From her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to being the Executive Director of Citizen Schools MA, Vanessa has often been referred to as one of those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world. As a parent, educator and leader, she has worked to fight against injustice and inequity in the educational system. Vanessa believes building a strong collaboration with students, families, communities, administrators, and staff is vital when creating an educational environment for students to thrive/
Vanessa has earned a degree of Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Educational Specialist from Walden University, Masters in Teacher Leadership from Lindenwood University. Her education and experience as an elementary and middle school teacher led her to a career in nonprofit leadership. She also volunteers as a mentor for first-generation college students through SCS Noonan Scholars and is on the Board of Advisors for Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership, a nonprofit that works with diverse faith congregations to promote safe and effective faith-based responses to domestic violence and elder abuse. Above and beyond this, Vanessa is a proud mother to one son Cortez, who is currently pursuing a BA in Mechanical Engineering.