Dr. Patricia Hoben has worked in federal science, technology, and public health policy; molecular biology and biochemistry research; nonprofit management; and science education philanthropy. She also led a city-wide science education reform initiative in Minneapolis.

Most recently, Dr. Hoben served as the founding chief executive officer for Carmen Schools of Science and Technology, a nationally recognized network of college and career preparatory public charter schools including three high schools, two middle schools, and an elementary school.

Dr. Hoben holds a doctorate in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University.

Program team

MELISSA CAPINEGRO, Director of Quality Schools initiatives

Melissa is part of our School Leadership Coaching team, supporting school leaders across Milwaukee.

Melissa’s journey in education began as a primary teacher in Chicago, serving in both independent charter and district schools. Her time in the classroom inspired her to pursue school leadership through New Leaders for New Schools. During this time, she studied the concepts behind transformational leadership, especially as it relates to school culture, high-level instruction, and promoting academic achievement.

Since New Leaders, Melissa was awarded the opportunity to lead in both the Assistant Principal and Principal roles in two Chicago Public Schools elementary school buildings that were part of the school turnaround work of the Academy for Urban School Leadership network. During that time, she focused on building teacher capacity, developing shared leadership, supporting positive systems and structures, and maintaining a foundation for progressive transformation.

Melissa earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and Teaching at Indiana University, and as a New Leaders Resident she earned a M.A. in Education Leadership and Supervision from National Louis University.

In her free time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband, Tony, and their three-year-old daughter, Reese.


Stephanie directs the principal licensure program we operate with Alverno College, identifying high-potential leaders and developing them through a blend of rigorous study, coaching, and field experience.

Prior to joining City Forward Collective, Stephanie was a teacher and administrator in Milwaukee Public Schools. Most recently, she served as Director of School Turnaround. Her prior roles included teaching elementary and middle school children, 10 years as assistant principal at the Milwaukee Sign Language School and School of Languages, and 4 years as principal at Jeremiah Curtin Leadership Academy.

Stephanie earned her B.S. in Education from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. Currently Stephanie is working toward her PhD. in Leadership, Learning, Service, and Research at Cardinal Stritch University.

Stephanie, her husband Joe (a retired School Administrator) and their two daughters reside in Milwaukee.


Andy is a Senior Talent Development Consultant at Baird, who also works to nurture and develop the next generation of school leaders through our Emerging Leaders Program.

Previously, Andy was a School Leadership Coach and Director of Partnerships at Schools That Can Milwaukee, a teacher and administrator in Milwaukee Public Schools, and a principal within the high-performing Milwaukee College Prep charter school network. As school leader of MCP’s Lloyd Street campus, Andy helped create a vibrant climate and culture in what was once a struggling school community.

Andy earned a B.A. in Education from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Marian University. He is also an alum of the New Leaders for New Schools initiative.

Andy lives with his wife, Arianne and their four amazing children.

Organizational support team


Katie plays a key role in achieving our annual fundraising targets to ensure our programs have adequate resources.

Katie comes to City Forward Collective with a strong passion for education. Born into a family of educators, Katie is a Milwaukee Public School graduate and most recently worked at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in the Guidance Department.  She has over six years of administrative experience, with three years of experience in education.

While living in Washington, D.C., Katie studied Psychology and Secondary Education at Northern Virginia Community College before starting her family.

Katie has two kids, Calla and Joseph, and currently resides in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.


Samantha came to City Forward Collective from the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland. At this fast-paced hunger relief organization, she coordinated a 30% increase in volunteers – from 13,000 to 17,000 individuals – over the course of just one year. Samantha has more than five years of administrative experience and seven years of experience working in education, working directly with students from kindergarten through graduate school.

Samantha has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation with an emphasis on Gender, Ecology, and Society from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

In her free time, Samantha is a life-long learner who enjoys being in nature and practicing yoga. Her 3-year old daughter, Aurora, keeps her on her toes!


Isral tells our story in ways that engage the community in our work.

Prior to joining City Forward Collective, Isral taught upper elementary students at La Causa Charter School, initially as a Teach For America corps member and later as an after-school tutor and long-term substitute. Before joining TFA, Isral was an award-winning education reporter covering suburban school districts for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s NOW Newspapers.

Isral has a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University. He is also a licensed educator.

Isral and his wife, Joanna, are working to renovate a 100-year-old house in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.


Spencer has experience in both community and international development, with a particular focus on program implementation and management. Prior to joining City Forward Collective, Spencer lived in Senegal, where he served as a Sustainable Agriculture Extension Agent with the Peace Corps for over two years. He remains active within the Peace Corps community as part of the Milwaukee Peace Corps Association.

Spencer is originally from southern Illinois, and he graduated with a degree in Political Science and French from the University of Illinois. He now lives in Bay View near Humboldt Park.


Meet our board.