Management Team

Executive Director

Alex has been serving as Executive Director of the ministry since 2013, having previously served as Education Director and Principal of Harambee Christian School. Alex helped found Harambee in 1998, after serving as a volunteer mentor. He has a degree in English and earned his MEd in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University.  In addition to his time at Harambee, he can also be found serving youth at Renegade on Sundays.  Alex is married to Stephanie, and they have three girls, all of whom attend Harambee.  Outside of UC, Alex and his wife also help lead a local home church.

Student & Family Coordinator

Although Mike started his role as Student and Family Engagement Coordinator in 2015, he has been on staff since 2007 and has been a volunteer since the very first days of the ministry in 1989. Mike grew up in the South Linden neighborhood and attended Linden McKinley High School. He has witnessed first-hand the deterioration of the community and has made his life aim helping our young people and their families thrive with God’s help, in an effort to reverse this trend. He is married to Renee, who teaches at Columbus City Schools. He loves to play tennis, cook, and spend time with his three beautiful grandchildren.

Youth Ministry Director

Brandon has been with UC since 2010 and oversees all youth ministry initiatives including Bible studies, mentoring, and camps.  He loves being able to impact students with a similar upbringing as him for Christ. He is newly married to Tyka and enjoys garage sales, record shopping, and playing video games.  He is a graduate of Franklin University and the Devos Urban Leadership Initiative and is currently studying for his Masters at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  He and his wife help lead and mentor youth at UC and in their home church.  For inspiration, he looks to Joseph from the Bible because he was able to overcome many obstacles with God’s help.

Operations Director

Michael has been on staff since 2010 and has a passion for helping others become champions for Columbus’ inner city youth. He oversees development & stewardship, communications, volunteering, and can also be found heading up the 4th & 5th grade ministry at Renegade every Sunday. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and previously worked in development at OSU’s Fisher College of Business and as a coordinator of mentor programs in Columbus City Schools with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  He enjoys reading, trying to exercise, the zombie genre, and finding the best donuts wherever he goes.  Michael is married to Ruth, and they have two daughters who look just like him.

Harambee Christian School Staff

Kindergarten

Jill has been teaching Kindergarten at Harambee since 1998.  She enjoys seeing the amazing academic, spiritual, and behavioral progress the kindergartners make between day one and the end of the year.  She graduated in 1987 with a degree in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University.  She has been married for 29 years and has two daughters, Kathleen and Kristen. She loves to spend Sunday afternoons with her family and go on vacations together.  Her and her husband, John, both became Christians in 1980 and have been home church leaders since the mid 1980’s.

First Grade

Hannah Houston started volunteering at an Urban Concern Bible study in the fall of 2013. She has been working at Harambee since 2013 in many different roles including: ASP teacher, teacher’s aide, and lunch lady. Hannah currently occupies the role of 1st grade teacher where she loves teaching kids about Christ and seeing them grow in confidence as young readers. In 2010 she graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in Sociology. Outside of her work at Harambee, Hannah leads a college Bible study with her husband, Pat, and enjoys reading children’s books in her free time.

Second Grade

Chris serves has Harambee’s Second Grade teacher, having previously taught for many years at Xenos Christian School & Calumet Christian School.  She holds a degree in Special Education, K-12 from The Ohio State University.  Her favorite part about teaching is helping students understand the Bible and impacting their lives for eternity.  Outside of Harambee, she leads a home church and also hosts international students in her home through International Friendships (IFI).  She is married to Doug, and together they have two married sons, two daughter in laws, and one grand baby.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, biking, tennis, camping, and spending time with family and friends.  She is encouraged by Philippians 4:6&7: “Be anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and thanksgiving with supplication let your requests be made known unto the Lord, and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Third Grade

Sherry has been working at Harambee since 2010 and currently serves as Third Grade teacher, having previously served as Administrative Assistant and After School Program Director.  She has a BA in Human Development and MA in Marriage & Family Therapy.  Outside of Harambee, she loves to spend time at home with her husband and five awesome children (many of which attended Harambee), binge watching crime dramas, and reading anything she can get her hands on.  She finds her foundation from scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 and knows God’s promises are true.  Sherry looks forward to seeing her students’ smiling faces every day.

 

Fourth Grade
Fourth Grade

Mike has been teaching Harambee fourth graders since 2015, after serving many years as a volunteer mentor and Bible study leader.  He is excited to be a part of what God is doing in this community and enjoys spending time with students and talking to them about Christ.  He has a degree from The Ohio State University in International Development Studies and a Spanish minor. Outside of Harambee, Mike serves in a college & high school Bible study and enjoys basketball and biking in his free time.  He is enjoying being a newly wed with his wife, Elizabeth.  He is excited and encouraged by the plan God has for our lives as found in Ephesians 2:10.

