Leadership / Board

Meet Our Dedicated, Inspired Leadership & Board of Advisors

Meet Our Co-Founders…

Richie Ressel, Executive Director and Co-Founder of HEROES For Students, has come a long way from the poverty and homelessness he experienced in his youth. Both Richie and his Co-Founder Chris Reina are personally moved by the crucial role guest speakers played in their formative educational development.

Richie and Chris are both first-generation college students who are passionate about teaching and empowering students in the classroom.

In college, Richie discovered passion for education, so he pursued his true calling of being an educator through Teach For America and obtained his Master’s in Elementary Education at Arizona State University.

Chris has his Ph.D. in Management from the W.P. Carey School of Business and has worked as a consultant creating English language training curricula with the mission of providing leadership opportunities for employees.

As a classroom teacher, Richie saw the value of community partnerships, so he brought guest speakers to his classroom to expose his students to careers and the community. However, he found a divide between schools and the community that made this process difficult.

Through his professional associations, Chris discovered the link between educational opportunities and professional advancement in a concrete way. He saw employees attain levels of success they never previously thought possible.

Together, Richie and Chris saw the positive effects that guest speakers can have on motivating students to pursue greater academic achievement. They decided to create a system that would facilitate connections between students and guest speakers in the classroom, HEROES For Students.

Meet our Board of Directors…

  • Andre St. Pierre, President. Andre is the Director of Professional Services at Toshiba.
  • Ryen Borden, Secretary. Ryen is Program Officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Kendrick Bates, Treasurer. Kendrick is Director of Enterprise Performance Management for the Apollo Education Group.
  • Kristie Leshinskie, Development Chair. Kristie is Senior Philanthropic Advisor for Arizona Community Foundation.
  • Jo Pullen, Strategic Communications Chair. Jo is President of Pullen Production.
  • Mark Garcia, Events Chair. Mark is Curriculum Manager for New Pathways for Youth.
  • Sarah Purcell, School Outreach Chair. Sarah is a Marketing Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • Daniel Koenig, Advisor. Daniel is Founder/Producer of Power 10 Films.
  • Larry Herrera, Advisor. Larry is a Governing Board Member of Washington Elementary School District.
  • Jaclyn Goris, Advisor. Jaclyn is Program Manager for Feeding Matters.
  • Chris Reina, Executive Committee at Large. Chris is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.