Erika Asikoye, Co-Head of School

Erika joined the SEED community in 2005 as the Founding Director of Student Support Services initially at the SEED Public Charter School in Washington DC.  She has helped to shape the policies and programs of the mental and medical health departments as well as the office of the dean of students and external opportunities.  In 2014 she joined the leadership team at the SEED School of Maryland again serving as the Director of Student Support Services. As a member the programmatic leadership team at both schools, Erika gets excited about the opportunity to evaluate and revise work underway and to generate new ideas that might yield greater success.   She is most proud of her efforts that led to the expansion of the internship program for seniors, the creation of a week-long freshmen summer bridge program to support middle school students transitioning into 9th grade, and an heightened focus on identifying rigorous enrichment opportunities for SEED students during the summer. Erika enjoys managing the department responsible for supporting students behind the scenes and helping to ensure that they master the social emotional skills and habits that lead to college completion. Erika’s years coordinating the first Philadelphia Freedom Schools with the School District of Philadelphia and then as a researcher with The Education Trust grounded her beliefs that, education must be accessible and excellent regardless of a student’s societal identifiers (race, religion, gender, zip code), that all children can achieve academically with adequate support and that she has a responsibility to her community to use her voice and talents to this end.  Erika received her undergraduate degree from Howard University and master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Tiffany Evans, Co-Head of School

Ms. Evans is a Founding SEED Maryland Staff Member.  During her 10-year tenure, she has held several management positions within the Student Life Department, expanded the athletic program, rejuvenated the Volunteer Tutor & Mentor Program and managed the 21stCCLC Grant.  She served as Senior Director of Student Life from 2016-2018.  Before joining SEED Maryland, Ms. Evans was the Director of The Monarch Boarding Academy in Cleveland, Ohio.  She has worked within the education system, residential boarding and boarding school programs since 1998, including communities of adults and adolescents with dual diagnosis, autism, and/or behavioral and mental health challenges. Ms. Evans has a passion for empowering our youth and developing their leadership potential.  She also enjoys cultivating programs and partnerships.  She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and her master’s degree in Social Science Administration (Social Work) from Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland, Ohio.

Hope Griffin O'Neil, EdD Director of Academics

Students learn from people who care about them.

Millions of students graduate urban high schools with diplomas and hopes of entering the colleges, universities and fields of their choice. However, many discover they are underprepared and find themselves stuck in remedial courses and are forced to grapple with a dream deferred or altogether destroyed.

Dr. Hope O'Neil met and helped many of these students beat the odds when she started her career in education as a professor and program manager at local colleges and universities in Baltimore, Maryland. Her passion was ignited for educating K-12 students through her early career experiences with adult learners who were motivated yet ill-equipped to earn a college degree. Equity, community, compassion, literacy and strategic leadership excellence are the core of her education reform work.

She has dedicated 25 years of service to students, teachers, families and communities as a classroom teacher, college professor, instructional coach, literacy specialist, school reform program manager, researcher, consultant, and urban school principal. Dr. O'Neil believes in the power of garnering excellent results for students through powerful communities of practice with a sustained focus on making meaning of standards and student work to inform instructional improvement.

Hope O'Neil believes that students learn from people who care about them. She is committed to ensuring that each student is engaged in academically rigorous instruction, is connected with caring adults in the school community and has access to ongoing social-emotional learning and support.

Hope finds balance in life through her love for the Arts. She is a published author, singer, songwriter, spoken word artist and actress. Prince Simba, her Applehead Siamese cat, is another one of her greatest joys in life.

Vincent Carter-Bey, Interim Director of Student Support

Mr. Carter-Bey Joined SEED in 2009 as a Student Life Counselor, promoted to PYD Dean in 2012 and Lead Dean in 2015. While at SEED he’s also acted as Interim Athletic Director and has been the Boys Varsity Basketball Coach since the start of the program. In his role as Director of Student Support, Mr. Carter-Bey supervises the Health Suite, Mental Health Counselors, Positive Youth Development team and our External Opportunities coordinator. Prior to his work at SEED he worked for Mosaic Community Services and Woodbourne Residential Treatment Center where he provided direct care to adolescents with behavioral and/or mental health challenges. He received a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Lincoln University (PA) where he was a Co Captain on the Men’s Basketball team. Mr. Carter-Bey loves that The SEED School of Maryland is a 24 hour learning environment that focus on college readiness.

