Dejon B. Hawthorne

Executive Director

Dejon Banks Hawthorne is a native Houstonian. She hails from a line of talented educators and successful entrepreneurs. Her unique experiences and rich path led her to LEAD. As an active alumna of The Kinkaid School, Dejon remains involved in serving our community and models lifelong learning. She has lived, studied, and worked with institutions throughout our nation and internationally. Her curious and adventurous spirit are fulfilled when traveling and spending time with locals by experiencing their culture and environment. Attaining undergraduate degrees in both Anthropology and Sociology from Wake Forest University in North Carolina prepared her well, for Dejon loves of people – especially adolescents. Studying society, analyzing social problems, and being a part of the solution is her passion. She believes that LEAD is an integral and meaningful part of our society’s solution. Dejon continued her studies and received a Masters in Education from Wake Forest University and Columbia University where she was chosen to be a Klingenstein Fellow. Her rich tenure with secondary students as both an educator and school administrator allowed her to work in public, private, charter schools. She shared her knowledge as an instructor at Appalachian State University and as a coveted and engaging speaker. Her path and passion for providing opportunities and experiences for youth prepared her to serve as the Executive Director for LEAD. In addition to LEADing, Dejon treasures time and talks with her insightful husband and memorable moments with her delightful daughter. Similarly, she cherishes traditions, trying new things, peaceful escapes to the country, game nights, and expeditions with family, fictive kin, and friends.

Sarah C. Cleary

Program Director

Sarah Cleary was born and raised in Austin, Texas. She attended the Language Arts, Science, and Math Academy at LBJ High School and fell in love with volunteering through a leadership and mentorship program there. She continued to pursue this passion while obtaining her degree in Economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she led three student-run organizations, mentoring and supporting underserved populations in the greater Detroit area. For the past eight years, Sarah has been working with nonprofits in the Houston area and is proud to call Houston home. She is very passionate about creating life-long learners and extending learning outside the classroom. She is driven to serve her community and share her experiences and gifts with those around her. Sarah hopes to excite this same passion for learning, leading, and serving. Sarah and her husband both work with middle school youth. You will find them at a sporting event, play, or church service project with their daughters in tow. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys going to movies, cooking (and eating), and relaxing with friends.

Myles Ball

Program Coordinator

Myles Ball was born and raised just outside Houston, but has called Houston home since high school. He has been working with students and young adults for over 15 years. He coaches football, basketball, and golf. In addition, he worked at a residential treatment facility for struggling youth. He is very passionate about helping each student recognize the good in their life and work towards a positive, bright future.

Jonathan Ramos


Having been a LEADer since 2006, Jonathan understands how LEAD can impact the lives of middle and high school students. He cherishes the time he spent with LEAD as an adolescent. He continues to reflect upon his summer adventures and the important life lessons that LEAD taught him. His LEAD experiences inspired him to be more adventurous. As a result, he chose to study and graduate from Johns Hopkins University with a Film and Media Studies degree. He recently joined the LEAD staff, focusing on data management and administrative support. When he is not working at LEAD, Jonathan is catching up on the latest movies and reviewing them on his blog, After Movie Chat.