School Partners USA's leadership has a combined eighty years experience catalyzing and supporting transformational school partnerships in their cities. Throughout your cohort experience, they will accompany you as guides alongside the journey, not as sages on stages.
Jeremy R. Del Rio, Esq.
CEO & Founder
Jeremy co-founded and leads Thrive Collective, a NYC-based nonprofit that creates hope and opportunity through arts and mentoring in and around public schools. He has taught youth and community development since 2004; and connects, trains, and mentors youth workers nationally. He has consulted businesses and nonprofits on leadership and strategy since 2000. He started his first youth ministry in 1994 and first youth center in 1996, and also worked as a corporate attorney before resigning after 9/11 to lead relief work at Ground Zero. He has contributed to six books, and his articles have appeared in dozens of publications including Rolling Stone, Christianity Today, and the NY Daily News. His two sons are proud NYC public school students and graduates.
Creative & West Coast Director
Kekoa has worn many hats at Thrive Collective, among them: longest tenured artist, studio arts director, Bring Art Back guru, Kajukenbo sifu, mentor and friend. To date, he’s worked on more than thirty school and community murals since 2007. In 2019, Kekoa assumed the role of Creative Director, overseeing all art direction, mural designs, and visual branding; and pioneered Thrive Collective’s work in California’s Bay Area. Kekoa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from Silicon Valley College, and is proficient in various mediums including oils, watercolors, aerosol, acrylics, clay, charcoal and chalk. An accomplished graphic designer, Kekoa has worked with schools, nonprofits, and companies from coast to coast, developing corporate branding, print media, billboards, signage, merchandise, fashion, and more.
Christine Casado started making movies at age ten when her parents gave her a camera for Christmas, and continued into adulthood as the entrepreneurial proprietor of Casado Events. She innovated Little FilmMakers at an East Harlem charter school from 2011 – 2013, and joined the Thrive Collective team as a freelance film maker in 2014 before becoming our media director in 2015. Since introducing her Little FilmMakers curriculum to eleven elementary school classes in Brooklyn, Thrive’s School Media programs have expanded citywide.
Dallas City Coordinator & Contributing Editor
Tara Bollinger is the Founding Executive Director of Inspire School Programs -- a classroom mentoring program focused on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to help students achieve successful outcomes. She started as a youth motivational speaker while competing for Miss USA, piloted a weekly school program when living in Australia, and then developed SEL curriculum after moving back to her hometown of St. Louis. Eight years ago, in a crazy act of faith, Tara moved to Dallas to start an Inspire/local church partnership. Since then, Inspire mentored over 15,000 students in multiple school districts while expanding into other states. She is passionate about the impact church partnerships and mentorship can have on local schools.
New York City Coordinator
Randy Mason is an emcee and art educator from the Bronx who uses his passion for hip hop to help today’s youth find their voice and build community. In New York, he serves as the Hip Hop and Studio Arts Director for Thrive Collective. As a father, husband, recording artist, author, educator and pastor, Randy draws from a deep well of unique and diverse experiences to tell stories through songs, engaging all audiences in a way that is real, relevant, meaningful and memorable. Randy recognizes that hip hop gives students “mic skills and life skills.” They learn figurative language, improvisation, creative writing and thinking, and poetry, all while having fun. Students use the elements of hip hop to discover their voice (emceeing), movement (break dancing), a community (DJing), and their name (graffiti).
De'Morea "Truck" Evans
Oakland City Coordinator
Truck is an artist and social entrepreneur in the same West Oakland neighborhood where he grew up. His company "Truckie Customs" includes a barbershop, custom bicycle builds, and artist commissions. He is the founder of Mama Jean's Pantry and the Rollout Crew community bike club; serves as assistant pastor of Word Assembly church; and teaches art classes with students from his alma mater Prescott School. Truck describes his life mission as building relationships, creating opportunities, and growing communities so that we can be the change we desire to see. His varied interests converge in the singular goal of helping youth embrace their gifts and open their eyes to possibilities and potential through creativity.
San Diego City Coordinator
Carlos Nicasio is the Executive Director and founder at Concrete and Canvas, a non-profit he started in 2015 with the mission to transform communities through murals and mentoring. Carlos has an incredible passion to empower youth to live out their dreams and has worked extensively in building the capacity of young people through various faith and community based ventures in San Diego for the past twenty-five years. In addition to more than two decades of youth development experience, Carlos is also a marketplace leader with a strong background in sales, business consulting, and personal development coaching.