Meet The Team
Program Associate, Ghana
Sadick Musa Abubakar
Sadick Musa Abubakar is a Program Associate with the Luminos Fund in Ghana, where he supports the planning and execution of the Luminos program, including classroom monitoring, teacher training, and community partner training. Prior to joining Luminos, Sadick worked as a primary school teacher for over eight years and has extensive experience in curriculum and teacher coaching. Sadick has worked extensively in communities across the Ashanti region in Ghana, and strongly believes in Luminos’ student-centered approach to teaching the most marginalized populations. Sadick holds a Diploma in Basic Education with First Class Honors from Akrokerri College of Education. He is passionate about student development and helping students gain the skills to read and learn about the world around them. Sadick also believes that student well-being is crucial to enable learning and enjoys providing creative solutions to enhance teaching and learning.
Education Program Coordinator, Ethiopia
Roman Tesfaye Adamu
Roman Tesfaye Adamu is an Education Program Coordinator for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia, where she leads a new project in the Sidama region focused on adapting the Luminos program for broader adoption in government classrooms. Roman also plays a key role in program and partner management, data oversight, donor stewardship, and curriculum tool development.
Roman has over eight years of experience as a Project Coordinator and Developer for the Luminos program through Emmanuel Development Association Ethiopia (EDA), a Luminos community partner. At EDA, Roman also served as a Social Worker, Trainer, and Educator. Prior to joining EDA, Roman worked as a teacher. With an MA in Business Administration and a BSC in Applied Physics, Roman has expertise in developing, implementing, directing, and coordinating educational initiatives. She has expertise in creating engaging curricula, facilitating workshops and training sessions, and building strong relationships with stakeholders to ensure program success. Roman’s passion for making a difference in the lives of others is evident in her work, and she is committed to using her skills and expertise to continue making a positive impact on the world around her.
Senior Program Associate, Ghana
Edward Kojo Asare
Edward Kojo Asare is a Senior Program Associate for the Luminos Fund in Ghana, where he plays a key role in program planning and execution, teacher and community partner training, and classroom monitoring. Prior to joining Luminos, Edward worked with USAID Partnership for Education: Learning project for five years as a Regional Caregiver & Teacher Support Coordinator. During this time, he trained teachers and school supervisors, drafted training plans, distributed materials, monitored project implementation and classroom teachings, and reported on training and field activities in the regions of Ghana in which he worked. Edward holds an M.A. in Educational Leadership and Management from the University of Ghana and has 18 years of teaching experience with the Ghana Education Service. He believes that every child must be given an opportunity to be educated, regardless of their social economic background.
Country Manager, Ethiopia
Hassen Ahmed Assen
Hassen Ahmed Assen is Country Manager for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia. As Country Manager, Hassen plays a key leadership role in program planning and execution, curriculum development, and monitoring & evaluation. Previously, Hassen was Senior Program Manager, responsible for program management and reporting for the Luminos Fund projects in Ethiopia.
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.
Program Manager, Ghana
Suwaida Abdul Aziz
Suwaida Abdul Aziz is a Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in Ghana where she assists with program planning and execution, training teachers and community partners, monitoring Luminos’ classrooms, and analyzing data. An early childhood educator with years of experience in the NGO and education sector, Suwaida previously worked at Plan International, Ghana as a Master Teacher Trainer, providing face-to-face and interactive distance teacher training. She also worked with the Varkey Foundation where she planned and delivered age and developmentally appropriate lessons for children, trained facilitation programs, and engaged the community. She began her career as an Assistant Program Officer with CAMFED where she supported a range of functions including education programs, district and community-level stakeholder partnerships, and student-teacher mentor engagements.
She has a B.Ed in Early Childhood Education from the University of Education Winneba and an MPhil in Educational Innovations and Leadership Science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Suwaida is a strong advocate for meaningful learning. She loves teaching and believes that all a child needs to develop academically is a positive mentor that instills in them an interest in the world and a belief that they can make something of themselves. Suwaida is a women empowerment enthusiast and believes that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities to reach their full potential.
Chief Executive Officer, The Luminos Fund
Caitlin Baron is the CEO of the Luminos Fund, an international education nonprofit dedicated to giving the world’s most vulnerable, out-of-school children a second chance to learn. Luminos’ award-winning program marries the best of global and local learning science to enable marginalized children to catch up to grade level and go on to lifelong learning. Under Caitlin’s leadership, Luminos has successfully scaled its education mission across five countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, working in partnership with more than 25 community-based organizations to reach over 218,541 out-of-school children. Over 90% of Luminos students succeed in the catch-up program, going on to complete primary school at twice the rate of their peers.
