Meet the Staff

David Lemmel, Director

David LemmelDavid Lemmel is the director of the Urban Scholars Program. His areas of expertise include alternative education policy, urban education reform, small high school development and replication, and teacher training. In addition to administrative experience, Lemmel brings with him experience in research and college- and graduate-level teaching. His publications and presentations reflect his interest in minority student achievement and in elevating youth perspectives in discussions of school reform. Lemmel earned his BA in American studies at Bard College in New York and his MA and PhD in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles and did post-doctoral work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where he also served as faculty lecturer and research fellow on race, culture, and education. In his most recent professional position, Lemmel's responsibilities included research analysis, evaluation, consultation, and conference facilitation for The BERC Group, LLC. Prior to this, David served as national director, then director of data and evaluation, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Alternative High School Initiative. There, he cultivated a culture of data-driven decision making, created tools to effectively use data to enhance student and school achievement, and developed a set of best practices for implementing small, alternative high schools.

Kevin Dean, Academic Coordinator

Kevin Dean joined Urban Scholars as a humanities teacher in 2011 and served as lead teacher in the 2012 Summer Institute. He is a graduate of Villanova University and spent seven years teaching middle and high school English literature and language in private and public schools at home and international schools abroad. Dean is currently completing his master's degree in educational leadership at Boston College. He believes in the power of education to transform individuals and communities in an effort to bring about a more just and equitable society. Dean sees expanded learning opportunities, experiential learning, and rigorous academics with focused support to be key in preparing students for rewarding, healthy, and successful college and post-collegiate lives.

Suamy Ventura, Program Assistant

Suamy Ventura joined the Urban Scholars Program in April of 2013. She worked with the program as a tutor, tutor supervisor, and a summer counselor while in college. Suamy graduated from UMass Boston with a BA in psychology. She is dedicated to serving talented and gifted students of low socioeconomic backgrounds from several Boston Public Schools in the area. Her love for helping underprivileged students has given her the desire to continue working in the field of education. As a first-generation college bound student, she understands what it takes to be on the right track for a successful college career.

Stephanie Hicks-Williams, Administrative Assistant

StephanieStephanie Hicks-Williams is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. She joined the Urban Scholars staff in July 2007. Her desire to improve the quality of life in her environment resulted in more than 15 years of community service as a political operative and her eventual enrollment in the College of Public and Community Service (CPCS) here at UMass Boston. A recent graduate of CPCS, Hicks-Williams majored in legal education with a concentration in nonprofit management. She serves as the office manager for Urban Scholars. She is a wife and mother of 2 and enjoys spending her free time with her family.