Our Team

Mario Basora, Chief Executive Officer

Mario brings a career of passionate advocacy for children to FR5, with over 20 years of experience leading successful transformative change efforts in schools and school districts across Ohio.  His mission is to create a world where all children, regardless of their background, can dream big and achieve greatness in their lives.

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Mario brings a career of passionate advocacy for children to FR5, with over 20 years of experience leading successful transformative change efforts in schools and school districts across Ohio.  His mission is to create a world where all children, regardless of their background, can dream big and achieve greatness in their lives.   

Mario earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Cal State Fullerton, a second bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education from Northern Kentucky University, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Miami University, Oxford, and a School Superintendent’s license from Xavier University.  Before joining Future Ready Columbus, Mario’s career included service as a substitute teacher, junior high and high school teacher, assistant principal, principal, school law professor, senior vice president, and superintendent. 

Throughout his career, Mario has been honored to work closely with educators and community leaders to achieve big things for children.  These include significantly increasing academic achievement for African American and economically disadvantaged children, creating and successfully implementing several strategic planning efforts, and establishing a training center for innovative learning practices.

WHY THIS WORK

Mario’s passion and mission to improve the lives of poor and marginalized children stems from his own background as a child of color, raised by a single mother in poverty. Just as he was able to overcome the odds as a first-generation college graduate who rose out of generational poverty, he believes his life’s work is to help children like him achieve their dreams.

Mario is grounded in the belief that all children can break out of the cycle of poverty and racism.  The work of Future Ready Five is to imagine, believe in, and implement the conditions and supports for that to happen. Through a collective impact approach working closely with public/private partnerships, the FR5 Focus Plan has all of the elements necessary to break the cycle and ensure that all children in Franklin County are ready for kindergarten by age 5.   

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Columbus and the surrounding Franklin County region are amazing places to work and live.  Mario is particularly in love with the region’s commitment to diversity, vibrant arts, sports, and culture scene, and its innovative spirit.  With its energy and impactful public/private partnerships, Columbus and Franklin County can lead the way in altering the trajectory of children growing up in under-resourced neighborhoods.

By implementing the FR5 Focus, we have a great opportunity to set the standard for community change strategy.  If implemented with fidelity and commitment, the plan can transform the lives of children not only in Franklin County, but also across Ohio, the Midwest, and beyond.   

Dr. Vanisa Turney, Chief Operating Officer

Vanisa Turney, Ed.D. is an accomplished educator and visionary leader with a keen sense for strategic planning and execution. She has 20 years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator in P-12 settings, as well as an instructor at the college level. Dr. Turney earned Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in middle childhood education from Wright State University and obtained licenses in administration and curriculum, instruction, and professional development (CIPD) from the University of Dayton.

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Vanisa Turney, Ed.D. is an accomplished educator and visionary leader with a keen sense for strategic planning and execution. She has 20 years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator in P-12 settings, as well as an instructor at the college level. Dr. Turney earned Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in middle childhood education from Wright State University and obtained licenses in administration and curriculum, instruction, and professional development (CIPD) from the University of Dayton. In addition to administration and curriculum instruction, Dr. Turney’s areas of expertise include math and STEM education. She also possesses a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction and a superintendent license. Dr. Turney uses her passion, talents, and vision to advocate for educational excellence. Her leadership has resulted in improved student outcomes.

WHY THIS WORK

Dr. Turney is excited to assume the role of Future Ready Five’s Chief Operating Officer. Her ability to design and implement organizational strategies, plans, and procedures will aid the organization in meeting its kindergarten readiness goals. She is excited about the opportunity to set comprehensive targets for performance and growth and establish policies that promote Future Ready Five’s culture and vision.

Dr. Turney believes that education is a right, not a privilege. Her work in low-income districts has revealed many gaps that ultimately create an increased number of at-risk students. She has created curriculum plans that have aided many teachers in meeting established goals. Dr. Turney’s experience and skill set, paired with the transformational work of Future Ready Five, will move the organization forward in prioritizing equity and early exposure for all students, regardless of their background, parents’ level of education or ethnicity. This work will help early learners to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Dr. Turney was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, a metropolitan area that is comparable to Columbus with similar struggles and needs. As Future Ready Five’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Turney will focus on eliminating poverty through education, which is her personal as well as professional mission.

