jason ellis, Head of School

Jason Ellis joined the YouthBuild DC Public Charter School team at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Jason brings almost 20 years of experience in the youth service field across nonprofit, educational, and government sectors. His work has focused on serving disenfranchised and disconnected low-income minority youth, most recently as the Director of Resident and Community Services for the Alexandria Housing Authority. There he developed partnerships with schools and city agencies to provide programming, GED instruction, and wrap-around supports to improve outcomes for opportunity youth. He brings expertise in program design, implementation and management; partnership development; grants administration; and leadership training. He was recently recognized for his work in the community, garnering an Alexandria Living Legend award, and making Alexandria's 2018 40-under-40 list. He is the founder and executive director of Momentum Collective Inc. and a board member of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. Earlier in his career, he worked with Memphis City Schools, where he provided counseling and positive behavior support for students. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of West Indies, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Memphis.

Claire Libert, Director of operations

Claire Libert joined YouthBuild DC Public Charter School as Director of Operations in July 2018. Prior to joining YouthBuild DC, she served as Charter Systems Manager at Democracy Prep Congress Heights Public Charter School, where she helped strengthen operations. Previously, she worked as a consultant with Boston Public Schools’ Office of School Turnaround, as the DC Reads Program Director with Georgetown University's Center for Social Justice, as a special education teacher at Ballou Senior High School, and as a Menino Fellow with the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education and Families. Claire earned a Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master's Degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University.

Wellington Crutchfield, Dean of School Culture

Wellington N. Crutchfield joined YouthBuild PCS during the 2015-16 school year, after serving as Dean of Students at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School 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

Eva Camacho has served at YBPCS since October of 2006. She received her Bachelor's in Psychology from Florida International University and her Masters in Professional Counseling from Argosy University. Before coming to YBPCS, she worked in the Social Services Division as a Substance Abuse Counselor.

Jennifer mack, special education coordinator

Jennifer Mack has been an Educational Instructor since 2011 specializing in Special Education and Mathematics. Prior to teaching she served in the United States Air Force (USAF) for 4 years and studied Human Resource Management at Temple University. Throughout her career she has taught preschool to 2nd grade, high school, and adult education (GED)-- with 2nd grade being her favorite! Tutoring enlisted military members and their dependents is what enticed Mack to become an educator and further guided her to start an after school academic enrichment program for students who struggle in mathematics. Previously she was a Lead STEM Instructor at an Adult Public Charter School in DC. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management from Temple University, a Masters in Education from George Mason University, and she is pursuing a PhD in in Educational Leadership at George Washington University.

Andrew touchette, leadership coach

Andrew Touchette joined the YouthBuild Public Charter School team at the start of the 2015-2016 school year. He has served students, teachers and communities in various school leadership capacities since 2004. Before that, Touchette worked for six years as a high school social studies and English teacher at schools in New York City, Maryland and DC. 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.


"We rise by lifting others."

- Robert Ingersoll



Iris Mata, Office Manager/Registrar

Iris Mata has served at YBPCS since the school’s inception. Iris oversees student 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.

brittany north, AMericorps vista

Brittany North has served at YBPCS as an AmeriCorps VISTA since August 2017. She is an emerging, passionate professional who is working towards a career in human rights protection within the nonprofit sphere, specifically focusing on women’s issues. After graduating with a B.S. in Political Science from Radford University in 2016, Brittany participated in 10 months of service as a FEMA Corps Member in AmeriCorps NCCC. In 2017, she chose to move to DC in order to pursue her M.A. in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs at American University. Her public service endeavors continued with her AmeriCorps VISTA service at YBPCS, where she will focus on operations and development initiatives until the end of her service term in August of 2019.

