Having experienced first-hand the transformative power that a college degree can have, I’ve committed my life to ensuring that all kids have the opportunity to get an excellent education and lead opportunity-rich lives.
Tina Fernandez has spent her career in the legal and education sectors and has launched several social-entrepreneurial ventures. She is the founding CEO of Achieve Atlanta, whose vision is that Atlanta be a city where race and income no longer predict postsecondary success and upward mobility. Tina was also a partner at Bellwether Education Partners, and provided consulting services to education organizations across the U.S. There, she helped launch Bellwether’s talent advising services. Tina also served as a Clinical Professor at the University of Texas School of Law where she founded the school’s Pro Bono Program and developed a legal services model to serve nearly 1,000 undocumented students apply for DACA. She was twice named Clinical Professor of the Year. Tina serves on the board of TNTP, Bellwether, Latinos for Education, and NCAN. She is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and a moderator for the Aspen Global network.
Tina earned her J.D. from Columbia and her B.A. from Harvard.
Susanne Diggs-Wilborn Vice President, College Success
What brings me to this work?
Engaging in mission-driven work is a must for me. I absolutely love bridging the worlds of education and organizational development to create sustainable results for students.
Susanne earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Spelman College and her doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Rutgers University. As Vice President of College Success, she is responsible for developing, delivering, and evaluating Achieve Atlanta’s college success and completion program. Prior to this role, Susanne was a consultant in the Human Capital and Change Management practice at The North Highland Company, and has held various leadership roles as an Organizational Development practitioner for over 15 years throughout her career. With over 30 years of progressively accountable experience as an internal and external consultant, Susanne has served as a thought partner and trusted advisor to every level of leader from supervisor to executive in the healthcare, corporate, non-profit and education sectors. In addition to her role at Achieve Atlanta, Susanne is an adjunct associate professor in the Leadership Studies Department at Mercer University.
Sam Rauschenberg Vice President, Organizational Effectiveness
What brings me to this work?
In today’s world, a postsecondary degree is a key to opportunity, but too many low-income students fall short of earning a degree for reasons outside the classroom. In this role, I’m able to use data to target support and remove barriers for our scholars to earn that degree.
Sam is responsible for data strategy and operations, partnering with program teams to execute strategy, evaluate impact, and ultimately enable the organization to accomplish its mission. Prior to Achieve Atlanta, he served as Deputy Director for Research, Policy, and Accountability with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. In this role, he oversaw the agency’s data and research agenda to inform state-level education policy decisions and provide accessible education data to Georgia stakeholders. Sam holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgia College and a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. He started his career as a high school math teacher in the Recovery School District in New Orleans through the teachNOLA Fellows Program.
A college degree can be life-changing. I want to help as many APS students as possible graduate from college and ultimately be in a position to achieve their dreams.
As Vice President, College Access, Korynn is responsible for overall strategy and operations of the College Access and Affordability programs. Prior to Achieve Atlanta, Korynn served as Director of School Governance & Flexibility with Fulton County Schools. In this role, she was responsible for the district’s implementation of the charter system framework. As a Strategic Data Fellow, she worked with school and district leaders on understanding postsecondary metrics and supporting student transitions from high school to college. In that role, she also co-developed a widely recognized summer college-going assistance program. Korynn brings significant education policy and advocacy experience, having served as the Georgia Afterschool Investment Council’s first Policy and Advocacy Manager and as Chief of Staff for Massachusetts State Representative Alice K. Wolf. Korynn graduated from Duke University with Bachelors of Arts degrees in Public Policy and Women’s Studies and earned her Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Korynn lives in the Cabbagetown neighborhood of Atlanta with her husband Jared and their two children, Ethan and Caleb.
I believe this work is powerful and inspiring. By helping our students complete a college education not only do they improve their economic and social mobility but also have a tremendous impact in changing family trajectories and communities.
Ninfa is the Senior Director of Scholarship & Affordability at Achieve Atlanta where she oversees the largest need-based scholarship program in Georgia and leads the organization’s work to remove financial barriers to post-secondary persistence and completion. Before joining Achieve Atlanta, Ninfa spent almost a decade with the Dell Scholars Program at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation where she assisted in building a college completion model and need-based scholarship program where over eighty percent of its students completed a bachelor’s degree on time. During her career she has held a variety of roles supporting students succeed, including the Director of Multicultural Programs at Linfield College-Portland Campus. Ninfa holds a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University and a bachelor’s in business administration from Oregon State University.
William Tran Senior Director, Operations & Systems
What brings me to this work?
I joined this work with the belief that “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.” This work is a continuation of making that belief reality.
William received his undergraduate from Georgetown University in the District of Columbia. At Achieve Atlanta, William is the Senior Director of Operations and Systems. He works closely with the staff and leadership team to drive and manage Achieve Atlanta’s overall operational and systematic needs. Prior to this role, William was a Teach for America Corps member and taught several years in Fulton County Public Schools. He was born and raised in Atlanta.
A post-secondary education is the gateway to a successful livelihood. I am driven to serve students by helping them reach their potential and fulfill their dreams.
Sweta earned a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies at Emory University and a MA in Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. As Senior Director of Data, Analytics, & Insights, Sweta is responsible for managing and analyzing data to inform organizational and program decisions. Prior to this role, Sweta worked at the Dallas Independent School District in the Human Capital Management department as the Data & Design Manager. During her time in Dallas, she managed all human capital systems and data for the district and designed processes to improve overall talent strategy. Previously, Sweta was a First to the Top Fellow at the Tennessee Department of Education and served as a Teach For America Corps Member in Washington, DC. With a passion to serve her community and transform educational systems, Sweta has been active with multiple organizations including Leadership for Educational Equity, Dallas Mayor’s Star Council, and Leadership ISD.
