About Grassroots Leadership Academy

What We Believe

We believe that individual liberty and economic freedom provide the greatest opportunity for every American to achieve their version of the American dream.

We are coaching concerned citizens with the skills and convictions needed to encourage their neighbors and community that our founding principles have paved the way for generations of Americans – and that they still can for generations to come.

What We Do

We empower concerned citizens by teaching the most advanced management strategies and grassroots tactics necessary to advance the values of individual liberty, economic freedom, and limited government at the local, state, and federal levels.

Through our certification courses and Insight to Action lectures, we’ve trained thousands of citizens in over 30 states. Get started today by checking out our courses and signing up for a class near you.

Who We Are

 

Ryan Black

Ryan Black

Senior Curriculum & Training Manager

A native Hoosier and Indiana University alumni, Ryan joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy from the Indiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity Foundation. In 2015, Ryan was recognized for his tremendous efforts, earning AFP’s Liberty Guardian Award.

With over a decade of experience in grassroots organizing, Ryan has served in previous roles as Regional Field Director for School Choice Indiana where he worked organizing support for school choice and education reform.

Ryan has also worked as Field Director for the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee, as well as Club for Growth President, David McIntosh.

Heather Browning

Heather Browning

Network Partner Project Manager

Heather is a project manager with Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Grassroots Leadership Academy. Heather has worked for two Fortune 500 companies and holds an MBA from Harding University. She has served as field director for several federal campaigns as well as for the Republican National Committee and American Action Network. Her experience includes political work in Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Virginia, Mississippi and Florida.

Drew Bonk

Drew Bonk

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Drew is a grassroots trainer and curriculum specialist for the Grassroots Leadership Academy. He joined Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a participant in the Koch Associate Program. Drew previously worked as a high school social studies teacher where he taught Western Civilization and AP US History. As a teacher, he designed creative and engaging lessons for his students while encouraging critical thinking. Drew graduated with a Masters of Arts from James Madison University.

Rachel Burgin

Rachel Burgin

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Rachel served as State Representative for District 56 in the Florida House of Representatives from 2008-2012. At that time, she was the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the Florida Legislature. Prior to being elected, Rachel served her community on the local and state levels with the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida House of Representatives. She also served at the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. Rachel is passionate about grassroots movements and advancing freedom in her roll as a program manager for Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

Michael Ciccio

Michael Ciccio

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Michael joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy after serving as Field Director with Americans for Prosperity Foundation in New Hampshire. With nearly a decade of political organizing experience, he has worked as a field director for a New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate, a field representative for several congressional campaigns, and a state political committee. In addition to his grassroots organizing experience, Michael also spent several years working in the New Hampshire State Senate as a Legislative Aide. Michael has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Justice Studies from University of New Hampshire.

Hillary DeJong

Hillary DeJong

Director of Training Operations

Hillary joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy after spending three years in the Human Resources department at Americans for Prosperity Foundation. She brings years of operations and advocacy experience to the GLA team.

Before joining Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Hillary worked in the office of U.S. Representative Justin Amash and FreedomWorks. Hillary is a graduate of Hillsdale College and is proud to have called Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and now Virginia her home.

Daryl Ann Dunigan

Daryl Ann Dunigan

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Prior to joining the Grassroots Leadership Academy, Daryl Ann worked as the Youth Leadership School Director at the Leadership Institute where she was responsible for identifying, recruiting, and training young adults across the nation.

Previously, Daryl Ann was the Campaign Manager for Jeff Thompson’s successful 2011 State Representative campaign in Louisiana. She was also the Youth Coordinator for Congressman Andy Harris’s campaign in 2010.

Daryl Ann graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies.

Joel Foster

Joel Foster

Program Manager

Joel is a former talk radio personality and grassroots organizer, and uses his experience in media and organizing as a program manager for the Grassroots Leadership Academy. On radio, Joel pioneered programming to engage Generation X and Millennials alike, eventually earning the “Radio Personality of the Year” award in 2009.

Most recently, he served as grassroots director for Americans for Prosperity Foundation Georgia where he developed curriculum and led widely distributed training forums for the chapter’s 65,000 citizen activists. Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications from Asbury University and lives with his wife Maggie and son Nicholas in the Atlanta area.

