years of experience in the NGO sector across project management, partnership development, project monitoring and evaluation, human resource and organizational development, and management.
Previously, Alex worked for the Adult and Non-formal Education Association in Ethiopia (ANFEAE), the international nonprofit Pact, and most recently served as a Country Director for Geneva Global. He has served as a valued partner to the Second Chance program (also known as Speed School in Ethiopia) since its early days.
Through Alex’s leadership, ANFEAE won UNESCO’s International Literacy Prize of 2008 and the World Bank’s Development Market Place Award of 2003. Alex has co-written the book Everyday Literacies in Africa, and wrote the case study, “Action Research for Curriculum Development: An Example from Ethiopia” for UNESCO’s 2015 book, Action Research to Improve Youth and Adult Literacy. Alex has a master’s in economics from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and a PhD in education.
Program Director, Curriculum
Noor Khan is Program Director, Curriculum at the Luminos Fund where she leads the organization’s curriculum development and enhancements for education programs serving children across Africa and the Middle East. Previously, she worked for a non-profit education organization in the UK where she collaborated with teachers, leaders, and researchers in providing high-quality ‘whole education’, with a mission to end inequality in learning. Noor has served as an education consultant on capacity building projects, tasked with reviewing current provisions and implementing change. By working across public, private, and non-profit sectors from schools to further education, she has focused on developing curriculum, teacher training, and effective school leadership. She has experience in Africa and the Middle East working with governments to build capabilities and student agency. Rooted in her teaching background from the UK, she has spent the last 17 years committed to developing the teaching profession and collaborating with organizations and students to transform lives. This laid the foundation for her love of learning and empowering students to reach their full potential. Noor holds a MA in Education and Social Justice from the Institute of Education, University of London.
Director of Finance & Administration
Anh is Director of Finance & Administration and is responsible for managing Luminos accounting, financial planning, tax and finance functions, as well as operational support for the organization. She oversees our financial processes and policies to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and accurate reporting. Anh began her career at Deloitte & Touche where she performed external audit procedures in financial services, and Bain Capital where she was responsible for analyzing daily investment activity, and preparing and reviewing financial statements, performance reports, and capital reporting to investors. Anh holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Northeastern University and is a certified public accountant. In her spare time she serves on the Board of Directors for the New England Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Association (NEIVSA), a non-profit organization focusing on leadership development, cultural awareness, and community building.
Director of Development & Communications
Maretta Silverman serves as Director of Development & Communications at the Luminos Fund where she is privileged to lead engagement with our community of supporters, amplify student voices and program stories, oversee the fundraising and communications teams, manage events, and more. She served previously as the Luminos Fund’s Director of Communications since 2019. For the prior decade, Maretta worked in communications, marketing, business development, and event management roles at Massachusetts General Hospital, Veson Nautical, and the American Enterprise Institute. She holds a degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in International Politics & Foreign Policy and is an active Georgetown alumna. Maretta believes firmly in the life-changing power of education and is passionate about helping out-of-school children catch up and experience the joys of learning.
Associate Director of Programs
Emily Joof is Associate Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund. Emily is based in The Gambia where she collaborates closely with the government and local education partners, and supports Luminos programs across West Africa. Previously, Emily worked as the Global Education Technical Advisor for Save the Children Sweden where she led the global work on Inclusive Education and the portfolio against Physical and Humiliating Punishment in School Settings. Emily also worked for Mentor International as International Program Manager where she led the design of evidence-based programming for at-risk youth. Prior to that, Emily worked as Program Associate for Poverty and the Millennium Development Goals for UNDP in The Gambia. Her work experience spans across Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
Emily is a staunch advocate for literacy and the power of education to build inclusive and just societies. In addition to her work, she is also an author of inclusive children’s books which celebrate the African diaspora. A lifelong learner, Emily holds a BA in Ancient History and Social Anthropology and a MA in International Development and Education, both from the University of London. Emily is currently completing a PhD Program in Education and Social Justice.
