Meet the SPPN Team

Muneer Karcher-Ramos

(651) 280-2733
 
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Muneer Karcher-Ramos is the director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, where he works with activists and civic leaders to transform urban education and address root causes to education inequities. Muneer specializes in applying community- and culturally-valued approaches to working with communities who have historically been unheard, and often muted, in public programs and policy.
 
Prior to his current role, Muneer was with the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago and Wilder Research. He previously taught in the Social Justice Minor Program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for several years. Muneer serves on Generation Next’s leadership council, and on the boards of Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, ComMUSICation and the Headwaters Foundation for Justice. He is a past Kingston Fellow at the Wilder Foundation and a current fellow at the Cultural Wellness Center. Muneer received his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and his master's degree from the University of Chicago. He lives in the Promise Neighborhood with his wife, Fartun, and sons, Amir and Jibril.
 

Maureen Brazil-Sawyer

(651) 293-8650 or ext: 46518 Jackson Office
(651) 280-2489 Wilder foundation
Maureen Brazil-Sawyer is a School Partnership Coordinator at Jackson Elementary School. Through this role, she serves as the on-the-ground bridge that brings community resources to SPPN partner schools, and ensures the successful implementation of the program opportunities and resources to ensure they are meeting the needs of children and families.
Maureen is a United States Air Force Veteran, and a longtime child and family advocate. For years, she served as a volunteer and tutor for after-school and summer programs Project S.P.I.R.I.T. and Freedom Schools Express for the benefit of students and families from grades Kindergarten through 8th. Nine years of service for Saint Paul Public Schools and CDF Freedom Schools in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She currently serves as Vice President for the newly formed PTSA “The Village” St. Paul PTA Chapter.  She is an active Neighborhood Leadership Alumni (NLP), parent leader, skilled meeting facilitator, life timer reader, and loves to dance in her free time. 
Maureen is mother of two teenagers who attend Highland Park Senior High School and is married to Comedian “Big Will” Sawyer. Born and raised in Chicago, Maureen continues to build a future here and considers Saint Paul 'home.'

Laurine Chang

(651) 744-2918
Laurine Chang is the School Partnership Coordinator at Maxfield Elementary School for the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood and a full-time metaphorical firefighter. Through her role at SPPN, she serves as the on-the-ground bridge that brings community resources to SPPN partner schools, and ensures the successful implementation of the program opportunities and resources to ensure they are meeting the needs of children and families.
Laurine is a Twin Cities grown, Frogtown raised, Hmong-American spoken word poet, writer, and woman. She leverages her bold nature to pilot and take on positions in spaces that challenge society’s cultural and artistic narratives. Her background is nonprofit leadership and management, curriculum development, grant writing and mentorship.
Laurine obtained her Political Science B.A. at the University of Minnesota, and Communications Degree from Saint Paul College. She is the co-founder of Sisterhood Boutique in the West Bank of Minneapolis, a young women’s led social entrepreneur venture that uplifts the voices of youth of color and community’s ownership. She is currently an active lead of Speakers of the Sun, a collective of Asian American activists and spoken word artists in the Twin Cities focused on cultivating artistic voice and providing a space for growth. Laurine hopes to one day be a life coach, motivational speaker, and comedian.

Bile Daad, CPA

651-280-2489
Bile Daad is Senior Accountant for Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood where he oversees the financial operations of the initiative, which has an annual budget of over $3M,  along with partners and subcontractors of schools and community-based nonprofits serving the Frogtown, Rondo, and Summit-University areas of Saint Paul. Bile's areas responsibility include strategic budgeting and planning, financial analysis and reporting, general accounting, business process improvement, internal and external auditing, and grants and contracts management. Bile serves as a member of finance committee of the SPPN Partnership Council. Bile has more than ten years of finance and accounting experience with businesses and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the SPPN, Bile worked as accountant with University of Minnesota's controller office and with the McKnight Foundation finance team. Bile earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting from Ohio State University and is an active CPA with the Minnesota Board of Accountancy. Passionate about financial literacy of the community, Bile provides consulting to small businesses, startups, and nonprofits eager to increase financial access for underserved communities.

Jouapag Lee

jouapag.lee@wilder.org
​(651) 280-2481
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Jouapag Lee is the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood's Results
Accountability Program Manager. She works with researchers and evaluators to collect and analyze data related to partner programs and schools. Using the Results-Based Accountability framework, Jouapag’s goal is to translate program performance data into information that is meaningful for decision-making by partners, parents, policymakers and the partnership board.
 
