Meet our team

We are parents, educators, and long-time community organizers committed to uplifting Black parent leadership and the fight for the future of Philly schools.

Our Staff

Shanée Garner
Founding Executive Director
Graduate of West Philly High School

Shanée Garner (she/her) has worked for over 15 years to make public systems more accountable to our communities by crafting compelling messaging, unifying unlikely allies, and building coalitions that are too big to fail. As the former Director of Education Policy for Children First (formerly PCCY), she trained and mobilized hundreds of parents to advocate for fair funding for schools, and supported CF’s expansion into Southeastern PA.

Before founding Lift Every Voice Philly, Shanée served as the Director of Policy and Legislation for Councilmember Helen Gym. She was instrumental in building the coalitions that passed the nation’s strongest “Fair Workweek” law protecting 130,000 service workers and winning crucial renter protections including “Right to Counsel” legislation and the Emergency Housing Protection Act. Her leadership secured the first budget investments for unhoused LGBTQ youth, established the city’s first renter’s defense fund, and restored nurses, counselors, and water hydration stations to Philly schools. Shanée also led coalitions that successfully closed three private youth incarceration facilities with histories of systemic sexual and physical abuse of children. She is a former Philly neighborhood high school teacher and faith-based organizer in Kensington.

Shanée is the co-founder of Chestnut Hill College’s Alumni of Color Collective, serves as an advisory board member of People’s Tech Project and Children Matter Action Fund, and as a board member for the Jubilee School. Shanée is West Philly born and raised, and a proud West Philly high grad (Go Speedboys!).

Louise Jennings
Lead Organizer
Graduate of Germantown High School

Louise Jennings (she/her) is a West Philadelphia native with 30 years of professional experience fighting for public accountability through advocacy and social work. Louise has worked as a certified domestic violence advocate, a Workforce Development Director and previously served as Executive Director of a local non-profit. Louise is passionate about educational equity and is a fierce fighter for equal rights for children with disabilities. She is a proud graduate of Germantown High School and alumna of Chestnut Hill College who has raised five children who attended Philadelphia public schools. Louise lives in Philadelphia with her husband, who is a Philly public school teacher, and her children.

Lydia Robbins
Citywide Organizer

Lydia Robbins (she/her) has been organizing with workers for 15 years across Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. She has built strong committees that have led union elections, organized strikes and negotiated improvements for healthcare workers, patients and their communities. As the Citywide Organizer at Lift Every Voice, Lydia supports parents with race and class privilege to work in solidarity. Lydia is passionate about organizing with parents, caregivers, workers and community members to build a world that reflects their collective dreams for their loved ones and themselves. When she isn’t organizing, she is raising her daughter in West Philadelphia.

Our Advisory Board

Monica Allison
Graduate of Bartram High School

Monica Allison has lived in West Philadelphia her entire life and for more than 20 years has been dedicated to the issues of quality of life for those who live and work in this area.  She is a committee person in the 3rd Ward, co-founder of the community association and RCO Cobbs Creek Neighbors, current CEO of Community Solutions CDC, board member of Ardella’s House, a transitional house for women who return from incarceration, and member of the Community Advisory Board at Netter Center for Community Partnerships. At this time she is the West Philadelphia Coordinator for ParentChild+, an international early literacy and school readiness model which assists parents in increasing parent-child interactions, to support improved development of children’s social-emotional skills. 

Ms. Allison has three main passions in relationship to this city: early childhood education, having been in the family child care education space for over 15 years; senior residents and their quality of life; and formerly incarcerated men and women, who no matter their sentence, suffers the effects of incarceration for a lifetime along with their families.  Monica is a graduate of Bartram High, and continues to advocate for parents and children as it relates to their rights within the School District of Philadelphia.  

Amy Faulring

Amy Faulring is the proud parent of two elementary-aged Philadelphia public school students and long-time organizer for economic, racial and environmental justice. Her current day job includes coaching executive directors and leaders of social change organizations in equitable, sustainable and results-driven management. She has previously led national organizing and electoral campaigns with organizations like and Greenpeace. Amy has been involved in local Philadelphia organizing for nearly a decade, including campaigns to transform school building facilities; increase school budgets; and elect progressive leaders to city and state-wide office. Amy also serves on the board for the Alliance for Youth Action, a national organization that unites young people to strengthen our democracy, fix our economy & fight injustice.