Ron Ferguson

Ron Ferguson

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Ron joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy from the Ohio chapter of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, where he served as a Senior Field Director in rural eastern Ohio. Before coming to AFPF, Ron ran for State Representative in 2014 after working five years as a television journalist, most recently at WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio. Ron was born in Florida but was raised in Ohio. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he majored in Communications. While enrolled at OSU, he was a Politics, Society and Law Scholar and studied abroad in Mexico City.

Eduardo Gil

Eduardo Gil

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Eddie joined Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a grassroots trainer & curriculum specialist after his completion of the Koch Associate Program in May 2015. Eddie’s tenure in the Washington, D.C. area began as an intern in the U.S. Congress in 2007. He has experience in communications, digital content creation, program management, coalition building, social media, and market research implementation for non-profit organizations.

Eddie’s enthusiasm, cross-cultural, and language skills allow him to engage effectively with diverse audiences having lived in Miami, Florida and in Latin America. He has a Masters of Art in Communications from Regent University.

Rob Gutierrez

Rob Gutierrez

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Rob Gutierrez was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He attended Florida International University earning a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a certificate of Leadership Studies. Rob then attend Georgia Southern University where he completed a M.S. in Education, specializing in Higher Education Administration. Before joining GLA, Rob worked at Longwood University and served as the Education Manager for the LIBRE Institute, where he oversaw the organization’s educational programs.

Mallon Graham

Mallon Graham

Director of Leadership Development

Mallon joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy after spending the last 6 years with AFP Foundation working in donor events, team management, and executive teams. Specializing in enabling people to enjoy and achieve, Mallon is passionate about developing and maintaining organizational health and intentionally cultivating culture within an organization. A 2007 graduate of Hillsdale College and an alumnus of the Koch Associate Program, Mallon worked at the Charles Koch Institute before joining AFP Foundation. Mallon is a proud native Wisconsinite but currently lives with her husband and son in North Dakota, where her husband is a pilot for the United States Air Force.

Jhael Hakimian

Jhael Hakimian

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Jhael brings a diversity of knowledge and experiences to the Grassroots Leadership Academy. She is passionate and grateful to be educating and equipping activists with knowledge and skills necessary to advance empowering free market principles. She has broad experience in community outreach through organizing, public speaking, social media, teaching, and grassroots activism training.

Prior to joining GLA, she served as a Field Director for Americans for Prosperity Foundation in Miami, Florida where she recruited, trained, and developed grassroots activists from diverse backgrounds that shared a love of freedom.

In addition to holding a Bachelor of Science in Education and trying to change the world, Jhael and her husband Jack are raising four boys – five if you count her mini-Yorkie, Judah – in South Florida.

Matthew Hurtt

Matthew Hurtt

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Matthew joined Americans for Prosperity Foundation as a grassroots trainer & curriculum developer after nearly five years in fundraising for free-market organizations. In previous roles, Hurtt worked to raise millions of dollars for causes that helped to further the message of economic prosperity. Hurtt launched his career in conservative activism at the Leadership Institute where he’s trained thousands of activists across the nation. A Tennessee native, Hurtt attended Middle Tennessee State University.

Daryn Iwicki

Daryn Iwicki

Senior Curriculum & Training Manager

Daryn joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy after serving as the New Jersey State Director for Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Daryn has years of experience as a political activist and campaign strategist. As a manager of training and curriculum, Daryn uses his experience to create materials and deliver training based upon his wealth of experience in political leadership and economic philosophies.

Prior to joining the AFP Foundation, he served in Governor Rick Scott’s administration and was the Regional Director of North Florida for Romney for President.

Jamie Jackson

Jamie Jackson

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Jamie Jackson joins the Grassroots Leadership Academy after more than ten years as an award-winning, Emmy-nominated journalist. Jamie has worked as a News Anchor and Reporter for CBS, NBC, and ABC affiliates in Ohio, Virginia, and Indiana. He also oversaw video content for The Daily Signal in Washington, D.C. During his career, he has covered countless stories spanning from local neighborhoods, Capitol Hill, and The White House.

Jamie also served as a Communications Director in the House of Representatives. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice Studies from James Madison University and is currently working on a master’s degree. He enjoys teaching and has been a guest lecturer at West Chester University and Wheaton College.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson

Director of Training & Curriculum

Dave Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in grassroots organizing, political advocacy and strategic messaging.

