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.

Beatriz Vargas, Academic Dean

Beatriz Vargas joined YouthBuild DC Public Charter School as the Academic Dean in July 2019. Prior to joining YBPCS, she served as the ELL Specialist at Capital City Public Charter School where she coordinated the ELL Program and provided ELL-based professional development for GenEd and inclusion teachers. While at Capital City PCS, Beatriz co-led several programs and initiatives, such as the Rovin Readers Program and Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol (SIOP) implementation. Previously, she worked as the Team Lead for the Spanish GED Program at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School where she taught all four GED content areas. As the Team Lead, she co-led the development of the Spanish GED Curriculum, Scope & Sequence, and placement test for both the Spanish GED Program and the Alfabetizacion program. She has vast experience working with at-risk children and youth in the District of Columbia. Her background includes working for the Mayor’s Services Liaison’s Office, CASA for Children DC, and the DC Office of Aging. Beatriz earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Utah Valley University in the Spring of 2011. In August of 2019, she will be graduating from her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration from the George Washington University.

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.


"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.

Solane Nemera, AmeriCorps VISTA

Solane Nemera joined YouthBuild DC Public Charter School in August 2019. Solane is a recent graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She graduated with a major in Political Science and a minor in International Studies. She is passionate about helping underserved communities and fighting for economic and social equity. 

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.

Komal Bansal, Data Manager

Komal Bansal joined YouthBuild DC Public Charter School as Data Manager in January 2019. Prior to joining YouthBuild DC, she worked as a Consultant for a boutique IT consulting firm. She brings extensive data analysis, process optimization and project management experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University.


Academic Team

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.

Eugenia Reyes, Instructor

Eugenia Reyes joined YouthBuild PCS in 2013 as the Special Education Instructor. Eugenia has 27 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

Kate Salasky, Transition Specialist

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.

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.

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
Ms. Amira Kamara, Board Member
Mr. Nolan Smith, Board Member
Ms. Yolanda Torres, Board Member