Democracy Class Advisory Council

Advisory Council

Sarah Andes
Senior Director of Programming, Generation Citizen

Sarah Andes is the Senior Director of Programming for Generation Citizen (GC), the country’s largest Action Civics organization. In this role, she manages GC’s program design, quality, evaluation, and partnerships. Sarah joined the team in 2011 to help launch GC’s New York City site and served as NY Program Manager and NY Site Director before stepping into her current role. At the helm in NY, Sarah grew the local program from a small pilot to the organization’s largest site, developed an advisory board and grew local fundraising efforts, and co-led a successful campaign to amend state legislation to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to serve on local NYC community boards. At the national level, she has overseen the creation of Student and Teacher Leadership Boards for the organization, development of a new program model focused on teacher professional development, establishment of programming in OK and TX, and scaling efforts within GC’s six sites and to remote geographies beyond.

She has published numerous articles on and has led workshops across the country about GC’s work and the potential and pedagogy of Action Civics. Before coming to Generation Citizen, Sarah taught high school math in rural Mississippi. She grew up in Houston, Texas and received a B.A. in Geography and Plan II Honors and a certificate in Social Inequality, Health, and Policy from the University of Texas.

Brian Brady
President, Mikva Challenge

Brian Brady is the President of Mikva Challenge and has served in that capacity for 18 years.  Mikva Challenge’s mission is to develop informed, active and empowered citizens who will promote a just and equitable world.  Mikva has become a leader in the field of youth civic engagement and is considered the gold standard for Action Civics. Brian has helped grow Mikva from a program in 1998 that served 2 schools in Chicago to one that serves over 1500 schools across the country with chapters and partnerships in eleven cities including Chicago, Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Madison, Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Wilmington.

Over 100,000 students each year learn civics from Mikva’s Action Civics curriculum and programs. All Mikva programs such as Project Soapbox, Elections in Action, Issues to Action, and Student Voice Committees require students to take real-world action — to learn democracy by actually doing democracy. Mikva and Brian actively partner with lawmakers and numerous civic education leaders to build a movement to bring innovative and powerful civic education opportunities every youth in the country.

Maureen Costello
Director, Teaching Tolerance, a project of Southern Poverty Law Center

Maureen Costello brings nearly 40 years of education and publishing experience to her roles as director of Teaching Tolerance (TT) and member of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Senior Leadership Team. Since joining TT in 2010, she has grown the program significantly, adding new initiatives such as: the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards; the Teaching the Movement project; the Perspectives text bank and custom Learning Plan Builder; and the Educator Grants Program supporting anti-bias programming in classrooms, schools and districts. Under Costello’s leadership, Teaching Tolerance magazine went from two to three issues a year has and garnered dozens of awards, including the AAP’s Golden Lamp Award. She wrote two groundbreaking reports on the impact of the 2016 campaign and election on American schools and helped name the phenomenon “The Trump Effect.” She also held a lead role in the production of student-friendly documentaries Bullied and Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot

Before joining the Southern Poverty Law Center, Costello worked for Scholastic, Inc. and directed the Newsweek Education Program. She began her career as a history and economics teacher at Notre Dame Academy High School in Staten Island. Throughout her career, Costello has been committed to fostering the ideals of democracy and citizenship in young people. She is a graduate of the New School University and the New York University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama.

Abby Kiesa
Director of Impact, CIRCLE

Abby Kiesa is the Director of Impact at CIRCLE, an applied research center focused on young people in the United States, especially those who are marginalized in political life. CIRCLE’s research informs policy and practice for healthier youth development and a more inclusive democracy. In that work, Abby serves as liaison to practitioner organizations and networks across the country to maintain a conversation between research and practice.

She also provides leadership for CIRCLE’s election strategies, communications, and works on other research and evaluation projects, including two major national studies: Millennials Talk Politics: A Study of College Student Political Engagement and “That’s Not Democracy”: How Out-of-School Youth Participate in Civic Life and What Stands in Their Way.