Launch Board of Trustees
Our board is an organized group of volunteers who, collectively, are legally and morally accountable to the Launch community for the health, vitality, and effectiveness of our school. The board plays a pivotal role in ensuring the Launch realizes its potential as an excellent school.
Board President—CEO, Harber Advisors, LLC; Chairman, NYU Edtech Accelerator
Mr. Harber has been working in the field of education for over twenty years and is the founder of four award-winning education software companies and the former CEO of Pearson K-12 Technology. He is the founding board chair of the school and served on the board of NYC Outward Bound Schools for ten years.
Board Member—Director of Technology Business Operations - 2U
Melanie Dukes brings over 15 years of experience in organizational change, building innovative programs and processes across a variety of sectors including finance, education and technology. She believes strongly in social justice and is dedicated to removing barriers to equity in education so all people are empowered to pursue their own path to success. Currently, Melanie serves as the Director of Technology Business Operations for 2U - an organization that partners with universities to digitally transform their educational offerings. Melanie received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech where she was a hurdler on the track & field team, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She is working towards an MA in Education Technology at NYU.
Marcia Ward Mitchell
Board Member—The Depository and Trust Clearing Company (DTCC) 1997-2012
Marcia was a Supervisor of Internal Security/ Technical Support and Training Coordinator Lead Specialist and GE Picture Perfect Certified Pass Administrator. As a parent of 2 daughter's, one of which has special needs, it is my mission to ensure that not only my children, but all children receive a high quality all-inclusive enriched education. Being a Board member at Launch gives me the opportunity to give back to my community which has been undeserved for far too long. More importantly, I will be a part of an organization that cares deeply about the education of young scholars as well as addressing the systemic issues such as racism and equity that exist in our communities.
Board Member—Vice President Global Consumer Services, American Express
Mr. Lirette brings years of experience in strategy, marketing and business development, as well as a strong finance background. Mr. Lirette previously founded the custom apparel social venture, 141 industries, which paired each purchase with a donation of uniform shirts to underserved youth in the US, including at KIPP Charter Schools and the Boys and Girls Club. He is a graduate of Tufts and Stanford Business School.
Board Secretary—Associate, Ropes and Gray LLP
Mr. Hazelwood is a graduate of Boston College, where he majored in Elementary Education, and Georgetown Law. Before beginning his work as an attorney at Skadden, Blackrock and Ropes and Gray, Mr. Hazelwood was a teacher at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts.
Rebecca van de Sande
Board Member —Senior Design and Branding Executive
Rebecca is a senior design and branding executive with over 15+ years of experience in real estate development, hospitality, architectural design, branding and business development. Rebecca is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and of Hunter College.
Board Member—President, NYC Outward Bound Schools
Mr. Stopol was appointed to his position in 1989, and, during his tenure, NYC Outward Bound Schools has directly served and touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of students in New York City. He previously served as a program director at the Fund for the City of New York, specializing in issues affecting children and youth. An attorney, Mr. Stopol earned a JD from New York University’s School of Law. He graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a trained facilitator and a published writer.
Board Member—Co-Founder of Flocabulary (acquired)
Alex Rappaport is an entrepreneur, advisor and board member focused on education and social enterprise. As co-founder and CEO of Flocabulary, Alex built a widely-adopted digital learning platform that reaches millions of students. In 2019, he led Flocabulary's acquisition by Nearpod. He has shared the Flocabulary story around the world and is a mentor and advisor to entrepreneurs at all stages of growth. Alex studied music at Tufts University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.
Board Member—Associate Director at Save Our Streets Bed-Stuy
Shadoe is Associate Director of Save Our Streets Bed-Stuy, part of the Center for Court Innovation, working to end gun violence in Central Brooklyn. Previously, Shadoe worked in Global Philanthropy at Bloomberg and in the Community Affairs Unit in the Office of the Mayor. Shadoe is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and a proud Brooklynite.
Board Member—Consultant, Butler Capital Partners
Ms. Lemerond brings over 15 years of experience in the finance field to Launch, having worked at Lehman Brothers, The Carlyle Group and Accipiter Capital. Ms. Lemerond also serves as Treasurer of the Board at Engineering World Health and Co-President of Kids' B.A.S.E. & The Little School. She is a graduate of Cornell University where she was a Cornell Tradition Fellow.