Afira DeVries

The Monarch School Project announced that Afira DeVries has been named chief executive officer of the nonprofit after a nationwide search led by a team of current and former board members.

DeVries most recently served as the United States Director of Spring Impact, a global nonprofit focused on scaling social impact solutions. Previous to that, she served as President & CEO for the United Way of the Roanoke Valley in Southwestern Virginia and Chief Development and Innovations Officer of United Way of Tampa, Fla. She succeeds Erin Spiewak, who held the post for eight years during which time the school successfully opened its current location at the Nat and Flora Bosa Campus.

“All of us at Monarch School see an opportunity to increase our impact for students experiencing homelessness, and we are thrilled to have Afira lead us into this critical next phase of our development.  Her experience as a seasoned non-profit executive combined with her work in bringing impact to scale make her the ideal next leader for Monarch,” said Rochelle Bold, long-time director and incoming chair of the Monarch School Project Board of Directors. “We are also incredibly grateful to Marisol Alvarado, our head of programs,  for serving as Interim CEO and leading the organization’s successful response to families in need during the ongoing global pandemic.”

DeVries has enjoyed a two-decade career as a health and human services executive, successfully leading innovation and growth for six thriving nonprofit organizations. Having generated more than a quarter-billion dollars in support of social innovation over the course of her career, her extensive development, leadership, and programmatic design experience will contribute to the vision and strategic direction of the Monarch School Project.

“Monarch School is well poised to build on its success in helping unhoused students learn the skills they need to set and accomplish their goals,” DeVries said. “We now have the opportunity to leverage the organization’s prior success to change conditions for youth at an even broader scale.  I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Monarch School in partnership with the San Diego County Office of Education.”

DeVries will start her role as CEO on Aug. 17.

The Monarch School Project also announced the recent appointment of six new board members:

  • Debra Molyneux, community volunteer, and past Monarch School Project board chair
  • Graeme Reid, Assurance Partner, Ernst & Young, LLP
  • Jennifer LeSar, President & Founding CEO, LeSar Development Consultants
  • Jill Skrezyna, community volunteer
  • Ryan Alfred, President, Digital Assets Data
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