Mimi began working with Determined to Succeed in July of 2011 and has worn many hats in the organization since. Before becoming Co-Executive Director, she served as an academic advisor, writing instructor, class Advisor, college counselor, and most recently as Education Director. Mimi has always been passionate about education and has spent the past 20 years working in the field. While in college at Colgate University, she worked with teens with learning disabilities and she developed a tutoring/mentoring program for teens at a local group home. Upon graduation, Mimi earned her teaching credential and began teaching English at Belmont High School in Los Angeles. During her seven years at Belmont, she created a Peer Counseling program 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 privately and at the One Voice Scholars program.
Jessica Penkower Reid
Jessica joined Determined to Succeed in January 2017. An attorney by training, Jessica began her career as a judicial clerk in the Federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Upon relocating to Los Angeles, she worked as an associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and then as a Vice President of Business Affairs for a motion picture studio. She left the practice of law to spend time with her young children and pursue volunteer work as an advocate for children’s health and education. She has served on multiple non-profit and hospital boards and committees, spearheaded health education and awareness programs, written articles and educational materials, and collaborated on development projects toward those ends. Jessica holds her law degree from DePaul University College of Law and earned her Bachelors degree in both Journalism and History from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Carmen Margaziotis, L.Ac.
Health and Wellness Director
Carmen joined DTS in 2017 as the Health and Wellness Director, after serving as a consultant to DTS students for two years. She is a licensed acupuncturist that has specialized in mental health since 2009 when she started her private practice in Pacific Palisades. She graduated magma cum laude from Emperor’s College where she received a Masters degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Carmen has been the lead acupuncturist at some of the best treatment centers in the country. She is passionate about shedding light on the importance of mental wellness and is proud to have been a featured speaker for NAMI. Carmen is currently working on her first book and is the author of the blog The Healing Arts Enthusiast, and has been featured in Daily Candy’s Health and Wellness Guide as well as Voyage LA Magazine.
College Access and Success Counselor
Stephanie is currently the DTS College Access and Success Counselor, having served as a DTS Advisor and college counselor since she joined DTS in 2015. Stephanie is a native of Los Angeles and graduated from Manual Arts High School. As a One Voice Scholar, she attended Franklin and Marshall College, where she majored in Sociology. Stephanie received her Masters degree in Educational Psychology at Pepperdine University. She has years of experience working in the Admissions and Financial Aid departments of private high schools and at the college level, and as a career counselor at a vocational school.
Ashley is the Advisor for both Ouchi High School Classes (2019 and 2021). She has worked closely with DTS as the site Advisor since 2013. Ashley is also an Instructional Coach, Literacy Specialist, and AP Literature Teacher at Alliance William and Carol Ouchi High School. Ashley earned her undergraduate degree and first M.A. (Linguistics) at CSU Dominguez Hills, and she is currently earning her second M.A. (Educational Leadership) at Loyola Marymount University.
Jason Lee Morgan
Jason is the Class Advisor of the Dominguez 2019 Class in Compton. He has worked with DTS since 2015. Jason has been an educator in the Compton Unified School District since August 2006 as a Secondary Math Teacher. He has served as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Coordinator, Activities Director, District Curriculum Designer, Professional Development Provider, and Varsity Baseball Coach. Jason provides leadership as a member of the School Site Council, Technology Committee and Instructional Leadership Team. Jason graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles then Riverside County in California.
Math and Science Specialist
Emmanuel works with all DTS students individually and in small groups as the DTS Math and Science Specialist. He has worked as a substitute teacher for LAUSD and joined the DTS team in 2015 as a math tutor. He graduated from Pomona College in 2015 with a Bachelors degree in Mathematics.
Before serving as a VISTA, Johanny worked for years as a legal assistant servicing entertainment-industry clients. After her son was born, she decided to combine two of her great passions: fashion and empowering women. She founded a personal styling business and has been working with people from all walks of life to help them look and feel their best. Johanny is originally from Brooklyn, NY. She was born to immigrant parents from Dominican Republic and raised by a single mother. Johanny was the first in her family to attend college. She graduated from Pace University with an English major and a minor in women’s studies. Johanny has long been interested in issues of social justice and is excited to play a role in helping our kids successfully navigate the path to higher eduction.
[The staff] treated everyone equally and gave us the same opportunities to succeed, showing that (and this is going to sound corny) they loved us all equally. It was never really a program but a family. – Isaiah, College Student