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.
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.
Brittany Gillis serves as the Leap Year Program Manager. Brittany was born and raised in Ohio where she completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Cincinnati with a focus in criminal justice and psychology as a first generation college student. Brittany’s passion for working towards closing the achievement gap influenced her decision to join the AmeriCorps with Teach For America New Mexico. While serving in Albuquerque, NM, Brittany’s elementary scholars scored the highest literacy results in the state of New Mexico for the 2018-2019 school year. Brittany recently relocated to Atlanta and is currently pursuing her MSW at The Ohio State University. Brittany is committed to nonprofit work geared towards improving access in all things education, mental health, housing, etc. Her hope is to become a school therapist someday.