Meet our people
Our human connections make NewRoot who and what we are today. Get to know more about our incredible, dedicated team.
Our team is committed to community, curiosity, dignity and radical love. Learn more about what makes each individual tick.
AJ Johnson-GarrettImpact Manager
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign alum enjoys running and roller skating, trying to convince her three little girls to eat veggies.
Cindy DegandImpact Coach
DePaul alum and former CPS teacher with a passion for the power of social-emotional learning. Mystery novels, travel and fun with family are my pastimes.
Chris ClementsPartnership Development Manager
Writer, historian, lifelong learner. Passionate communicator, inspired by historic and current liberation movements. Joy is playing bass, cooking, pick-up basketball, (re)reading James Baldwin, the wind in the trees, loving the ones I love.
Clem FoxImpact Manager
Rural transplant with 15 years of experience in education, RJ, & youth work in Chicago. Queer abolitionist with a passion for mutual aid, cats, and messy art projects
Elizabeth KesnerChief, People + Operations
Pouring into humans and systems that make social impact organizations run is my jam. Also, I love trees, baby animal videos, and hanging with all of the kiddos in my life.
Jackie LemonChief Executive Officer
Leading with love, authenticity, and humor while relentlessly pursuing measurable impact. Sunshine, yoga, golf, and dining alfresco replenish my soul.
Jas CornellImpact Coach
Active learner committed to vulnerability, healing, and joy. Consumer of basketball, books, and baked goods.
JoAnn LullaEvaluation Specialist
University of Illinois grad & CPS parent with an affinity toward data, databases & streamlining processes. Loves hanging with family & friends, checking out new restaurants & volunteering.
Kathryn RayfordImpact Manager
University of Illinois alum devoted to learning, growing, family and friends. Loves growing food, nature and cats.
Kelly YaconoAssociate Director, People + Operations
UIC alum who thrives on cultivating relationships. Avid supporter of the arts, especially theatre.
Kristin MooreChief, Program + Impact
Roots in Englewood, South Side of Chicago, sprouted in Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks. Endless Love for basketball, traveling, my son, Karter, and genuine, down to earth people.
Mason McVeighImpact Coordinator
Recent Northwestern alum with a passion for social equity and nonprofit work. Avid reader, cat person, and coffee enthusiast.
Monja JohnsonImpact Coach + Curriculum Designer
A self-described “forever student” who utilizes education as a tool to explore diversity, inclusion, and equity, inside and outside of the classroom. When I’m not facilitating, you can find me at a concert or binge-watching a tv show.
Reyna SmithImpact Coach
Passionate licensed School Social Worker and lifelong learner. Nature loving, adventure-seeking, hype-woman.
Ryan NishimotoAssociate Director, Partnership Development
Northern Illinois alum with a love for education, his nieces, and his son. Photography, jiu-jitsu, and travel enthusiast.
Rosa ZamoraChief, Partnership Development
Social change champion with a passion for educational equity. Loves nature, concerts, and multi-faceted growth.
BA Journalism, The Ohio State University. Chicago native and expatriate. 10+ years Information Technology.
T McDanielImpact Manager
Chicago native, servant leader, with the gift of encouragement. Passionate about whole community RJ implementation and SEL practices, loves content creation and facilitation. Foodie, sun chaser, tea drinker who believes in crystal magic and loves hanging out with 13 year old daughter, Nevaeh.
Dahlia QuintanillaImpact Coach
A forever student of life, dedicated to empowering student voices and providing people with high quality learning experiences. Energized with knowledge on topics surrounding neuroscience, culture, mindfulness, and equity. Pitbull mama and lover of mother nature, mi familia, and dance.
Sam ArechigaImpact Coach
Sam is passionate about working with young people, building community, and cultural preservation. Sam is a new mother who aims to lead with curiosity, compassion, and vulnerability. In her free time, she enjoys urban gardening and creating beaded earrings.
Everett DailyImpact Coach
Tray GeorgeImpact Coach
Our Internal Breakdown
Nurtures our partnerships with stakeholders of all kinds
Program + Impact
Provides support to and builds impact with our learning partners
People + Operations
Sustains our internal team and infrastructure to help us deliver on our mission
Collaborates on strategy to help us move in alignment toward our shared vision
Board of Directors
With the leadership of our Board of Directors, NewRoot continues to grow while remaining focused on serving youth and communities.
President, Business Partner Representative Protiviti Consulting
Treasurer, Business Partner Representative NAI Hiffman
Secretary, Business Partner Representative Handshake
Business Partner Representative, Right Management
Business Partner Representative Illinois Department of the Lottery
Business Partner Representative The Opportunity Trust
Business Partner Representative Surge Institute
Business Partner Representative DEI UChicago Lab School