Meet Our Board of Directors

The Story of Our Schools is committed to diversity, inclusion and drawing from our own local DC community. We also represent a range of perspectives critical to the work of our organization including professionals in communications, fundraising, law, accounting, policy and programming, as well as parents, community members and educators. Our Board of Directors supports the work of the organization by providing mission-based leadership and strategic governance.

Michelle Austin

Board Member

Michelle Austin is a proud native New Mexican and has happily called Washington, D.C. home since 2000. Michelle believes passionately in public schools and has been working in various capacities to support students, educators and parents for the past 15 years. As a Senior Vice President at the cause-driven communications agency GMMB, Michelle has the opportunity to work on behalf of a variety of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations working to help ensure that all students can succeed in college, the workforce and life.

Michelle holds bachelor of arts degree in broadcast journalism and a master of arts degree in communications from New Mexico State University.

Irene Cuyún

Board Member

Irene Cuyún is a native of the Washington DC area and since 1999 has worked at UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza) in Washington DC a national Latino advocacy organization working to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans in the United States. As the Deputy Vice President of Programs and Development, she works closely on education issues, particularly related to Latino, immigrant, and limited English proficient students.

Irene holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland and an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.

Janel George

Board Member

Janel George is a native Seattleite who has lived in the D.C. area for over a decade. She currently works on issues of educational equity with the Learning Policy Institute. She is also a co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee. Ms. George received her B.A. in English from Spelman College and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Previously, she served as legislative counsel in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives and handled education policy with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. She has served as an adjunct professor and she enjoys distance running, reading, writing, and art.

Alina Gómez

Board Member

Alina Gómez has lived and worked in the District of Columbia her whole life and continues to be inspired by the diversity and resiliency of the city and its citizens. As the Grant Management Specialist at the Office of Victims Services and Justice Grants (OVSJG), she focuses on its mission to improve public safety; enhance the administration of justice; and create systems of care for crime victims, youth, and their families in the District. She coordinates OVSJG’s support of community-based and District agency services for victims of crime and other justice involved individuals.

After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in NW DC, she attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 2016, she received the Laura Banks Reed Award for Community Service to Victims of Domestic Violence.

Joe Harris

Board Treasurer

Joe Harris is a government contractor and has lived in Washington, DC since 2008. He is drawn to The Story of Our Schools because of his deep, personal interest in the architectural history of DC. In 2011, he bought and restored a 1909 row house in Southeast DC, working to maintain its original structure and finding and restoring historically accurate elements throughout the home.

Joe is a parent of a DCPS student and has a B.S. in Physics from University of Central Florida and a M.S. in Project Management from University of Maryland - College Park.

Sam Mason

Board Member

Sam Mason is the Director of Sustainability and Lower School Science Teacher at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School in Washington D.C. He has six years of teaching experience which includes working with students from Nursery to Grade 8. As part of his sustainability work, Sam has helped St. Patrick's partner with non-profits around DC such as DC Greens, Rock Creek Conservancy, DC Central Kitchen, US Food Rescue, and WWF.

Sam holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Education from Denison University in Ohio and is currently working on a master's degree from the University of Virginia with a concentration in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Chris O'Shea

Board Vice President

Chris O'Shea is the co-owner of C2Auctions, a consulting and staffing company that helps nonprofit organizations raise money, cultivate donors, and build community through benefit auctions.

Prior to his work at C2Auctions, Chris spent nearly a decade at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School, where he was a member of the Advancement Team and, later, the Director of Communication.

He holds a master's degree in strategic communication from American University and a bachelor's degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He and his partner live in Washington D.C.

Danica Petroshius

Board President

Danica Petroshius has lived in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC for over 20 years. She is a parent of two children who attend a DCPS school and a committed advocate for public schools in DC and across the country.

Danica is currently a Principal at Penn Hill Group in Washington, DC a leading bipartisan consulting and lobbying firm specializing in federal education policy and advocacy. Previously, she worked in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of Education.

Petroshius holds a master's degree in education policy from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Ron Piner

Board Member, CPA

Blanchi Roblero

Board Member

Blanchi Roblero is deeply mindful of the significance and power of a good education to change lives and make a difference. It is that awareness that inspired her to pursue a policy-driven career in education. She currently serves as Chief of Staff in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education.

Blanchi started her career at the U.S. Department of Education, where she managed a range of policy and funding areas including appropriations, civil rights policy, higher education policy and other key policy issues areas. She has passionately engaged in advocacy efforts addressing immigrants’ and women’s issues in the education field. As a former student—and immigrant herself—she understands the importance of empowering students by encouraging them to explore and learn stories about their communities as a way to preserve history and promote inclusiveness.

Erin Roth

Board Member

Erin has lived in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC for ten years with her husband, a native Washingtonian. They have two children both in DCPS schools and are happy to have extended family in DC too.

Erin is currently the director of education research for the Office of the D.C. Auditor (ODCA) and is responsible for conducting and supervising audits of education-related programs in the District. Before joining ODCA in 2018, Erin was a senior analyst at the Center for American Progress, and prior to that was a researcher at the American Institutes for Research and an associate research scientist at the US Department of Education.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Master’s degree in Sociology of Education from NYU and also holds a certificate in Education Sciences from the Institute of Education Sciences at the US Department of Education. Many years ago, Erin taught kindergarten and Head Start in North Carolina.

When not doing education research, Erin enjoys reading, eating everything DC has to offer, and hanging out with her family and two cats.

Kyle Walton

Board Secretary

Kyle Walton grew up in Richmond, VA and has been living in DC since 2006. She is currently a Director of Digital Engagement at DG Connect and has been working in business development and media sales for over 13 years. She received her B.S. in Commerce with concentrations in Marketing & Management from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

Kyle and her husband live in Glover Park. She is an animal lover and enjoys traveling, yoga and amateur gardening.

