Amanda Kruger Hill,
Amanda Kruger Hill, the Cowen Institute’s Executive Director, is a former principal and award-winning educational leader with a deep commitment to the success of the young people of New Orleans. She holds a master’s of educational leadership and principal licensure from the University of California, Berkeley. Amanda co-founded the first youth-initiated high school in the United States and a teacher development institute in California. Prior to leading the Cowen Institute, she was Director of School Reviews with New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) and served on the faculty of Relay Graduate School of Education. Amanda continues to serve on the faculty of Columbia University as a coach for its Principals Academy, which trains aspiring school leaders.
Amanda lives in New Orleans with her husband, Graham, and sons, Benjamin and Louis.
Email Amanda | Phone: (504) 274-3688
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Since joining the Cowen Institute in 2011, Amy has launched and now directs the Reconnecting Opportunity Youth initiative, which aims to create systemic solutions to New Orleans’ disconnected youth crisis. Over the past six years she has worked in the for- and non-profit sectors in business development, policy analysis, and systems and operational management. Most recently, she was an analyst for Urban Conservancy, a New Orleans non-profit organization, dedicated to research, education, and advocacy that promote the wise stewardship of the urban built environment and local economies. She has also held managerial positions in systems design, finance, and operations at McMaster-Carr and consulted on development projects in Johannesburg, South Africa with Urban, Inc. Currently, she serves on the advisory board for Bard Early College in New Orleans and the design team for the Youth Master Plan for New Orleans. Amy graduated with an A.B. in Urban Studies from Brown University in 2007.
Email Amy | Phone: (504) 274-3682
Director of Policy
Vincent’s work focuses on the areas of post-secondary education, workforce development, and economic development. Vincent most recently worked as chief of staff to District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer of the New Orleans City Council. Prior to his work with the city, Vincent worked for the Bureau of Government Research and Partnership for Youth Development. He holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University and has worked both at the New Yorker and Salon.com.
Email Vincent | Phone: (504) 274-3624
Senior Policy Analyst
Dave came to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to work with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). As a certified teacher, he spent two years working in special education at an alternative public school and three years as a founding teacher at a public school where he focused on instructional technology. He has served as a Project Manager for the Compass Information System, Louisiana’s evaluation platform for managing student learning targets, observations, and evaluations. Recently, he led a team of Data and Technology Specialists at the Louisiana Department of Education that supported district leadership across the state in interpreting and using data to drive decision-making processes. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Politics from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he worked for two sessions at the Oregon Legislative Assembly.
Email Dave | Phone: (504) 274-3659
Senior Policy Analyst
Kate joins Cowen Institute’s policy team as a Senior Policy Analyst. Kate first moved to New Orleans in 2002 and lived here for five years, first as a student at Loyola University and then as an elementary school teacher. During this time, she fell hard for the city and also developed a strong interest in education reform and policy. In 2007, she moved to Ireland where she earned an MSc in Applied Social Research Methods and a PhD in Social Policy from Trinity College, Dublin. While in Dublin, she taught university courses on policy and research methods. Kate’s academic research focused on social integration and inter-ethnic relations among elementary school students, as well as on issues related to public health. She has an interest in research design, methodologies, and the creative overlap between research and storytelling. She also enjoys traveling and reading other people’s (published) diaries. She’s excited to be back living and working in New Orleans.
Email Kate | Phone: 504-274-3616
Senior Manager, EMPLOY
Nicole joined the Reconnecting Opportunity Youth initiative at the Cowen Institute to manage and support a local cross-sector opportunity youth collaborative called EMPLOY (Employment and Mobility Pathways Linked for Opportunity Youth). Her role includes serving as the Enterprise Manager for EMPLOY’s pilot initiative, the Opportunity Youth Data Sharing Council. She most recently served as the Manager of Data-Driven Policy at the Partnership for Youth Development and as the Data and Policy Analyst for New Orleans’ juvenile detention center. She has experience supporting the strategy development and coordination of multiple Collective Impact initiatives, instituting data and performance management systems, and managing and mobilizing data for strategy, decision making, and policy development. Nicole holds a Master’s in Sociology from the University of New Orleans and a B.A in Sociology and Certificate in Native American Studies from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, OR where she served two terms as the Director of Multicultural Affairs and member of the Oregon Students of Color Coalition Board.
