Aaron Frumin dropped out of college and responded to Hurricane Katrina with the Red Cross. Later that year, Aaron learned grit when he took his first job in construction as the least skilled worker at a day labor company. Later, Aaron spent years leading volunteers, AmeriCorps, and partner families, rebuilding New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity. When he returned to college at Tulane University, it was on his own terms with a renewed sense of purpose. As a Teach for America member, Aaron worked to bridge the gap between his students’ experience and his own. He’s most proud of the fact that he has not paid for a haircut in nearly 10 years.
Spencer’s first experience with construction was in high school on his church's annual trips to central Appalachia, which inspired him to pursue a career in non-profit construction. During his college summers he lived and worked alongside volunteers and families with the Appalachia Service Project. His connections with ASP eventually brought him to New Orleans as an AmeriCorps with Habitat for Humanity. After completing his AmeriCorps term, Spencer worked as an on-site supervisor with Habitat for years, and is thrilled to serve as a teacher and builder with UnCommon Construction. Spencer owns and plays seven string instruments, but has yet to master any of them.
Destinee' Marshall was born and raised in New Orleans. Displaced by Katrina, she and her mother moved to Clayton County, Georgia where they stayed for 5 years before happily moving back to the place they call home. Upon returning to New Orleans, Destinee' went to several middle schools before attending Benjamin Franklin High School and finally New Orleans Charter Science and Math, where she was introduced to unCommon Construction. After completing two semesters as an Apprentice and graduating high school, Destinee’ chose not to continue on to college and joined uCC’s staff to continue building our community on and off the job site. In her spare time she’s an artist: drawing, making music, and writing and performing spoken word poetry.
Stephen Barkan grew up in Austin, Texas, and attended Tulane University where he studied music composition and social innovation and entrepreneurship. Following graduation, he joined unCommon Construction through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, and is excited to be a part of the team. When he hasn’t been busy with school or work, Stephen has enjoyed composing music, traveling, and volunteering on farms.
Aron Michalski went to a rural public high school that had a strong vocational training program where he learned how to work with his hands. When he graduated from Haverford College with a degree in Astrophysics, but no job, he joined AmeriCorps and worked for Habitat for Humanity. For six years Aron worked in non-profit construction in California, Mississippi, and Louisiana with Habitat for Humanity, YouthBuild, and KaBOOM!. He then transitioned to education, managing operations for schools and CMOs in New Orleans before returning to California as the Director of Bay Area Facilities for the California Charter Schools Association. Aron’s most memorable high school experience was touring Europe as a tuba player in a National Honor Band.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Joshua Schoop is a Social Innovation Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor in the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University. Working in international development for the past eight years, he has conducted research on youth development, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and urban United States. Joshua recently completed his PhD at the Payson Center for International Development. His research explored socially innovative ecosystems to cultivate capabilities in youth, where he conducted a case study of Grow Dat Youth Farm in New Orleans. Joshua is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Samoa.
Michael Stimpfel is the Director of Finance & Accounting at KIPP Colorado. Prior to joining KIPP Colorado, Michael lived in New Orleans for eight years and worked with a myriad of charter schools and education focused non-profits in Louisiana and New York. Michael is a graduate of Tulane University and a graduate of the Education Pioneers Fellowship Program.
Ashley is committed to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and prosperity for all Greater New Orleans youth. As a former vocational technology high school student and first-generation college student, Ashley understands the multiple ways Career Technical Education can support post-secondary success. Through her work, she strives to dispel the college or career myth by championing CTE preparation as a pathway for all students to succeed in school and life. Ashley is especially skilled at designing school-based programs and engaging a variety of stakeholders in raising student achievement. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Scott Pointer has spent most of the past decade working to rebuild the Greater New Orleans Area through his work with Habitat for Humanity, most recently serving as the NOLA affiliate's Director of Construction. Scott's construction expertise extends beyond the build site and into the classroom where he currently teaches the National Construction Curriculum for Engineering and Research (NCCER) courses at Delgado Community College. Scott knows how to build community through the shared work of building houses and is excited to bring his expertise to combining the two through uCC's apprenticeship program.
Marquest is a native Louisianan, who fell in love with New Orleans while studying at Tulane. He also has a longstanding love for youth advocacy, and as a federal prosecutor, he has seen firsthand the challenges many kids from New Orleans face as they try to live up to their full potential. For those reasons, since Marquest moved back to New Orleans in September 2014, he has dedicated his volunteer efforts to organizations focused on instilling in New Orleans youth a strengthened sense of community, leadership skills, and the importance of fair and effective communication. Marquest believes that kids who attain these skills will be fully equipped to join him in striving to make New Orleans a better place every day.
Brook Smith is the president of Smith Manus, an Acrisure partner company and one of the largest surety bonding providers in the United States. Through his work throughout the country, across numerous construction/development related industries, Brook has a deep understanding of the impending workforce shortage that faces these employers. He’s a big believer in supporting creativity in both business and philanthropy, and has strategically and generously done both for uCC to create real-world career pathways for youth.
A proud New Orleanian and seasoned construction pro , Sterling got his start as one of New Orleans Habitat for Humanity’s first AmeriCorps members. Since then, he’s taught and trained new craftsmen and women at Delgado Community College, and continues to work in the industry as the owner of iLead Solutions Group. Sterling is incredible community supporter and always available to offer in depth consulting and advice based on experience.
As a former electrical engineer and management consultant, Hassan’s a wiz at making sense of seemingly complex problems. As the Director of Investments at 4.0 Schools, an early-stage education incubator, Hassan’s always ready with just the right kind of “What if…” or “I wonder…” to think through a challenge in our program design and iteration.
Brian Bordainick is is the Founder & CEO of Dinner Lab, a nation-wide social dining club that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners in unique spaces. We admire how Dinner Lab brings diverse people together for a truly unCommon experience! As both a former New Orleans high school teacher and serial entrepreneur, Brian’s unique understanding of what it means to make mistakes and learn from them makes him a galvanizing advisor as we build our organization.
Since founding Liberty’s Kitchen in 2009, Janet’s work has has touched the lives of over 300 young people through its Youth Development Program. Janet is a firm believer that nonprofits and social enterprises should be managed like a business in order to realize their mission. As our Lead Mentor through social venture incubator Propeller’s Startup Accelerator, Janet helped make sure that uCC”s founders are “getting things right” from the beginning.
As the Founder & CEO of 4.0 Schools, Matt supports uCC ‘s founders in countless ways. Matt’s work in education spans classrooms in both public and private schools as a teacher, coach, principal and parent, along with opening and developing new school models with organizations like LearningNext, KIPP, NYC Charter Center and New Schools for New Orleans. Once his kids are asleep, Matt heads to the garage to build electric motorcycles at Nightshift Bikes because he knows the reward of thinking through problems and using his hands to make new things.