GET TO KNOW US
THE GRIPTAPE TEAM
Amy is the GripTape Program Manager for Colorado, and she loves working on a dynamic team that’s not afraid to dream big and challenge the norms of education for young people. She is passionate about youth playing critical roles in society as active and invested citizens. Amy believes that empowering young people to develop the skills, competencies, and experiences they desire is life-changing for youth and their networks.
Amy has a background in experiential education and outdoor leadership, and has worked with underprivileged and marginalized populations. Through her experience as a rock climbing coach for a range of people, from 2-year-olds to adults, she has learned how necessary autonomy in decision-making is for skill development. In a rock climbing competition, spectators, coaches, and teammates are not allowed to advise a climber in any way. They can cheer and encourage, but a word of advice, such as “grab the pink hold,” will disqualify a climber from advancing. You must find a way to get yourself up the route, and no one else can guide or do it for you. Similarly, GripTape provides resources and encouragement, enabling youth to have empowering, transformative experiences mapping their own route in a learning journey.
Annette is the Project Manager at GripTape where she is at the heart of a small but mighty team, ensuring that each member is able to successfully achieve their goals. She is passionate about supporting others and truly believes in providing the resources needed to help lead people to their own successes. She is an advocate for education reform and does not shy away from creative solutions to help aid our education system. She is inspired by working with youth and strongly believes in the power of experience as a driving force in a young person’s development. As a member of the GripTape team, Annette thrives on contributing to this mission.
Before joining GripTape, Annette worked in the Customer Service Department of The NYC Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery, which served homeowners whose residences were significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy. She worked closely with these families to help them successfully navigate complex processes — from applying for temporary housing to securing home grants and construction services. Annette studied in the Dominican Republic and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies from the State University of New York at Albany. Recently, she has volunteered with underserved youth in the South Bronx and participated in neighborhood beautification projects. Annette currently lives in New York City and enjoys event planning and Inferno Yoga.
Catherine is the Chief Operating Officer, overseeing operational, programmatic, and research activities as a member of an extraordinary team at GripTape. She is passionate about engaging with youth and adult partners to design solutions that empower young people to chart their paths to success. She has worked with educators, administrators, and technologists to create innovative programs and tools that support powerful, effective learning. Most recently, Catherine worked on the product, research, and editorial teams of an ed tech company after serving as Program Director for an educational nonprofit that brought engaging, project-based learning to underserved communities.
Catherine studied at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, and in Paris, France. Today, she lives in New York City where she and her husband raised their two children. When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading Civil War biographies, comparing Crossfit bruises with her husband, or practicing her French with anyone who will indulge her.
Mark works with an amazing team at GripTape, helping our young people to be true drivers of their learning and development and to seize great opportunities to grow, lead, and serve.
He has spent a considerable portion of his career directly developing and supporting hundreds of school leaders throughout the U.S. as Executive Director of multiple organizations. He has advised and led educational efforts all across the country as well as served on multiple boards, including the Council of Chief State School Officers and Chiefs for Change. He began his career as a teacher, and as principal went on to lead the dramatic turnaround of a low performing school.
Before joining the family at America Achieves, Mark was the Secretary of Education in Delaware. During his tenure, Delaware youth significantly improved their academic achievement, college access and success soared, high school dropout rates reached the lowest point in history, and the high school graduation rate increased to a record level.
Melody is Lab Manager, coordinating research endeavors and data management as a member of the incredible GripTape team. She is passionate about amplifying the voices of youth and allowing them to be the leaders of their learning and development. She is constantly inspired by how ingenious and thoughtful young people are, especially when given the space to drive their own success.
Before joining GripTape, Melody worked as Program Coordinator at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, which directly connects girls and young women to healthy and successful futures through art, movement, STEM, business, and wellness classes. She served as liaison for girls, parents, and community partners. Melody studied and earned dual degrees in Psychology and Women & Gender Studies from Pace University in New York City. Melody is a proud Bronx native and enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen, spending time with friends, and dancing.