Maria Sanchez, Receptionist

Maria Sanchez has been with YBPCS since 2006, where she manages student attendance, stipends, and the front reception area. She is a graduate of the YBPCS 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

Ligia Arreaga, Instructor

Ligia Arreaga teaches GED subjects in Spanish to Spanish-language students at YBPCS. 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. She has nearly two decades 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.

rashid darden, Instructor

Rashid Darden is a seasoned educator of disconnected youth, with experience in several DC Public Charter Schools. He also has leadership experience in the educational nonprofit sector, including roles at the National Campaign to Stop Violence and Heads Up: A University-Neighborhood Initiative. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in English with a concentration in writing. Rashid joined YBPCS in 2017.

Christina granville, Instructor

Christina Granville was born in the city of Motown records, Detroit, Michigan, but raised in the sunshine state and considers herself a Florida orange. Granville obtained her bachelor’s degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida. Granville has lived in the Republic of Korea as a guest English Instructor in the cities of Seoul, Gwamyeong, and Siheung. Over the years, Granville has fell in love with watching people of all ages grow and mature throughout her work experience and decided to apply her personal growth in the world of education indefinitely. Granville comes to YBPCS with a burning desire to instill strength, tough love, and guidance to all the students she crosses on and off campus. The philosophy she lives by is: “Effort does not counter faith, after hardship comes relief.” –African Proverb

BAHIYA Pleasant, Instructor

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.  


Transitions Staff


Daisy Hicks joined YBPCS as the Transitions Coordinator in October 2018. Prior to joining YBPCS, she served as a Supervisory Youth Development Representative with Washington DC's Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, where she assisted in training Youth Development Representatives who work with incarcerated youth. Ms. Hicks has over 15 years of experience in youth development and has worked closely with the Ward 8 community in Washington, DC to strengthen community relations, develop small business initiatives, and support opportunity youth in rearrangement and workforce training. Daisy earned a Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Health from Bowie State University.


Kate Salasky joined YouthBuild Charter School team in October 2018. Prior to joining YouthBuild, she worked at Anacostia high school assisting students in improving their attendance. Kate has served in various communities working with at-risk youth domestically and abroad including with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, United States Peace Corps, and Girl Scouts of America. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a micromaster’s certificate in Program Management from Rochester Institute of Technology.


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 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 YouthBuild PCS students 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.


Workforce Training Staff

Franz Arandia, Construction Trainer

Franz Arandia, a bilingual construction instructor, believes that education is a real revolution to create positive change and transformation in DC. Franz joined YouthBuild PCS in 2016, bringing more than a decade of experience working in construction and architecture in the United States. Originally from Bolivia, Franz earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Faculty of Architecture at the University Major of San Simon.

John Bonner, Construction Trainer

John Bonner graduated from UVA in 2006 with a degree in anthropology. After receiving his degree, he toured the country, working at various construction trades and in emergency management, including wildland firefighting. After running his own carpentry business, John switched careers to pursue teaching. He student-taught at a high school in Brooklyn, and is currently finishing his master's in education. Hobbies include reading, writing, and running.

Antione Clipper, Construction Trainer

Antione Clipper has been a member of the Youthbuild PCS staff for over 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 a former YouthBuild PCS student.

jeffrey palacios, vocational education instructor

Jeffrey Palacios is a fifth year bilingual vocational instructor at YouthBuild PCS. He studied at Syracuse University in New York where he received a bachelors in Managerial Law and Public Policy. Palacios has experience working with diverse student populations in the DCPS school systems. He is certified to teach NCCER (National Center for Construction Education Research) as well as HBI (Home Builder's Institute) curriculum for the construction department at YBPCS.

Board of Trustees

Ms. Mary Blatch, Board Member

Mr. Noel Bravo, Board Member

Ms. Elizabeth Grant, Board Secretary

Mr. Mark Jordan, Board Member

Mr. Steve Lanning, Board Chair

Mr. Suraj Patel, Board Treasurer

Mr. Hector Sanchez, Board Member

Mr. Nolan Smith, Board Member

Ms. Yolanda Torres, Board Member