Hello! Meet Our Team.

Kim Riley

Click here to learn more about Kim

Kim Riley is a social entrepreneur based in Kansas City, MO. She has worked extensively in higher education, health care and nonprofits. She founded a nonprofit, The Transition Academy (TTA), in 2019 as a solution to the confusing and poorly-designed postsecondary preparation process for students with disabilities – a problem affecting her family and others like hers. In 2021, she began developing North Star, a college and career planning tech product for these same youth. Kim earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and an Executive MBA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Erica Gordon

Social Worker
Send Email

Click here to learn more about Erica

As The Transition Academy’s Success Coach, Erica works with youth with disabilities to help them set, pursue, and achieve their professional and educational goals for life after high school. Erica has extensive experience working with students and families working as a social worker in the Blue Springs School District. She also provided grief education, counseling, and support to families with loved ones in hospice. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Missouri Kansas City and a diversity, equity, and inclusion certification from Cornell University. 

As the mother of a son with an autism diagnosis, Erica comes to this work at TTA with firsthand experience. Her family had to navigate the different education options, services, and benefits with little to no guidance or support. Her son is now 12 years old and thriving.

Shelley Coulter

Program/Community Engagement Manager
Send Email


Click here to learn more about Shelley

Shelley Coulter is a seasoned advocate and a devoted catalyst for change, committed to creating a beneficial influence on individuals confronting challenges from diverse backgrounds.

With more than two decades of expertise, she has passionately supported students and families in urban core communities and on a global scale. This includes her roles as the Executive Director of the KCKPS Education Foundation, The Academy of Finance and Community Engagement Director at Bishop Ward High School, and her service on the Board of Directors for the Global One Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya.

Shelley holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from the University of Arizona.

Rebecca Haessig

Impact & Evaluation Fellow
Send Email

Click here to learn more about Rebecca

Rebecca helps TTA make sense of the state of post-high school transition for youth with disabilities in the Kansas City metro and beyond. She also helps define, track, and communicate results and impact from TTA’s Year 1 pilot program and other initiatives. Rebecca enjoys problem-solving- and making complex ideas and numbers meaningful and accessible. She has a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Jorge Holguin

IT & Operations Manager
Send Email

Click here to learn more about Jorge

Jorge is a community organizer and nonprofit professional with a passion for education equity. He is a first-generation college graduate from Rockhurst University and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient. His experiences have shaped his work in working with diverse communities. Currently, he serves as the IT and Operations Manager at The Transition Academy. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the outdoors with his family and friends.