Founding Board Members

Darren Ramalho (Chairperson)

Darren Ramalho is an educator and former Teach for America corps member with 6 years of experience teaching in the local public school. He also works as an adjunct instructor and assistant librarian at Marion Military Institute, the nation's oldest military junior college. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Public School Building Leadership from Teachers College at Columbia University, one of the highest ranking principal preparation programs in the country. Darren is currently participating in the New Schools For Alabama School Founders fellowship. Darren's fellowship will be hosted by Citizens of the World Charter Schools. Upon Breakthrough Charter School's application approval, Darren will step down from the founding board to become the Head of School.


Susan Stevenson (Vice Chairperson)

Dr. Susan Stevenson has decades of experience in the field of education. She served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Marion Military Institute for 15 years. Her expertise in education policy, organizational leadership and grant writing has been an invaluable asset to our application team.


Eva Vasquez-Painter (Secretary and Parent)

Eva Painter originally came to Perry County in 2011 as a Teach for America corps member, where she taught for two years at Francis Marion School. Following her two-year commitment, she worked at Marion Military Institute where she has gained seven years of experience in higher education. She currently serves as the Director of the Student Success Center, where she works to develop programming to assist students in ways of academic support. She also brings experience and knowledge of federal grant reporting to the board. She holds a Masters of Arts in Communications from the University of Alabama. Eva has one child who will be of school age upon opening in 2021.


Brittany Crawford (Treasurer and Parent)

Brittany Crawford is a native to the Alabama Black Belt and brings knowledge and expertise in recruiting, enrollment, higher education and business to the founding board. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Accounting and Finance, which she has used in her role as Board Treasurer. As Director of Enrollment Management at Marion Military Institute, she has been responsible for stable enrollment growth during her time at the school. Brittany has two children, one who will be of school age upon opening in 2021.


Larissa Clachar (Parent Representative)

Larissa Clachar is also a parent of school aged children in Perry County and is currently employed by Judson College as an Assistant Professor and Department Chair at Judson College. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Alabama. She is originally from San Jose, Costa Rica. She brings knowledge of higher education and foreign language to the board, as well as the perspective of a parent and community member.


Wendell Crews (Parent Representative)

Wendell Crews is a Perry County native and a graduate of Perry County public schools, bringing expertise in technology to the board. Wendell received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of West Alabama and began working in the Information Technology field shortly after graduation. His knowledge of the community and IT capabilities has been invaluable to these efforts. Wendell has three children, all of whom will be able to attend Breakthrough Charter School upon opening in 2021.


Kalen Early (Community Representative)

Kalen Early is a recent graduate of R.C. Hatch, a public school in Perry County. He obtained an Associate in Science from Marion Military Institute, and went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Alabama, grading magna cum lade. He is currently in the process of applying to various law schools in pursuit of his goal to become a lawyer. He has interned in Washington D.C. in Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s office (AL-7th), an experience that emboldened his love for political science. Kalen brings a unique voice and perspective to the board, as he is the youngest member and most recent graduate of the Perry County School System.

Laura Leavall (Community Representative)

Laura Leavell spent several years working in the court system of Perry County before moving to Birmingham. She currently works as an attorney for Cushman and Wakefield in Birmingham and brings legal knowledge to the board, along with an understanding of the Perry County community. Laura earned her Juris Doctorate from the Cumberland School of Law.