Our Team

Our team of experienced education professionals

Our team of experienced education professionals is dedicated to ensuring that all children, regardless of their background, can read, and we’d love to have you join us in our work. Interested in joining our team? Learn more about what it’s like to work for OnYourMark on our Careers page.

Founder & CEO / Chief of Staff
Operations
Talent
Growth, Business Development, & Marketing
Program
School Partnerships

Mindy Sjoblom

Founder and CEO

Mindy started OnYourMark with a passion for early literacy and deep experience building systems to cultivate and develop educators. Mindy loves bringing new ideas to life that are centered in increasing outcomes for students and educators alike. While preparing to launch OnYourMark, Mindy served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Charter School Growth Fund where she started her early literacy journey at the nexus of a growing demand for high dosage tutoring to address pandemic learning recovery and increased need to support schools with foundational skills reading instruction across the country.

Prior to this newest adventure, Mindy served as Founding Dean of Relay Chicago, where she oversaw all aspects of campus growth/strategy, financial health, partnership development, political advocacy, and teacher preparation programming. Under her leadership, Relay Chicago became the second largest and most diverse provider of teachers in IL. Before joining Relay, Sjoblom served as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, then as principal, at Rauner College Prep, one of the Noble Schools. While she was principal, Sjoblom’s students earned the highest average ACT scores in the school’s history. Before that, she served as founding humanities teacher at the Crossroads School in Baltimore. Sjoblom, an alumna of Teach For America, earned an M.A.T. from Johns Hopkins University, School Administrative credentials from National Louis University and a B.A. in political science from Butler University.

Mariela Abreu

Chief of Staff

Mariela is the Chief of Staff at OnYourMark. She comes to OnYourMark with 10 years of school operations, strategic planning and leadership experience. In this role, she works closely with the CEO to define and track key priorities and organizes work streams to support organizational growth.

Before joining OnYourMark, she held various roles at UP Education Network including Director of Strategic Initiatives where she led on several high priority projects and Director of Operations where she managed the operations, family engagement, student enrollment and finances for a school of 700+ students. Prior to UP, Mariela worked in Operations at Achievement First Network and taught 1st grade ESL for a semester.

She is a certified Emotional Intelligence Coach through the Noble Story group; and is passionate about coaching and developing adults on how to navigate personal & systemic barriers to realize their own potential and move confidently & unapologetically towards their future.

Mariela received her Bachelors of Science in Management and Ethics & Social Responsibility from Bentley University and her Masters in Public Administration from University of Connecticut.

Ashley Chin Morefield

Managing Director of Strategy and Operations
Ashley comes to OnYourMark with over a decade of experience in education – a mix of finance, operations, and teaching. Most recently, Ashley served as the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis for Relay Graduate School of Education. In this role, Ashley executed all aspects of the institution-wide annual budgeting and forecasting process and supported budget managers and senior leaders to make strategic decisions. Before joining Relay’s Finance team, Ashley was the Senior Director of Operations for Relay’s Chicago Campus, where she partnered with the campus dean to set a long-term strategy for growth and financial sustainability. During Ashley’s time as the Senior Director of Operations, the Chicago campus enrollment grew from 65 to 300 students and Relay Chicago became the second largest Relay region across the country. Prior to her work at Relay, Ashley managed program operations for the Chicago Teaching Fellows, a teacher licensure program through TNTP. Additionally, as an alumna of Teach For America, she taught high school math both in Houston (HISD) and Chicago (Noble Network of Charter Schools). Ashley holds a BA in Mathematics from DePauw University.

Kevin Hooper

Senior Director of Operations

Born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, Kevin’s parents were public school educators that taught him through their daily example the critical role that education plays in the life of an individual, the prosperity of a neighborhood, and the progress of a global community. Grounded by this foundational value of service leadership, Kevin has spent over 15 years supporting private sector firms and leading public education organizations.

Kevin’s public education leadership experience began as a Teach For America – Chicago corps member, through which he taught 7th grade at Officer Donald J. Marquez School. He also served on Teach For America – Chicago’s regional staff, first as a School Operations Manager, and then as its Director of School Leadership. Kevin then transitioned to public school administration as Erie Elementary Charter School’s Director, Operations & Management, leading its finance, facilities, human resources, IT and external affairs functions. Most recently, he oversaw the business and operations of Queen Bee School District 16, a Pre-K through 8th Grade Elementary School District as its Chief School Business Official. His leadership of the district’s restructuring initiative resulted in the construction of new educational facilities, the improvement of its financial profile, the reduction of local property taxes, and the charting of a new course of organizational efficiency and sustainability.