Prior to joining GLA, Dave founded several successful political consulting and public affairs firms.  One of those firms was named a “100 Best” political consulting firm by Campaigns & Elections magazine.

Previously, Dave served as Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia and worked in numerous positions with the National Republican Congressional Committee’s political / field division. As GLA’s Director of Training and Curriculum, Dave leads the curriculum team in the development of all training materials and ensures the trainers are up-to-date on the latest grassroots methods and best practices.

Duane Lester

Duane Lester

Senior Curriculum & Training Manager

Duane joined Americans for Prosperity Foundation with years of experience as an independent conservative blogger and former Navy journalist. Duane started AllAmericanBlogger.com in 2007 and earned the Breitbart Blogger Award from the Heritage Foundation and the Franklin Center for Public Integrity in 2012. Additionally, he founded The Missouri Torch, focusing strictly on state-level politics which quickly grew to be the most read and influential conservative blog in the state of Missouri.

Duane now focuses on growing and improving the capabilities of conservative activists across the country through the Grassroots Leadership Academy.

Jason Lloyd

Jason Lloyd

Senior Curriculum & Training Manager

Prior to joining Grassroots Leadership Academy, Jason worked as a Field Director with Americans for Prosperity – Arizona. With over 6 years of experience in grassroots activism across the country, Jason focused his efforts on recruiting, organizing, and mobilizing volunteers to advance free-market policies.

Previously, Jason worked at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix and interned at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Jason graduated from Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia with a B.A. in Political Science and enjoys learning and teaching others about the importance of community.

Jason and his wife, Stephanie, live in Gilbert, Arizona where they love hiking, biking and exploring the outdoors.

Rachel Luquette

Rachel Luquette

Program Associate

Hailing from the freedom-loving state of Texas, Rachel joins the Grassroots Leadership Academy after serving in Human Resources Operations at Americans for Prosperity Foundation and Freedom Partners Shared Services. In addition to her passion for forwarding a free and open society, she brings experiences of operations and programming to the GLA team. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from the University of Dallas.

Stephanie Maier

Stephanie Maier

Senior Curriculum & Training Manager

Stephanie is a political, democracy and media educator of eighteen years with work spanning thirteen countries. Stephanie’s work has included expanding democracy and free market economies overseas as well as work in campaign management and grassroots advocacy in Florida and Georgia. Stephanie works with the Grassroots Leadership Academy to educate activists on the principles of freedom, prosperity and individual liberty.

Jeb Morris

Jeb Morris

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Jeb Morris is a Grassroots Trainer and Curriculum Specialist with the Grassroots Leadership Academy. Before joining GLA, Jeb previously served as Florida Deputy State Director for Generation Opportunity, Senior Field Director for Americans for Prosperity, Operations Director for the Republican Party, and helped numerous campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. Originally from southern Maryland, Jeb started his career in Florida where he graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. When not on the road with GLA, Jeb enjoys playing golf and freshwater fishing.

Anita MonCrief

Anita MonCrief

Senior Trainer & Curriculum Manager

Anita MonCrief is a Senior Trainer and Curriculum Manger for the Grassroots Leadership Academy. MonCrief has over seventeen years of grassroots advocacy and issue-based community organizing experience. MonCrief attended the University of Alabama where she majored in political science and history. MonCrief worked with the Grameen Foundation, American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA CEELI); and in 2002, she partnered with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on their mission to Macedonia as an election observer. In 2008 she came forward as the confidential source of the New York Times and then publicly to expose ACORN, and gained notoriety as the ACORN whistle blower.

Carlos Muhletaler

Carlos Muhletaler

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Carlos Muhletaler joined the Grassroots Leadership Academy team after working as a Sr. Field Director for AFP Florida and later becoming a Field Relations Specialist for the Field Technology Group at AFP. Carlos has been involved in the advocacy for economic freedom and grassroots organizing for more than 20 years where he worked for advocacy organizations such as Citizens for a Sound Economy and Florida Stop Lawsuit Abuse. Carlos holds a B.A. in Political Science from Regis University and an M.A. in Latin American and Iberian Studies from Vanderbilt University.