Caitlin believes in the power of joyful learning to enable children to thrive, 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.
Communications and Advocacy Manager
Kirstin Buchanan is the Communications and Advocacy Manager at the Luminos Fund where she amplifies student voices and program stories, in addition to helping drive content, messaging, and fundraising strategy. Kirstin leads the development and implementation of the communication strategy relating to the organization’s advocacy and government engagement work. She also leads engagement with the Luminos Fund Advisory Board.
Kirstin originally joined the Luminos Fund in 2020 as Special Assistant to the CEO. She 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. She holds a MA in International Affairs and a BA magna cum laude in International Relations from Boston University, as well as a certificate in Latin American studies, and has conducted extensive research on Community-Led Development strategies in the Global South.
Senior Communications Manager
Mara Chan is the Senior Communications Manager at the Luminos Fund where she creates and implements external communications strategies that promote Luminos’ transformative education programs. Mara leads the collection and development of stories using photography, video, writing, and design. Mara is also responsible for managing the Luminos brand and oversees the design and development of teaching and learning materials to share Luminos’ knowledge and best practices with the world.
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.
Dr. William Chantereau
Dr. William Chantereau is a Data Scientist for the Luminos Fund where he analyzes program data, builds tools to automate data processing, ensures data integrity, and oversees critical data management processes across the organization.
William previously worked as a data scientist at Vendigital in London, a top-tier management consultancy working to deliver data-led accelerated cost transformation. Before that, William worked as an astrophysicist in France and the UK. William holds a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a master’s degree in Fundamental Physics from the University of Toulouse (France).
Program Coordinator, The Gambia
Lamin Colley is a Program Coordinator for the Luminos Fund in The Gambia where he ensures smooth program implementation, coordinates program monitoring, and supports day-to-day office operations. Lamin is a compassionate social worker with a high sense of humility and readiness to serve. Prior to joining Luminos, he worked at The Gambia National Youths Council as a Regional Program Officer where he implemented migrant protection and reintegration projects (a joint initiative between the European Union and the government of The Gambia), as well as the Migrants as Messengers Project through the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In addition, Lamin served as a teacher for fifteen years under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
Lamin holds diplomas in Education and Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, as well as post-graduate degrees in Public Administration and International Relations and Diplomacy from The Gambia College and The Management Development Institute, respectively. Lamin is currently pursuing his master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. His goal is to contribute to a society where everyone is confident in achieving their personal goals and dreams.
Associate Director of Programs
Dr. Caitlin Collis
Dr. Caitlin Collis is Associate Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she provides turnkey support on an array of deliverables, including program management and reporting, data gathering and analytics, and curriculum development support. Caitlin recently completed a PhD in History at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focused on infrastructure and empire building in modern Ethiopian history. From 2017-2020, she lived in Addis Ababa, where she split her time between conducting archival research and co-founding a fitness center, GoFigure Fitness. Caitlin holds a BA in Regional Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and an MA in History from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senior Director of Programs
Donnalee Donaldson is a Senior Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she helps lead large-scale government advisory projects and oversees the adaptation of various Luminos program elements to serve specific populations. She has expertise in collaborating with governments on the design and implementation of national education reforms, and integrating technology into education. Prior to joining Luminos, Donnalee served as the Rwanda Country Director at Educate! where she co-designed and scaled a national skills-based secondary education reform program. She was also a founding team member at Kepler, where she played a key role in designing blended learning courses for multilingual learners and managed the launch of Rwanda’s first university in a refugee camp. She has been recognized as an education sector changemaker by UNESCO, Ashoka, and UNLEASH.
Donnalee is also an attorney and began her career as a litigator for the New York City Law Department. She holds a BA from Seton Hall University, a JD from the Emory University School of Law, and a certificate in Higher Education in Emergencies from the University of Geneva. Donnalee is proudly Jamaican and passionate about contributing to the advancement of the African diaspora.
Senior Director of Programs, Ethiopia
Dr. Alemayehu Hailu Gebre
Dr. Alemayehu “Alex” Hailu Gebre is the Senior Director of Programs for the Luminos Fund and is based in Ethiopia. Alex provides strategic oversight of Luminos programming, advises on the organization’s growth strategy, and facilitates effective engagement with governments and community-based organizations.