Associate Director of Programs
Ernesta Orlovaitė is Associate Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund. Ernesta oversees the design and delivery of the Second Chance program in Ghana, collaborating closely with the government and local implementing partners. She also guides Luminos’ efforts to strengthen its capacity for data-based decision-making and drive better outcomes for our students. Previously, Ernesta worked as a Product Manager at Google, leading product design and development teams in Switzerland and Japan. Ernesta believes in the transformative role of education in achieving one’s potential. A lifelong learner, she holds BSc degrees in Economics and Engineering and MSc degrees in Artificial Intelligence and International Development.
Associate Director of Programs
Kaitlynn Saldanha is Associate Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she oversees Luminos’ work in Liberia, including facilitator training, collaboration with government and implementing partners, and monitoring and evaluation. Kaitlynn first joined the Luminos team in 2019 as a Senior Research Analyst. Prior to joining Luminos, Kaitlynn worked as an Education Manager at PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), a UK-based social enterprise and operator of low-cost rural secondary schools in Uganda and Zambia, where she provided technical assistance across a range of functions including education programs, government and strategic partnerships and global advocacy. Previously, she worked in External Affairs at Teach For America where she led stewardship of high net worth individuals in the Bay Area. Kaitlynn began her career in the low-cost private school sector, designing and piloting education innovations with Gray Matters Capital in Bangalore. She holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MPhil in Education (Globalization and International Development) from the University of Cambridge, where she focused on non-state education and its impact on student learning. Outside of work, Kaitlynn is an avid runner, cyclist and mountain enthusiast.
Program Manager, Ethiopia
Hassen Ahmed Assen
Hassen Ahmed Assen is a Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia. As Program Manager, Hassen plays a key role in program planning and execution, the monitoring and evaluation of Luminos’ Second Chance program, as well as data collection, analysis, and reporting.
Hassen is an education, conflict prevention, peace building, and development program specialist with more than 25 years of experience in government and the NGO sector. In his previous roles with Save the Children (Finland, Denmark, and the UK), Pact Ethiopia, and Somaliland Development Fund (SDF), Hassen managed various projects in education, conflict prevention, organizational capacity development, and child rights. He also served as a Chief of Party for Strengthening Institution for Peace and Development Program 2 (SIPED) at Pact Ethiopia. Recently, Hassen served as a Deputy Team Leader and Engagement and Influence Lead for Civil Society Support Program 2 (CSSP2) implemented by a consortium of Pact, Social Development Direct, and the British Council.
Hassen holds a diploma in English language teaching from Kotebe College of Teacher Education, a BA in Educational Administration, and a master’s degree in Educational Research and Development from Addis Ababa University.
Meredith is the Development Manager at the Luminos Fund where she is privileged to play a key role cultivating and stewarding our donor community, including organizing events and trips to our programs. Previously, she served as a Development Coordinator at Health Equity International (HEI). In her role as Development Coordinator, she worked closely with the development, finance, and communications teams to coordinate appeal mailings and plan fundraising events. Before HEI, Meredith was the Manager of Social Impact Journeys & Events Coordinator at Elevate Destinations. At Elevate, she organized donor trips across the globe for a wide array of non-profit organizations and development teams, such as the END Fund, World Bicycle Relief, American Jewish World Service, and Smile Train. She holds a degree in International Relations & Religion from Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies. Meredith is passionate about threading personal connections between donors and organizations that are creating sustainable solutions to issues of inequality and poverty.
Program Manager, Liberia
Abba G. Karnga Jr.
Abba is Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in Liberia where he oversees all Luminos Second Chance classrooms and training for teachers and supervisors, and coordinates with the Ministry of Education and local implementing partners. Previously, Abba worked in the World Wide Mission School System as a principal, developing an educational work plan for the school and overseeing all administrative activities. During the Ebola crisis, Abba served as Director of the Stop the Spread of Ebola Campaign. In partnership with the Country Health Team, he created an Ebola Emergency Response program responsible for social mobilization, case identification, and distribution of emergency supplies to affected homes. Abba has dedicated his career to advancing educational opportunities in his country, working with organizations such as World Education, the International Organization for Migration, USAID, and the Nyonblee Cares Foundation. Abba holds a BS in Secondary Education from the Cuttington University and lives in Buchanan City with his wife and four children.