Edurne (Eddie) Irizarry
Graduate of Bodine High School

Edurne (Eddie) Irizarry has 20+ years of experience working in Philadelphia’s nonprofit sector.  Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Philadelphia, she has held positions at leading organizations including the Philadelphia Foundation, Kimmel Center for The Performing Arts, Youth United for Change, Congreso de Latinos Unidos and the Mazzoni Center for LGBTQ Health and Well Being.  Currently, Eddie is Lead for Community Impact at Social Venture Partners Philadelphia, managing all grantmaking and donor learning, utilizing both personal and professional experiences to organize 60+ donors in implementing trust-based philanthropic practices in Philadelphia. 

Eddie is an unapologetic Philly Rican with a love for KPOP, salsa dancing, cursing, eating, drinking and baseball. A traumatized but proud product of Catholic elementary and middle schools and graduate of Bodine High School in Philadelphia, Eddie’s experiences have fostered a deep responsibility to Philadelphia, her hometown, and a deep desire to return dollars stripped from Black and Brown communities back to where and who they belong.  Eddie currently resides in Germantown with her partner, step daughters, her dog Riley and a cat named Huey. 

Dr. DeAndre Jones
Graduate of Bodine High School

With over 16 years of experience, DeAndre Jones is a higher education administrative professional. Committed to completion, DeAndre’s passion is creating educational pathways and opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. During his career he has worked with the gamut of students in higher education at various types of institutions. He believes in the life-changing opportunities provided by post-secondary education completion and that all students should have the exposure and access to these opportunities. DeAndre is currently a political appointee in the Biden-Harris Administration serving at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. He is a graduate of Bodine High School, and holds a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University.

Dr. Christopher McGinley
Graduate of Lincoln High School

Dr. Christopher McGinley has been an activist educator from the earliest days of his tenure when he worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of children with disabilities. His involvement in leadership activities in the School District of Philadelphia led him to become an elementary school principal at Adaire School at the age of 30. While working in Philadelphia, he was promoted to the positions of middle school principal at Austin Meehan, cluster leader, and executive director of leadership development. He was responsible for planning professional development and for preparing new principals. In 1999, Dr. McGinley became the assistant superintendent and then became superintendent in the School District of Cheltenham Township in 2003. He worked with the University of Pennsylvania to establish the Delaware Valley Minority Student Achievement Consortium (Delaware Valley Center for Equity and Excellence), an organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap.

In 2008, Dr. McGinley became the superintendent of Lower Merion School District, a district routinely recognized as one of the top school districts in the nation. Much of Dr. McGinley’s work has focused on issues of advocacy. He concluded his service in Lower Merion in 2014. His work on the achievement gap in Cheltenham and in Lower Merion is a notable example of how he is driven by principle and personal conviction to support access and equity. Dr. McGinley has also been a strong advocate for inclusive practices in special education.

Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad
Graduate of Regional High School

Abdul-Aliy A. Muhammad is a Philadelphia born writer, organizer, and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Co-op. In their work, they often trouble ideas of medical surveillance, bodily autonomy, and Blackness. They have over a decade of nonprofit experience, an understanding of cooperatives, and anti-oppressive praxis that informs all of their work.

Inella Ray
Graduate of The Academy at Palumbo

Inella Ray is the Director of Parent Advocacy & Engagement at Children First. As a Philadelphia native and a proud graduate of Philly schools, Inella understands the power of what happens when we invest in tomorrow’s generation.

Prior to Children First, Inella served as the Director of School Operations at KIPP Lanning Square and has also worked across the education space ranging from out-of-school time programming,  teacher recruitment and youth development. Inella holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and is currently pursuing a Master of Education at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a West Philadelphia native, where she still lives with her partner, and strives to live her life with the joy it deserves!

Dr. Camika Royal
Graduate of Central High School

Dr. Camika Royal is an urban education expert whose work focuses on the intersections of politics, history, and urban school reform. She worked in the public schools of Baltimore City and Washington, D.C., teaching, coaching teachers, and helping to lead a charter high school. Dr. Royal has also worked with various colleges and universities in the Philadelphia and Baltimore regions to teach, coach, and support urban school leaders and teacher educators. 

Dr. Royal is a highly requested speaker, consultant, and professional developer on issues of school-based racism and other forms of oppression through ideologies, policies, and practices. Harvard Education Press published her recently released first book, Not Paved For Us: Black Educators and Public School Reform in Philadelphia, explores the ways racism and racial capitalism squelched school reform efforts over a 50 year period in Philadelphia. Currently, Dr. Royal is an associate professor of Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland. She is a native Philadelphian who graduated from Central High School and then earned her bachelor of arts degree in English Literature at North Carolina Central University, her master of arts in teaching degree at Johns Hopkins University, and her doctor of philosophy in urban education at Temple University.