Philadelphia Leadership Directory
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Sylvia is motivated by the belief that all youth should have access to college regardless of their zip code, and is excited to serve this mission as the Executive Director of the Summer Search Philadelphia office.
Prior to joining Summer Search, Sylvia built an exemplary career in education and entrepreneurship. Sylvia started her real estate career with a start-up company, Taylor Properties, where she successfully negotiated and finalized construction, permanent and equity loans with private banks and government agencies to build and sell affordable, fee simple housing as well as commercial properties.
As Executive Director of the Museum of Afro American History in Boston and the Philadelphia chapter of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, she provided leadership on key strategic plans and implemented fundraising programs with staff and stakeholders, collaborated with the members of the media to promote the missions of these organizations, resulting in various articles, live television coverage and the creation of videos/films.
While as the director of the MAAH, the late Senator Edward Kennedy introduced her to First Lady Hilary Clinton. Senator Kennedy also invited her to witness the late President Nelson Mandela be presented with a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bill Clinton. These profound experiences re-ignited her passion to work for organizations to alleviate poverty in this country.
Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of South Carolina and Masters of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her hobbies include travel, biking, golfing, and reading tons of comic books, especially the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series!
Annie holds the strong belief that equal access to opportunities within education is a key lever to addressing the many inequities in our country, and she is honored to be contributing to the great work of Summer Search on the development team.
Annie is an entrepreneurial leader who recently transitioned to nonprofit management when she moved to the Philadelphia area in 2015. As the sole manager of programs for the Philadelphia office of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), she contributed to tripling the number of partner schools, strengthening the professional development and support of teachers and increasing their volunteer base by 50 percent.
Formerly, she spent nearly a decade in schools-based roles. Her can-do spirit has helped to found or turn around three middle schools and one high school in her tenure as a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal and district leader.
Annie attained her Master of Education from Christian Brothers University while in her first years teaching middle school science in Memphis, TN. She also has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an experiential summer trip to the Chesapeake Bay as a middle schooler is what instilled in her a deep passion for the environment and environmental justice issues.
When not at work, Annie is an avid reader, Philadelphia restaurant frequenter and considers walking her two dogs, Eddie and Nala, an acceptable form of exercise.
Tolulope’s passion, obsession, and ambition is to empower underserved youth to be the best version of themselves. Ultimately, what drives Tolulope is helping youth be what people said they couldn’t. Tolulope hopes to bring a unique background of engaging youth in various roles: mentor, coach, and advocate to Summer Search.
Before Summer Search, Tolulope served as a Heinz Fellow for the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Heinz Fellowship placed ten recent African American college graduates in high-needs high schools in the Pittsburgh school district to serve as mentors, tutors and role models for high school African American males. Along with working at a school full-time, Tolulope pursued graduate studies and received a Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University in 2015.
Tolulope, a Questbridge Scholar received a B.A. in Religion from Haverford College in 2013. Tolulope likes to spend his free time coaching a middle school track and field team, playing chess, and debating about why every single New York City sports team is the best.
Sydney believes in the power of mentoring and support systems. She is grounded by the belief that with the help of effective mentoring students can become aware of their potential and take power over their lives and decisions. She is motivated by the philosophy of living well and living intentionally. She understands the impact of giving students a chance to see things outside of their neighborhoods and how that helps students become aware of how limitless this world is. She is a firm believer in pursuing your passion and believes that students do not have to put themselves in a box and can carve out a lane for themselves.
Sydney graduated from Delaware State University with a B.A. in Integrated Studies with focus areas in Education and Psychology. While attending DSU she became a mentor to incoming freshman and completed 2 study abroad trips, these experiences are what fuel her outlook on life today. Sydney worked as support staff for the School District of Philadelphia before landing a job at Summer Search and is currently working towards a M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology at Anderson University.
In her free time she enjoys traveling, planning events and watching documentaries.
Muffy is inspired by the light within every individual and allowing it the space to shine at its full potential. She is invested in values of accessibility, expression, and justice. Muffy believes in the power of community and how every person, no matter their background, has something beautiful to offer. Learning and unlearning, they find the principles of Summer Search heavily aligned with their own.