Alex is an accomplished international development and education leader with 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.
Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Ethiopia
Wondu Gudeta is a Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia where he is leading the overall data collection, cleaning, analysis, and reporting to guide and improve program management. Wondu also develops data dashboards, builds the technical capacity of Luminos community partners, and works closely with external evaluators.
Wondu has over 12 years of experience in the education, health, and development sectors, including working for several USAID, FCDO, and other donor-funded projects at Link Education International, Jhpiego, FHI-360, and others. Wondu holds master’s degrees in both Monitoring & Evaluation and Statistics. Wondu is excited to contribute to changing the lives of marginalized and vulnerable groups through the Luminos catch-up education program.
Program Manager, The Gambia
Mamadou Jawo is a Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in The Gambia where he is responsible for program planning and execution, curriculum development, training teachers, staff, and community partners, and monitoring Luminos classrooms. Mamadou began his career in education as a teacher and the Head of the English Language Department at Murreh Kunda Basic Cycle School in The Gambia. He also worked as a Coordinator for Humanity First Gambia Branch, designing educational interventions. Prior to joining Luminos, Mamadou was a Project Advisor for GIZ International Services, where he supported Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Mamadou holds a master’s degree in Political Science from Malmö University in Sweden and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of The Gambia. Mamadou is passionate about education and looks forward to advancing the mission and vision of the Luminos Fund in The Gambia.
Grant Finance and Compliance Manager
Hillary Johnson is the Grant Finance and Compliance Manager at the Luminos Fund where she oversees the overall grant management, compliance, contracting, and financial reporting with our donors and community partners. Prior to joining Luminos, Hillary worked in the international humanitarian sector providing information management, reporting, and data analysis expertise to NGOs and UN agencies in Jordan, Romania, and Turkey. She also has nonprofit experience supporting the operations of two statewide nonprofit agencies in the fields of food security and early childhood education. Hillary holds a bachelor’s degree in International Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where she focused on Human Geography and Geographic Information Systems. In her spare time, Hillary volunteers with a local refugee resettlement agency and enjoys kayaking and hiking.
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 community 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.
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 Sub-Saharan 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.
Country Manager, Liberia
James Earl Kiawoin
James Earl Kiawoin is the Country Manager for the Luminos Fund in Liberia where he manages day-to-day operations, overall program delivery, government and stakeholder engagement, and supports staff development. Previously, James worked as a Strategy Consultant at Dalberg Advisors in Rwanda where he completed projects on higher education financing and digital ecosystem development including e-government services.
James began his career at Last Mile Health in a strategic advisory role with the Liberian Ministry of Health. There, he worked to develop, finance, and scale a national community health workers program that delivered health care to 1.2 million people in rural, hard-to-reach areas. James has vast experience leading initiatives in Liberia and previously held leadership roles at the Khana group, LEAD Monrovia Football Academy, and SMART Liberia, which he co-founded.
James holds an MPA with a focus on international development from the school of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a BA in Political Science from Colorado College.
Data & Finance Officer, Liberia
Mohammed B. Kiawu
Mohammed B. Kiawu is the Data and Finance Officer for the Luminos Fund in Liberia. He works with the Luminos program team and partner organizations to drive data collection, ensure data integrity, and execute data cleaning and processing. Mohammed also supports the accounting and bookkeeping for the Liberia office.
Mohammed began his professional career as a Program Assistant at the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN-Liberia) where he provided advice to project stakeholders on administrative procedure and implementation. He was later promoted to Finance Officer where he handled budgeting, banking, financial reporting, payroll preparation, and vendor management. Mohammed has also worked for the Khana Group as a Data Collector and Analyst, and as Mapper Assistant for the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geoinformation Services.
Mohammed holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the African Methodist Episcopal University in Liberia.
Senior Director of Finance & Administration
Anh is the Senior 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 Luminos’ 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 (CPA). In her spare time, she serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Asian American Professionals – Boston Chapter (NAAAP Boston), a nonprofit organization focusing on building the next generation of leaders.
Program Associate, Liberia
Emmanuel is a Program Associate for the Luminos Fund in Liberia, ensuring the smooth operation of our Second Chance program. Alongside our Liberia team, 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 teacher 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.
Finance and Operations Associate, Ethiopia
Selamawit (Selam) Melese is a Finance and Operations Associate for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia. Selam provides support in a variety of areas including finance, logistics, and administration. She has over five years of experience working in different capacities in both corporate settings and nonprofit organizations. Selam joined the Luminos Fund in February 2022. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing from Mekelle University where she also received advanced computer skills training.