Kevin graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with a B.A. in Finance and Economics. He earned his M.A. in Teaching from Dominican University and his Chief School Business Official endorsement through the Northern Illinois University & IASBO School Business Management program.

Diana Castaneda

Talent Acquisition Coordinator

Diana began her career 14 years ago in Dallas ISD, as one of the nation’s most prominent and forward-looking school districts. During her time in education, she led various initiatives such as international teacher recruitment, teacher residency programs, university partnerships and large-scale hiring events. She also managed the efforts of building a robust teacher pool with over 10,000 prospective teachers, and heavily participated as one of the district’s spokespersons regarding teacher recruitment.

She is responsible for screening and selecting highly qualified educators in taking the journey of becoming tutors for the organization.

She is highly dedicated to promoting student success and helping educators elevate learning to meet common goals. She currently resides in Dallas, Texas and her BSBA is in Human Resources Management.

Gabriel Sanchez Ramiro

Manager of Recruitment
Gabriel Sanchez Ramiro currently serves as the Manager of Recruitment for OnYourMark. He is responsible for bringing in all the necessary talent our students need to succeed, providing engagement and communication during the process. Before joining OnYourMark, Gabriel served in Teacher Recruitment for the second largest District in Texas, ensuring that more than 140,000 students had access to the best talent, especially those that needed it the most, the ACE campuses. Gabriel began his career as a coach and a teacher back in 1993 in Spain, from where he is natural. Relocated to DFW seven years ago, he has made North Texas home. Gabriel obtained his bachelor’s degree in Education from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain).

Shauntia Schweigart

Senior Director of Talent

Shauntia Schweigart currently serves as the Senior Director of Talent for OnYourMark.
She is responsible building and scaling OnYourMark’s talent work; with a particular focus on developing systems for recruiting hundreds of tutors annually.

Before joining OnYourMark, Shauntia worked for the largest public charter school in the Dallas/Fort Worth region. As the Director of Talent Pipelines and Partnerships, she co-led the districts talent efforts along with building and sustaining talent partnerships in effort to grow teacher pipelines.

Shauntia began her career in education 8 years ago as an advisor for a K-8 innovation school before relocating to Dallas, Texas, where she currently resides. Shauntia obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Central Missouri and M.Sc from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Vince Gay

Managing Director of Business Development

Vince joins On Your Mark as a seasoned educator, with a wealth of experiences in a variety of educational settings. For two decades, he devoted himself to nurturing the potential of his students, demonstrating that education is not just about transmitting knowledge, but also about nurturing curiosity and critical thinking.

While working at Noble Schools, Vince served on the school leadership team and was later promoted to the Founding Principal role. In 2013, Vince founded Baker College Prep on the southside of Chicago and led the school from the inaugural group of freshman until the school was fully scaled with grades 9-12. After leaving Baker, Vince went on to lead Golder College Prep and helped to spearhead student culture and climate initiatives.

Prior to joining On Your Mark, Vince most recently served as the Managing Director, Partner Success at Relay Graduate School of Education. During his time at Relay, Vince was tasked with managing and growing partnerships for Relay throughout the Midwest.

Vince graduated from Temple University, with a degree in Secondary Education. He also has a Master’s degree in School Leadership from Montclair State University.

Tajalli Horvat

Head of Growth

Tajalli brings to OnYourMark a wealth of experience in education, with over 25 years of expertise in growing and scaling K-12 educational companies. As the first employee hired at Galileo Learning, Tajalli played an instrumental role in creating one of the nation’s largest providers of summer STEAM enrichment programs, positively impacting the lives of over 600,000 kids and 10,000 staff members.

Most recently, Tajalli served as the Senior Vice President of Operations & Growth, leading the company’s expansion from 1 location to 70 across six metro markets. Throughout her tenure, she held various positions, overseeing key aspects such as go-to-market strategy, program development, field operations, curriculum development, customer success, training, and talent management. Tajalli also led business development teams, forging partnerships with over 400 K-12 schools nationwide.

Tajalli is widely recognized as a cultural torch-bearer and a servant leader. Her dedication and contributions played a crucial role in Galileo Learning being recognized as the “#1 Best Place to Work in the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Business Times and as one of Inc. magazine’s “50 Best Companies to Work For.”

