Meet the TEAM

To ensure ROC the Future functions effectively with clear communication and organized efforts, we rely on our Backbone Staffing. These dedicated individuals are the heart of our alliance. They are leaders, parents, professionals, and concerned citizens of Rochester, NY.

Brian Lewis

Brian Lewis

Executive Director


Brian Lewis is the Executive Director of ROC the Future. He has dedicated his life and career to reforming systems and supporting under-resourced young people to have educational and vocational success. 

Most recently, he served as Chief Program Officer for exalt, a nonprofit organization based in New York City. Exalt’s mission is to elevate expectations of personal success for youth ages 15-19 who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system.

While leading programming at exalt, Brian led his teams to year-over-year improvement in the number and rates of reduced and vacated sentences and significantly increased high school graduation and employment attainment rates for the youth exalt serves.

He also led efforts to double the number of internship site partners and initiated new corporate partnerships with Google, the NBA, and JP Morgan Chase.

Brian was selected to Chair the Juvenile Justice Committee for Manhattan District Attorney-elect Alvin Bragg. As Chair, he successfully convened multiple leaders and partners in the nonprofit, government, advocacy, and for-profit spaces to deliver a document that established priorities around Juvenile Justice engagement for the District Attorney’s first 100 days in office.

In addition to his work in youth development and systems change, Brian is also an Adjunct Professor and has taught courses on Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Criminology, Youth Development, the Arts, and Non-Profit Leadership and Management at NYU, the New School, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Baruch College and MCC.

Brian has completed Columbia Business School’s Developing Leaders Program for Non-Profit Professionals, the New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows Program at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, and the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University.

MaryBeth Elko

MaryBeth Elko

Continuous Improvement Manager

MaryBeth joins the ROC the Future team as the Continuous Improvement Manager. Prior to joining ROC the Future, MaryBeth served as Professional Development Specialist with PK-12 school systems in Rochester.
In that role, she designed and facilitated customized professional learning experiences with regional school districts, district leaders, teams, and individual educators. For the last several years, much of the professional development MaryBeth designed focused on supporting educators with: antiracism, culturally relevant teaching and learning, equitable and inclusive practices, restorative practices, and social and emotional learning. Prior to her work as a professional development specialist, MaryBeth was a middle school teacher and Instructional Coach in the Syracuse City School District.
She is a parent leader and a graduate of PLTI Cohort 8. MaryBeth, her husband, and daughter live in the Homestead Heights neighborhood of Rochester.
MaryBeth earned both her Master’s in Teaching as well as her Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from Syracuse University.

Contact MaryBeth

Willie Robinson, Jr.

Willie Robinson, Jr.

Operations Director


Willie Robinson, Jr. is the ROC the Future interim Operations Director. Prior to joining ROC the Future, Willie served in various capacities working with youth and families and has a corporate background.

While employed at Xerox Corporation, he managed four community outreach programs: Xerox Science Consultant Program (XSCP), FIRST Robotics Program, Xerox Community Involvement Program (XCIP), and Xerox School/Work Partnership Program (XSWPP).

During his tenure at Action for a Better Community, he worked as an Employment Specialist with the Milestones program helping to train and employ disenfranchised youth and young adults.  During a short period at the University of Rochester, he worked with the Hillside Work Scholarship Program as well as the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) Program.

He also served as the coordinator for the Office of Parent Engagement with the Rochester City School District.  He had the pleasure of working with a group of dedicated and committed parents who established the RCSD Start Strong Program, Family Affair in the Park, and a fatherhood program called Men of Action Network (MAN).

He has a bachelor’s degree in Electronic Technology from North Carolina A&T State University and a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Nazareth College.  In 2019, he was recognized as the Distinguished Health & Wellness Professional of the year at the Rochester Black Men Achieve Awards.

Willie celebrates 34 years of marriage with his wife, Cynthia, and they have two adult children and a four-month-old grandson.

Contact Willie:

585-627-5896 Ext. 247

Kilolo Moyo-White

Kilolo Moyo-White

Family and Community Engagement Specialist


Kilolo Moyo-White is ROC the Future’s Family and Community Engagement Specialist. She will lead our efforts to engage families and the community in systemic change to improve academic outcomes for children.

Prior to moving to Rochester, Kilolo spent the past 15 years building relationships as a community and youth support advocate through her role as a community educator in the public school system of Philadelphia, PA. As an academic advisor, program coordinator, and curriculum writer for Philadelphia Freedom Schools, Kilolo designed and led social justice workshops to empower teen voice and leadership.

Kilolo’s passion for community building runs deep. In 2009, she was a lead organizer in co-founding Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School. Additionally, Kilolo has led education workshops through Teach For America’s African American Corps, EdXEd NYC, and Educon. Since moving to Rochester, Kilolo has become a parent leader with ROC the Future’s Parent Engagement Collaborative Action Network (PECAN), School #23’s Parent Teacher Association and a member of the 19th Ward Community Association.