Reconnecting Opportunity Youth – Earn & Learn
Born in New Orleans, Ryan has a deep loyalty to the city. For over a decade, his academic and professional pursuits have been guided by the goal of helping transform the region’s neighborhoods into healthy communities by improving quality access to education for all. Most recently, Ryan served as the Field Manager for Johns Hopkins University’s operations in Louisiana, where he oversaw numerous school reform projects in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Prior to his work with Johns Hopkins, Ryan taught high school social studies at Science and Math Charter High School immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Ryan obtained his master’s degree in urban history from the University of New Orleans with a concentration on the federal role in segregating neighborhoods and schools. In his current role as the Senior Manager for the Earn and Learn, Ryan is responsible for the development and growth of the Cowen Institute’s workplace learning initiative for 16-24 year olds who are disconnected from school and work. Ryan lives in New Orleans with his wife, Jessie, and two children, Lucinda and Wesley.
Senior Manager, College & Career Readiness
April Rice has spent the past 10 years in education as a teacher, curriculum specialist, and coach. Her experience and passion lies with teaching disadvantaged students in extenuating circumstances. With a background in curriculum and instruction, April has implemented and developed programs and courses to help students transition between high school and college at the high school level. She has developed dropout prevention and credit recovery courses for her district. She has also trained new teachers for the Department of Education at the state level and presented at regional and national conferences on 21st century learning, Career Pathways, and STEM Initiatives. Although she enjoys training teachers, April’s passion is inside the classroom with her students. April received the Teacher of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009 from Rankin County, Mississippi. She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Brigham Young University-Idaho and her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Mississippi College.
Email April | Phone: (504) 865-5870 office, (813) 454-6140 cell
Manager, Reconnecting Opportunity Youth – Earn & Learn
Matthew Feigenbaum found his passion for education when he joined City Year, via Americorps, and dedicated one year to serving in underperforming schools across Louisiana. Matthew then went on to be a high school mathematics teacher at an alternative charter high school (Renew Accelerated High School or RAHS) serving over-age and under-credited students. For the 2013-2014 academic year, Matthew held the Dean of Culture and Community Partnerships position, where his responsibilities included creating, evaluating and implementing all school-wide systems, providing classroom management support and professional development opportunities for all staff, and working with outside organizations and partners to provide college and career options for students. Outside of the classroom, Matthew has worked with TeachNOLA as a Recruiter and Selector, where he interviewed a multitude of candidates in order to identify the most promising teachers for the students of New Orleans. Matthew was also selected to be a Stand for Children Educator All-Star, which includes him in a statewide network of educators that consult on education policy. Matthew just earned his degree in Organizational Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University as a member of the 2013 Summer Principals Academy NOLA Cohort. Recently, Matthew has joined the Cowen Institute as a program manager on the Reconnecting Opportunity Youth initiative, which aims to create systemic solutions to New Orleans’ disconnected youth crisis.
Email Matthew | Phone: (504) 281-0480
Program Manager, Opportunity Works
Aundrea joins the Cowen Institute as Manager of the Opportunity Works, Social Innovation Fund grant. In this role, Aundrea oversees grant compliance measures for Tulane’s Earn and Learn program, the Youth Empowerment Project, and Delgado Community College’s Accelerated Career Education program. Additionally, she manages the collective impact efforts of the grant’s core partner programs. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Aundrea served as a project manager at the Clinton Global Initiative where she led the Reconnecting Youth Working Group. She also served as a college and career readiness research fellow at the Georgia Center for Opportunity. Aundrea graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s in Classic Civilizations and Political Science in 2011, and from the London School of Economic with a Master’s in Social Policy and Planning in 2012.
