Our Team

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The Spark Team

We are a passionate, innovative and collaborative team focused on celebrating students and promoting possibility.

Beth Tigay
Jonathan Lambour
Monica Peralta
Melvin Noriega

Beth Tigay
Executive Director

After two decades as a middle school teacher and administrator in Los Angeles, Beth Tigay became a non-profit leader as the California Director of Moving Traditions, an organization that offers mentorship and empowerment opportunities to adolescents. There Beth oversaw programming, development, and external affairs. Previously, Beth served as Head of Middle School of Larchmont Charter School, a top-ranking, innovative charter school, and as the Humanities Department Chair and Middle School Dean at Milken Community High School. Prior to becoming an educator, Beth ran a division at an advertising agency. Beth has a degree in English from UCLA and is currently finishing her MBA at American Jewish University’s Graduate School of Non-Profit Management.

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Jonathan Lambour
Development and Operations Coordinator

Jonathan Lambour is a first generation graduate from California State University, Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Political Science, with a focus in Public Administration, and is a Masters of Public Administration Candidate. His journey to Spark started in 2016, when he joined Spark as a Development and Communications Intern. In 2017, he returned to Spark as a Development and Operations Associate. Jonathan’s passion to contribute to closing the poverty gap, combined with his distinguished creativity and vision, is what motivates his work as the Development and Operations Coordinator. On his free time, he enjoys long walks with his camera.

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Monica Peralta
Program Fellow

Monica Peralta is a first generation college graduate from California State University, Long Beach. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chicano/a Latino/a Studies and Human Development in 2016. As a member of the Chicano and Latino Studies Student Association at CSULB, Monica became involved in volunteering to provide bilingual tours to Spanish speaking parents and students. The approach to establishing rapport with students was to simply talk about the experiences as a first generation college student. For many of those students, being able to identify with a college student that came from a similar background as them was inspirational. These experiences sparked Monica’s passion to give back to her community. At Spark she is looking forward to continuing that passion. Her goal is to continue her Masters in Education and become a college career counselor. Her long term goal is to become the superintendent of Compton school district.

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Melvin Noriega
Program Manager

Melvin’s journey into higher education began at Los Angeles City College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where he developed an interest for student services. Upon graduation, he received an Outstanding Contribution to the School of Social Ecology award for his commitment to enhancing the Field Study Program which connects more than 900 students to over 225 community partners annually. Melvin went on to serve as a proud City Year AmeriCorps Member mentoring middle school students in his childhood neighborhood of Westlake, Los Angeles. He then joined City Year’s Civic Engagement Team, and helped execute over 20 large-scale beautification events at different schools throughout the city. Now with Spark, Melvin aims to continue helping students actualize their own potentials.

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Sophia Sanchez Jimenez
Gilma Guerra
Anna Clabaugh

Sophia Sanchez Jimenez
Program Director

As the Program Director, Sophia Jimenez leads the team in building strong school partnerships, creating effective strategies for student and family engagement, and piloting a new high school transition program. Sophia has a wealth of experience working with communities to ensure access to high quality resources that create opportunities. A proud native of South Los Angeles and graduate of UCLA, Sophia began her nonprofit career as an AmeriCorps Public Ally fellow, where she worked with families in low-income communities to provide college readiness programs. Sophia later managed programs at the Pueblo del Sol Community Service Center located in Boyle Heights where she helped oversee over 20 youth and family programs. Sophia brings her great energy and passion for service as well as her experience in community and school partnerships, project management, and recruitment. She is excited to bring her passion of social justice and enthusiasm for Spark’s mission to the position of Program Director.

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Gilma Guerra
Program Manager

A first generation college graduate born and raised in Southeast LA, Gilma has seen firsthand how low socioeconomic status affects a person’s mental, physical and emotional well-being. While completing her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, she focused her studies in better understanding the different cultural and social factors that affect a person’s development. In the spring of 2015, Gilma began her journey with Spark as a Volunteer Program Intern where she assisted with dispatch logistics. Soon after, she became part of the Spark team again, but this time as an AmeriCorps Vista Public Allies Fellow. Gilma is happy to continue with the Spark team in a full-time role. She is an advocate for higher education and is committed to inspiring youth to realize their full potential, despite whatever obstacles may come their way.

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Anna Clabaugh
Corporate Partnerships Coordinator

Anna received her undergraduate degree from Scripps College in Environmental Analysis, cum laude, with a concentration in environmental education and policy. During college, she worked at male juvenile detention camps to provide lesson planning and teaching assistance in Earth Science, Nutrition, and Career Pathways. After graduating, she co-directed the Los Angeles office for a nationwide nonprofit focusing on public health and environmental advocacy campaigns. Anna then went on to organize recruitment and strengthen partnerships for Los Angeles’ region of the California Conservation Corps, a youth development program which offers paid opportunities in natural resource management. She developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector and connecting youth to meaningful possibilities. As the Los Angeles Corporate Partnerships Coordinator, Anna supports Spark’s corporate partner portfolio by bringing experience and enthusiasm to fortify and expand partnerships increasing visibility of Spark’s powerful program. When she’s not at work, you can find her rescuing, rehabilitating and fostering dogs.

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Los Angeles Board Members

Executive Board
Aaron Meyerson, Managing Director, Qualia Legacy Advisors Brad Lundy, Portfolio Manager, Butler Hall Capital, LLC Deborah Ramo, Founder and CEO, Amavitae Corporation Greg Nathan, Portfolio Manager, First Pacific Advisors, LLC Hanh Dao, Senior Product Manager, Capital Group Joan Chu Reese, Director, Vision To Learn Madeleine Durkin, Board Chair; Partner, Social Venture Partners Michael Schlesinger, Principal, Cambra Realty Nancy Corshen, Senior Vice President, Technology Legal, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Titus Campos, Instructional Director, Los Angeles Unified School District
Advisory Board
Ben Allen, California State Senator Chris Hammond, CEO, Corporate Giving Connection Christopher Hill, Principal, Comcast Ventures; Board Member, Workforce Investment Board Elizabeth Ko Youn, Managing Director, Crescent Capital Group Erin Carlson, Board Chair; Specialty Consultant, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Gabriel D. Torres, Associate Vice President, Morgan Stanley Jahan Hardy, Director of Finance, CBS Television Distribution Jaleesa Hazzard, CEO, Hazzard Consulting Group Joaquin Fernández-Castro, Educator/AP Team leader, Harvard-Westlake School Paige Lipman, Program Manager, Cornerstone OnDemand Samuel Powel, Creative Technical Consultant, Google Stacey Derkatch, Senior Consultant, Innovation Protocol

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