Before her time at Galileo, Tajalli served as the Marketing Manager and Senior Director for SCORE! Educational Centers, where she launched and managed tutoring centers across Chicagoland, fostering a love of learning while improving students’ math and reading skills.

Tajalli holds a BA in Spanish and Business from the University of Southern California. She also volunteers her time as the founding Director of Partnerships, bringing TEDx to her community for the first time.

Melita Burton

Early Literacy Tutor Coach

Melita is an Early Literacy Tutor Coach with On Your Mark. Using coaching practices, she supports and assists tutors in the preparation and delivery of instruction to students. In addition, she collaborates with other teams to further the growth of On Your Mark.

Melita has always been an advocate for the importance of early childhood education. In fact, she founded and directed a Pre-k program in her community that helped serve over 200 students in its years of existence.

Prior to her time working with preschool, she also served as a former special education teacher and as a residential treatment counselor for special needs children. Melita holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in special education.

Christina Chester

Director of Coaching

Christina currently serves as Director of Coaching for OnYourMark Education. She is responsible for the planning and implementation of the OnYourMark tutor coaching framework within the program team. She is the primary lead of all coaching and PDs to increase student achievement by improving the efficacy of coaches and tutor development around the science of reading and effective teaching strategies. Christina is driven by making sure that coaches and tutors are supported, knowledgeable, and utilize effective practices to ensure that every day and minute of student learning is maximized.

Before joining OnYourMark, Christina was an Assistant Professor of Practice for Relay Graduate School (Chicago Campus), where she coached, supported, and taught multiple cohorts of 1st and 2nd-year teachers across the Chicagoland area for the past 4 years.

Christina began her career in education in Chicago in many different capacities such as an Early Childhood teacher, mentor teacher for preservice as well as 1st-year teachers, teacher coach, and leadership roles in Chicago Public Schools for many years. Christina obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Governor’s State University, teaching certification in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois-Chicago, ESL endorsement from Roosevelt University, and Masters of Education in Urban Education from National Louis University-Chicago.

Dawn Craan

Early Literacy Tutor Coach

Dawn is an Early Literacy Coach with OnYourMark. Using coaching practices, she supports and assists tutors in the preparation and delivery of instruction to students. In addition, she collaborates with other teams to further the growth of OnYourMark.

Before joining OnYourMark, Dawn worked with Reading In Motion, a nonprofit literacy organization, as an Extra Dosage Instructor. She primarily worked with 1st grade students in small groups using a science of reading based curriculum. She also worked for Kids Like Us, a nonprofit literacy organization, that worked with administrators, teachers, librarians, and volunteers to get high quality, culturally relevant texts into the hands of students.

Dawn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in Child Development.

Darla Davert

Early Literacy Tutor Coach

Darla is an Early Literacy Tutor Coach with OnYourMark. Using coaching practices, she supports and assists tutors in the preparation and delivery of instruction to students

Before joining OnYourMark, Darla taught second through fifth grades for 30-plus years. Darla received her Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Elementary Education, and minors in English/Language Arts and Mathematics from Oakland University. She received her Masters in the Art of Teaching Degree in Reading/Language Arts from Oakland University.

Darla began her teaching career in Birmingham, Michigan teaching Special Education. Two years later, Darla continued her teaching career in the Brandon School District in Ortonville, Michigan for the next thirty years! During her tenure, she coached and supervised several student teachers and was a mentor for new teachers. Last year, Darla joined OnYourMark as a tutor helping students acquire foundational reading skills to become lifelong learners and readers.

Joan James

Early Literacy Tutor Coach

Joan is an Early Literacy Coach with OnYourMark. Using coaching practices, she supports and assists tutors in the preparation and delivery of instruction for students. In addition, she collaborates with other teams to further the growth of OnYourMark.

Joan is a former OnYourMark tutor and is a committed advocate, dedicated to making academic progress accessible to all learners. Her background is as an Elementary Interventionist, providing 18 years of RTI services Pre-K-5th grade, using countless research based and Science of Reading resources. Joan served instructional groups ranging from 504 and IEP accommodations to enrichment. In addition, is an experienced benchmark assessor. Through her career Joan enjoyed piloting new programs such as Jumpstart to Kindergarten which provided Foundational Literacy to rising kindergarteners, served on a district Professional Development Steering Team, facilitated a Rosetta Stone program, and served as a Focused Reading 3rd Grade Guarantee tutor.