Email Aundrea | Phone: (504) 274-3671
Liz manages budget and accounting processes, oversees daily operations of the office, and assists with financial activities and personnel-related matters. Her inspiration to ensure all students receive a high-quality education derives from her personal experience in failing secondary schools. In addition to her experience leading operations support as the Operations Coordinator at New Schools for New Orleans, she has worked directly with students. Liz taught and mentored underserved students in the Science, Math and Technology (SMT) College Bound/GEAR-UP Program at the Passaic Country Community College in her hometown of Paterson, NJ. She also dedicated a year of service as a City Year Corps Member at Phyllis Wheatley Community School via Americorps, where she provided students in kindergarten through fourth grade with academic, behavioral and attendance support. She is excited to pursue a business degree in the near future.
Email Liz | Phone: (504) 274-3693
Melissa Herman joins the Cowen Institute’s team as the Program Officer, in a joint appointment with the Tulane Office of Development. Within this role, she is responsible for the fundraising efforts of the Cowen Institute, and supports the development efforts of the President Emeritus and the Executive Director. Melissa most recently worked as the Program Director for the first Psychology & Neuroscience program of the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.. She also served as the Science & Health Programs Assistant with the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, aiding with planning and coordination of academic programming, as well as organizing and leading international academic study tours, for their inaugural Neuroscience Program. Melissa is an accomplished Tulane alumna who received her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience in 2013 and was the recipient of the Jim Runsdorf Excellence in Public Service award, the university’s highest undergraduate honor for public service.
Email Melissa | Phone: (504) 314-7182
Senior Program Coordinator, EMPLOY
Eric joins the Cowen Institute as Senior Program Coordinator for the EMPLOY initiative. He is responsible for coordinating programming, ensuring alignment across collaborative work, assisting with strategy development, communications support, and logistics management and support for EMPLOY. Eric is a native New Orleanian. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado—Denver. He served two years with AmeriCorps in Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado. During that time, he worked with youth on college and career readiness.
Senior Program Coordinator, Upward Bound
As Senior Program Coordinator, Vincent assists Upward Bound program development, college counseling, and alumni support; he plays a direct role with student outcomes. Vincent comes to New Orleans from the DC-metropolitan area, where he was born and raised. He earned a B.S. in English Literature from Frostburg State University in 2012 and an M.S.Ed in Higher Education Administration from The Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Vincent’s background is in leadership skills development and tutoring of low-income, urban youth. He is immediately excited at the thought of giving under-resourced students a shot at a better life and focuses his energy on motivating his students to use what they already have at their disposal to be successful.
Administrative Program Coordinator, Upward Bound
Latisha has been with Upward Bound since February 2006 as it began to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Latisha is very instrumental in developing administrative procedures, maintaining student records, and supporting staff and faculty in programming initiatives. Additionally, Latisha handles finances, budgets, reports, communications, field trips/college tours, and recruitment for Upward Bound. Latisha and her husband are proud parents of 5 children. In her spare time she enjoys coordinating weddings and events. Latisha looks forward to finishing her business degree in the near future.
College and Career Success Counselor,
Reconnecting Opportunity Youth – Earn & Learn
Kerry joins the Earn and Learn Program as the College and Career Success Counselor. She most recently worked for Communities in Schools as a clinical mental health counselor at Renew Accelerated High School. There, she provided therapeutic interventions to over-age and under-credited students in New Orleans. Prior to graduating from the Loyola University New Orleans Master’s of Counseling Program, she served individuals in the Orleans Parish Prison Reentry Program by providing post-traumatic stress and substance abuse counseling through the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Kerry also taught high school and middle school Art and English at Frederick Douglass High School and Renew Cultural Arts Academy. She is a licensed secondary education teacher, a certified guidance counselor and a provisionally licensed professional counselor.
Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA
Omote is serving as the Tulane AmeriCorps VISTA; she provides communications and operations support. Prior to moving to New Orleans, she acted as Program and Policy Associate for National Juvenile Justice Network in Washington, D.C., where she assisted in communications, policy research and administrative work. Omote also worked as a law clerk for Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles and taught street law to youth in the delinquency and child welfare systems through the Southwestern Law School Street Law Clinic. Her recent experience in the juvenile justice community exposed her to the need for equality in education and resources for youth. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Writing from the University of Tampa and a Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School.