Sarah Hemminger – Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Sarah Hemminger co-founded Thread with her husband Ryan Hemminger in 2004. She has eleven years of experience in nonprofit management and expertise in the development, expansion, and replication of innovative, paradigm-shifting models of mentoring. Sarah has a deep understanding of the challenges that face students in successfully completing high school and accessing higher education, as well as the potential for students and volunteers to change not only their own lives but also create a positive and lasting impact on those around them. Sarah was awarded fellowships from Ashoka, Echoing Green Foundation, Open Society Institute, and the Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program, which support social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. In 2010, Sarah received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University for her work on the role of the cerebellum and the primary motor cortex on the time scales of consolidation of motor memory. She received the prestigious Siebel Scholars Award for outstanding work in the field of technology and engineering. Her research was published in the Journal of NeuroscienceJournal of Neurophysiology, and Cerebral Cortex and she has lectured internationally on her work. She received her undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 2002, and prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked as an engineer for Medtronic XOMED. Sarah enjoys ice skating and teaching aerobics.

Marie Brown, Senior Advisor to the CEO

A graduate of Columbia University and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Marie has over 12 years of policy and management experience at the White House, Treasury Department, and the World Bank. An expert in poverty alleviation and development issues, she is committed to using her skills to strengthen and grow Thread. Prior to joining Thread, Marie worked in Risk Management at the World Bank, the largest provider of multilateral foreign aid to developing countries. She was a Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council in both the Bush and Obama Administrations, where she advised the President and managed inter-agency teams on security and economic issues in Africa. In addition, she has six years experience as an International Economist at the Treasury Department. As Senior Advisor to the CEO, Marie will advise the CEO and Board on strategic issues and manage cross-cutting projects at Thread.


Nick Greer – Managing Director of Programs

Nick Greer joins Thread with nearly thirteen years experience in urban education, where he worked at several levels to ensure that all students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to pursue any career of their choice.  Most recently, Nick was the Director of Science in Baltimore City Public Schools where he led a team to develop the transition strategy to meet the Next Generation Science Standards.  Prior to that in City Schools he served as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff, as well as an Academic Content Liaison for Science.  Through these district administrative roles he deepened his passion for equitable systemic education reform in Baltimore.  Nick also spent eight years, seven in City Schools, teaching high school biology.  In 2009, he was named the Baltimore City Teacher of the Year.  Nick was also honored to be selected as a 2010-2011 Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the United States Department of Education, where he worked for one year in the Office of the Secretary.  Here he worked on issues related to teacher recruitment and retention, tenure and workforce policies, and the development and implementation of a community of practice for Race to the Top grantees.  He holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an M.A.T. in Secondary Science Education from the University of Pittsburgh.  Nick enjoys spending time with his family, snowboarding, playing soccer, and biking.

Casey Lawson –  Program Coordinator of Academics

After graduating from Wheaton College with a BA in Modern American History, Casey joined the Old town Regional Program in Old Town, Maine as an Educational Technician.  While in this position, he developed relationships, coordinated in the designing of Individualized Education Plans, worked one-on-one within the classroom, and served on the school’s Crisis Intervention Team. At the completion of the 2007 school year, Casey moved on to Boston where he transitioned to the role of Humanities Teacher at Phoenix Charter Academy, a start-up, Charter High School.  Here he was able to foster his love of teaching and education while developing curriculum, serving on the school’s Steering and Hiring Committees, advising students, building community partners, growing the student body, and assisting students in navigating the college and financial application process.  Casey came to Baltimore in 2009 and spent a few years in the corporate world developing education materials and courses for professionals in the mortgage lending industry.  He then attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Education where he received his MSEd in Educational Studies and Leadership for School, Family, and Community Collaboration for School Improvement.  Through his course work and research he was able to focus his passion for education toward community engagement and creating investment beyond the school.  In addition to his passion for education, students, and building community partnerships, Casey has a deep love of the mountains and the outdoors and is continually looking to share learning experiences in nature with students and community partners.

Amber Earl – Senior Director of Volunteer Engagement

After graduating with her Bachelors in Health Science and completing her initial teaching certification in 2009, Amber spent a year with AmeriCorps, finishing her term of service with the nonprofit organization Family Service Society in upstate New York. During her time with FSS, Amber worked with the local Advantage After School Program, Youth Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. This experience fostered a desire to further develop her knowledge, skills and connections to the world of nonprofit organizations, ultimately contributing to her decision to attend graduate school for Community Health Education. While completing her Masters, Amber worked to evaluate and implement a state-wide sustainable health and educational systems change initiative. She found her contributions to this project both incredibly interesting and genuinely rewarding, prompting her to accept a research position with the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in 2012. She spent two years at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center coordinating a clinical trial for women with Schizophrenia, during which time she became a volunteer with Thread. Amber served as a Head of Household and immediately became a dedicated advocate of Thread. Witnessing Thread’s ability to foster dramatic and sustainable change in a child’s life encouraged her decision to join the Thread staff in 2014. In her free time, Amber enjoys outdoor activities with her family, cooking, and trying new local restaurants.


