Interim Board Chair
Dr. Megan Holt is the Executive Director for One Book One New Orleans and the CEO of Words & Music: A Literary Feast in New Orleans. Raised in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Megan received a B.A. in English and Spanish from the University of Alabama in 2003 and a Ph.D in English/Comparative Literature from Tulane University in 2013. She currently teaches freshman composition in the English Department at Tulane University.
Megan is a member of the Board of Directors for the Literacy Alliance of Greater New Orleans, a member of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library.
Her husband, Jermaine Smith, and their sons, Jefferson and Abel, inspire her to work toward making New Orleans a better place.
Elizabeth Hyman has been a part of One Book One New Orleans since 2015, initially as a volunteer through the Young Leadership Council and then a project leader.
She is thrilled to be on OBONO’s inaugural Board of Directors and to help the organization continue on its literacy mission.
A native New Orleanian, Elizabeth earned a degree in journalism from the University of Richmond before returning home to attend law school at Loyola University New Orleans.
She is now a practicing attorney in private practice in the greater New Orelans area.
Jennie Merrill is the Director of Education at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. She leads children’s culinary programming, and gives tours and lectures on the cultural influences on Southern foodways.
Ms. Merrill’s first introduction to One Book was by writing the discussion questions for the University of Nebraska Press’s One Book One Lincoln in 2009. After moving to New Orleans the same year, OBONO was the first event she volunteered with while working with Literacy AmeriCorps. She joined OBONO as a Project Leader in 2015. In 2017, Ms. Merrill moved into the position of Board Secretary.
Jennie Merrill has a B.A. in Psychology and English with a concentration in Creative Writing from North Park University in Chicago, IL. She currently lives in New Orleans, LA and spends her free time exploring the South for the best BBQ.
A native New Orleanian, Kim Vaz-Deville is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana, a Professor of Counselor Education, a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. Her area of research is the on the use of expressive arts as a response to large group social trauma with attention to women, gender and insurgency.Her works include The Woman with the Artistic Brush: A Life History of Yoruba Batik Artist, Nike Davies; “Womanist Archetypal Psychology: A Model of Counseling for Black Women and Couples Based on Yoruba Mythology” in L. Phillips (Ed.) Womanist Reader: The First 25 Years; and “The Orisha in New Orleans” in Ron Bechet and Leslie King Hammond (Eds.) Ase to Amen Catalog.Dr. Vaz-DeVille is the author of The Baby Dolls: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gas Tradition. The Baby Dolls was the 2016 selection of One Book One New Orleans. In 2013 her book was the basis for an exhibition titled “They Call Me Baby Doll: A Mardi Gras Tradition” at The Louisiana State Museum Presbytere. An art exhibit guest-curated by she and Ron Bechet titled “Contemporary Artists Respond to the New Orleans Baby Dolls” was on view in 2015 at the McKenna Museum of African American Art. Her edited book Walking Raddy: The Baby Dolls of New Orleans was published in Summer 2018.
Ashton Jackson is a life-long New Orleanian and a graduate of John F. Kennedy (High School) and University of New Orleans (undergraduate). At UNO, Ashton earned his B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration.
During his professional career, he has worked at Louisiana Cancer Research Center, Couch, Conville, Blitt Law Firm, Postlthewaite and Netterville CPA firm and Ochsner Health Systems. Additionally, he runs his own accounting firm, Ashton Mitchell Jackson Accounting Services, since 2012 offering tax and other accounting services.
Ashton also sits on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for Uptown Music Theatre and The Urban League of Louisiana Young Professionals.
Ashton recently served as Campaign Treasurer for the Committee to Elect Ethan Ashley run for Orleans Parish School Board District 2 and LaToya Cantrell’s Campaign for Mayor of New Orleans, in which he is assisting with the transition. He is currently serving as the Campaign Treasurer for the Committee to Elect Royce Duplessis run for State Representatives, District 93.
Ashton is deeply involved with his community and some of his service initiatives includes, but not limited to, supporting young people during Louisiana’s National Lemonade Day, Kicks for the City Shoe Drive and co-hosting an annual Holiday Toy drive/fundraiser.