Joan served as an Instructor as well as a director for the National Inventors Hall of Fame Camp Invention STEM camp for many years and prior to education worked in management for specialty retailers and for The Walt Disney Corporation.

Dana Garth

Early Literacy Tutor Coach

Dana Garth serves as an Early Literacy Tutor Coach at OnYourMark, where she utilizes coaching practices to empower tutors in crafting and delivering impactful reading instruction for students. Her collaborative spirit extends to working closely with various teams to enhance the overall growth and success of OnYourMark.

Drawing from her background as a former elementary educator, professional development facilitator, and coach, Dana brings over a decade of expertise to her role. Her unwavering passion for the science of reading and effective instructional methods has fueled her dedication to supporting both students and educators throughout her career.

In her previous role as a facilitator and coach for an evidence-based reading curriculum company, Dana played a pivotal role in advancing the professional development of K-3 educators. Through engaging workshops, she illuminated comprehensive strategies for teaching all facets of reading, with a particular emphasis on foundational skills. Dana’s approach involved modeling lessons, conducting observations, and providing coaching to educators of all levels, showcasing her commitment to fostering excellence in reading education.

Michelle Keen

Manager of Program Operations

Michelle is the Manager of Program Operations at OnYourMark. She is responsible for managing the systems required for the Program Team’s successful program launch, and providing ongoing support for tutors and students, including the oversight of substitute management.

Michelle is an advocate for advancing educational equity and has held various positions that ensure students receive the foundational reading skills they need to excel. Prior to joining the Program Team, Michelle was the Coordinator of School Operations and an Early Literacy Tutor at OnYourMark.

Before joining OnYourMark, Michelle worked as a Health and Safety Coordinator, Lead Elementary Teacher, and Teaching Assistant for an independent PK-8 school in Chicago, Illinois. As a Health and Safety Coordinator, Michelle managed the school’s COVID-19 response by designing and implementing new information management processes, drafting procedures, and verifying compliance with health regulations.

Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Elementary Teaching & Education from DePaul University.

Karina Lepeley

Early Literacy Tutor Coach

Karina Lepeley is an Early Literacy Coach with OnYourMark Education. She started out as a OYM tutor in 2022 and was so excited about it that she wanted to join the team! Using coaching practices, she supports and assists tutors in preparing and delivering instruction to students. In addition, she collaborates with other teams to further the growth of OYM.

Karina has ten years of experience coaching educators in early literacy instruction. Eight years were spent in brick and mortar schools in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Wisconsin coaching both Spanish and English early literacy and now two years coaching virtually with on OYM. Her coaching style is heavily influenced by her training in holistic wellness as a yoga teacher, Alexander Technique instructor, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Holistic Health.

While completing her undergraduate degree, Karina worked as an exercise physiology research assistant. She co-authored the study, Airway Function during Exercise in Asthmatics is Homogeneous Despite Heterogeneous Airway Function Prior to Exercise. Karina also completed her own research to study the effects of the Alexander Technique on exercise function thanks to a research grant from the Vermont Genetics Network.

Karina believes anyone can learn anything with the right tools and the right knowledge of self, no matter their age.

Allin Montford

Coordinator of Program Operations

Allin brings his passion for process refinement, clear documentation, and empowering others to the School Operations team at OnYourMark. He has a proven track record of enhancing the capability of his colleagues by providing them with the resources they need to be successful.

Before joining OnYourMark, Allin worked as the Program Manager: Learning & Development for a staffing company. His work included: developing the company’s first formal new employee onboarding process, acting as a leader of the culture committee and aiding efforts to strengthen the company’s virtual community of employees, and enacting documentation standards across all verticals within the organization.

Allin has a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Education from Bethel University.

Jamie Thomas

Senior Director of Program

Jamie is the Founding Senior Director of Program with OnYourMark. She leads the program team by training and supporting Early Literacy Fellows and Coaches in addition to helping to launch and support OnYourMark’s tutoring programs in partner schools with K-2 students and staff.

Jamie is drawn to entrepreneurial work in education. Her passion is ensuring that all students have access to the foundational skills that are based on the science of reading and necessary to be proficient readers.

Jamie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Development: Language and Literacy. She has been a classroom teacher, founder and Director of an Early Childhood program that supports a school network and surrounding community, helped launch a second Early Childhood program focused on early language development, and coached classroom teachers in early literacy based on the science of reading.

