Hello! Meet Our Team.
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.
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.
Click here to learn more about Shelley
Shelley Coulter is a seasoned advocate and a dedicated agent of transformation, with an unwavering commitment to positively impact individuals facing challenges from diverse backgrounds. With over twenty years of experience, she has ardently supported students and families in urban core communities both locally and globally.
Her roles have included serving as the Executive Director of the KCKPS Education Foundation, where she successfully secured scholarships from esteemed sources such as legacy Alumni, the Brandmeyer Family, Bill Self Assist Foundation, Hall Foundation, General Motors Foundation, and the Will Shields to Succeed Foundation. Additionally, she was the Community Engagement Director at Bishop Ward High School, overseeing The Academy of Finance. She was also a board member of the Global One Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya where she was instrumental in constructing schools, ensuring access to clean water, cultivating gardens to feed over 200 students, and providing access to education, food, and clothing for those in need.
Shelley has earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from the University of Arizona.
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.
Click here to learn more about Jorge
Jorge Holguin is a community organizer and nonprofit professional deeply committed to advancing education equity. Currently, he serves as the IT and Operations Manager at The Transition Academy, where he plays a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations and technological efficiency. His well-rounded experience and skills include expertise in No-Code Design and Development Platforms (such as Airtable, StackerHQ, Zapier, Miro, and Slack), Agile Project Management, and Purchasing Negotiation.
As a first-generation college graduate from Rockhurst University and a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, Holguin brings a unique perspective to his work with diverse communities. He first earned an Associate of Arts degree from Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley before continuing his education at Rockhurst, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. He was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Holguin is also a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP), an honor he earned from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
In addition to his professional pursuits, Jorge volunteers his time with WeCodeKC, offering operational and classroom support. He is also a committee member of the KC BizFest Committee, a part of The Greater Kansas City Hispanic Collaborative. Outside of work, Jorge enjoys exploring the outdoors with his family and friends.