Daniel Majok Gai
Daniel came to the United States in 2001 as a twenty-year-old refugee. At the age of six, he had escaped into the bush alone when a northern militia attacked his southern Sudanese village. He spent the next fourteen years in camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, having trekked thousands of miles, first into Ethiopia, and then, when the “Lost Boys” were driven out of that region, to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Daniel received his high school certificate in Kakuma, where he learned under a tree, without pens or paper. Hear his story on NPR.
Melody is finishing a Master’s of International Development at the Korbel School within the University of Denver. She started on this journey because of a transformative visit to the Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she learned about state-sanctioned mass atrocities in history and the current day. The genocide in Darfur had been raging for two years. This high school field trip was the catalyst for a deep-seated passion for humanitarian rights in East Africa, particularly the Sudan. Melody has worked with PESS as a volunteer since 2016 and was one of the authors of Project Education South Sudan: Challenges and Accomplishment in Female Education in South Sudan, which was published in The Applied Anthropologist.
Ray has worked in the Denver non-profit community for over 40 years and for 27 years was Executive Director of Hope Communities. While there Ray got to know members of the South Sudanese community who came as refugees to live in Denver. Hope Communities provided housing for many of the new arrivals, and other volunteers helped with their adjustment to Denver and American life. Ray has been a PESS Board member and the Board Chair since shortly after PESS was founded. Ray was born and lived in Sudan, as well as East African, until age 14, then later traveled with the PESS team to South Sudan in 2007.
Lee Ann Huntington
Lee Ann is an attorney licensed in Colorado and California. Her legal practice includes over 25 years litigation experience, primarily as a partner in a prominent San Francisco law firm. She is an experienced mediator, and volunteers and teaches in various educational, legal and horticultural areas. She has worked with PESS since 2009, when she helped her daughter record the stories of many Lost Boys for a high school project. Lee Ann traveled to South Sudan with Daniel and the PESS team in 2011. Lee Ann serves as Treasurer for PESS.
Born in Atlanta GA, raised in Alabama, Tennessee & Georgia, Kathleen finished her schooling in Colorado Springs CO. Most of her career has been in the banking & financial services industry with her most current position being a Loan Administrator for Wholesale Operations at Wells Fargo. Kathleen got involved with PESS after meeting our board chair, Ray Stranske. Kathleen began as a volunteer helping to organize the writings and related information about our incredible scholars, and she was motivated to deepen her commitment as she learned more about our dedicated, hardworking scholars. Kathleen works with PESS because she feels being able to contribute to an organization that is so close to the people that receive the aid is an incredible blessing!
Chief Financial Officer, Director
Jim is a small business owner who has enjoyed a diverse career. His most memorable work was as a management consultant working with Colorado nonprofits to strengthen their skills in financial management and information technology. He has also worked as a software developer in a rapidly growing technology company and most recently built a successful online agency in the international travel business. Jim has been an active volunteer with Project Education South Sudan since its founding. He serves as Chief Financial Officer for PESS.
Dinah works in non-profit program development, focusing on efficiencies and innovation. She previously worked as a teacher and in education policy. Dinah has a passion for social justice and sees education as one of the means to improving economic security. She earned her B.A. in Education & Bible and M.A. in Sustainable Development. She is committed to using her time and experience to support our global community.
Ken Scott is a Harvard Law School honors graduate, international human rights lawyer and war crimes prosecutor who has been involved in Bosnia, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, South Sudan and elsewhere. He has been extensively involved in and with South Sudan from March 2014 to the present time, including as a peace and justice consultant to Amnesty International, a challenging term as a UN Commissioner on Human Rights in South Sudan and working recently with the Commission on International Justice and Accountability, in looking at justice and accountability efforts concerning South Sudan. A former U.S. federal prosecutor, Ken was a senior prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, prosecuting Bosnia war crimes, from 1998 to 2011, and is the amicus prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
As a humanitarian, Jessica has traveled all over the world working in the global health sector evaluating hospitals and clinics to outfit them with medical equipment and conduct trainings, program management in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, and currently promotes health for children in equitable access to nutritious foods. Her interest in Project Education South Sudan was sparked during a seminar at the Josef Korbel School, of which she is an alum, and her interest continued during her tenure working in the humanitarian sector. Aside from her work, Jessica is President of the Board of Directors for the United Nations Association, is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children in Denver, Rotary International member, and can be found enthusiastically enjoying the Colorado outdoors with her dog Sahara.
Lily Ribeiro has been involved with South Sudan advocacy since 2016 when she became friends with a South Sudanese pastor while on a mission trip to Tanzania. Since then she has done trauma healing work at Kakuma refugee camp and has raised food support for widows affected by food shortages in Eastern Equatoria. She joined the board of PESS in 2019.