AOK Board and Staff

Kathy Fletcher, Board Chair

Momma Kathy has been raising AOK kids for as long as any of us can remember. Including her earliest AOK kid and son, Santiago. She loves to nurture the potential in everyone, feed large crowds, keep plants flourishing, and coach teens on overcoming challenges large and small. David is constantly amused as he watches his wife re-create her childhood home with nine brothers and sisters. By day she is  Director of Turnaround Arts, a program of the John F Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, that uses the arts to engage students and teachers and turn around under-performing schools across the US.

David Simpson, Executive Director, Board Member

David is the Dad-in- Chief at AOK. He feels like the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity AOK teens extend to him every day to mentor and learn—and so much more. It turns out that David’s career turning start-ups into successes is the perfect fit for leading AOK. Committed to following his heart and taking on the hard work to make it all happen, David’s leadership roles in the nonprofit and business worlds have prepared him to put AOK on the road to success. He also knows this work will become a model for other communities looking to help young people believe in themselves and their dreams. And create the realities to match. You can see David every weekend as he pedals at high speed across the DC area—his strategy for managing life’s stresses—and helping with all the big meals Kathy cooks up for the AOK crew!

Carolyn Fletcher, Operations Manager

Following the road less traveled, Carolyn has a diverse background in catering, event planning (for the living and the dead) and project management. Nothing makes her happier than seeing the AOK kids reach for their dreams.  She is smart as a whip, as competent as can be and has a sense of humor that keeps us all laughing, even when things get tough. She has parlayed her varied background into a Jill-of- all-trades role at AOK – working with David to keep kids focused and on the right track. Her passion is marketing, networking and convincing others to help her make positive change in the world.

Karen Lawson, Treasurer

Aunt Karen likes to engage in conversation about all things political and the importance of showing up and participating in the democratic process.  Having watched Kathy and David mentor and love their amazing kids, she considers it a gift to provide warmth (literally with a fireplace heater!) and support for this amazing family.  Cooking is an important theme and crab cakes, compliments of her Aunt Jeannetta’s recipe, is her specialty. For the past 30 years she has had the honor of working for the premiere civil rights coalition working to make an America as good as its ideals.  She is also wife to Warner, mother to Lauren and Jay, and Nana to Sakile, Kimathi and Sankara.

Michael Peterkin, Board Member

Michael feels blessed by opportunities afforded to him in life and welcomes the opportunity to help others in the ways he was helped. As the son of an OB/GYN, Michael was born in Los Angeles and raised in the Virgin Islands. He attended college at Johns Hopkins University, medical school at Cornell, and did his residency in anesthesiology Emory University in Atlanta. He now practices in Bethesda.  With his mother’s side of the family hailing from Louisiana and his father’s from Trinidad and Tobago, Michael is happy to bring his multicultural background (and taste buds) to the AOK table. Always drawn to the arts, Michael has a deep respect for the dedication artists have to their craft and is awed by the impressive talents of our kids.  He admires their commitment to self-expression, living authentically, and ability to communicate themselves through their various mediums.  Michael is into biking, running, general fitness, and eating well and believes we should take care of our bodies inside and out.

Sara Pratt, Secretary

Auntie Sara loves to provide tips on parenting college students (having gotten her only daughter through college), leads shopping excursions, and gives solicited and unsolicited general advice on the ways of the world. Besides doing all of AOK’s legal work, she cooks, as Aunties often do, and is recognized for her cheesecakes (well, David recognizes her anyway). During the day she is a lawyer with a civil rights law firm, after retiring from the federal government in 2015 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs at HUD’s fair housing office. For even more fun she advocates for affordable housing preservation and maintains a garden at her church.

Lisa Haywood, Board Member

A native Washingtonian, Lisa raised her sons during the trying 80s and 90s along with more than a dozen of their friends who frequented her home regularly for hot meals and a safe haven.  For over three decades Lisa has supported the dreams and ambitions of her family, friends, and community.   Her recipe for compassion begins with a plate of her famous fried chicken wings. Wings and a smile are Lisa’s true and tried recipe for breaking the ice and beginning a friendship.  She believes in the old adage, “it takes a village…,” and just as there were many “villagers” in her journey; hopes to give back in as many ways as possible.  In her spare time, Lisa is membership director for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and loves to spend time with her grandchildren Kayla, Jaylon, Lauren and Aiden.   An adventurer at heart, Lisa also enjoys karate in her leisure time.

Stefanie Zeldin-Sigal, Board Member

Stefanie brings energy, creativity and her entrepreneurial spirit to the AOK board.   As a co-founder of her own small business, Stefanie is a serial marketer as well as a closet architect, handling many custom real estate projects over the years.  Stefanie is looking forward to the challenges of growing AOK and finding the ideal space to house future expansion activities.  Short term, Stef will help bring the talents of the group forward with yearly Friends’ Giving* and strengthen ties to her alma mater Hampshire College’s James Baldwin Scholarship. Rob Sigal is in the wings to dance, sing and take “our kids” to dinner.  Both believers of the power of the dinner table, Stefanie and Rob have two grown daughters, who live out of state, giving them extra reason to engage with local AOK kids.

Nicole Alexiev, Board Member

Nicole is the Director of Energy and Environment Programs for Emerson Collective, a social change organization founded and led by Laurene Powell Jobs. Prior to Emerson, Nicole was the Managing Director of the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program where she led and managed the team and the program’s thought leadership convenings, outcome driven policy dialogues, and events on topics ranging from clean energy innovation to global food security to high-level change dialogues with India and China. Nicole grew up in Alaska and spent her young adult life dancing in San Francisco. She’s passionate about the role public art and cultural performance can have in the public discourse and is the co-founder of CubaCaribe, an organization that preserves and promotes Caribbean arts and culture. She now keeps busy hosting dance parties in her living room for her 3 boys!