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.
Country Manager, The Gambia
Awa Minteh is the Country Manager for the Luminos Fund in The Gambia. She oversees the implementation of The Gambia Classes for Open Learning program, managing operations, programs, and engagement with external stakeholders, including government. Awa also supports staff development.
Awa has nearly a decade of experience working in the development sector. She was program manager with CIAM-Public Health Research and Development Center, where she supported the implementation of more than 10 research projects, including surveys, longitudinal studies, and Randomized Controlled Trials.
Awa has vast experience in program management across various disciplines including health, education, and livelihoods. Through her work with ChildFund International The Gambia, Awa led the implementation of a pioneering Early Childhood Development (ECD) program focused on parenting education for 1,200 parents across 30 communities in The Gambia. The program was the first of its kind to use a community delivery model through teachers, developing guided tools to support young children’s holistic development and primary education readiness.
Awa holds a MSc in International Development and Management from the Lund University, Sweden, and a BSc in Biology from the University of The Gambia.
Education Program Manager, Ethiopia
Tegistu Petros Mirkano
Tegistu Petros Mirkano is an Education Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia. As Education Program Manager, Tegistu supports the planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of Luminos’ Second Chance program. Tegistu brings over 14 years of experience in international development and education for vulnerable populations, program and project management, research, and assessments, including EGRA/EGMA. Prior to joining Luminos, Tegistu worked at the Finnish Refugee Council as an Education Specialist. He has also worked for a variety of INGOs including World Vision Ethiopia as an Education Specialist, Save the Children International as a Program Coordinator, and Nuru International as an Education Program Manager. Tegistu holds an MA in Social Psychology from Addis Ababa University, an MA in Linguistics and Communication from Hawasaa University, and a BED degree in teaching English from Mekelle University. Tegistu is excited to be part of Luminos Fund family and the Second Chance program’s impact in Ethiopia.
Vice President of Programs
Dr. Kirsty Newman
Dr. Kirsty Newman is the Vice President of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she oversees the global programs team to support joyful, foundational learning for children at the margins. Before joining Luminos, Kirsty held senior leadership roles in various bilateral, multi-lateral, and non-governmental development organizations. Kirsty trained initially as a scientist (she has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology) and has worked throughout her career to enable local research and evidence networks to support decision-making. She has a particular passion for equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and in the world! She believes that all children deserve the chance to become lifelong learners – and that a vital first step towards achieving this is providing every child with the opportunity to develop foundational skills in literacy and numeracy.
Senior Program Manager, Teacher Training
Austin Njera is the Senior Program Manager of Teacher Training at the Luminos Fund where he supports all teacher capacity strengthening activities in collaboration with country offices. Prior to joining Luminos, Austin worked for Save the Children as a Global Advisor for Basic Education, leading the design and implementation of quality education programs, including Catch-up Clubs and Literacy and Numeracy Boost innovations. At Save the Children, Austin was responsible for education programming in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia.
With over 12 years of experience working in development and education across Africa and Asia, Austin has expertise in teacher training, radio instruction, early learning and participatory pedagogy, low-cost resource innovations, and inclusive education. He is a professional teacher trainer and holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, as well as an MA in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Malawi.
Program Coordinator, Ghana
Patrick Nyarko is a Program Coordinator for the Luminos Fund in Ghana where he supports the smooth operation of the Ghana program, day-to-day office operations, and data management and analysis. Patrick is a development practitioner with over five years of experience in project design, planning, monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning within the international and local NGO sector. Prior to joining Luminos, Patrick worked as Planning and Monitoring Coordinator for Plan International, Ghana, where he was responsible for ensuring quality in project design, planning, and monitoring in line with Country Strategy and Program Quality Policy. Patrick holds a MSc in Planning Monitoring & Evaluation and a BA in Geography & Rural Development from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology as well as a Certificate in Project Management in Global Health from University of Washington, USA.
Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
Brian Okwir is a Monitoring and Evaluation Manager for the Luminos Fund where he supports the expansion of Luminos’ data management capacity, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) training and coaching for country team staff, and the creation of M&E processes.
Brian is an M&E specialist with eight years of experience in managing research for social and development projects. His expertise includes designing M&E systems, developing and delivering M&E training, as well as data analysis, modeling, and management.