Columbus is one of the most diverse Midwestern cities and attracts a young demographic, and Dr. Turney believes the goals and objectives identified in Future Ready Five’s strategic plan will have a tremendous impact on future generations. Having witnessed the effects of early exposure and education, Dr. Turney is confident that she and the Future Ready Five team can improve the outcomes for some of the city’s youngest residents.

Neeta Agrawal, Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations

Neeta is a native Ohioan who brings over 20 years of experience in K-12 education and business. Her mission is to identify and eliminate educational barriers for all students in order for them to reach their fullest potential regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic or demographic status.  

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Neeta is a native Ohioan who brings over 20 years of experience in K-12 education and business. Her mission is to identify and eliminate educational barriers for all students in order for them to reach their fullest potential regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic or demographic status.  

She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from The Ohio State University and her master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northwestern University. Before joining Future Ready Five, Neeta’s career included positions with the Ohio Department of Education, Columbus City Schools, NWEA, Edmentum and teaching in Chicago Public Schools.  

Neeta has worked throughout her career to ensure equity gaps are addressed at both the state and local level. She believes in using student data with fidelity to meet students where they are in order to ensure they have the resources and pathway to be successful. She continues to advocate for ongoing, professional learning and support for educators, administrators and families to support the needs of the whole child.   

WHY THIS WORK

Neeta believes that it takes a village to raise a child. All children deserve access to opportunities and resources to get ready for kindergarten. She is committed to finding partners and developing relationships with organizations who are passionate and dedicated to providing wrap-around services for Franklin County’s families.   

Evidence suggests that gender, race and economic status can significantly impact kindergarten readiness for children. As a collective impact organization, Future Ready Five strives to break the structures down and build more equitable opportunities for families to pursue as they prepare their child for school.  

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Franklin County is the fastest growing county in Ohio and is the largest in the state. With that impending growth, research shows a significant increase in Franklin County’s children that are starting kindergarten unprepared. Ready or not, Columbus is booming and unfortunately so are the gaps for children. Franklin County’s youngest residents need our help. Its families need our support. Its communities need to come together to close the gaps for all.  

Neeta’s roots in Columbus are strong as an Ohio State Alumni and as a parent to three kids in the metro area. She and her family made their way back to Columbus about 5 years ago, and she is proud to call it her home. She wants to see Columbus continue to grow in prosperity and diversity while supporting ALL kids. It’s important to her to help lead an organization who is conscious of their social footprint and who is committed to making things better than they were before. She is proud to be the Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations.  

Brittany Jackson, RISE Director of Early Childhood Scholarships and Incentives

Brittany’s journey as a champion for equitable education began long before her professional career. As the oldest of seven siblings, she naturally gravitated towards a nurturing role, laying the foundation for her future endeavors. Brittany’s passion for education led her to pursue her undergraduate studies at the Ohio State University.

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Brittany’s journey as a champion for equitable education began long before her professional career. As the oldest of seven siblings, she naturally gravitated towards a nurturing role, laying the foundation for her future endeavors. Brittany’s passion for education led her to pursue her undergraduate studies at the Ohio State University.

After completing her studies, Brittany embarked on a transformative journey with Teach for America, serving in an elementary school in Memphis for four years. It was during this time that she witnessed firsthand the educational disparities that existed, particularly among underserved communities. Motivated by a desire to address these disparities at their roots, Brittany pursued a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, further sharpening her skills and knowledge in the field.

Upon returning to Columbus, Brittany continued her teaching career, spending two years in the classroom before transitioning to a new role as a SUTQ (Step Up To Quality) Coach at Action for Children. This move marked the beginning of a significant chapter in her career, as she dedicated herself to improving the quality of early childhood education programs across Central Ohio.

Over the next six years, Brittany excelled in her role as a SUTQ Coordinator, working tirelessly to ensure that every child had access to high-quality early childhood education. Her passion for reaching children at a crucial developmental stage led her to focus on supporting educators and caregivers, recognizing them as key stakeholders in shaping the future of our society.

WHY THIS WORK

Driven by her belief that every child deserves access to quality education, regardless of their background, Brittany remains steadfast in her mission to eliminate educational disparities. With a vision of a future where no child is left behind due to factors such as race or economic status, she continues to advocate for systemic change within the early childhood education landscape, empowering educators and caregivers to make a lasting impact on the lives of young learners.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Brittany’s commitment to her community goes beyond her professional endeavors. Having chosen Columbus as her home, she is deeply invested in the well-being of the city and its residents. As a mother herself, she understands the importance of creating a supportive environment for children to thrive in, not only academically but also socially and emotionally.

