Dexter N. Jackson
Dexter N. Jackson is an educator, community organizer, and artist with over 15 years experience in youth development. He has served as the Executive Director of Humanities Amped since December of 2022 after serving in program leadership roles at MetroMorphosis and the Walls Project. As an artist Dexter understands the power of words, as a student he believes in the power of education, and as a community advocate he understands the power of the people’s collective voice. Humanities Amped embodies these values and allows Dexter to substantially and positively impact the lives of our future leaders and change makers while helping to shape the educational landscape from within. This intersection of on the ground and systemic impact perfectly positions Dexter to realize his vision for his community.
Felepia Ruffin, M.Ed.
Felepia has served in the field of education for nearly twenty years in Louisiana and Texas. During her career, she has also created multiple professional development training courses for teachers. She believes in meeting students where they are, pouring into them, and positioning them for success, all in alignment with the vision and mission of Humanities Amped. Her educational career has now positioned her to be the Education Director of Humanities Amped at Tara High School, in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, where she continues to impact youth and develop the instructors within the school. Her team defines her as a leader who is forward-thinking, fierce, goal-driven, and an overall zealous individual. As a woman of all trades, Felepia has acquired multiple college degrees, is certified to teach first aid, CPR, and blood borne pathogen classes, has a photography business, is the founder of her own non-profit organization, and, most importantly, holds the title as a loving wife and mother.
Emma J. Gist, PhD
Development & Communications Director
Emma Gist is an educator, writer, and researcher dedicated to transformative learning grounded in inquiry and joy. She began working at Humanities Amped in 2018, and has applied her expertise in project-based learning, trauma-informed practices, and facilitation in her work with students, teachers, and stakeholders throughout her time with the organization. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University and an MAT from the University of Southern California, has taught in California, Louisiana, and Arkansas, and has centered her research and teaching practice on the possibilities and challenges of facilitating authentic learning that extends students’ experiences into the world beyond the classroom walls. Emma directs Amped’s storytelling through communication, marketing, and development because she believes deeply in the impact of Amped’s commitment to making space for young people to imagine, grow, and act with confidence.
LaChanda Harris, LCSW
Community Care Manager
LaChanda Harris, a trauma-informed Licensed Clinical Social Worker, advocate, and champion for teenage well-being, joined Humanities Amped after 6+ years of empowering teens and young adults across diverse settings. She fosters healing and brave spaces while managing community care programs at Tara High. Through restorative practices, social-emotional peer groups, and one-on-one support, she helps individuals and groups connect to resources, build relationships, and find solutions that benefit everyone. Driven by a belief in human resilience, LaChanda fuels growth mindsets and helps individuals overcome challenges while fostering positive community and mental health support to fuel lifelong learning.
Anna West, PhD
Anna West is an educator, scholar, and community organizer whose work focuses on the intersections of critical youth development, public education, and community-based writing & performance pedagogies. Anna co-created Humanities Amped, where she now serves as an Amped Educator in dual-enrollment classes and leads staff professional development. She holds a Ph.D. in English Education from Louisiana State University, where she was awarded a Distinguished Dissertation Award, and an M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she received an Arts-in-Education Intellectual Contribution Award. She is the 2022 recipient of the East Baton Rouge Mayor-President's Community Impact Award in the field of education. For nearly thirty years, Anna has aligned her life with Amped’s mission: to share transformative educational practices that result in people’s power to shape their world.
Kalivyn Marquix Morris
Kalivyn Marquix Morris (they/he) is an interdisciplinary artist-scholar from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Through synthesizing poetry, music, and research they create performances for healing and communal liberation. Kalivyn got their start as a performer and community organizer as an alumni of Humanities Amped’s programming, where they were part of the 2017 Brave New Voices Grand Slam Champion winning team. Kalivyn currently leads poetry initiatives within Humanities Amped and serves as an Amped educator in Humanities Amped’s Dual-Enrollment classes. Kalivyn sees poetry not only as an artform but the schematics for how we live in and alter the world. Through their work, Kalivyn hopes to inspire students to use art as a lens to examine social conditions and radically imagine better ways of existing in community. Kalivyn’s work has been featured in the ASAP/journal, the Adroit Journal, The Delta Journal, and South: A Scholarly Journal. They graduated from Louisiana State University with a BA in Communication Studies and a BA in English-Creative Writing with Honors Distinction.
Classroom Program Coordinator
Niagee Butler has had the privilege of working both inside and outside of the classroom. With her educational background in Business Management from Southern University and A&M College, and professional leadership and training experience, she considers herself to be a transformational leader. Along with different supervisory positions in the corporate world, she has also taught business education, math courses, and has homeschooled her children for several years. Niagee was recently hired as a Classroom Program Coordinator with Humanities Amped. Her approach in the classroom is to create, innovate, and motivate each student she encounters. Niagee’s philosophy of education corresponds with Humanities Amped mission. It can be viewed as an ever-evolving mental process, with a goal to get every student to think for themselves and help nurture their mental processes where they will have the ability to think and reason on their own.