Chris Myers Asch
A native of Washington, D.C., Chris Myers Asch came to Sunflower with Teach For America in 1994. After four years in the classroom (including a year in South Korea), he helped launch the Freedom Project in 1998 and ran the program until 2006. He has done many things since – earned a doctorate in history, worked to build the U.S. Public Service Academy, wrote a book, taught at a university – but his best job may always be the years he spent as “Mr. Myers,” the head of the SCFP. He and his wife, Erica, have three children.
Shawn taught a variety of subjects at Ruleville Central High School for two years as part of the Teach for America and Americorps programs. While in law school, he teamed up with his former TFA roommates, Gregg and Chris, to create the Freedom Project. He’s a partner at Susman Godfrey L.L.P. in Houston, Texas – a law firm that successfully recruited him by making what at the time was the largest single donation the Freedom Project had ever received. Shawn enjoys taking his three little boys for visits to Sunflower to see the incredible things happening at the Freedom Project.
Gregg taught 3rd and 4th grade for two years at East Sunflower Elementary as part of Teach for America. Gregg and Freedom Project Co-Founder Chris Myers were the first Teach for America teachers ever placed in the town of Sunflower. After his time in Sunflower, Gregg returned to his home state of Texas to attend law school and practice law. Gregg is now a federal judge in Texas, where he relies on the classroom management techniques he learned in the Delta to help control a group that is far more unruly than his former students--lawyers.
Executive Director 2011-2013
Nick taught fourth grade math in Clarksdale, Mississippi for two years as part of the Teach for America program. Inspired by the mission and spirit of the organization, Nick joined the Freedom Project in 2011. His favorite memories of his time in Sunflower include camping trips, logic problems, study sessions, drama performances, shout outs, capture the flag, and football on the slab. Nick lives in New York where he continues to be involved in mentoring, strategy, and fundraising for the SCFP.
Former Program Director/Freedom Fellow
Out-of-school-time programming has been a part of Chris Perkins' success since the 7th grade when he joined the Sunflower County Freedom Project. Chris often says that for him “Freedom Project staff took a shy D student who had never really considered being anything more and turned him into an outspoken A student who could seriously consider college.” After graduating from the Freedom Project, Chris moved to Kentucky to attend Berea College and graduated with a degree in African and African American Studies. After college, Chris returned to Mississippi to work as the Program Director of the Freedom Project. Since then, Chris has moved to Washington DC and has served as Higher Achievement's Lead Manager of Instruction, where he assisted in recruiting and managing more than 70 volunteers, as well as transforming the Ward 7 Center into the organization's first single school site. Currently Chris is Higher Achievement’s Manager of Volunteer Recruitment and Development where he recruits and trains more than 400 volunteers and manages corporate partnerships.
Local Board Member
Jamie is a native New Orleanian, but has called the Delta home for almost two decades. Jamie practices law in Cleveland, Mississippi where she has also devoted her time to helping her community through organizations like the Delta Arts Alliance, the Literacy Council and the Junior Auxiliary. Jamie and her husband Will have also actively mentored children through a JA/Cleveland School District mentoring program. Jamie is thrilled to be a part of the work the Sunflower County Freedom Project is doing in Sunflower and beyond.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 2013-2016
Vaish taught in Greenwood, Mississippi for two years with Teach For America and worked in data analytics for KIPP New Jersey. She joined the Freedom Project in 2013 and served as director for three years. Her favorite parts of the job include the camping trips (minus the mosquitos), singing in the van, yoga club, and visiting colleges with Freedom Fellows. Vaish is currently attending the University of Michigan where she is pursuing both an MBA and a tolerance for cold weather.