Robert Clark

Founder and Executive Director

Robert Clark is the first YouthBuild graduate to establish a YouthBuild program. He has over 22 years of experience in youth development and providing technical assistance to other YouthBuild programs. As a result of his expertise, he has consulted with Newark Public Schools on a long-term strategy for alternative education and comprehensive high schools that can appropriately meet nontraditional students’ needs. He is committed to designing strategies to engage opportunity youth inside and outside of public schools and re-orienting public sector systems to optimize community structures’ capacity to improve youth outcomes.


SanDonna Jones

Deputy Executive Director

SanDonna Jones has 19 years of organizational development, strategic planning and resource development experience. She previously served as YBN’s Director of Grants and Administration. Prior to joining YBN, SanDonna was the Principal of SBJ Consulting and provided expertise in the areas of resource development, organizational assessment, board development, and strategic planning to various nonprofit organizations. She has held roles at reputable entities such as the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Newark Community Development Network, and the Regional Plan Association. She has certifications from the Columbia School of Business Institute for Non-Profit Management, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute, and the Harvard Institute on Affordable Housing. SanDonna is a Leadership New Jersey Fellow (1998), serves on the executive committee of the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute, is a Newark Youth Investment Council Member, and a Newark Youth Policy Board Member. She is a member of the 2014-2015 Support Center Trajectory Leadership Group.


Travis Reid

Chief Operating Officer

Prior to joining YBN, Travis served as the Newark Public Schools’ Director of External Relations and COO of the Newark Workforce Investment Board. He is concurrently an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA). Travis has a Master of Public Administration, is a National Urban Fellow, and holds certifications in Non-Profit Leadership and Public Performance Management from the RUN Business School and RUN SPAA, respectively.


Jimmy Green

Director of Performance Measurement and Assessment

While a Senior Analyst for Newark Public Schools, Jimmy fulfilled several critical functions, including analyzing information for approximately 36,000 students, formulating hypotheses around student achievement, surfacing key policy questions based on underlying data, leveraging data and various databases to drive improvements, and conducting complex exploratory analyses to extract new insights and year-over-year data patterns. Jimmy previously served as the Director of Performance Management at Domus Kids in Connecticut where he directed all analytic projects and processes for the agency. He has a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Performance Improvement.


Llesenis Soto

Director of Education

Llesenis has over 15 years of experience in youth development, program design, and program management. She has served as a Youth Development Specialist, Program Supervisor, and Senior Program Director, specifically serving in-school and out-of-school youth, and has a Master of Education from Mercy College. Llesenis ensures YBN’s partner schools Newark Leadership Academy and Fast Track Success Academy implement effective youth development practices, oversees professional development programming for YBN and transfer school staff, and ensures the three sites in achieving key benchmarks.

Program Staff

Mustafa Abdus-Salaam
Advocate Counselor
Carlyle Adams
Advocate Counselor
Zuzana Bracok
Academic Coordinator
Akintola Hanif
Resident Documentarian
Terry Lang
Senior Vocational Instructor
Michael Mackason
Senior Vocational Instructor
Hakiem McCurdy
Construction Intern
Gloria Randleman
Graduate Assistant
Noleem Smith
Vocational Instructor

Administrative Staff

Michael Alba
Accounting Manager
L’Tonya Bennett
Office Manager
Naima Briscoe
Development and Communications Manager

Newark Leadership Academy Staff

Darrell Price
Director of Climate and Culture
Omarr McAfee
Advocate Counselor
Alia Berry
Advocate Counselor
Larry Jones
Advocate Counselor

UPLIFT Academy Staff

Gisele Bartley
Advocate Counselor
Adrienne Gillespie
Advocate Counselor
Darrin “Khalil” Odom
Director of Operations

YouthBuild Newark is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/ Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sexual orientation, national origin, or sex. YouthBuild Newark is. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.