Charlene Gladney, Executive Director

Charlene is a native of Greensboro, NC and a graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. She continued her studies at North Carolina A&T State University where she earned a Masters of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. From North Carolina A&T State University, Charlene moved to Rochester, NY where she began her career at Xerox Corporation. She spent 20 years in various corporate positions ranging from systems design to project and people management.  She also volunteered as a tutor, mentor, Girl Scout leader and Sunday school Teacher.  In 2007, Charlene took a leap of faith and entered the nonprofit world as Executive Director of Operation Homework, now Operation Xcel. As a nonprofit executive she has completed certification by the Nonprofit Management Institute and The Executive Director Academy. She has also been certified in the afterschool sector by NCSU and the NC Center of Afterschool Program completing the Leadership Fellowship Program.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.” ― Erma Bombeck


Scott Bannister – Program Director

Scott is a native of Canada but has been working in the United States for 17 years. Scott is a Child and Youth Work graduate of Humber College of Applied Arts of Toronto, Ontario.
Scott has over 16 years of experience working in youth serving nonprofit organizations. He has worked previously with the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs and Community in Schools. Scott has also served on a Juvenile Crime Prevention Council for 6 years and was Chairperson of the council for 6 months. He is an active member of Kiwanis for over 9 years.
Scott knows the importance of having mentors to help develop children and youth education so they can help them achieve goals and dreams for the future. He also understands that children and youth have many transitions in life and any way to bring stabilization to a child or youth will help develop confidence.

Jennifer Hermen – Lead Tutor/Site Director, Stokesdale


Jennifer Hermen was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a concentration in Sales. After a few twists and turns, Jennifer landed in North Carolina where, after years of being in sales and owning her own swimming pool company, switched gears to become a GED Instructor for Montgomery Community College. In 2009 Jennifer switched gears deciding to tutor young children. She is passionate about making a difference in a child’s life. She feels that the building blocks for our students’ futures are found in education. “They are OUR future and we must encourage them to dream big and reach for the stars…anything is possible.”

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Make good choices…” – JHV/JH

Quay Weston – Lead Tutor/Site Director, High Point

Quay Weston is from Pantego, NC. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 2013 from UNC-Greensboro in Political Science/Pre-Law and minoring in Sociology, Quay set out to find his place in the world. Deciding between working in the non-profit sector with youth and delinquency or going to law school, he chose to have a more hands on approach in his service. Since 2012, Quay has organized programs and worked with youth through mentoring and the arts. His mission is to inspire all people to utilize their passion and gifts to affect change. Through art and community engagement, he pushes for positive social change from youth to adults

Our Board

Dr. Joy Lough, Chair  –  Connect on LinkedIn
Michael Pearson, Secretary –  Connect on LinkedIn
Patricia J Price, Treasurer  – Connect on LinkedIn
Joseph R. Level, Jr., Community Member  –  Connect on LinkedIn
Antonette Barilla, Community Member
Timothy Buroff, Community Member  –  Connect on LinkedIn
Joe Metts, Community Member  –  Connect on LinkedIn

In addition to the leadership teams above, we employ certified teachers as math and reading specialist and tutors. We also employee paraprofessionals and have great volunteer staff.