Kilolo is a graduate of Lincoln University and Temple University, with a master’s degree in African American Studies. She resides in the 19th Ward with her loving husband Kevin and 3 children.

Contact Kilolo

585-627-5896 X234

James Ross

James Ross

Data Analysis Specialist

James joins the ROC the Future team as a Data Analysis Specialist. Prior to joining ROC the Future, James served as a Research Analyst with Children’s Institute and served the community in various capacities including as an Assistant Professor within the SUNY system for fifteen years, a practicing attorney specializing in representing juveniles as an Attorney for the Child in the New York State Family Court, and serving four years as an AmeriCorps fellow serving in various positions supporting the educational and social emotional needs of students in the Rochester City School District.
While a faculty member at both Buffalo State College and the College at Brockport he taught in the department of Criminal Justice and while at Brockport, he was a faculty member in the Department of Public Administration.
While serving as a fellow in the AmeriCorps national service program, James supported the learning and social emotional needs of students as a behavioral intervention specialist at both Leadership Academy for Young Men and Vanguard Collegiate high schools in the Rochester City School District.
During his time at Children’s Institute, James worked with the Whole Child Connection team in consulting and assessing schools and district readiness to incorporate social and emotional learning into their curriculum.
James has been a practicing attorney since 2001, specializing as an Attorney for the Child in New York State’s 4th Department. James has represented children in custody, visitation, social welfare, educational, and PINS and juvenile delinquency matters.
James has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University at Buffalo, a Master’s of Science in Sociology from Illinois State University, a J.D. degree from University at Buffalo, School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Sociology, specializing in social psychology from University at Buffalo.
James proudest accomplishments are being a father to his son and daughter, and being married to his high school sweetheart for over 20 years.
Contact James Ross
585.295.1000 Ext. 235
Jessica Lewis

Jessica Lewis

Interim Communications Manager


Jessica Lewis is the interim Communications Manager for ROC the Future (RTF) and leads RTF’s communications initiatives by developing and executing comprehensive, integrated communications for funders, conveners, networks, community-based organizations, and parents.

Prior to joining ROC the Future, Jessica served as the Communications Specialist for the Urban-Suburban Transfer Program, the nation’s first and oldest school-based integration program. In that role, she developed content for the program’s publications, social media accounts, and website. She also served as an anniversary steering committee member, which led the program’s major initiative to commemorate 50 years serving the Rochester community. She had the honor of emceeing the 50th-anniversary gala with Adam Chodak of WROC News 8. Before joining the Urban-Suburban program, she served as the director of after-school programs at the Urban League of Rochester, where she coordinated five college and career programs serving Rochester area youth and managed a budget of $400,000. Jessica’s programs consistently surpassed outcomes and goals, which earned her the “2012 Employee of the Year” award.

Jessica received her bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College in Social Studies Education grades 7-12 and a master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education at the University of Rochester. She is the owner of a public relations firm called LáLew Public Relations.

Contact Jessica
585-627-5896 x233

Sara White-Smith

Sara White-Smith

Whole Child Initiative Director


Sara White-Smith is the Director of the Whole Child Initiative. She brings over 25 years of experience working with children and families in the greater Rochester region. 

Her background includes work in the education and non-profit sectors. She specializes in building programs and working with cross-sector teams and looks forward to lending her unique skills to our goals for systems change and community transformation. 

Sara comes to ROC the Future Alliance from the Bivona Child Advocacy Center where she served as the Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator, providing oversight of 23 partner agencies that made up the multidisciplinary team. The various systems include law enforcement, child welfare/protective services, medical, mental health, prevention education, and advocacy.

Sara has also worked in the Monroe County Office of the District Attorney, the YMCA of Greater Rochester and the Rochester City School District in various roles focused on lifting families and the community.

Sara lives in the city of Rochester. She is the proud mother of three adult children, Jonathan, Jessica, and JaNelle, and the grandmother of five amazing grandchildren, who are the light of her world. She is active in her church and currently serves as the Music Director. Her hobbies include reading and traveling.

Ryan Lavoie

Ryan Lavoie

Administrative & Grants Assistant


Ryan Lavoie is the Administrative/ Grants Assistant who works closely with the ROC the Future Alliance Director to provide high-level administrative and financial maintenance support, as well as critical communications to key leader partners and stakeholders in the community.

Before joining the team at ROC the Future, Ryan’s experience focused on brand marketing and human resources, where among other responsibilities, he successfully led an inclusion initiative tasked with diversifying the hiring process for a top Fortune 500 company. Ryan dedicates his spare time to volunteer work in the community, ranging from stage-managing local theater productions to providing aid at various food banks. His remaining time is spent relaxing with his schnauzer, Lady, and a good book.

Contact Ryan
585-627-5896 X228

ROC the Future at the Children’s Institute
274 N. Goodman Street, Suite D103
Rochester, NY 14607

Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM