Our Tribe

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dawn walton, principal

Why Empower? Because nothing creates a more stable and loving world like young people with a sense of agency and purpose.

I love dance, deep conversation, healthy relationships, walking in nature, friends, family, vistas, James Baldwin, summer in New York City, old school R&B, cooked food and fresh vegetables. 


Olivia jones, Director of innovation & marketing

Why Empower? Because a school built by the community, for the community will inspire and foster the leaders our world so desperately needs. 

I love reading outside, storytelling, rain in the summertime, the ocean, postcards, and transformative literature. 


Wisdom Amouzou, Executive Director 

Why Empower? Because I believe within our own cultures and our community, we have all the genius we need to create our own Wakanda. 

I love learning new instruments, fufu, singing, ripe plaintains, my family, writing tall tales and all things African.

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Lupe Tapia, Director of Community Engagement  & Enrollment

Why Empower? Because I believe education is essential for critical consciousness.

I love spending time with family, friends, and community as well as reading, listening to music and enjoying some quiet time.


Jhenny Hernandez, Director of operations

Why Empower? Because I believe that we as educators have a responsibility to strengthen the genius that every kid has in them.  When we build strong communities that foster and develop the talents of our youth, we build a better world.

I love my daughter Cassandra, Felix (the dog), friends, family, my heritage, learning, Latin music, dancing, horseback riding, the mountains, the ocean, and traveling.


Brandi Hester-Harrell, SPEcial Education Director

Why Empower? Because all children should be surrounded by a community that promotes differentiated success by transforming experiences and thinking to cultivate culture awareness and virtue.  

I love to travel; I have traveled to  28 countries with a whole world left to conquer. I  enjoy writing poetry, exercising, spending time in meditation and reading. Food fuels you, so as a vegan, I enjoy making traditional favorites vegan-friendly.

gabrielle smith, ethnic studies teacher

Why Empower? I believe teaching from a standpoint that doesn't focus solely on Western values and perspectives pushes students to be more politically aware and active within their global community, which helps them make change.

I love science fiction books, hip hop music, wood-fired pizza, yoga, my family and friends, mediating outdoors, and conversations on politics and religion.