Meet Our Board of Directors

Kim Frusciante


Kim (she/her) is the Founder & CEO of Early Partners and also serves on the Board. Kim has over 16 years of experience in school leadership and teacher training. She has a B.A. from Tulane University and Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Kim used her coursework at Harvard to design our model, with the support of the foremost scholars in the field, making Early Partners a truly research-backed program. She has lived in New Orleans for nearly 16 years and loves going to festivals with her family. Kim currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Newcomb Alumnae Association. She is passionate about access for communities of color to play-based, developmentally appropriate early learning. Kim is a working mom with two children, the younger of whom is an Early Partners alum. You can reach Kim at

Jean Paul "JP" Hymel


JP is the President of Gallo Mechanical, and he serves as Chief Executive Officer of Gallo Mechanical Services and Sheet Metal Systems. Prior to joining Gallo Mechanical, JP served as North American Business Development Director for Johnson Controls specializing in Public Private Partnerships.

JP enjoys serving his local community. JP is the past Board Chair for Crescent City Schools and serves on several boards including the Academy of the Sacred Heart Board of Trustees, Tulane School of Architecture Advisory Council, the Tulane City Center Advisory Council, the Cowen Institute Advisory Council, and the Christopher Homes Board. JP is President of the Maisonette Condominium Association and past member of the Tulane Alumni Association Board of Directors, the UNO Engineering Advisory Council, the Newcomb-Tulane College Advisory Council, and the St. Francis of Assisi Pastoral Council.


After graduating from Tulane University as an Electrical Engineer, JP served in the US Air Force as an Electronics Warfare Engineer.  While in the Air Force, he received his MBA from Georgia College & State University. JP, his wife (Erin), and his daughters (Louise & Lucille) live in New Orleans.

Rachel Armentor


Rachel is a CPA with over 15 years of experience, primarily in non-profit organizations including Ochsner Health System, The National WWII Museum, and the LA SPCA. She has a BS in Accounting and an MBA from LSU. Rachel has served on the board of Young Audiences of Louisiana, the New Orleans Photo Alliance where she was Treasurer, and is a Girl Scout troop leader and troop Treasurer.

Currently, Rachel works as a consultant with small business owners to better understand the financial state of their business and generate monthly financial reporting packages. Rachel is from Covington, LA, and resides in New Orleans with her husband and daughter.

Amanda Berger


Amanda is an advocate and attorney. Her passions include the environment, children and education. She has worked as a real estate attorney for the past ten years.  Amanda is honored to serve as a board member of Early Partners.

In addition, she currently serves as the Development Chair on the Board of Directors of Son of a Saint.  She previously served on the Board of Directors for Austin Achieve Public Schools, a charter school in Austin, Texas.  Amanda received her undergraduate degree in finance from Auburn University and law degree from Loyola University - New Orleans. 

Amanda resides in New Orleans with her husband, Ryan, and two young daughters, Lillian and Grace.

Abbie Sumners

Board Member

Abbie was born and raised in Alabama. She holds a Master's in Communication Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, complementing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, earned with honors. She moved to New Orleans in 2009 and has found her forever home.

Abbie is a seasoned fundraising professional with extensive experience spanning over 15 years in the nonprofit sector. She has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing the missions of various organizations through strategic fundraising initiatives.

Notably, Abbie spent nearly a decade at The National WWII Museum, where she made significant contributions to the institution's philanthropic endeavors as a Major Gifts Officer and the Director of Gift Planning. Currently serving as the Capital Campaign Director at Trinity Episcopal Church and School, Abbie has taken the helm of the ambitious $13 million capital campaign, Trinity 2024: Together We Build.

She enjoys dancing with her Mardi Gras dance troupe, traveling, and being a novice beekeeper in her spare time.

Jerel Bryant

Board Member

Jerel is the Principal of George Washington Carver High School and the incoming CEO of Collegiate Academies. Like Carver itself, Jerel is known for his resilience. Jerel is proud to serve the communities that he has the opportunity to support here in New Orleans.

As Carver’s principal since 2012, Jerel has been working to advance and preserve the school’s legacy as a long standing pillar within the Desire community and the Upper Ninth Ward. Teach For America brought Jerel to New Orleans in 2007, where he taught middle school English Language Arts for two years in Central City. Jerel joined Collegiate Academies’ team in 2009 as a Civics teacher at Sci Academy. As a humanities teacher and dean, his teaching directly contributed to sophomore mastery on their Graduate Exit Exam. In 2020, Jerel was the inaugural recipient of the Teach for America’s Collective National Advisory Board’s School Leader Honor, which recognizes the breadth and depth of his impact on Carver, Collegiate Academies, and the national education landscape. Jerel received his B.A. in History from Yale.

Laura Wilt

Board Member

Laura Wilt currently serves as the Chief Digital Officer for Sutter Health. In this role, she oversees all aspects of Sutter’s unified digital strategy, including leading teams in information services, technology, design and innovation, digital patient experience, and data analytics.

She has over fifteen years of experience in healthcare, previously working as the Chief Information Officer at Ochsner Health in New Orleans. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Tulane University. Wilt is a Certified Healthcare CIO, and a member of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). She and her husband, Jonathan, have one dog and three children, and she is a passionate supporter of early childhood education.

Walt Leger

Board Member

Walt is experienced attorney, business executive, and speaker with a demonstrated history of working as a civil litigator and criminal prosecutor and in government as a State Legislator and in the non-profit community. He is celebrated for pragmatism and effectiveness.

An expert in Legislative Affairs and strategic planning with strong relationships in the business community and in local, State and Federal Government, his particular areas of expertise are include economic development, tourism and hospitality industry, fiscal matters, tax and budget, healthcare, education, public safety, and the civil and criminal legal systems. Between 2008-2020, Walt authored more legislation that eventually became law than any other member of the Louisiana Legislature.