Meet the Team

The Alumni Relations team at Democracy Prep consists of five dedicated college success professionals who support Democracy Prep alumni in their endeavors to work hard, go to college and change the world.  For more info on the Democracy Prep Alumni Relations team, please see below:

Ralph Johnson
Ralph Johnson
Senior Director for College Success
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Ralph Johnson
Senior Director for College Success
Currently serving as the Senior Director of College Success at Democracy Prep Public Schools, Ralph manages the college access and college persistence strategies for the network.
Prior to his role at Democracy Prep, Ralph was the program director of the College Advising Corps at Brown University, a nationwide consortium of colleges and universities which aims to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students entering and completing higher education. He was also a member of the mayor of Providence’s Children and Youth Cabinet, collaborating with other college access organizations such as College Visions, the Gear Up funded College Crusade of Rhode Island and Latino College Access Coalition. Ralph has served on the math and history faculty at Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School in Hyde Park, MA, worked as the college and career counselor and advisor at the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center in RI, served as an assistant director of admission at Brown, and was a longtime engaged member of the John Hope Settlement House in Providence where he taught computer literacy skills and coordinated the Providence Chapter Harlem-based organization, The Brotherhood Sister Sol. He is an active alumnus and former board member of Achieving Leadership's Purpose (formerly the Archbishop's Leadership Project), served on the board of the Rhode Island Urban Debate League and is an associate member of the Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy League and Sister Schools (ABAFOILSS). He currently serves on the board of the College Access Consortium of New York.

Ralph holds a BA from Brown University, is a native of Harlem, and lives in New York City with his wife Leora and daughters, Maya, Tamar and Ramona.
John Lindquist
John Lindquist
Assistant Director of College Success
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John Lindquist
Assistant Director of College Success
John Lindquist is a born and bread New Yorker with Minnesota ties. He graduated from Saint Olaf College with a double major in Mathematics and Economics and a minor in Policy Analysis. After college he worked as an Americorp member with College Possible, where he supported 20 students on the northside of Minneapolis get into and secure funding for college. Once the snow got the best of him, he moved back home to NYC, where taught high school math and was an instructional coach in the Bronx and Brooklyn before joining Democracy Prep Charter High School as a Geometry teacher and eventual Assistant Principal. He is excited to continue working in support of DP students to and through their college graduation.
Cinthia Pimentel
Cinthia Pimentel
Alumni Relations Manager
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Cinthia Pimentel
Alumni Relations Manager
Cinthia is a college/career counselor, financial aid guru, native New Yorker, storyteller, and artist. When not writing her comic book or performing her narrative scary stories, she is offering services and workshops to help New York City students navigate the college world. She has worked in non-profits and education for nearly a decade, getting her start as a reading tutor for Read Alliance (despite her dyslexia). After attaining her BA in Communication with a minor in Women’s Studies, Cinthia worked at the Chinese Planning Council as an Outreach Specialist at Landmark High School. She then transitioned to her role as a College Access Counselor at Mosholu Montefiore Community Center in the Bronx, where she learned all the foundational skills to be the great counselor she is today. She is now a Alumni Relations Manager at Democracy Prep Public Schools.

Her belief is that access to higher education can often seem like a lock, and not having the knowledge to access this lock can deter students from a better future. “As a first generation student, a college degree seemed impossible. But I just took it one step at a time, and it became possible."
Matt Latessa
Matt Latessa
Alumni Relations Intern
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Matt Latessa
Alumni Relations Intern
Matt Latessa is a MA student at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program. He grew up in suburban Cincinnati, OH and eventually worked his way east, completing his undergraduate degree in American Studies at Franklin & Marshall College. Prior to joining the Democracy Prep Alumni Relations team, Matt worked for three years as the Assistant Dean of Admission and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruiting at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Before that, he served as a tutor fellow at Match Charter Public High School in Boston, MA.

With a passion for exploring the intersection of college access and success, Matt studies admission and retention policies institutions employ to ensure the success of their students. He believes that as American demographics change at a rapid pace, higher education institutions must also adapt in ways that support their students.
Ahmad Al-Ashqar
Ahmad Al-Ashqar
Alumni Relations Manager
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Ahmad Al-Ashqar
Alumni Relations Manager
Ahmad Al-Ashqar is a first-generation college student whose family emigrated to the US from the Middle East. He grew up on Chicago's south side, and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in English. After college he moved to Dubai, where he taught high school English and Creative Writing for four years at an internationally-accredited private school. Then he moved to NYC with his wife, where at first he worked as a community organizer in Brooklyn before joining Democracy Prep. Ahmad is most interested in the intersection of art and education. He's currently working to complete his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The New School, with plans to eventually seek professorship.