Board of Directors
Desiree Hoffman serves as the Associate Director in the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs (OFRA) for Mayor Muriel Bowser. In her role, she liaises with the White House, Federal Agencies and Congress to advance the legislative priorities of the District. Desiree has an integral role in the Mayor’s statehood campaign by engaging and educating constituents in all 8 Wards on DC Statehood.
Before joining Mayor Bowser’s team, Desiree was the Director of Advocacy and Policy at the YWCA USA, a national multi-racial women’s organization, where she lead the federal advocacy efforts on women’s economic empowerment and racial justice policies.
Prior to joining the YWCA USA, Desiree served as the Assistant Director of Legislation at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During her tenure at SEIU, she lobbied on a range of national priorities including health care, child care, labor, and education issues. Desiree developed legislative strategy, coordinated lobbying and grassroots advocacy with local affiliates, and directly lobbied Members of Congress on the historic passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
A graduate of George Washington University with a master’s degree in Public Policy and Women’s Studies, Desiree has more than a decade of legislative and advocacy experience. Her areas of expertise include: grassroots advocacy and mobilization, lobbying, coalition building, policy analysis and voter mobilization.
Desiree is originally from Central Pennsylvania and resides with her son in SE Washington, DC.
Deanna Troust is a seasoned communications strategist who has devoted most of her career to strengthening organizations and fostering social change. Over her 18-year tenure at Vanguard Communications, she managed complex projects for nonprofit, association, and government clients with special focus on planning, earned and shared media strategy, branding, multicultural outreach, marketing, and creative development. Her efforts have built thought leadership, seeded new ideas for improving systems, and engaged communities through award-winning, culturally competent outreach efforts.
As a senior vice president at Vanguard, Deanna served on the firm’s senior leadership and business development team for over a decade. She led its energy and environment practice, working with clients such as DC Sustainable Energy Utility, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.N. Environment Programme, and the nonprofit Galvin Electricity Initiative, whose communications and media she managed for six years. She designed countless strategic communications analyses and projects that helped organizations, such as RTI International, Campaign for High School Equity, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders at NIH, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, GLAD, and more, shape their brands, update their communications departments, and strengthen their voices. Deanna is well versed in the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has led campaigns focused on eliminating health and economic disparities that affect American Indian/Alaskan Native, Latino, and other underserved communities for clients such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Equal Measure. Deanna also spent seven years working in marketing and advertising for US Airways, MCI WorldCom, and Cambridge Energy Research Associates. In March 2016, Deanna went into business for herself and now consults for her own clients – including Vanguard, International Women’s Media Foundation, Conservation International, LearnBIG, and ASEL.
A graduate of Cornell University, Deanna lives in DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood with her husband and two daughters, who attend Oyster-Adams Bilingual School and DC International School (DCI). In her free time, she works on her Spanish, serves on the DCI PTO and board, and advocates for innovative education, energy, and workplace solutions.
Suzie Parsons graduated from the University of Florida, College of Architecture with a major in design and a minor in architectural studies. She moved to Washington, DC in 1990 and has been living in Columbia Heights with her husband for about 23 years. Her two sons are both in French tracks and speak French at home with their father. One is an eighth grader at DC International School, and the other is a third grader at Elsie Whitlow Stokes.
Suzie is active in the EW Stokes PTA as the Facilities Co-chair. In this role, she has worked on both exterior and interior projects for the building with school and community input. Before that, she was a liaison for District Department of Transportation (DDOT) working on the Safe Routes to School and National Walk to School Day. Suzie has always been an active parent as part of the Parent Alumni Leadership Council for the DC Public Charter School board.
Erika Harrell is passionate about supporting widespread access to quality education throughout Washington, DC. After five years of working in California public education, Erika moved to DC in 2013. She has since experienced both ends of the school choice process, first as a parent and then as an advocate for fellow parents. Her children attend DC Prep and Two Rivers, two of the highest-performing public charter schools in the city, and she is grateful that her children are receiving the kind of education they deserve.