Outside of her work, Brittany finds joy in various hobbies, including crochet and exploring the vibrant local food scene. She cherishes spending time with her friends and daughter, finding balance between her personal and professional life.

Leslie Miller, RISE Program Manager

Leslie, born and raised in Ohio, grew up in the Dayton area before moving to Cincinnati for college. In 2022 Leslie and her family moved to Columbus. While pursuing her education, Leslie discovered a passion for early childhood education as a childcare teacher.

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Leslie, born and raised in Ohio, grew up in the Dayton area before moving to Cincinnati for college. In 2022 Leslie and her family moved to Columbus. While pursuing her education, Leslie discovered a passion for early childhood education as a childcare teacher. She holds an associate degree from the University of Cincinnati, a bachelor’s from Antioch University, and a master’s in education from Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

With 24 years of experience in early childhood education, Leslie has worked as a Toddler, Preschool, and School Age teacher. She owned a childcare center for 9 years and has served as a Center Administrator since 2010. Leslie is known for her advocacy for all children and her work towards achieving equity in early childhood education. She is dedicated to supporting and uplifting her community, making space for all children, regardless of their race, gender, or socio-economic status. Leslie leverages her extensive background and passion to inspire others and create positive change within the field of education.

WHY THIS WORK 

Leslie’s passion for positively influencing children’s lives and contributing to their educational growth began when she had her first child. She is committed to enacting meaningful change for all children entering school, which will strengthen the entire community. Leslie’s primary focus is to address disparities in education and enhance the community by investing in its most valuable resource: our children.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Columbus has a special place in Leslie’s heart. The city offers an amazing art scene, diverse neighborhoods, outdoor adventures, sports teams, and opportunities. Outside of work you will find Leslie and her family enjoying Buckeye football, hiking the amazing parks around Columbus, and spending time exploring Franklin County and all it has to offer.

Paula Neal, RISE Program Manager

Paula is a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development. She joins Future Ready Five as the former Partnership Director at the Hilltop Early Learning Center. Paula joins us with 25 years of experience in non-profit education and social services.

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Paula’s career consists of being a teacher, center director, center accreditation specialist, and preschool owner. She has always been driven to make an impact on the lives of all children, especially those that mirror her background. After experiencing the stigma that accompanies economic hardship, Paula made a conscious decision to serve others better by leading with high expectations which resulted in providing only the best for children and families.

Paula adopted the motto “I’ll show you or them”. During her twelve years with The Neighborhood House, Inc. (NHI), which served children from no, low, and moderate-income households, as director of early childhood education over multiple sites, she led both locations simultaneously to national accreditation.

In 2017, within two years of Paula’s employment with the YWCA of Columbus, she and her team led the agency’s Safe and Sound Childcare Center to its’ first 5-stars. Equally worth noting, Safe & Sound became the first and only of its’ kind in central Ohio serving children experiencing temporary homelessness to be awarded the honor. Equity has always been at the forefront of Paula’s mission to ensure that high-quality education and services are provided in the early learning years to set the foundation for her students’ present and long-term success.

Paula believes the Future Ready Five 2030 Focus Plan will prepare all Franklin County children for kindergarten through a collaborative and coordinated support system, and the growth of early childhood centers. In her role as RISE Project Manager for Scholarships and Incentives, she utilizes years of expertise to impact children by providing direct support to licensed providers and educators.

WHY THIS WORK

Paula’s extensive early childhood background makes her a great fit with Future Ready Five. She pursued the RISE Program Manager role with FR5 to join in our efforts to continue her passion in ensuring all children thrive by having access to high quality rated programs.

Paula understands the positive long-term impact, equity and economic benefits of quality programs after having led some of the best. She welcomes the opportunity with FR5 to provide technical support to providers and educators to ensure all Franklin County children have an excellent early learning experience.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Paula has resided in Columbus for 35 years because it’s a cozy and centralized area for travelling back and forth to visit family in neighboring cities and states. Paula enjoys working in the non-profit, social service, and education community. She believes Columbus is making good decisions to address the crisis in kindergarten readiness, affordable housing, and employment.

Paula is also a children’s book author. She writes stories with a lead black protagonist and a diverse cast of characters to teach social-emotional learning. Her mission is to invite young and primary grade children to discover escapism and joy in being read to, learning to read, and to become enthusiastic book worms reading at grade level.