Brian holds a post-graduate diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics. Prior to joining Luminos, Brian worked with organizations such as Educate!, INSIKA Associates, World Vision, CEFORD, and World Renew, among others. Brian is passionate about data storytelling and improving access to quality education for young people.
Director of Impact
Ernesta Orlovaitė is Director of Impact at the Luminos Fund where she oversees program design and delivery, collaborating closely with staff, 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.
Manager of Finance and Administration
Derek is the Manager of Finance and Administration at the Luminos Fund. He manages day-to-day financial operations for Luminos in the U.S. and supports our international program offices. Prior to joining Luminos, Derek worked in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors at ACP Facility Services and Root Capital. At ACP, Derek managed financial reporting, wrote contracts for clients and subcontractors, and prepared and submitted bid proposals for potential clients. As the Senior Account Grant Management at Root Capital, he managed grant reporting and accounting processes, and developed and implemented financial policies and procedures. Derek holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance Concentration: Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Outside of work, Derek likes being outdoors (golfing or hiking) and, when he is not being active, he is actively enjoying baked goods such as donuts or cookies.
Director of Programs
Elizabeth (Liz) Robinson
Liz Robinson is Director of Programs at the Luminos Fund where she oversees the overall program delivery in Lebanon, and global curriculum development and teacher training projects. Previously, she worked as an independent consultant for local and international NGOs in the education sector, providing research, business development, and technical writing services, with a focus on the Middle East. Liz also worked as the Asia Regional Lead for an international consulting firm specializing in social and behavior change, where her portfolio comprised Afghanistan and Pakistan. Liz first began her career in the humanitarian aid sector in Jordan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with a focus on business development and grant management.
Liz strongly believes that education can and should act as a crucible for social change and systems transformation, especially for learners on the margins. She holds a BA from Tufts University, a MA in Education and International Development from University College London, and a Graduate Certificate in Early Grade Reading in Developing Countries from UMASS Amherst.
Program Coordinator, The Gambia
Abdoulie Sabally is a Program Coordinator for the Luminos Fund in The Gambia where he supports teacher training, coaching, and classroom monitoring. In addition, Abdoulie ensures the smooth day-to-day operations of The Gambia office.
Abdoulie has 15 years of teaching experience in both government and private schools, and he has a rich background in training. Abdoulie worked as a trainer with Future in Our Hands (FIOH), one of Luminos’ community partners in The Gambia, as well as INSET (In-Service Education Training Unit). His training expertise includes various areas, including phonics, math, English, Early Child Development (ECD), and integrated studies.
Abdoulie holds a primary teacher certificate from The Gambia College and General Islamic Certificates 1 and 2 from the International Open University (IOU).
Director of Research & Development
Kaitlynn Saldanha is the Director of Research & Development at the Luminos Fund where she oversees the design and delivery of research projects, partnerships, and evaluations to support joyful learning for children at the margins.
Kaitlynn first joined the Luminos Fund in 2019. Before joining Luminos, she worked at PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) as a technical lead providing support across a range of functions including education programming, strategic partnerships, government relations and global advocacy, and played a key role in ensuring PEAS programs leveraged the latest research and evidence. Kaitlynn began her career working in India’s low-cost private school sector, designing and testing education quality improvement initiatives to support learning for marginalized children. Kaitlynn deeply believes in the vital role education plays in supporting every child to reach their potential. She holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MPhil in Education (Globalization and International Development) from the University of Cambridge.
Program Associate, Liberia
Alex Debrown Seh
Alex Debrown Seh is a Program Associate for the Luminos Fund in Liberia, where he monitors classes and provides coaching to teachers. From 2016 to 2021, he served as Parent Engagement Group lead and Project Supervisor for the Liberia Institute for the Promotion of Academic Excellence (LIPACE), a Luminos community partner. Previously, Alex worked as Team Supervisor at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) during the Ebola crisis. Alex began his career as a Sales and People Relations Agent at Orange Liberia, a mobile network operator. He later transitioned to Liberia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports as a Project Supervisor on the Liberian Youth Empowerment Program (LYEP).
Alex holds an associate’s degree in Education from the Liberia Corporative Standard School System (LICOSESS) Mobile Training College.
Vice President of Development & Communications
Maretta Silverman serves as Vice President 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 joined the Luminos Fund in 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.
Director of Communications
As Director of Communications at the Luminos Fund, Michael Stulman is responsible for the development and execution of strategic communications and marketing, digital storytelling, and media engagement. Michael brings more than 15 years’ experience to Luminos. Previously, he was Vice President at Burness Communications – a mission-driven firm supporting nonprofits and foundations. Michael also managed global communications at Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Based in Senegal for eight years with CRS, Michael was responsible for communications strategy and messaging for more than 35 country programs in Africa. He has extensive relationships with US-based journalists and foreign correspondents, with a proven track record of pitching story ideas and angles for TV, print, and broadcast news. Michael has traveled extensively throughout Africa and speaks both English and French.
Senior Finance Officer, Ethiopia
Fekerte Bekele Teketelew
Fekerte Bekele Teketelew is a Senior Finance Officer for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia where she manages day-to-day financial operations, including bookkeeping, payroll, tax withholding, and other administrative duties. Fekerte has served her community in various non-governmental organizations for over 11 years. Prior to joining Luminos, Fekerte served as the Head of Finance for the Organization for Women in Self Employment (WISE). Fekerte has a MA in Development Management and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Fekerte believes that learning and education are essential to one’s life, and that every person deserves the right to education. Outside of work, Fekerte enjoys gardening and learning. She is in the first year of her second MA in Counseling and Psychology.
Program Associate, Liberia
Folley J. Toe
Folley is a Program Associate for the Luminos Fund in Liberia, where he ensures the smooth operation of the Second Chance program. Alongside our Liberia team, Folley works to ensure classrooms have a positive impact on students and collaborates with our partners on the ground.
Folley previously served as classroom teacher for Luminos and assisted with the distribution of food supplies for Second Chance classes. Folley has years of direct experience working with students and creating an atmosphere of joyful learning in the classroom. Folley worked extensively with his fellow teachers, providing ideas to strengthen their teaching and support students.
Having witnessed Liberia’s high poverty rate prevent many children from going to school, Folley is passionate about the need for education, particularly literacy. He believes strongly in Luminos’ mission of helping children get a second chance at education in Liberia.
Special Assistant to the CEO
Katherine Treat is the Special Assistant to the CEO at the Luminos Fund where she supports multiple priorities and the execution of time-sensitive projects. Katherine works across departments, contributing to the success of the Office of the CEO and the Finance and Administration team. Prior to joining Luminos, she coordinated program planning and organizational development at GRACE Cares, conducted research on evaluation methods at UNICEF, and evaluated the success of the MicroMentor initiative at Mercy Corps. Katherine believes in taking a localized and holistic approach to international development where particular attention is paid to the complexity of development contexts and the intersectionality of issues and solutions. Katherine holds a MA in International Policy and Development, with specializations in Evaluation and Analytics and Professional French from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She completed a BA in Political Science with a second major in French and Francophone Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In her free time, Katherine enjoys dancing, skiing, nature walks, and baking.
Senior Program Manager and Global Safeguarding Lead, Liberia
Corina Wornee is a Senior Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in Liberia where she plays a key leadership role in program planning, training, coaching, curriculum development, and stakeholder engagement. Corina ensures quality teaching and learning across Luminos classes and supports the Liberia Country Manager and Luminos community partners on all project-related activities. As Global Safeguarding Lead, Corina is also responsible for supporting staff and partners in ensuring the well-being and safety of all children.
Corina is a Nurse Educator with deep experience working in development in Liberia on major reforms and initiatives in the health and education sectors. Prior to joining Luminos, Corina served as a Training Supervisor at Last Mile Health and, most recently, as a Director of Schools for Bridge Liberia.
Corina holds a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the Mother Patern College of Health Sciences in Liberia. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Public Health and an additional bachelor’s degree in Education.
Education Program Manager, Ethiopia
Lula is an Education Program Manager for the Luminos Fund in Ethiopia where she conducts program assessments and helps organize and deliver training sessions for staff, teachers, and local partners on key aspects of Luminos’ programming. In addition, Lula collects testimonials from students and communities we serve in Ethiopia.
Lula has worked in the education sector for 10 years as an educator, trainer, coach, and program coordinator, after starting her career as an English teacher in Addis Ababa. She previously served as a Teacher Trainer/Coach at Accelerated Learning, a Senior Trainer and Project Coordinator for the Organization for Women in Self-Employment, and a Senior Training Coordinator at Ethiojobs. Before joining Luminos, Lula was a Learning and Development Manager at Idea Consulting where she oversaw a capacity building program for employees.
As a seasoned educator, Lula is passionate about education and its impact in a community. In addition to education, she is involved in volunteer community work. Outside of the office, Lula enjoys reading and swimming.
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