Our Team

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The Spark Team

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

Judy Spangler
Damontay Folwer-Thomas
McKenzie McFee
Akua Maat

Judy Spangler
Interim Executive Director

Judy’s personal mission to level the playing field for children and youth has made a tremendous impact on our communities for the past 30 years. Her extensive experience in capacity building, innovative program development, and training facilitation have been recognized nationally.

In over 20 years in leadership roles in the Big Brothers Big Sisters network, Judy was instrumental in increasing mentoring capacity from 2600 to 4300 children served. One of her most notable achievements is collaborating with other leadership team members to develop, introduce, and grow the Beyond School Walls mentoring program. Since its inception, Beyond School Walls has become a national model for BBBS for fundraising and serving more children in a career-focused and impactful way.

Judy is a recognized expert on child safety and mentoring children of prisoners. Shehas traveled across the country speaking on child safety and is regularly consulted for her guidance in these areas. Judy believes strongly in the value of mentoring and has a wealth of knowledge to share on this topic. She facilitates engaging training sessions on it, has appeared on television and radio programs to discuss it, and in 2015, she spearheaded the launch of Mentor Independence Region, an affiliate of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, and peer support to over 135 community-based youth mentoring organizations throughout Eastern PA.

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Damontay Folwer-Thomas
Program Fellow

Damontay is a homegrown product of Philadelphia with degrees from both Temple University (B.S.W) and University of Pennsylvania (M.S.W.) in Social Work. As a Philadelphia native, Damontay is looking to use his knowledge and experience within the Philadelphia School District to bring forth meaningful programming efforts to all students involved with Spark. Damontay has an intense passion for student success and student well-being. He has been able hone these skills through a wide-array of roles related to urban education throughout his college tenure. Damontay has become widely known for his ability to quickly build rapport with students and work-alongside stakeholders to frame solutions to communal needs. 
 
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McKenzie McFee
Volunteer Manager

McKenzie’s passion for positive youth development and education lead her to Spark. She is a Delaware native and holds a Bachelors of Science in Applied Psychology from New York University. During her time in New York City, McKenzie volunteered with many New York City public schools working with students ranging from Pre-School to High School. McKenzie is excited to bring her past experience into her role as a Spark Fellow and continue to make a positive impact. 

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Akua Maat
Program Manager

Akua Maat recently graduated from Wake Forest University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Latin and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. After college, she wanted to contribute to the fight for education equity and moved to Philadelphia to complete a year of service with City Year Philadelphia. In her role as a tutor and mentor in a 9th grade English class she developed a greater passion for working with students and supporting youth development beyond the classroom. Akua brings this passion and her experience working within Philadelphia public schools to her role as a Program Fellow with Spark.

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Philadelphia Board Members

Executive Board
Abraham El, Project Manager, Pennoni Associates Christopher Rosenbleeth, Chair, Real Estate & Partner, Real Estate and Finance, Stradley Ronon Jonah Cooper, Founder, Jonah Cooper, Jr. LLC Paul Melchiorre, Operating Partner, Stripes Richard Ellis III, Vice President, M&T Bank Thomas Ball, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, PeroxyChem Valerie Brown, Board Chair, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
Advisory Board
Danielle Branch, Senior Sickle Cell Therapeutic Specialist, Global Blood Therapeutics Gianna Tripodi-Bhise, Board Vice Chair, Director, Foundation & Corporate Relations, WHYY Hannah Cooley, SEO Team Lead, SEER Interactive Jamye Lamborn, Senior Designer, Meyer Design Sara Ridenour, Associate Principal, Ballinger

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