DFER DC is dedicated to eliminating racial inequity and discrimination in our public education system by supporting leaders who champion student-centered policies.
DFER DC has built a sustainable network of Democratic education reform advocates and allies working to bring change to policies and practices with the interest of students and families at the center, particularly for students of color. We prioritize students’ well-being and academic success above all else, and we believe every DC student should be able to graduate from high school and enter into college and career with minimal debt and able to earn a livable wage.
A public education system in Washington, D.C., that justly and equitably serves all students.
To recruit, educate, and help elect Democratic and progressive candidates who are committed to a public education system in Washington, D.C., that justly and equitably serves all students.
JESSICA GILES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Jessica Giles is the Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform DC (DFER DC) and the non-profit organization Education Reform Now DC (ERN DC), where she fights for a high-quality public education system for all students in every ward. Jessica began her career in education as a child care provider in Blythewood, South Carolina. She worked for several years caring for infants and children. During this time, she observed opportunity gaps beginning when children were as young as 18 months, underscoring the critical need for every child to learn in high-quality, safe, and nurturing environments. In 2012, she moved to Washington, DC, to fight inequities in the childcare industry and public education system.
From 2015-2019, Jessica served on the Council of the District of Columbia’s former Committee on Education. During her tenure in public service, she helped ensure greater equity in the childcare industry and public education. Specifically, under the leadership of former Councilmember David Grosso, Jessica advanced legislation to protect the education rights of students with special needs, improve educational opportunities for students in the care of DC, and increase the supply of high-quality, affordable childcare for low-income families in DC. Jessica also worked on issues in the Human Services committee, where she fought to protect the rights and dignity of individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Jessica began her work at DFER DC in 2019 as the Deputy Director and became the State Director in 2021. She has a bachelor’s degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, a proud Ward 7 resident, and mom to her six-year-old rescue dog, Sammie.
Joshua Hodge, Policy and Communications Manager
Joshua Hodge is a ward six resident and Howard University graduate student. He is originally from Brooklyn, NY, but lived in Minnesota for nearly two decades before calling Washington, D.C. home.
Previously, Josh worked at Great Minnesota Schools as the Senior Communications Manager. In addition to directing Great Minnesota Schools’ communications efforts, he serves as the president of the communications committee for ‘People For PSEO’ and has been a board member since 2019. Before his role in education, he worked at Hennepin County as the senior property tax manager. He spent nearly three years in government work spanning many sectors, such as property taxes, public health, and insurance.
Josh is passionate about expanding access to higher education, particularly dual enrollment opportunities, having graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the age of 20. Joshua strives to pioneer change in our public education system and to help ensure all students in Washington, D.C. receive a great education regardless of where they live, their race, or family income.
Minetre Martin, Organizing Manager
Minetre is a community organizer and education advocate who has ten years of experience working with children in underserved schools and communities. She was previously a research assistant at American University where she worked under the leadership of Dr. Robert Shand and other researchers to co-author a published article in the Journal of School Psychology to inform school district decisions about behavioral interventions. Prior to that, she served as an education consultant for the Department of Education Office of Finance and Operations, and as the grade level chair and teacher mentor at Bridges Public Charter School, where she taught in inclusion classrooms in grades K-3 during her five-year tenure. She holds a Master’s of Education from American University in Education Policy and Leadership and a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a strong education advocate and believer of mental health awareness, Minetre is passionate about the way we assimilate and prioritize student mental health in relation to their education. She is a Ward 4 resident and an avid volunteer always seeking to make change where she can.
Kyle Myers, Organizing Manager
Kyle Myers is a fifth-generation Washingtonian and a Ward 5 resident. He has five nieces and nephews in D.C. Public Schools, so he knows why it’s important to provide all students with equitable learning opportunities. Kyle loves to give back to his community. In addition to working at DFER DC, he is a senior coordinator at a local non-profit organization that assists transitioning families out of poverty by providing essential household necessities.