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Staff


Teresa Bunner
Teresa Bunner
is the Academic Support Specialist for BRMA. She joined the staff team in 2011 and loves working with young people of all ages. Her greatest passion is helping students learn to love learning, especially reading.

Teresa was born in South Carolina, but moved all over the U.S. as a child. She was a classroom teacher and reading specialist for 17 years in California before moving to North Carolina with her family 3 years ago. She has had the privilege of teaching elementary, middle, high school, and university-level classes. When she is not working with BRMA, she is probably driving one of her four boys to a sports practice or game, where she always has a book with her to read. She is married to Don and is the very proud mom of Nathaniel, Colin, Ian, and Devin.


 
Lorie Clark
Lorie Clark has been the high school specialist for BRMA since January 2002. She is also the service advisor to the Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute, and MSAN. She believes the work she does with the program is her life's work. What she finds most rewarding is being able to provide opportunities for high school students and seeing students flourish, grow, and live to their potential.

Lorie was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Chapel Hill High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1981 from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Lorie worked in commercial and public broadcasting for over 15 years. Lorie has served on several boards including The Women's Center of Chapel Hill, Teens Climb High Advisory Board, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, and the Board of Christian Education at First Baptist Church. She enjoys photography and traveling, and being a mom to her sons Landon and Jamaal. Lorie is a mentor to Mayte Rodas.
 

 
Granvel Johnson
is the New Match Support Specialist for BRMA. Prior to joining the team, he served in leadership
and
supportive roles with mentoring organizations in Durham, Raleigh, and Los Angeles. He is interested in helping individuals increase their capacity to embrace life’s opportunities, which he believes is essential to success in every area of life. His motto is, “It might not be our fault that it is broken, but it is definitely our responsibility to help repair it.” There is no other way he wishes to spend his life than working in the field of youth advocacy.
 
Although he is a native of Los Angeles, his heart now belongs to North Carolina. Granvel says, “The Triangle has the best of everything... great cultural opportunities, a world-class educational system, and unspoiled natural beauty.” Before moving to NC in 2007, he worked in information technology for twenty years. He earned a B.A. degree from Vanguard University of Southern CA, and is completing an M.Div. degree at Duke University. He is a published author, and he enjoys photography and nature hikes.
 


Carla Smith
Carla Smith
is the Parent Involvement Specialist for Parent University. Carla's passion is education; it's not just her career. Prior to joining the team at BRMA, she has been a parent advocate, school administrator, and teacher.

A native of Salisbury, North Carolina, she received her B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill; Middle Grades Teaching Certification from Catawba College; and a Masters in School Administration from UNC-Charlotte. A North Carolina certified school administrator and classroom teacher with nearly 19 years experience in public school education and parental education/training, she plans to complete a Doctorate in Education with a focus on providing multicultural/diversity training for parents and school staff with the goal of improving home-school relationships and the education of African-American males.

Carla considers parenting her most challenging and awarding venture. Carla and her husband Johnny are the parents of two young men, Jonathan and Cameron.



Charlissa Copeland is a NC Literacy Corps/AmeriCorps member, serving with Blue Ribbon Mentor- Advocate during the 2014-2015 school year. Charlissa is the High School Tutorial and Enrichment Coordinator and will work with Youth Leadership Institute students as well as coordinate BRMA student participation during evening tutorials.

 
Although a Durham, North Carolina native, she moved to Chapel Hill in the 5th grade and decided to remain post-collegiate experience to begin her career. Charlissa graduated from North Carolina Central University with a B.A. in Sociology. She is very excited to be a part of the team at Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate and is looking forward to supporting the students within their academic goals. Some of Charlissa's other interests include: fashion, music, arts and crafts, and enjoying time with family and friends.

 

Brianna Vascos is the NC LiteracyCorps/AmeriCorps Member for the 2014-2015 academic year. She will be serving as the

Middle School Tutorial Coordinator. A native of Dover, Delaware, Brianna moved to Greensboro to attend UNCG to study Spanish major with a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation in May 2015, Brianna hopes to continue her work in youth empowerment and leadership development.

Brianna’s passion for mentoring and education has had a huge effect in her involvement in the community. One thing she strongly believes in is that education is powerful and something no one can take away from someone.


She is excited to be involved in Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate this year and is eager to learn about the program and especially the students.  



 
Monique Smith
is a graduate student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in her final year of the Masters of Social Work program. She will be serving as the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Social Work Intern, focused on the development and expansion of the college and career curriculum of the BRMA program. 

 
Monique was born and raised in Erwin, North Carolina which is a very small town near Fayetteville, North Carolina. After attending The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her undergraduate degree in Sociology, she decided to return for her masters.

 
Monique is very passionate about college access and previously worked with the Carolina College Advising Corps as a College Adviser! Connecting with high school students and parents brings joy to her life!