Mara Chan serves as the Luminos Fund’s Content Producer where she curates the Luminos brand and manages content planning, design, and production alongside the Director of Development & Communications. Prior to joining Luminos, Mara worked as The Bridgespan Group’s Visual Communications Manager where she oversaw all branding, design, and photography needs in addition to collaborating with consulting and editorial staff on complex visual representations of nonprofit and foundation strategies. She also served HOPE International as an inaugural Field Communications Fellow in the Republic of Congo while working as a freelance graphic designer for other nonprofits. Mara holds a BA from McDaniel College in French with a minor in Graphic Design and a focus in Communications. Outside of work, Mara loves exploring the outdoors, traveling, and creating delicious food with her husband.
Lindsey serves as the Luminos Fund’s Program Analyst, coordinating the monitoring and evaluation of the Second Chance program and strengthening Luminos’ data analytic capacity. Previously, she worked as a student researcher at MIT D-Lab, designing technological solutions to challenges in the energy, WASH, and agriculture sectors of low-income countries. For her thesis project, she developed a procedure to increase the lifespan of machinery for sustainable charcoal producers in rural Uganda. Lindsey holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is currently pursuing a Master in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. Outside of work, she can be found on the volleyball court or at theatre rehearsal.
Program Coordinator, Liberia
G. Alphanso Menyon
G. Alphanso Menyon is a Program Coordinator for Luminos in Liberia where he leads teacher trainings on phonics and best practices for teaching reading and comprehension. Alphanso also coaches program supervisors and teachers. An experienced educator, Alphanso served for five years at the Heritage Early Learning Center as the principal. Previously, he taught at Spiritan Academy – A Catholic Demonstration School, Stella Maris Polytechnic, and in the World Wide Missions School System. He also tutored at the American International School of Monrovia (AIMS). Alphanso serves as the Chief Learning Officer of Logic, a network of teachers that developed a phonics and reading program for students and teachers who still struggle to read. Alphanso holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and lives in Monrovia with his wife and son. In his free time, Alphanso enjoys singing gospel music with his family.
Program Associate, Liberia
Emmanuel is a Program Associate for the Luminos Fund in Liberia, ensuring the smooth operation of our Second Chance program. Alongside Abba and Alphanso, Emmanuel works to ensure classrooms have a positive impact on students and collaborates with our partners on the ground. Prior to becoming a Program Associate, Emmanuel served as a classroom facilitator for Luminos and has years of direct experience working with children in Luminos classrooms and creating an atmosphere of joyful learning. Emmanuel’s passion for education stems from his experience as a child during Liberia’s civil war, a 14-year conflict which prevented him from attending school. As a result of the war, Emmanuel experienced the difficulty of being an over-aged student first-hand.
Special Assistant to the CEO
Kirstin Buchanan serves as Special Assistant to the CEO at the Luminos Fund where she works closely with the CEO and Director of Development & Communications. She provides executive, communications, fundraising, and event planning support. Kirstin is passionate about global development and believes the best strategies for breaking poverty cycles come from harnessing the knowledge, resources, and power within marginalized and vulnerable communities. Previously, Kirstin worked as a Graduate Assistant at Boston University conducting research on Community-Led Development strategies in the Global South. She also worked as a Program Manager coordinating volunteer opportunities for Boston University students with social justice organizations in Boston, MA. She holds a MA in International Affairs and BA magna cum laude in International Relations from Boston University, as well as a certificate in Latin American studies. In her spare time, Kirstin loves traveling to new places and learning from different people and cultures. She considers herself a forever student: eager to share ideas and learn within a multicultural environment.