Jouapag received her bachelor’s in Public Relations from Winona State University and her Masters in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon in Eugene. She previously served as a Board Member with Downtown Languages and a New Sector Alliance Fellow before joining the Promise Neighborhood team. After spending 6 years away from the Twin Cities area pursuing her education, Jouapag has returned home with great excitement and passion to serve the community. She lives in the south Como Park neighborhood with her husband.

Jolene Mason

 
Jolene Mason is a School Partnership Coordinator for the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood’s newest partner school, Benjamin E. Mays Elementary. She serves as the on-the-ground bridge that brings community resources to SPPN partner schools, and ensures the successful implementation of the program opportunities and resources to ensure they are meeting the needs of children and families. Jolene has worked with two of SPPN’s current partners: the Community Stabilization Project for nearly 15 years as an Affordable Housing Community Organizer, and an Organizational Manager and the Cultural Wellness Center for nearly 5 years. Jolene is currently a student at Saint Paul College where she is near completion of her AAS Degree in Entrepreneurship. Jolene is a lifelong resident of Saint Paul’s Summit-University community where she raised her own children. Because this is her home, she is strongly invested in playing a role in ensuring that the integrity, health and vision of her community is withstanding. Jolene is fondly referred to as Mother Nature as a result of the names of her four children Autumn, Summer, Spring and Winter.

MK Nguyen

(651) 280-2478
 
 
MK Nguyen is a program manager at the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood where she develops community-based frameworks in youth organizing, voter engagement, and public policy. Through her work, MK has the privilege of learning about the various ways community members want to revitalize their neighborhood and make a long-lasting impact.
 
MK spent the past eight years engaged in deep community organizing work around racial and economic justice with the League of Young Voters, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth in San Francisco, and the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association in New Orleans. She returned to Saint Paul with an indestructible drive to use her talents alongside others who are committed to transforming the Promise Neighborhood into a vibrant community for all.
 
MK received her bachelor’s degree in Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity at the Saint Catherine University and her master’s degree in Equity and Social Justice in Education from San Francisco State University. She is a proud daughter of Peter and Thanh Nguyen, owners of Ala Francaise Bakery, the first banh mi business in the Twin Cities. She lives two blocks away from where she grew up in the Promise Neighborhood with her husband Thai, their son Stokley, and the family's beloved canines: Tater, Rowley, and Bane.
 

Susan Phillips

 
Susan Phillips is the Associate Director at the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood where she provides strategic and organizational leadership to staff and partners to deliver SPPN's programs and goals. Susan is a social justice activist and collaborative leader committed to participatory processes that engage communities in sustainable solutions. She specializes in experiential education and participatory processes as an experienced facilitator and host.
 
She has worked with homeless and at-risk youth for decades in both Central America and the Twin Cities, and has been a regular trainer in the areas of youth development, harm reduction, trauma-informed care, vicarious trauma and creating communities of practice and healthy workplace environments. Susan founded and stewarded the award-winning StreetWorks initiative, a collaborative of 12 youth serving agencies working together to provide high quality street outreach services to youth in the East Metro and throughout the Twin Cities. Most recently, she expanded Lutheran Social Service's Metro Homeless Youth Program (MHYP) portfolio from shelter and outreach to include three additional transitional housing programs. Susan has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and an M.A. in Leadership Studies. When not engaged in community building projects, Susan is an avid gardener, student of life, and parent of three.
 

Ebony Young

(651) 280-2076
 
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Ebony Young is a Senior Administrative Specialist on the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood team. Ebony began her career working with kids on the east side of Saint Paul with the District Council. Her focus quickly turned to education, as she wanted to support children and youth before they had any interactions with law enforcement. She volunteers at her kids’ schools and with Family Values for Life Back-to-School events.
Ebony earned an associate's degree in arts and an associate's degree in criminal justice from Century College. She is a mother of three who grew up in the Promise Neighborhood and is now raising her family there. Ebony has one child at Gordon Parks High School, one child at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet and one at Benjamin E Mays IB World school. Her children and her community inspire her to work toward dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline that claims too many of our children.
 

 Quick Links

 
 

 More About the Director

 
Muneer Karcher-Ramos became director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood in fall 2013. Learn more about Muneer here.
 

 Our Partners

 
Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood is a community-wide initiative. Learn more about our partners and funders here.