Muffy has a B.A. in Political Science, with minors in economics and communication, from La Salle University. During their time in college, they invested their passion in resistance, service, and mentoring via AmeriCorps. Through an unconventional path, she took a hiatus from school to work on the US-Mexico border in El Paso,TX, where she worked alongside undocumented families and shaped an entirely different perspective. After returning and earning her degree, she has devoted her life to the communities she belongs to.
With a camera or paintbrush in her hand, Muffy is always trying to envision a new world, filled with kindness and lots of color!
Orneno Wright-Threats (She/Her/Hers).
Orneno (pronounced O-nay-no) is passionate about working with youth and believes in the power that young people have to transform their world, especially when they have access to life-changing experiences and adults that are invested in their personal development. She has worked in youth development and education for over a decade and has held many roles including after-school program facilitator, mentor, writing workshop instructor, and career coach. In Mbube, a Nigerian language, Orneno’s name means happiness and joy, and that is the energy she strives to bring to all her interactions with students.
Orneno graduated from Grambling State University with her B.A. in Mass Communications and from Rosemont College with her M.A. in Publishing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to podcasts, visiting museums, and binge watching the latest Netflix show. She is a Chicago native who has lived in the Philadelphia area for over a decade.
Nicole Mejia – Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Nicole is passionate about encouraging young people to dream big when it comes to their future, and she strives to be a mentor and resource for them as they achieve their goals. Her personal experiences navigating the education system as a first-generation college student and daughter of immigrants showed her the significant impact mentors and culturally relevant resources have on historically underserved students. As a result, Nicole committed herself to giving back the same support and services that allowed her to experience lots of personal, educational, and professional growth. She has always been motivated to explore diversity and social justice as it relates to education, and she is very proud and excited to serve as Summer Search’s Career Navigator and Internship Coordinator.
Nicole graduated from the University of Delaware with an Honors B.S. in Elementary Education and teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), and a Master’s through the university’s 4+1 Program. She is a proud alumnus of the McNair Scholars Program. In her free time, she enjoys working out, eating at her favorite food spots in Delaware, designing graphics, and watching Netflix.
Imani is a former Summer Searcher and native Philadelphian who is dedicated to contributing to the growth of the city that made her – starting with its youth. Since high school, she has worked in several roles with students infant aged to adolescents including her work as a private tutor, student liaison, and poetry workshop facilitator. Upon the completion of her B.A. from Albright College, Imani continued to devote her time to Philadelphia’s charter and independent schools as an educator and school leader.
Imani is inspired by and values the power of community and self-expression. She is the product of what a strong and committed village can do for a child. Her goal is to not only to be the change she wishes to see in her community but to also encourage students to develop relationships with their futures and inner selves so they may do the same.
In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry, painting, baking, listening to podcasts, taking road trips, walking and completing DIY home improvement projects.
Imani is proud to return to the program that she believes changed the trajectory of her life and introduced her to international travel and living abroad. She hopes to continue the legacy of inspiring change with the Summer Search community.
Jocelyn Rodriguez (She/Her)
Jocelyn is inspired by working with youth and has dedicated her life in doing so. She believes that youth should have access to programs and opportunities that deepen their passions and desires for their future. Jocelyn was raised in Wilmington, Delaware and attended Wilmington University where she received a B.S. in Behavioral Science. After college, Jocelyn spent a year working in Delaware and connecting students to work-based learning opportunities before deciding to move to Colorado to begin her teaching career.
Jocelyn has spent the last five years working in various experiential and non-traditional educational capacities in both the United States and abroad. Working in alternative education at a school in Colorado, teaching English in Spain, and leading cultural immersion trips in Costa Rica for teens from around the world. Working in these capacities have contributed to Jocelyn’s passion in working with young people.
Jocelyn likes to spend her free time training youth in basketball, traveling, writing, and spending time with family. Jocelyn is excited to connect with youth throughout Philadelphia and support their plans and next steps once they graduate high school.