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Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is a diverse group of professionals with more than 20 years of combined governance experience. 

Click to view 2017-2018 Draft Budget

Click to view 2015-2016 Draft Budget

Click to view the 2016-2017 Draft Budget

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Chris Hester
Assistant District Attorney

East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office

Chris is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge and is excited about the opportunity to change the current educational system in this city.  Chris has been volunteering with children since he was in high school.  During college he participated in the Volunteers in Public Schools program and served as a reading friend at Highland Elementary.  For the past four years, Chris has been a guest speaker at career day at Sherwood Middle Magnet speaking to middle school classes about his work as an assistant district attorney.  In 2013, Chris volunteered with the Real Men Read program at Audubon Elementary.    Outside of the public school system, Chris just began his 13th year coaching middle school athletics at St. Aloysius Catholic School where he serves as the head basketball coach for the 8th grade.

After graduating from law school, Chris began work at Watson, Blanche, Wilson and Posner a law firm practicing in the area of medical malpractice defense.  In 2009, Chris began working at the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office.  He is currently assigned as the senior felony prosecutor in Section 5 of the 19th Judicial District Court and handles felony cases ranging from theft and drug charges to homicides.

Chris also serves as the President of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni Volunteer Corporation at Louisiana State University.  He is the Lieutenant District Governor for Sigma Phi Epsilon in Louisiana and Mississippi.  He is a class representative on the Louisiana State University Law Young Alumni Leadership Council.

Chris earned a Bachelor of General Studies from Louisiana State University and a Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Civil Law from Louisiana State University. 

Courtney Holbrook
Neuroscience Account Manager
Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.

A hunger to see Baton Rouge progress, combined with a strong desire to play a role in that growth and a belief that our school can do what it takes to help reform the way Baton Rouge students are educated, bring Courtney to the Baton Rouge Bridge Academy board.

Courtney was a one-time resident of Chicago, but is a native of Baton Rouge and a product of the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System. Professionally, Courtney has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 10 years, serving in various capacities during that time including sales, sales training and leadership/mentorship. “My hope is that my own experience in our school system and our city combined with my business and leadership background will be a valued perspective as we see Baton Rouge Bridge Academy come to successful fruition.” 

Courtney has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Louisiana State University.

Deborah Paul
Scholarship and Grant Director
LA Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA)

Deborah’s work as the scholarship director for an agency whose mission is to promote and provide college access, feels passionate about helping all students achieve their goal of pursuing higher education after high school.  She’s been assisting others with completing the federal financial aid application since her days at Ville Platte High School.

 Deborah has more than 25 years of working with students at various grade levels.  After college, she started her career at the Governor’s Special Commission on Education Services (now LOSFA) as a communications specialist traveling across Louisiana promoting the state’s scholarship and grant programs.  That work led her to explore the world of financial aid as a student aid counselor at both Southern University and Louisiana State University.  Later, employment at Southern University as the compliance coordinator in the athletics department she worked with student-athletes in the areas of character, personal and career development, academic achievement and life skills.

In her present position as director of the scholarship grant division, Deborah works with middle and high school professional school counselors to educate them about post-secondary opportunities available to students.  Her staff is responsible for processing the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) and other state supported scholarships and grants available to Louisiana residents.  They also collaborate with the LA Department of Children and Family Services to administer additional programs.

Deborah received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Southern University and also studied at Ohio State University and Louisiana State University.  She also graduated from the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Females. 

Melanie Powell Rey, Ph.D.
Academic and Strategic Initiatives Administrator – College of Business
Adjunct Professor of Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology
Southern University and A & M College

Melanie’s passion for teaching and learning is evidenced by her commitment to educating young people on a daily basis.  As the Academic and Strategic Initiatives Administrator for the College of Business at Southern University, Baton Rouge (SUBR), she is responsible for ensuring the academic integrity of the various programs in the College, along with developing and fostering programs and initiatives that will improve the academic performance of the students within the College.

In addition, Melanie also teaches in the College of Education (Department of Curriculum and Instruction – Special Education) and the College of Nursing and Allied Health (Department of Speech-Language Pathology) where she prepares future K-12 educators and Speech-Language Pathologists to work with young children in the educational system. 

As a former Speech-Language Pathologist in the public school system, she brings to the board firsthand knowledge of the challenges that administrators, faculty, and other school personnel encounter while trying to provide a relevant and quality education.  As a higher education professional with a research degree in special education, Melanie understands our responsibility to all of our students and the many ways in which students with disabilities can build academic success.

Melanie believes that every child can learn and every child should be afforded the opportunity to attend college if they choose to do so.  Her efforts will be directed solely at helping the students of Baton Rouge Bridge Academy to have all of the opportunities that she has had, and more, in order for them to realize their dreams. 

Nicole Reynolds
Senior Auditor
LaPorte, A Professional Accounting Corporation

Nicole is an accountant and has developed multi-tasking abilities, priority setting skills, analytical skills, and business acumen including analyzing risk, understanding business operations and processes, evaluating procedures, and developing recommendations.

As a new mother, finding quality education for her children has become a priority. Nicole is committed to using her skills in financial reporting and business to ensure the success of Bridge Academy.

Nicole has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Louisiana State University.

Rolando R Urbina
Assistant Public Defender
East Baton Rouge Parish

Rolando R Urbina is a native of New Orleans, La he received a Bachelor degree in History and Law and Humanities from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2005 and earned his Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center in 2011.  He currently serves as the 18th President of the Louis A Martinet Legal Society Greater Baton Rouge Chapter.

Mr. Urbina is an Assistant Public Defender in Section 5 of the 19th JDC, Mr. Urbina also serves as investigator for the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights where he investigates a variety of discrimination cases from racial discrimination to sexual harassment.

Mr. Urbina serves as a board member and Legal Counsel for "The Way Church" and is a board member of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and Baton Rouge Bridge Academy. He formerly served as Youth Pastor at Mt Carmel Baptist Church and was an Executive with the Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. Urbina is also the Member-Manager of the Law Offices of Rolando R. Urbina and Associates L.L.C. located in Baton Rouge, La. His areas of practice are Personal Injury, Family Law, Criminal Law and Small business formation.