Access is power. By creating more points of access, more students will be able to realize their postsecondary goals and dreams. I am fueled by my passion for education, social impact, and sustainable partnerships.
Femi Johnson joins Achieve Atlanta as the first Director, College Access. Femi most recently served as a Program Manager with the National Math and Science Initiative where she supported 45 schools in the Southeastern region of the US with strategic planning and program support. Femi started her career as a classroom teacher, teaching both English and Special Education. Femi earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College and has M.Ed.s in Special Education and Secondary Education from Arcadia University. She currently serves on the board of directors of SEM Link.
I am a results-driven communicator and appreciate how Achieve Atlanta is also results-driven and determined to increase college access and completion for Atlanta’s students. I believe in our students and share our organization’s vision for educational equity.
Born in Atlanta, Vett is passionate about improving educational equity in the city. Vett guides the organization’s comprehensive communication strategy and stewards Achieve Atlanta’s brand such that it represents both impact and influence in the educational equity and access to opportunity spaces. Vett has experience in strategic communications, public engagement, digital communications, and photography in both government and non-profit sectors. She earned her B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communications and her M.S. in Public Policy, with concentrations in Education and Health Policy, from Georgia Tech. Vett also earned a Spanish minor and speaks Spanish. Before joining Achieve Atlanta, Vett was the Director of Communications at GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. She has worked in the communications offices at the University System of Georgia, the City of Atlanta, and the Office of the Governor. Vett is a graduate of the 2017-2018 GPEE Education Policy Fellowship Program, and Vett was selected by the Atlanta Regional Commission as one of 55 community leaders to join the 2018 Regional Leadership Institute.
Fueled by her passion for educational equity and community engagement, Nichelle is an ardent advocate for improved outcomes for students and communities through increased educational opportunities and equitable access to resources. As a graduate from the University of Florida with bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Criminology, with minors in Women Studies, Educational Studies, and Leadership, Nichelle wholeheartedly believes that education is the means by which we control our destiny and transform communities.
With a background rooted in education, Nichelle is a former Teach for America Corp member in which she began and continued to work as a middle school math educator for many years before joining the Achieve Atlanta team as the Manager of Operations. Additionally, she has engaged in education policy and advocacy work and serves as a community organizer through being an active member and leader within several local organizations.
Nichelle is originally from Miami, FL, where she began her professional career in education, but now resides in Atlanta, GA where she continues to work towards bridging the gap of educational equity for students and communities that have been marginalized.
I was inspired to pursue a career in the education field after witnessing the difficulties that first generation students faced in graduating from college. My own college journey was heavily impacted by the mentors and coaches who encouraged my persistence every step of the way. Recognizing the vast contrast that exists in college student experiences, I now aspire to assist students on their college journeys while discovering and understanding the many invisible pitfalls that exist on a college campus, whether those obstacles be financial, social, or academic.
Laura Gangelhoff received an M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Northeastern University. Laura first started working with Achieve Atlanta in 2015 when she served as a College Adviser with College Advising Corps: Atlanta. In that role, she supported 200+ seniors at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate by advising them in the scholarship and financial aid process. Since that role, Laura has worked as a Graduate Assistant at University of Georgia’s Career Center, and a Coordinator in the office of Leadership Education and Development at Georgia Tech. Now as the manager of systems at Achieve Atlanta, she supports multiple facets of the team’s internal and external systems as well as adding additional capacity to the Data Strategy team.
From personal experience, I know what it’s like for people to not believe in you. It took one person to believe in me for me to get to school and because of that one person I have had the opportunity to gain my education. Now, I want to show my unwavering belief in all of Atlanta’s students.
Bria Price received her Masters of Public Policy in Education Policy from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Wooster. As the manager of the College Success Program she will serve as the liaison between secondary and postsecondary partners to promote relationships and support seamless enrollment and college persistence for scholars. Prior to this role Bria worked for City Year Washington, D.C. as an Impact Manager, and as a Program Associate for the Eli J. and Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program.
An Atlanta native, Bria is excited to return home to invest in economic growth in the city through education access and equity for its scholars.
I believe in being the person I needed when I was younger. Having someone to encourage you and checking on you mentally can make the difference between stopping out and persisting. Having access to higher education will open doors that were previously closed, and I want to encourage students to persist and succeed.
Breale Howard earned her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Art in Psychology from the University of West Georgia (UWG). She started working with Achieve Atlanta in 2018 as a Graduate Assistant providing advisory support to scholars at UWG. Now, as a College Success Coach Fellow, she provides social emotional support to students and collaborates with schools to increase student persistence.
A passion and commitment to support this generation in realizing their true, full potential using my favorite tools and resources: encouragement, listening, wisdom and transparency brings me to this work and gives my position greater meaning and fulfillment.
Jennifer is a career executive assistant bringing a wealth of experience gained through a full career of supporting C-Suite executives in both the corporate and higher education arenas. In the post-secondary education arena Jennifer previously served as the Executive Assistant to the President of Mississippi Valley State University, Westwood College, and to key administrators at Clark Atlanta University; within the corporate arena she previously served the Partner in Charge of Management Consulting in the New York office, and partners/principals in their Houston and Atlanta offices, and at Touche Ross’s Houston office (now Deloitte) she supported the partner in charge of Management Consulting. Her passion and commitment to support young people, wherever she is, inspired her to create opportunities to engage, nurture and encourage students at each of the post-secondary institutions she served.