Shawnice Jackson – Post-High School Individualized Support Manager

Shawnice Jackson is a young nonprofit professional committed to building better and stronger pathways to opportunity for underserved and at-risk youth through mentoring, service, and advocacy. Shawnice started her undergraduate career as a Criminology and Social Deviance major at Notre Dame of Maryland University, but transferred to University of Baltimore to pursue her passion for communities and nonprofits as a Human Services Administration major. As a native of East Baltimore, Shawnice’s passion for the success of Baltimore’s youth is personal. She currently serves as a Consultant for the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice and The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions. She also advocates on the national level by actively serving as a Council Member with the National Council of Young Leaders, Advisory Board Member with The Opportunity Youth Network, a Leadership Council Member with The Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund and Opportunity Leader with Opportunity Nation. Prior to joining the Thread family, she has served as a Data Collection Manager with University of Maryland, Project Coordinator for Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents, a Baltimore Ris­ing program, and as Volunteer and Provider Relations Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake. Shawnice was invited to speak at the Corporation for National and Community Service’s 20th anniversary celebration and keynoted the 2014 Service Learning and Civic Engagement Conference. She continues to give of her personal time in support of the well being of young people in her community as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children with CASA Baltimore City and as a volunteer Big Sister. As HR Coordinator, Shawnice leverages her data management, community development, and quantitative research expertise to recruit, develop, and train high quality talent to build “the new social fabric” of Baltimore. Outside of work and advocacy, you can find Shawnice studying in the classroom at University of Baltimore, spending time with family, mentoring her mentees, or cuddling with a book.

Katherine Schmidt – Community Engagement Manager

Katherine is new to the city of Baltimore and is thrilled to be joining the Thread community. While studying American Studies at the University of Richmond, Katherine found her academic home blending social theory with grassroots practice in Richmond’s vibrant communities. She has led civic engagement and social justice programs for students at the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and The New School. She received her Master’s in Liberal Arts from the University of Chicago, where she wrote her thesis on race and public monuments in American cities. She is overjoyed to be a part of Thread’s Engagement Team where she will support outreach, partnerships and Thread events. Katherine believes deeply in the power of doodles, big Sunday dinners, and strong neighborhoods.

Aaryn McCutchan – Senior Site Director, Dunbar-JHU East Baltimore Thread Site

Aaryn McCutchan’s interest in working with urban youth began while growing up in San Francisco. There she saw both the stratification of youth and the need for a holistic approach to increasing opportunity for those who often lacked conventional support systems. Since moving to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins University, where she received her BA in Romance Languages and International Studies and minored in Entrepreneurship and Management, she has worked with a number of programs that emphasize support both within and beyond the classroom. These organizations include Mi Espacio, an organization that helps the Hispanic student population attain academic goals and increase accessibility to health services, and Operation HOPE, which teaches financial literacy in the city’s schools. She has been heavily involved in the university’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity, as President of the chapter. During her tenure, she championed the process of vast reorganization and restructuring to improve the chapter’s capacity and engagement. Aaryn continues to serve on AKPsi Regional Management Team. She received her MA in Teaching from the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University and went on to teach Spanish at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Her time at Dunbar provided her with a strong relationship with the students, teachers and administration and an understanding of the school itself and the larger school system. In her free time, Aaryn enjoys DIY home improvement, traveling and learning new languages.

Brian Nelson – Manager of Data and Research

Brian studied Chemical Engineering and Economics as an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University, but he has since found that his true passion is for the educational and leadership development of young men and women. In 2011, Brian moved to Baltimore as a new Teach for America corps member and taught science for three years in the City Schools. In his time as a teacher, Brian earned an M.S.Ed from the Johns Hopkins University, founded a robotics program at the school at which he was teaching, served as an assistant coach of the basketball team, and served on a committee of teachers and parent volunteers working to develop stronger relationships between teachers and parents through improved communications. Most importantly, Brian developed a much greater understanding of the additional challenges that City students need to overcome to take advantage of college and career opportunities. In the summer of 2013, Brian worked for Teach For America’s Summer Institute in Philadelphia as the Director of Data Management and got a glimpse into how he could combine his passion for education with his analytical background. Now Brian is putting that combination back into action at Thread by using data to improve Thread’s ability to help students achieve their goals. In his free time, Brian enjoys to both watch and play sports of all kinds, hanging out with the youth group at his church, and discussing his favorite TV shows.

Delshan Hanks – Senior Director of Operations 

Delshan is a Baltimore native and strategic finance and operations leader with a track record of success in both the nonprofit human services and for-profit sectors. Delshan, a graduate of Johns Hopkins and Stanford Universities, is passionate about driving internal change efforts and building high functioning teams. Prior to joining Thread, Delshan was the Operations Director at Context Partners where she provided the strategic leadership to negotiate key provisions of a 1.3M contract, built an innovative role-based compensation matrix, and charted the course from break even to over 20% profit in one year while saving the company 360K.  A self-proclaimed fervent supporter and frequent generator of out-of-the box ideas that yield big results, Delshan, as Senior Director of Operations, will build the systems, develop the processes, manage the projects, and execute the game plans—in Finance, HR and IT—that ensure smooth day-to-day operations and allow the Thread team to focus on its larger strategic goals.

Patrick Locklin – Accounting & Operations Associate

Patrick is a dedicated and skilled administrative professional with demonstrated success in accounts payable, general ledger, office administration, and event management. Prior to joining Thread, Patrick was the Office Manager and Full-Charge Bookkeeper at Equality Maryland, Maryland’s largest LGBT civil rights group. As Thread’s Accounting and Operations Associate, Patrick will maintain the organization’s financial books and records and develop and generate financial reports for management, governance, and audit purposes. In addition, He will ensure the smooth running of office operations, including purchasing and management, and execution of the reimbursements processes for both staff and volunteer