David W. Robinson-Morris, Ph.D. is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Xavier University of Louisiana and serves an adjunct professor at the University of New Orleans and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Currently, David serves on the boards of the city of New Orleans Human Relations Commission, Forum for Equality Foundation (Louisiana), College Beyond, and Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO). He is a founding and emeritus board member of Propeller (née Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans) and holds positions in a number of professional and academic organizations.
David obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Communications – Public Relations from Loyola University New Orleans in 2006, Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of New Orleans in 2011, and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research with dual concentrations in Higher Education Administration and Curriculum Theory, and an Education Specialist (Ed. S.) Certificate in Educational Leadership with a focus on applied research, measurement, and evaluation, both from Louisiana State University (LSU). He is a native of Galveston, Texas.
An award winning Art Director and print designer with 20 + years of experience, Mariana has worked as an Art Director for gift publishers, AMCAL, Inc and Papyrus, and as a Sr Designer for Chronicle Children’s Books in San Francisco.A native of the Republic of Panama, Mariana lived in California for twenty-five years and moved to New Olreans summer of 2007. She gladly supports NOLA’s re-building efforts through pro bono work for kids’ non-profits and family literacy programs.Mariana is the former Creative Director of PlayBuild NOLA, a non profit dedicated to educational activities and programming focused on design, architecture, city planning and related disciplines, to expose under-served populations to those fields and to stimulate curiosity, enthusiasm, and engagement with the professional community in New Orleans. There she contributed five years of service by donating her creative vision and design expertise to define the look and feel of the PlayBuild brand.As mother of two sons, she is a passionate advocate for diversity in design professions, and for the power of design to positively impact young people so they may see themselves reflected in a positive maner and enable them to effect change in their communities.Mariana studied Fine Art with emphasys in graphic design at San Diego State University and is fluent in Spanish — FUERZA!
Kate Fagan Burgun is a brand champion with a broad range of event management, strategic marketing, and media experience. Kate helps companies and nonprofits design and produce programs that tie closely to their missions, engage supporters, raise awareness, and generate revenue. Her skill set includes strategic marketing plans, public relations, crafting strategic events, building influential relationships, attracting sponsors, managing event logistics, and community relations. Kate also excels in writing, editing, and gleaning significant press for clients in social, print, and broadcast mediums.
She has worked on special events and managed productions in New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Seattle, Dallas, Portland, Sarasota, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Jamaica, Virgin Islands.
Clients include Indiana University Alumni Association, The Chicago Academy for the Arts, New York Magazine, Financial World Magazine, American Hospital Association, Quaker Oats Company, National Governors’ Association, Jamaica Association of Villas, Shurz Communications Group, Spin Magazine, Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, The Greenfield Restaurant Group, Goose Island Brewing Co., The Chicago Video Music Awards, Girls Rock (Chicago, Bloomington, IN, and Baton Rouge, LA), Rock Against Racism International, and Tom Doody and Associates Public Relations of Chicago.
Kate is also a songwriter, recording artist and performer – check out her career and recordings at: katetoocoolfagan.com
Jerika Marchan was born in Manila, Philippines and grew up in the New Orleans area. She holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from Louisiana State University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she taught creative writing and served on the staff of the Iowa Review. She also holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of New Orleans.
She was a 2014 Friedman Fellow, and her first book SWOLE was a semi-finalist for the Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. Published by Futurepoem in 2018, SWOLE was the best selling book of poetry for Small Press Distribution in June of 2018. It was named a Must-Read Book of Race and Culture by Colorlines Magazine and a recommended read from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and Moe’s Books for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her poem [A Crumb in the Cobblestone–Tell Me This Landscape Darkened Without You] was featured on the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series on Poets.org. Her work has been reviewed most recently in Ploughshares magazine.
She is a panelist for the 2019 New Orleans Poetry Festival, an instructor at the New Orleans Writers Workshop, and a featured writer for the Delta Mouth Festival in Baton Rouge. She lives and works in New Orleans with her partner, writer and audio producer David Benedetto.