Fifth Grade
Middle School Math
Michael plays an important role in helping students achieve spiritual and academic growth as Harambee’s Middle School Math teacher.  He holds a degree in Management Information Sciences from Franklin University.  Outside of Harambee, he is involved in home church ministry and volunteers as a conversation partner for International Friendships (IFI), where he also hosts incoming students until they are able to get settled on campus.  He is married to his beautiful wife Melissa and together they have a son, Alexander, and daughter, Marlowe.  One of his favorite stories from the Bible is “The Prodigal Son” because it is an excellent picture of God’s unconditional love and his deep desire to be reconciled to people.
Middle School ELA

Keenan has been serving as Harambee’s Middle School Language Arts teacher since 2011. He enjoys imparting a love of reading and seeing students develop and master skills that will be useful on into high school and beyond.  He has a BA from The Ohio State University and earned his teaching license from Ohio Dominican in 2009.  Outside of Harambee, he and his wife, Rachael, lead a home church together.  They have one son, Cedric, born in 2015.  Keenan loves games of all kinds (board games, video games) and enjoys teaching board and word games to his students.  His students also make fun of him for being a Cleveland Browns fan. In addition to helping students succeed academically, he is most grateful for the opportunity to share the love of Christ with them as found in John 16:33:  “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world!”

 

Middle School History & Bible
Middle School Science
Middle School Science
Sam started working at Harambee in 2015 after serving as a volunteer mentor and Bible study leader for many years.  He loves watching students “turn it around” and make better choices. He graduated from Ohio Dominican University with a degree in Middle Childhood Education (Math and Science concentration).  Outside of Harambee, Sam leads a college & high school bible study.  He comes from a long line of teachers, including his mom who also teaches at the school.  He enjoys watching sports and spending time with his friends in his spare time, and is encouraged by 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Art
Meg has been teaching Art at Harambee since 2000 and overall for 25 years.  She loves interacting with students and helping them unleash their creativity.  She has a BFA in Sculpture from Columbus College of Art & Design and an MA in Christian Education from Ashland Theological Seminary.  She is married and has three kids, all of whom attended Harambee.  Meg is strengthened and encouraged most of all by Psalm 46:  “Be still, and know that I am God.”
Physical Education

Chris serves as Harambee’s Physical Education teacher.  He has a degree in Outdoor Recreation from Calvin College and a WFR (Wilderness First Responder) from Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities.  His favorite part about working at Harambee is the camaraderie amongst staff and his relationships with the students.  Outside of teaching, Chris has over 10 years of involvement with Back2Back Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico, working in orphan care.  He and his wife Julie have 4 kids, 2 biological and 2 adopted.  He loves that God delights in using broken people to do amazing things, as demonstrated by many of the Old Testament heroes.

Teacher Aide

Christa serves as Teacher Aide in the Kindergarten classroom.  She enjoys working at Harambee because it combines her passions for human development, missions, and prayer.  She is educated in veterinary medicine and previously served as an oversees missionary and educator.  She is married and has three kids, one of which serves alongside her in Harambee’s After School Program.  She shares the students’ love for spicy foods like Hot Fries.

 

Teacher Aide

Ari has been serving as the second grade teacher’s aide since 2015. She loves being able to see Harambee students understand God’s character from a young age and to help them gain a vision for their lives serving Christ. She holds a degree in International Studies with a specialization in Development from The Ohio State University. Outside of Harambee Ari leads a high school Bible study on Columbus’ East side, which she hopes will be a spiritual home for Harambee graduates as they enter high school.  In her free time, she likes to read, go on walks, and hang out with friends. A verse that reminds her of her ministry at the school is Philippians 1:3-5, where the Apostle Paul thanks God for the Philippian church because of their “participation in the gospel.”  Ari feels privileged to get to participate in the gospel alongside our students and to work at Harambee!

Teacher Aide
Teacher Aide & ASP Staff

Derek has been working as a Teachers Aide and ASP Teacher at Harambee since 2016.  He enjoys helping students understand they can achieve academically and spiritually, and that these areas are not mutually exclusive!  He is currently finishing his undergrad in Early Childhood Studies at The Ohio State University and intends also to complete a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences.  In his spare time he enjoys weight lifting, football and leading a home church with his wife.  He takes encouragement from Psalms 73:26: “My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Teacher Aide
Librarian

 

Mary Beth has severed as Librarian at Harambee since 1997 when the school first opened.  She loves the challenge of getting students excited about reading and also loves reading with them aloud.  She holds a BA from Miami University.  Outside of Harambee she has served as a home church leader and Bible teacher since 1983.  She has been married for 40 years and has three kids & four grandsons.  In her free time she is an avid birdwatched and loves to exercise.  Mary Beth says that that working at Harambee and being a small part of the ministry has been one of the greatest joys of her life.

 

Admin. Assistant
Tyka serves Harambee in a variety of ways as the school’s Administrative Assistant, having previously served as a volunteer mentor and Bible study leader.  She has a degree in English, Pre-Education from The Ohio State University.  She is passionate about helping students achieve academic success and grow in their understanding of God’s love, plan, and provision for their lives.  Outside of her job she helps lead an adult Bible study with her husband, Brandon and a middle school girls Bible study.  In her free time she enjoys reading books and crafting.  She is amazed by how powerful God is as demonstrated by the creation account in Genesis 1-2 and is also encouraged by the miracles God performs through the Prophet Elijah in the Old Testament.
Receptionist
ASP Director
ASP Staff