Erika relentlessly supports families in their pursuit of a quality education for their own children. She understands firsthand how overwhelming the application process can be for families, especially those who live in underserved communities. Erika appreciates the opportunity to make the application process easier for other families than it was for her own. She formerly served as a Parent Advocate and currently serves as a Data Manager with DC School Reform Now. In addition to her current position as a Board Member with PAVE, Erika also sits on the Parent Advisory Council for My School DC, which is the current administrator for the DC common application and common lottery, as well as the Parent and Alumni Leadership Council and the DC Cross Sector Task Force.
LaJoy Johnson-Law is a Ward 8 resident with a beautiful special needs daughter named Abria who attends Rocketship RISE Academy Public Charter School. LaJoy is heavily involved in the education landscape in DC, previously serving as a Board Member at AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School, and currently as a parent leader at Rocketship Public Charter School, where Abria is enrolled in Kindergarten. She is constantly inspired by her daughter, who was born at 23 weeks and 1 pound 6 ounces. Motivated by her advocacy for Abria and other children like her, she has also served as a classroom paraprofessional at St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School. LaJoy has an associate’s degree in elementary education, and she is currently taking courses towards a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Lucretia Talley was born and raised in Washington, DC and attended public school in the District. She has been married for 20 years and has two children with her husband. The elder of the two is a sophomore at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), and the youngest is enrolled in fifth grade at BASIS DC.
Lucretia has been an active participant in public school parent associations for her children’s schools. She also served as a voting member of the KIPP DC Board of Trustees when her daughter was a student at KIPP DC. She currently works at the National War College and was voted as the 2016 MVP Employee of the Year at her seasonal job with the Washington Nationals.
Maya Martin is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who resides in DC’s Ward 6. Currently, Maya serves as the Executive Director of PAVE, which she founded in 2016 as an Entrepreneur in Residence with New Schools Venture Fund from November 2015 to April 2016. Prior to PAVE’s founding, Maya served as the Chief of Staff at Achievement Prep, a public charter school network located in Ward 8, where she focused on developing and leading the organizational infrastructure as the network grew. In her role, she managed operations, enrollment, board relations, development, data, compliance, external relations, and special projects. Prior to her role at Achievement Prep, Maya served as the Director of Policy and Special Programs for Center City PCS, another DC charter network with six campuses throughout DC, as a Senior Program Manager for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a nonprofit that places students of color in corporate financial internships, and as an Assistant Director of Admissions for her alma mater, Dartmouth College.
Maya received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and History from Dartmouth College and a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Maya serves on the Advisory Board of the DC chapter of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and on the Alumni Board of the DC chapter of Education Pioneers.
Ashley Harding is dedicated to the ideals of social justice and brings a desire to create a more equitable public education landscape to her work. Prior to joining the PAVE team, Ashley worked at KIPP DC, where she was the Associate Director of Family and Community Engagement for 16 public charter schools in DC. In her role at KIPP, she led the family and community engagement efforts of five campuses in four wards, developed local and national partnerships to strengthen family support and advocacy for a network of 3,000 parents, and managed the family engagement strategy of twenty Flamboyan Fellows. Ashley is also the former Director of National Programs and Operations at the Harwood Institute, where she cultivated strategic partnerships and managed a national engagement portfolio forging multi-network coalitions aligned around transforming communities.
A native of Southern California, Ashley received her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Southern California (USC) in Public Policy and Development with a minor in Business Administration. She also holds a Master’s degree in Child Development from Tufts University with a concentration in Education and Social Policy. She is currently the VP of Programming, Knowledge Development & Community Engagement of the Washington, DC Young Education Professionals chapter, the former Secretary of the University of Southern California Washington, DC alumni chapter, and is an Education Pioneers Fellow.
