Meet the Leadership Team



Amber Scott is Founder and Executive Director of Leap Year. A child of first-generation college students, the importance of higher education and the power that it can have to raise a family out of poverty was instilled in Amber at a young age. She believes that the opportunity for higher education should be open to everyone, regardless of where they are born. After working in the nonprofit sector for ten years, she founded Leap Year to challenge the status quo. Amber is a 2018 Echoing Green Fellow, the 2019 winner of the $100,000  Jaffe Grand Prize, and was recognized by Black Enterprise as one of “25 Black Women Who Are Changing the World.” She holds a BA in neuroscience from Smith College, and an MBA in marketing from The Ohio State University.

Zoe professional photo
Professional Photo

Latonya Dawson serves as the Senior Program Manager at Leap Year.  Latonya is an army brat and has worked in the nonprofit community most of her professional career.  Latonya developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador.   Her experience in Peace Corps lead her to work with youth internationally and domestically for many years.  She also spent time as a Teacher with Teach for America in South Dakota and Georgia. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of West Georgia.

Zoe Searles serves as College Readiness Program Manager at Leap Year. Zoe was born and raised in Atlanta. She moved to New York City to earn her Bachelor's Degree at New York University, where she studied psychology and comparative literature. As an undergraduate, Zoe became interested in addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, particularly amongst children and adolescents. After graduating with honors from NYU, she returned home to Atlanta. Zoe is passionate about improving access to mental health care in underserved communities and hopes to become a mental health counselor in the future.

Deshon Burgess serves as a College and Career Readiness Program Manager at Leap Year. After receiving his Bachelors of Science in Psychology at Union College in New York, Deshon returned to his hometown Atlanta to serve as a change agent in the community. His passion for education and health equity has driven him to make an impact on underserved communities. He taught 8th-grade science in Clayton County, where he also served as the Science Department Chair. Deshon also has experience as a leadership coach for Teach For America.