Staff

The growth of Determined To Succeed has been significant since Sara Hahn began operations from her home in 2005. The acquisition of an office/student space and the expansion and reorganization of our staff to meet the needs of our growing student capacity has refined our infrastructure and fostered our sustainability as an organization. Meet our Determined To Succeed staff:

Abby Adams
Executive Director

Abby began her professional career in the mailroom at Creative Artists Agency, retiring 14 years later as head of the television literary department. Abby’s creative, business and negotiating skills have been of great benefit to the Santa Monica-Malibu school district where she has raised millions of dollars and been a tireless advocate at the local and state level. The opportunity to take Determined to Succeed to the next level drew her back into the workforce.

Angel Honda
Program Director / High School Coordinator

Angel has a BS in Education (Missouri State University) and a Master of Science in Educational Administration (National University). She taught 6th grade at Paul Revere Charter/Magnet Middle School and then took over Revere’s Magnet Program as Magnet Coordinator. After spending six years in the capacity of Magnet Coordinator she realized she missed those very special connections she had with her students as a teacher. Angel feels fortunate to work with Determined to Succeed, whose objective is her own, to build a nurturing and rich learning environment within the Determined to Succeed community.

Mimi Zolla Neandross
College Counselor, Literary Instructor

Mimi has always been passionate about teaching. While in college, at Colgate University, she worked with middle school students with learning disabilities and she also developed a tutoring/mentoring program for teens at a local group home. Upon graduation, Mimi began teaching English at Belmont High School. During her seven years at Belmont, she created a Peer Counseling program in order to encourage high school graduation and to promote college awareness. She also mentored new teachers, ran a successful book club, and worked in the school’s college office. She eventually left the classroom to work as a college counselor at One Voice and left her full-time career when she became a mom.

Rita Bower (Palms Middle School)
Student School Site Coordinator

Rita has a B.A. in psychology (SF State University) and a masters in special education (Mt. St. Mary’s College). She has taught fourth and fifth grade and has spent twenty years teaching special education in elementary and middle school. She spent 14 years working as a counselor at Fairfax High, Paul Revere Middle School and retired from Venice High in June 2009.

Samantha Macher
Artist in Residence

Samantha Macher is a graduate of the University of Virginia (BA), and the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University (MFA). Sam has worked with DTSLA since August of 2011. In association with Book Roots (an LA literacy/education non-profit), she has taught playwriting, essay writing, and a fiction genre writing intensive with both the seventh graders and the ninth graders. When Sam isn’t working at DTS, she fills the time writing plays and screenplays and doing other theater-y sorts of things (like directing). She has 6 published plays for youth and adults, and her newest work War Bride won 7 StageSceneLA awards including Best New Play in 2012. Her plays have been produced in cities across America, and as of April in the UK as well.

Sara Hahn
Co Founder & Program Director

After teaching at a private school, Sara became a fifth grade teacher at Brentwood Science Magnet Elementary School. She saw firsthand the differences in the educational opportunities of students in the private and public school systems and the challenges faced by her fifth grade students. Sara realized that if a passionate and caring educator were to follow the same group of students through middle and high school, the positive impact on the children would be tremendous and life changing. With the generous support of actor Hank Azaria, Sara Hahn founded Determined to Succeed in 2005.

Emilie Zepeda
Development/Program Assistant

Emilie’s past accomplishments include being a straight A student at Paul Revere Middle School where her teachers included Angel and Craig Honda! She brings a wealth of skills to DTS, assisting in both development and programming. Her fluent Spanish skills are a huge bonus in communicating with many of our parents.

Ken Dawkins
Student School Site Coordinator (Whaley Middle School)

Ken has been employed by the Compton School District for several years as a Counselor in middle and high school. His experience and relationships at Whaley is an incredible asset for our students and staff.

Jamie Tedesco (O’Donovan Middle Academy)
Student School Site Coordinator

Jamie has been a Resource Aide at O’Donovan for the past three years. Her experience and relationships at O’Donovan is an incredible asset for our students and staff.

P.O Box 5363 Santa Monica, Ca 90409 - Phone: 310-452-7295 (O) - 310-452-7313 (F) - Copyright © 2013 Determined To Succeed.