 

Megan Hamilton, Project Manager

Megan joins Future Ready as a former teacher at the preschool to first grade level, and a lifelong resident of Central Ohio. As a graduate from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development, Megan knew she would always be involved in educational, social, and emotional learning within this community. Megan taught first grade for nine years at Teays Valley Local School District, where she can be credited with adding ADA accessible playground equipment and a student-led community garden.

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Megan joins Future Ready as a former teacher at the preschool to first grade level, and a lifelong resident of Central Ohio. As a graduate from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development, Megan knew she would always be involved in educational, social, and emotional learning within this community. She continued her education at the graduate level and obtained her Ohio teaching license from Ashland University. Megan taught first grade for nine years at Teays Valley Local School District, where she can be credited with adding ADA accessible playground equipment and a student-led community garden. Additionally, Megan has hosted various fundraising events to support local and national projects benefiting youth experiencing inequities. Her mission is to always advocate for at-risk youth and to foster an equitable educational experience.

WHY THIS WORK

Megan’s background teaching in low-income schools and volunteering with nonprofits makes her the perfect early childhood educator to manage our FR5 programs. Her background has led her to experience, firsthand, the many barriers inequity creates for children under 5 years old. While actively working to address these injustices head-on, Megan decided leaving the classroom would allow her to make a bigger impact on her community. She pursued the Project Manager role with Future Ready Fiveto better advocate for our most vulnerable youth, and to ensure all children in Franklin County have a fair and just opportunity to succeed.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Megan was born, raised, and continues to make her home in Central Ohio. Franklin County hosts beautifully diverse populations, cultures, and experiences, which is why there is nowhere else Megan would rather live or work!  She is passionate about helping the youngest learners right here in the community we share. She feels it is her calling to provide all our children and families with access to the basic tools they deserve to live a happy, successful life, starting from day one.

Melissa Johnson, Executive Assistant

Melissa joined Future Ready Five in early 2023 after spending nine years as a paralegal at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Before that, Melissa spent twelve years as the assistant to the president of Media Network of Central Ohio. Melissa brings her passion for helping others to her work – she thrives off helping the FR5 team achieve their goals.

Read Melissa's Full Bio

Melissa joined Future Ready Five in early 2023 after spending nine years as a paralegal at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Before that, Melissa spent twelve years as the assistant to the president of Media Network of Central Ohio. Melissa brings her passion for helping others to her work – she thrives off helping the FR5 team achieve their goals.

To deepen her skills as an administrative professional, Melissa earned her Certified Administrative Professional credential with a specialization in Organization Management.

WHY THIS WORK

Melissa cares deeply about helping children and is excited to work for an organization that promotes education. In particular, she appreciates that FR5 reaches children before they start school instead of waiting until they are behind. Melissa has a passion for helping her local community through her work. 

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

After spending most of her life in Central Ohio, Melissa appreciates the diverse and artsy nature of the area. She lives with her husband, and has two children and two grandchildren. When not at work, you can find her riding her bike, gardening, hiking, and walking dogs at the Humane Society.

Brionna Tillman, Program Coordinator

Brionna joined Future Ready Five as a Program Coordinator through a grant with AmeriCorps. Prior to her work with AmeriCorps, Brionna earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from East Carolina University and spent 5 years in the public library. Working with the library ignited her passion for serving underserved communities. It also highlighted the disparities facing the Black and brown communities. In addition, her work at the library emphasized the importance of literacy.

Read Brionna's Full Bio

Brionna joined Future Ready Five as a Program Coordinator through a grant with AmeriCorps. Prior to her work with AmeriCorps, Brionna earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from East Carolina University and spent 5 years in the public library. Working with the library ignited her passion for serving underserved communities. It also highlighted the disparities facing the Black and brown communities. In addition, her work at the library emphasized the importance of literacy.

WHY THIS WORK

Brionna works at Future Ready Five because of the focus on kindergarten readiness with a lens of equity and inclusion. She believes that FR5’s focus on developing infrastructure will promote systemic changes in early childhood education. This focus will undoubtedly result in closing the gap in racial and economic disparities that our children of color are currently facing. Brionna is excited for the lasting change this will bring to our community.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY

Brionna is new to Central Ohio and so far, she really enjoys the diversity, inclusion, and exciting city living. She enjoys volunteering, walks in the historic districts and metro parks, and participating in various CML programs. Columbus is growing and fast becoming a destination for business professionals and families. 

For more information about Future Ready Five please contact Neeta Agrawal at Neeta.Agrawal@futurereadyfive.org.