Cathy Zaragoza comes to PAVE with a strong foundation in nonprofit work and a lifelong passion for education and social justice. Prior to joining the PAVE team, Cathy was a Senior Grant Writer at a nonprofit development consulting firm in DC, where she worked with organizations nationwide to develop their revenue streams and strategic fundraising plans. To date, she has written and cultivated grants totaling over $9 million for nonprofit organizations focused on education and college access, workforce development, housing, safety net services, and hunger relief.
Previously, Cathy held a P55 Fellowship through the DC-Area Princeton AlumniCorps in the network office at Achievement Prep Public Charter School in DC’s Ward 8. There, she focused on developing and refining network-wide and school-based systems, planning events, and producing grants for ongoing programs and the network’s capital campaign. She also managed the network’s donor outreach procedures and supported the Board of Trustees with development strategy and external communications. Prior to her role at Achievement Prep, Cathy proudly completed two terms as an AmeriCorps Fellow with the national nonprofit organization Reading Partners, where she oversaw volunteer-based literacy tutoring programs for elementary school students at William Green Elementary School in Los Angeles and DC Bilingual Public Charter School in DC. Cathy continues to directly engage with students and schools as a volunteer literacy tutor and as an interviewer with the Alumni Association of Princeton University in both Los Angeles and DC. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Art and Archaeology with a focus on the History of Art, and she earned a certificate in Spanish Language and Culture from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Chandler Hall joined the PAVE team in January of 2017, bringing a commitment to education solutions and a dedication to empowering the DC community. Before coming to PAVE, Chandler volunteered for more than 3,400 hours over two years, serving as an AmeriCorps Member here in DC. In 2014, Chandler moved to the DMV area to volunteer with City Year Washington DC. That year, he served full-time in a 5th grade classroom in a Ward 8 DCPS School by supporting individual student achievement, leading small group lessons, and contributing to school-wide culture and initiatives. In 2015, Chandler continued to work with City Year as a Project Leader for the Civic Engagement Team. In this role, Chandler supported DCPS and DC Public Charter Schools by planning and directing community service events aimed at revitalizing and adding to the physical environment of the school building. As a Service Director, Chandler engaged more than 850 volunteers to add over $202,000 of value to the DC community.
Before moving to Washington, Chandler grew up in Massachusetts, where he earned a dual Bachelor Arts degree in Political Science and Legal Studies. Living around Boston, Chandler first got involved in public service by joining the Jeff Ross Campaign for City Councilor at Large. As a member of the campaign, Chandler managed the official website and contributed to the candidate's daily blog. Chandler continued his work as an advocate for responsible education policy at the local level, when he was accepted into the Urban Leaders Fellowship program. As an Urban Leaders Fellow, Chandler partnered with an education focused non-profit in Nashville, and completed research for a school board member of the Metro Nashville Public School System to improve the equity between school funding.
Billy Cerullo joins PAVE with a passion for and dedication to serving students and families throughout DC. Prior to joining PAVE, Billy served as a two-time AmeriCorps member with Reading Partners, a national non-profit that provides 1:1 literacy intervention to K-4 students who are between one month and 2.5 years behind grade-level in reading. During his two terms in DC, Billy served in two public elementary schools in Wards 1 and 7, crafting individualized reading plans for the 100+ students he oversaw. His additional responsibilities included fostering and deepening relationships with parents and teachers while managing and coaching a portfolio of community volunteer tutors. With his passion for serving the students of DC and his experience building relationships within communities, Billy is thrilled to connect parents to opportunities to advocate for the high-quality education our children deserve.
Before moving to DC in 2014, Billy was born and raised outside of Boston, MA where he received a Bachelor of Arts in American Government and Public Policy from Suffolk University. Throughout his undergraduate career, Billy gained experience working in all levels of government as he volunteered on local political campaigns, interned for the Governor of Massachusetts, and interned for Congressman Seth Moulton. Additionally, Billy volunteered as an algebra, Spanish, and literacy tutor for local elementary and high school students and refugees in the Greater Boston Area over the course of five years.