Meet the ES Team

RUTH HAZEL, Executive Director


Formerly the Director of Development and Marketing for Emerging Scholars, Ruth became the executive director upon the retirement of founding executive director, Alvarez LeCesne. A native of northern Virginia, Ruth was a member of the development staff at Flint Hill School (FHS), an ES founding school. She then served as the director of admission, marketing, and financial aid for seven years at FHS and was co-chair of ES's first admission committee. She is a graduate and member of Leadership Fairfax. She has a BA degree from Duke University and a Masters in Business Administration from George Mason University.

TYSUS D. JACKSON, Development Manager

Our newest member, Tysus D. Jackson brings over 15 years of development experience to the ES team! Most recently, Tysus served as the VP for Institutional Advancement for Talladega College where she closed the largest gift in school history. An advocate for underserved children and youth, Tysus began her development career at the Indiana University Foundation. She was a CASE Clarence Jupiter Fellow at Wabash College and spent six years at Virginia Tech. As the Director of Development for the Child Health Advocacy Institute, Tysus led regional, national, and global development activities for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. She is a passionate practitioner and researcher of inclusive and conscious impact philanthropy and her work been published in the International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. Tysus holds a BA from Saint Mary’s College and a MPA from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington.

MO PLAINES, Director of Scholars Advancement


Originally a student of A Better Chance (ABC), Maurice "Coach Mo" Plaines has been involved with independent schools for more than 30 years.  After completing his BA in Secondary Education at Brooklyn College, he interned at Friends Seminary and Fieldston Ethical Culture Schools while pursuing his masters. He spent 12 years as the universally loved and respected Athletic Director for St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School, and also volunteered for fundraising events and other programming at local schools including Landon, Holton-Arms, Georgetown Day, Washington Episcopal and Green Acres. His extensive work with the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference has provided him with an extraordinary network of like-minded educators. Mo's ability to work with students of all ages and backgrounds, in addition to educational professionals and families, makes him an ideal member of the ES faculty. Proficient in Spanish and lax!


ERICA YANCOR, Office Manager

Erica was born and raised in the DMV area. She brings with her over 10 years of experience in supporting senior-level managers. Previously, she worked with the LAYC's (Latin American Youth Center) youth opportunity program, where she was selected by staff to participate in the Transformational Education conference in Los Angeles, California. As the mother of a Cohort 12 scholar, Erica was already an ardent proponent of the ES mission. Furthermore, Erica's passion is to help others accomplish far more than what they ever thought was possible.  "As a mother of two, I understand the importance of helping children reach their highest potential academically at a young age, preparing them to become strong confident leaders. When she's not in the office answering your calls and responding to your emails, you can find her playing defense on the soccer field! 

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LAMECCA COATES, Director of the Scholars Academy


Our newest member of the ES team, LaMecca Coates is a lifelong educator. She brings over 17 years of experience as an administrator and teacher in both independent and public schools. LaMecca has served as an Educational Consultant with Broussard & Coates Consulting for the past five years, helping families navigate the plethora of school options in the DC Metropolitan area. She also serves as an eighth grade team leader, Humanities teacher and student outplacement liaison at the Lowell School in Washington, DC. LaMecca holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics and English, and a Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She earned an additional Master’s from American University in Secondary Education and is an alumnus of Teach for America. Since joining ES, LaMecca relishes her role as the Director of Scholars’ Academy where her passion for educational equity and access guide her pedagogy and relationships with students.


JESSICA LAGER, Marketing & Operations Director


Jessica is a native of the DC Metropolitan area and is a proud alumna of two ES Partner Schools, Westminster School (grades 1-8) and ES founding consortium school, Flint Hill School (grades 9-12). She attributes her love of learning to the remarkable teachers with whom she was privileged to study throughout her academic career, and this motivates her to help ensure that all students have access to inspirational educational professionals. Before coming to ES, Jessica was Managing Director of the James and Paula Coburn Foundation (JPCF) where she became awed and energized by the world-changing power of the non-profit community. She is a dedicated advocate of education, a philomath and a bibliophile. Jessica is grateful to be a member of the Emerging Scholars organization, whose mission is so dear to her heart.


Since 2002, Emerging Scholars has helped more than 200 Scholars Academy graduates earn admission to our dedicated partner schools - over 50 of the best local independent schools!


Kayla Charway (pictured above) is a Cohort 12 Scholars Academy Graduate who currently attends Browne Academy.

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ES Partner Schools

Since being founded in 2002 by a consortium of 7 independent schools, ES has continued to develop committed partnerships with the best schools in the DC Metropolitan area. These  schools work closely with ES, students and their families to provide the support and guidance needed to ensure scholar success. Over 220 of our remarkable Scholars Academy graduates have been accepted to the following independent schools:




ES Governing Board

Emerging Scholars is operated by the Virginia-based 501(c)3 independent non-profit corporation, Emerging Scholars Program, Inc. The governing board is composed of the Head of School, or a designee from the administration, of each founding consortium school; trustees from the governing boards of the consortium schools; as well as local leaders and professionals who are committed advocates of the ES mission. Most board members have dedicated their careers to education and all of the following individuals consistently devote extensive time and resources to ensuring the success of ES:




Chairman and President

President, Erkiletian Development Company




Head of School, Alexandria Country Day School


Vice President

Head of School, Congressional School




Head of School, Browne Academy



President, Houstoun Capital Management, Inc.



Retired Executive Director, Emerging Scholars



Founder, Medical Care for Children Partnerships



Head of School, Burgundy Farm Country Day School


Retired Principal, PricewaterhouseCoopers



Head of School, Green Hedges School



 Counselor, Burgundy Farm Country Day School



Executive Director, Emerging Scholars



Headmaster, Flint Hill School

EDWARD CARRDirector Emeritus

Founder, Emerging Scholars

MORT DUKEHARTDirector Emeritus

Former Head of School, Browne Academy

TOM WHITWORTHDirector Emeritus

Retired Headmaster, Darlington School

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