Catherine Tierney

Head of Product and Program

Catherine serves as Head of Product and Program at OnYourMark. She brings 15 years of experience at the interface of instruction and technology to her role. She began her career as a high-dosage tutor at Match Education in Boston and learned firsthand the impact consistent tutoring can have on student outcomes. After several years teaching middle school science at KIPP in Atlanta, she joined ThinkCERCA, an ed-tech start up focusing on teaching critical thinking and argumentative writing. Most recently, she was at Beyond12 where she helped scale the organization’s college coach offerings by implementing AI and overseeing curriculum strategy for the mobile app. She is driven by the belief that technology can help scale impactful solutions and lead to a more just world.

Catherine holds a master’s degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Originally from New York, Catherine now lives in the Bay Area with her wife and two kids. She spends as much time as possible outdoors except when she stays inside for extensive cooking projects. 

Ali Rotello

Partner Success Manager

Ali currently serves as the Partner Success Manager at OnYourMark. Her role involves collaborating directly with teachers and school leaders to successfully implement OnYourMark’s vision for early literacy education.

Before becoming part of the OYM team, Ali served as a Customer Success Manager at 2U. In this capacity, she collaborated with various universities, ensuring their short-course tech bootcamps were functioning at a highly effective level. Ali played a crucial role in empowering instructional staff to take ownership of their classrooms, establish dynamic learning environments and cultivate meaningful connections with students. Ali began her career in education in Rockford, IL, before relocating to her home in Chicago. During her tenure as a teacher, she taught middle school and high school math and took on the role of Grade Level Lead at a Noble Charter School.

Ali holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics.

Aaron Schlessman

Senior Director of Partnerships

Aaron joins OnYourMark with nearly 20 years of training and education experience – initially at a global capacity with the United States Navy followed by a decade of public education in Chicago (Noble Network of Charter Schools).

As a classroom teacher, department chair, and assistant principal, Aaron served across all four high school grade levels (9-12), his primary instructional focus aimed at developing and teaching ELA-oriented curriculum. Within this work, his efforts were always heavily informed by social justice underpinnings and the belief that equitable education lives in achieving the best possible outcomes for every single student.

Aaron has his Bachelor’s Degree in Justice Studies and Sociology and Master’s Degree in Educational Policy, Organization, and Leadership (EPOL). He is currently an EPOL Doctoral Candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focus revolves around diversity and equity in education.

Jen Vazquez

Partner Success Manager

Jen Vazquez joins OnYourMark with 13 years of classroom experience. She worked in and around the Chicago area for her entire teaching career. Her experience is at the Noble Schools as well as at Dominican University, Lewis University, and a couple of community colleges.

While at Noble, Jen was named a Distinguished Teacher in 2020 for her efforts both in and outside of the classroom. She also functioned as the National Honor Society coordinator, Summer of a Lifetime Coordinator, Advisory Coordinator, Subject Facilitator, and Heritage Committee Member consistently throughout her 10 year tenure, and both Night and Summer School Principal at different points throughout her tenure. At the Network level, she also was a part of the Instructional PD Team, the Diverse Leaders Cohort 3, the Management Accelerator Cohort 1 and 2, and the Instructional Core Design Team. As such, she was able to work with 9th-12th grade students and teachers on her campus and with a variety of instructors across the Network to help achieve equitable outcomes for all students. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Award for Excellence In and Out of the Classroom from Relay GSE in 2018 and was a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching Nominee in 2015.

Jen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Print Journalism and Creative Writing from Lewis University. She has a Master’s Degree in Writing from DePaul University, and she has a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education with a focus in ELA from Relay GSE. She is excited to join OYM and help close the literacy gap!

Liana Branch

Partner Success Manager

Liana currently serves as a Partner Success Manager for OnYourMark. In this role, Liana applies her passion for student success by focusing on building school and district partnerships to ensure that OYM’s high impact virtual tutoring provides foundational literacy skills to at-risk students.

Prior to joining the OYM team in 2024, Liana served as a School Support Account Manager for MobyMax, an edtech curriculum company focusing on closing student learning gaps with adaptive learning. In this role, Liana was a diverse team member contributing to increased usage and product adoption by providing high level service and serving on a variety of teams including School Support and Success, Renewals, and Sales. Before Liana’s transition out of the classroom, she served as an Elementary Educator for six years with experience in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade.

Liana holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. Outside of Liana’s role with OYM, she volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster care children. With a collective experience of 10 years in education and a heart for student growth and well-being, Liana is committed to supporting students in becoming lifelong readers.