Meet Our Leadership

Our Executive Director and Education Director work closely with each of our partner schools to oversee successful program and exhibit execution.

Jen Harris

Executive Director & Founder

Jen Harris oversees daily operations, program execution, and exhibition production of The Story of Our Schools. Jen founded The Story of Our Schools when she saw the potential of schools to help tell the stories of their surrounding communities, as well as provide a space to create new ones.
Jen brings over 20 years of experience in photography, exhibition design, and all aspects of digital imaging. She is the owner of Jen Harris Studio where she works with a wide range of organizations from large federal agencies to small local businesses. She has digitized and archived over 15,000 pieces of artwork for The National Portrait Gallery, The National Museum of African American History & Culture, and private collectors. Prior to founding Jen Harris Studio, Jen worked for Chris White Design Incorporated, an exhibit design business.
Jen graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in Photography. She currently resides in Capitol Hill with her husband, son, and a variety of pets.

MaryBeth Washington

Education Director

MaryBeth Washington has dedicated her career as an educator to igniting passion and curiosity and challenging her students. Entering the classroom in 2005, she has found herself in a variety of settings- charter, public, private and parochial schools.

MaryBeth is Montessori certified through American Montessori Internationale. She holds a master’s degree in education from Loyola University and a bachelor’s in American studies from Springfield College. She also studied literacy at the University of Sydney, Australia.

She believes The Story of Our Schools presents a unique opportunity for students to delve into living history. Through rigorous research the students form a personal connection to contemporary social issues that impact their community. This project changes the student's perspective. They no longer just go to their school, they become part of their school’s story.

Meet Our Associate Advisory Board

Our Associate Advisory Board cultivates an environment where young professionals can contribute their talents and resources to support the growth of the organization.

Alejandra Barrera

Associate Advisory Board Treasurer

Alejandra Barrera is proudly from Cali, Colombia. She fell in love with Washington, D.C. when she arrived in 2016 to learn English after finishing her studies in her native country. She has now made D.C. her home. Alejandra started her work experience in a scientific research center back in Cali. Once settled in D.C., she received two internships where she worked closely with advocates in public health and education policies. She now works at the DC Council for an elected council member as an administrative assistant. She enjoys volunteering and joining initiatives related to education that offer opportunities to communities in need.

Alejandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics focused on public policy from ICESI University in Cali, Colombia.

Myles Johnson

Associate Advisory Board Member

Myles Johnson is a highly motivated and skilled professional in the field of infectious disease research and epidemiology. He currently works as an Epidemiologist/Portfolio Manager at the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch of the Defense Health Agency where he conducts global infectious disease surveillance. Mr. Johnson received both his Bachelors of Science and Masters in Public Health from the University of South Florida School of Public Health. Mr. Johnson is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Incorporated and American Public Health Association and enjoys traveling, reading, and sports.

Jeff Lichtenstein

Associate Advisory Board Secretary

Jeff Lichtenstein is the lead storyteller, producer, video editor, and production manager with Martini Media Solutions where he has worked for five years. In this role, he has successfully directed, produced, and edited films for clients from Google to Capital One, and most recently worked on an original, episodic tv production.

Jeff’s passion influences his desires to obtain an MBA and MFA and work towards putting his personal, original screenplay, The Slackers, on the big screen.

Carly Mustich

Associate Advisory Board Vice Chair

As a native to the Washington, DC area, Carly Mustich has always loved the rich history and culture of the city. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Communication Studies and Applied Statistics, Carly moved back to the area and is currently an Account Executive at REQ, a full-service digital marketing agency. At REQ, Carly works to deliver effective digital solutions and strategies to help her clients grow and maximize results. As an Associate Advisory Board Member of The Story of Our Schools, Carly is passionate about empowering DC students to understand the stories of their communities.

Audrey Pittman

Associate Advisory Board Chair

Audrey Pittman moved to Washington D.C. after graduating from the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy. There, she majored in education policy and grew her passion for education reform.

Audrey is a Senior Associate at Penn Hill Group and enjoys advocating for clients on a variety of different educational issues. After growing up outside of Detroit, she is excited to be in Washington D.C. and working to influence policy at the federal level.

She is passionate about serving as an Associate Advisory Board Member for The Story of Our Schools and contributing to the work it does to empower students through art, history and a sense of community. This unique organization allows her to combine her personal and professional goals while getting involved in the community in a meaningful way.

Meet Our Consultants, Interns, and Volunteers

Our talented consultants help to create a robust organization by bringing in fresh perspective and expertise to The Story of Our Schools. Our interns and volunteers are self-motivated individuals who seek hands-on non-profit experience while working closely with our Board of Directors and Executive Director.

Saki Asakawa

Website Design Intern

Saki Asakawa is a UX designer and researcher who is passionate about making the digital world accessible to everyone. After she got her bachelor's degree in design, she joined Carnegie Mellon University as a research associate to improve accessibility and independence for people with visual impairments in daily life.

Saki will finish her master's degree in Science in 2021 at New York University, majoring in Integrated Digital Media. Her skills and knowledge expanded to emerging technologies, physical computing, and creative coding, while she has deepened her expertise in digital accessibility. She hopes to keep working in the accessibility field.

Travis Austin

IT Consultant

Meghan Still

Branding Consultant

Meghan Still is an Executive Design Director for VMLY&R's Brand and Identity studio, and a consultant for the visual branding and branded materials for The Story of Our Schools.

Since 2005, Meghan has contributed her design sensibilities and strategic insights for companies and non-profit organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights, the Drug Policy Alliance, Disability Rights International, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Meghan is an adjunct professor at Avila University where she teaches coursework on design and branding. She is also a former chapter president for AIGA, the professional association for design.