Mary Conway Nicholls

Mary Conway Nicholls

Program Manager

Mary is an experienced grassroots organizer who has worked on local, state and federal political campaigns. Her experience includes work as National Volunteer Coordinator for McCain-Palin 2008 as well as work for the Republican Governors Association and a Colorado Congressional campaign. In 2010, Conway graduated from Suffolk University Law School and enjoys traveling across America, advancing freedom by developing field staff and activists through her role as a program manager.

Meghan Norton

Meghan Norton

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Meghan joined Americans for Prosperity Foundation because she is passionate about stripping away political labels and empowering fellow Americans to make a compelling case for the principles and policies of free markets and free people. Meghan has extensive experience in marketing, copywriting, content creation, teaching, grassroots activism training, and campaigns. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Business Management and Marketing from Central College and a Masters of Science in Public Communication and Technology from Colorado State University.

Meghan enjoys the great outdoors of colorful Colorado with her husband, and her dog Dallas.

Slade O’Brien

Slade O’Brien

Vice President

Slade O’Brien is a grassroots organizer and public affairs professional with more than 20 years of success. Slade began his career working for the Florida Republican Party before joining Citizens for a Sound Economy as Florida Director. There, he transformed the Florida chapter into a 45,000 member powerhouse. Slade served as President of Florida Strategies Group for 9 years before joining Americans for Prosperity Foundation in 2011 where he now serves as Vice President for the Grassroots Leadership Academy.

Brandon Osgood

Brandon Osgood

Training Communications Associate

Brandon is the training communications associate for the Grassroots Leadership Academy. He joined the team after serving similar positions in nonprofit and public relations organizations. In his role with the GLA team, Brandon is able to bring his experience in communications to help educate various audiences on the importance of economic freedom and advocacy. Brandon holds a Master of Science in Communications from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science in Communication: Advertising & Public Relations from Liberty University.

Carlos Reyes

Carlos Reyes

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Carlos joined Americans for Prosperity Foundation after years of experience working with an international nonprofit organization working directly with members of congress on Capitol Hill. As a grassroots trainer & curriculum specialist with the Grassroots Leadership Academy, Carlos is able to use his experiences to educate grassroots leaders on tactics and strategies for creating effective freedom based movements.

Carlos graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida and is a proud Floridian. He enjoys spending time with his family and watching college football.

Janisset Rivero

Janisset Rivero

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Janisset Rivero is a Grassroots Trainer and Curriculum Specialist. Janisset graduated with a degree in Communications and Advertising in Caracas and earned a BA and MA in Spanish from Florida International University. Janisset has been recognized as an important Cuban human rights activist. As an Executive Director of Cuban Democratic Directorate, she represented Cuban’s struggle for freedom and democracy at the UN’s Human Rights Council and OAS’s Inter American Commission for Human Rights. She has been recognized by the City of Boston and the US Congress for her efforts. Janisset is a published author and a frequent Op-Ed contributor. Prior to her position at GLA, Janisset worked as the South Florida Field Director for The Libre Initiative.

Paige Kaylor Ruddy

Paige Kaylor Ruddy

Training Operations Manager

At Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Paige is the training project manager for the Grassroots Leadership Academy. She brings years of experience to the organization and has worked for a variety of free market advocacy organizations over the past 3 years. Prior to joining GLA, Paige graduated from Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business with her MBA and from Sweet Briar College with her Bachelor of Business Administration as well as Equine Management.

Caleb Stokes

Caleb Stokes

Senior Curriculum & Training Manager

Prior to joining Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Caleb trained extensively at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, where he was a member of their 2011 Off-Broadway Repertory Company. A lifelong conservative, with experience working with grassroots efforts in over a dozen campaigns, Caleb left theatre full-time to fight for limited government after spending a year at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi.

Boaz Witbeck

Boaz Witbeck

Grassroots Trainer & Curriculum Specialist

Boaz Witbeck is a Grassroots Trainer and Curriculum Specialist, joining AFP Foundation in Dec. 2016. He previously served as Americans for Prosperity: Arizona’s Policy Analyst and as Policy Director beginning July 2016. Boaz has been involved in grassroots activism for over 5 years through political, media, and governmental positions. Boaz is a proud Sun Devil, receiving B.S. degrees in Economics and Political Science along with a master’s degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University. Boaz is the only brother of three younger sisters and enjoys staying active by hiking, biking, and playing tennis in the Phoenix area.