Katie del Carmen Byram, Director of Development

Ms. Byram joined SEED Maryland as Director of Development in Fall 2014, but her relationship with SEED began many years prior. In 2007 Ms. Byram was introduced to SEED Co-Founder Raj Vinnakota. She co-chaired the SEED Your Soul kickoff party in Baltimore City, introducing SEED to the community. Ms. Byram began mentoring SEED students in 2009 and served on the Development Committee and Board of Trustees (2010-2014). Prior to her position at SEED, Ms. Byram worked at the Baltimore School for the Arts, served on the Women’s Committee at the Walters Art Museum, and was co-owner of Winters Media Group, a printing firm in New York City. Ms. Byram graduated with a major in Anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and is also a certified yoga teacher. When she’s not working, Ms. Byram can be found at home with her two children and adorable dog, Rio.  

Alfonso Espada, Director of Admissions

Prior to joining SEED Maryland in 2015, Mr. Espada began his career in education at the Univertsity of Maryland, College Park as a Library Technician. After leaving UMCP, he worked at Wilkes University in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, and Misericordia University in Dallas, PA as Assistant Director of Admissions. Mr. Espada’s most recent position prior to SEED Maryland was as an Integrated Services Officer at the Ana G. Mendez University System in Wheaton, MD. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Marketing from the University of Maryland, College Park. Mr. Espada hails from the Bronx, New York.

Zenobia Judd-Williams, Director of Student Life

Mrs. Judd-Williams joined SEED Maryland in the Fall of 2010. Since that time she has held several management positions within the Student Life Department. Before joining SEED Maryland, Mrs. Judd-Williams served as the Chief Executive Officer of a regional association focused on developing non-profit, private and public service organizations. She has held many other leadership roles in large and small educational, health and human service organizations. Mrs. Judd-Williams holds Bachelorʼs degrees in business and behavioral sciences and a Masterʼs degree in business and organizational management. When she is not working she enjoys historical excursions and serving as amateur family genealogist. She is married with two adult children.

Alexandre Koutta, Director of Human Resources

Mr. Koutta has been with SEED Maryland since June 2012. Prior to his role at SEED Maryland, he served as a Senior HR Advisor for Ilimbe Networks Inc, an International company based in Europe, and as the Human Resources Assistant Director for the Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children in Montgomery County. At SEED Maryland, he designs, develops, implements, manages, and recommends all school-related HR initiatives and strategies aligned with SEED’s strategic plan. Mr. Koutta holds a Master’s in Human Resources from University Paris Diderot-France and an MBA from Strayer University. He has also completed 30 credits toward a Master’s in International Human Resources at Georgetown University.

Kevin Ridgely, CFO and Managing Director

Mr. Ridgely joined SEED Maryland during the 2015-16 school year. Before joining SEED Maryland, Mr. Ridgely spent over 25 years in financial and consulting positions in the energy industry with Constellation Energy, Veolia North America, and his own firm, Ridgely & Associates. Prior to that, he worked in public accounting for Ernst & Young in Baltimore. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Miami (FL) and a Master’s degree in accounting from the University of Baltimore. Mr. Ridgely is a CPA (inactive) and a member of Financial Executives International. In his role as CFO and Managing Director, Mr. Ridgely oversees the finance, information technology, and facilities management departments. 

JoAnn Robinson, Chief of Staff

Mrs. Robinson joined SEED Maryland in 2008. In her role as Chief of Staff, Mrs. Robinson oversees school administration, transportation, and facility rentals. Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Assistant for the Head of School and the Manager of Campus Operations. Before joining SEED, Mrs. Robinson was the human resources manager at Varsity Group, Inc. and an executive assistant to the CEO at Electronic Learning Facilitators, Inc. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bowie State University and is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management.