ABOUT AIM HIGH
Better Futures Begin in 6th Grade
OUR MISSION & VISION
Aim High empowers motivated middle school students from high-risk environments to strengthen their character, self-confidence, determination, and initiative through a challenging, engaging academic and personal enrichment program.
Inspire the desire to learn, to stay in school, and to become respected leaders of the community.
Aim High was founded in 1991 by John Burroughs School faculty members, Ellen Moceri and Richard Sandler, with the support of then headmaster, Keith Shahan. They sought to support student success despite the systemic and social barriers that exist in St. Louis. They began with 50 fifth grade students attending a summer academic program at John Burroughs School.
The program quickly grew and in the summer of 1993, St. Louis Priory School became a host campus. By the summer of 2000, Aim High was serving more than 250 students each year and included Saturday sessions to provide year-round programming for Aim High students.
Today, Aim High provides opportunities for educational and social development for approximately 400 middle school students in the St. Louis area from over 60 different elementary schools tuition-free!
Aim High is made possible through the work of our multiple partnerships. From our partnering school districts to our host campuses, Aim High would not be possible without them.
JOHN BURROUGHS SCHOOL
Founded in 1923, Burroughs is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 7-12. Faculty, parents and students share a commitment to a liberal arts education which strikes a balance of emphasis among academics, arts, athletics and activities. Graduates enter leading colleges throughout the country.
ST. LOUIS PRIORY
Saint Louis Priory School is a Catholic secondary school for young men founded in 1956. Priory offers an outstanding preparatory experience guided by deeply rooted Catholic, Benedictine values that cultivate faith-centered, virtuous, educated young men.
PRIMARY RECRUITMENT DISTRICTS
Aim High partners primarily with area public schools, but also committed charter and private schools, where the student population needs reflect Aim High’s intended goals for partnership. Primary recruitment districts include:
- St. Louis Public Schools
- Normandy Schools Collaborative
- Ritenour Public Schools
- University City Schools
Aim High is one of just a few area non-profits who are proud members of this nationally recognized character development institution. With annual staff training opportunities and curriculum support, Aim High’s Achievers benefit from the knowledge of the brightest and most in-tuned minds when it comes to helping students develop the character traits and values that will drive them to lifetime success.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Immediate Past President
The Context Network
Aim High Graduate and
Webster University Student
Washington University in St. Louis
John Burroughs School
Howard Hughes III
Howard Hughes Consulting
Ritenour School District
- Andy Abbott
- Father Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B.
- Pat Esserman
- Right Reverend Thomas Frerking
- Ellen Moceri
- Abbot Gregory Mohrman
- David Molho
- Tom Ruwitch
Aim High is committed to the highest level of transparency. Our organization earned a 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, showcasing the progress and results we’re making toward our mission in addition to in-depth financial information. You will find our Annual Reports and Form 990s below and you can review our profile on Guidestar.
MEET OUR TEAM
JULIE ANGELICA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Julie came to Aim High in 2009 with 15 years of experience in leading and developing college readiness youth programs. A graduate of the University of Missouri Columbia, Julie served in the Peace Corps, worked with federal programs in Northern New Mexico, provided educational and support services to youth in Chicago’s East Village community, and finally, returned to her hometown of St. Louis where she managed the youth division of programs for a large area multi-services non-profit. Julie believes passionately that all children can achieve great things given the right opportunities and supports.
COLLEEN DRAZEN, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Colleen joined Aim High in 2018 with over 10 years of experience in fundraising, event planning, and marketing. A graduate of Truman State University, Colleen went on to get a Master’s in higher education from Purdue University. Prior to starting at Aim High, she served as the Special Events Coordinator at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. In 2018, she earned her CFRE. Colleen is excited to bring her passion for education and relationship building to the Aim High team.
IMANI HARRIS, PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Imani is an Aim High alumna of the Priory campus. She has served the program in multiple roles including Assistant Site Director. Prior to starting at Aim High, she served in a leadership role of the Diversity Committee Leadership Council at Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School. Imani has an Associate’s degree from Saint Louis Community College and is pursuing her Bachelor’s in Public Policy and Administration at UMSL. She is passionate about issues of equity in education and looks forward to continuing the Aim High legacy.
DORVONDA PAYNE, DEVELOPMENT and marketing manager
Dorvonda holds undergraduate degrees in English and Communications as well as a Master’s degree in New Media Journalism. As an alumna of Aim High at Priory, she is eager to spread the word of the program’s benefits to as many students and families as possible.
AMY GASCON, BUSINESS ACCOUNT MANAGER
Amy is a CPA with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Accounting from Bentley University in Waltham, MA. She has spent over 10 years working with a variety of organizations including both non-profits and Fortune 100 companies. She is passionate about kids and education so she is excited to be on the Aim High team.
GINA WATKINS, JOHN BURROUGHS SITE DIRECTOR
Gina joined Aim High in 2012. She most recently served as the guidance counselor at Crossroads College Preparatory Academy and has also worked in the Riverview Gardens district. Gina holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Lindenwood University.
ALEX CLARK, PRIORY SITE DIRECTOR
Alex joined Aim High Priory in 2011 as an 8th grade Social Studies teacher and Physical Fun Coordinator. During the school year, he serves as American History teacher and Chair of the Social Studies Department at Riverview Gardens High School. Alex holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
JOELLE MCINTOSH, PRIORY ASSISTANT SITE DIRECTOR
Joelle is Career and Technical Educator at Ritenour High School. She has been a member of the Aim High family for 8 years working at both the Priory and Villa Duchesne campuses. She enjoys working with youth to develop them into 21st century thinkers and problem solvers in preparation for life after high school.