Meet the Team
Thomas J. Lasley
Thomas J. Lasley II is the Chief Executive Officer of Learn to Earn Dayton. Previously the Dean of the University of Dayton’s School of Education and Health Sciences, he is Co-Founder of the Dayton Early College Academy and President of Air Camp, Inc. Tom serves on the boards of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Dayton Metro Library, Public Media Connect, the United Theological Seminary, and the National Council on Teacher Quality.
A member of the Governor’s Commission on Teaching Success (under former Gov. Bob Taft) and the Ohio Board of Regents’ Planning and Accountability Committee (under former Gov. Ted Strickland), Tom holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from The Ohio State University.
Robyn Lightcap is the Executive Director of Learn to Earn Dayton. She is the lead staff person involved in creating a Montgomery County Preschool Promise, an initiative designed to ensure that every 4-year-old can attend at least one year of high quality Preschool.
Robyn serves on the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and is Vice-Chair of groundWork, Ohio’s early childhood advocacy organization. She has led complex projects in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, including at IBM, Chicago’s Willow Creek Community Church, and Evenflo. She has a business degree from Wake Forest University.
Ritika Kurup is Learn to Earn Dayton's Director of Early Learning. She leads the organization’s collective impact work around promoting equity, expanding out-of-school learning opportunities, combatting chronic absenteeism and improving 3rd-grade reading proficiency. In 2016, she was named an Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow.
Previously, she was the coordinator of a helpline for homeless children in New Delhi, India, and Executive Director of Miami County’s CASA/GAL program. Ritika has master’s degrees in social work from the University of Delhi and The Ohio State University and a master’s in public policy from Ohio State.
Kelly Geers is the Director of Workforce for Learn to Earn Dayton where she is leading the creation and implementation of the Dayton Regional Workforce Strategy and developing career connections between high schools and industry.
Previously, Kelly was the District Director for Congressman Mike Turner, and Director of Government Programs at the Dayton Development Coalition. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied political science and received her Master's of Public Administration.
Marie Giffen, a Certified Public Accountant, is our Director of Finance. She is an adjunct professor in accounting at the University of Dayton, where she received her Master's of Business Administration. Previously, Marie worked in both public and corporate accounting.
Ashley Marshall is the Director of the Preschool Promise where she is leading the work to expand the program across the City of Dayton and to assist programs in improving their quality. Previously, Ashley was the Director of the University of Dayton’s Demonstration School, the Bombeck Family Learning Center. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, where she studied early childhood education and received her Master's in Educational Leadership.
Charmaine Webster is the Preschool Promise Program Manager and leads Learn to Earn Dayton's family and community engagement initiatives. Her work includes promoting awareness about the importance of kindergarten readiness by building partnerships that support families and children.
Charmaine has been a youth pastor, camp counselor and research assistant. A native of Cincinnati, she received her bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University and a master’s of divinity from Emory University.
Latoria Marcellus is the Director of Quality for Preschool Promise. She is helping Preschools implement a comprehensive curriculum that prepares children for Kindergarten by promoting their social, emotional and academic development. She also assists Preschools in their work to build strong relationships with young learners' families, with a focus on empowering families to keep children learning at home. Previously, Latoria was a classroom teacher, reading specialist, mentor and professional development facilitator. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she studied early childhood education. She received her Master's in Education from Antioch University McGregor.
Te'Jal Cartwright is the Preschool Promise Coordinator. A Dayton native, she received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Dayton and is a proud alumna of the Dayton Early College Academy.
During college, Te'Jal was a lead tutor for Upward Bound and helped raise more than $70,000 in scholarships. After receiving her degree, she traveled to multiple universities as a program manager for fundraising phonathons.
Debbie Barnhart is Coordinator for the Passport to Kindergarten Program. She brings together community partners, teachers and families to create rich experiences for young learners, focusing especially on improving Preschoolers' language skills through dialogic reading. Debbie, who received her bachelor's degree in social work from Eastern Nazarene College and her master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Indiana Wesleyan University, is retired from Dayton Public Schools where she was an intervention specialist. She also has worked for the University of Dayton's Urban Teacher Academy.
Kelly Berlin is the Graduate Assistant for Learn to Earn Dayton. She received her B.A. in Psychology from The Ohio State University with minors in Education and Substance Misuse and Addiction. She attends graduate school at the University of Dayton where she is working toward her Ed.S. in School Psychology and will serve as the National Association of School Psychologists Student Leader for the 2017-18 school year.
Vel Hux, a Dayton Foundation Del Mar Encore Fellow on loan to Learn to Earn, is working to improve out-of-school opportunities for high-need students. She is supporting a collaborative of nine afterschool programs that have come together and are using common assessment tools to measure their students' academic growth. These professionals also have created learning communities to improve their programming.
Vel is vice-chair of marketing for SCORE, an active business consultant and an adjunct professor at Sinclair Community College.