Nearly 30% of Newark’s 285,000 residents have not achieved a high school diploma—a rate three times the national average. All The Way Up is reversing this trend by empowering adult learners in Newark and Greater Essex County to achieve their High School Equivalency Certification. We provide small-group tutoring with volunteer tutors to better meet the unique needs of each student. This individualized support results in about a 50% student retention rate, a much higher rate than in most traditional, large-scale group GED educational models.

For many of our students, education truly has transformative potential. A better education leads to higher-paying jobs and long-term financial stability for our students' families. With its accessible and individualized approach, All The Way Up seeks to challenge the obstacles our students have faced in conventional educational paths as members of under-resourced communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color. Together with other community partners, we can create a more equitable and prosperous Newark.


Our Mission

All The Way Up Adult Education Center (ATWU) is a mission and service-based organization that empowers adult learners in Newark, NJ and greater Essex County through individualized training in GED/HSE Test Preparation, Adult Basic Education (ABE), and Job Readiness Skills. We partner with community organizations, granters, and individual donors to directly improve the educational outcomes of our students throughout Essex County.


Our Vision

All The Way Up envisions a world where people come together to inspire and teach each other, co-creating a community where each person is living and working to their full potential.  We see a future where all individuals have access to high quality, personalized educational attention, regardless of their identity, financial means and geographic location.


Our History

All The Way Up was founded by a think-tank of community organizations and parishes as a part of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, called Newark Shared Ministries. However, since formalizing as a 501(c)(3) in 2018, we have operated as an independent secular nonprofit. We have 40 wonderful, volunteer tutors, two staff, three GED instructors, and several consultants who come from a variety of backgrounds: retired educators, students at NJIT, Rutgers-Newark Business School and Medical School, working professionals, and others who want to give back to the community.

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Staff & Leadership

Christopher Harlow-Jennings, Executive Director

Christopher Harlow-Jennings, began as a volunteer, setting up technology for the original classroom. His 15 years of experience in nonprofit program growth and development are assets he brings to ATWU. In addition to program management, Christopher also works with the staff and board on development, volunteer recruitment and training, visioning and strategic planning, and marketing and publicity. Christopher holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree from Yale University.

Stacy Bevill, Lead Instructor

Stacy works with leadership and teachers to improve instructional outcomes for All The Way Up students and processes for teachers. Stacy’s experience in school- and community-based educational settings contributes to our mission and vision to be a leading adult education provider to residents of Newark and Greater Essex County. Stacy has a part of All The Way Up since February 2020, originally helping us to start our evening classes in Maplewood. She was a key player in helping us pivot to teaching online during the pandemic.

Mariel Barocas, Community Engagement Manager

Mariel is excited to be re-joining All The Way Up as the new Community Engagement Manager. After a productive summer of helping the organization network in Newark, Mariel returns as a part-time staff member to continue building new opportunities for All The Way Up and its students this Spring. Mariel recently graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Political Science and a Certificate in Spanish Language. At Yale she cultivated her passion for social justice through coursework in Critical Race Theory, feminist theory and criminal justice studies. Outside of the classroom, Mariel worked for her College Dean’s Office, volunteered as a tax preparer for the Volunteer Income Tax Association, and rode on the Women’s Competing Team for Club Polo. In the future, Mariel hopes to continue empowering others by pursuing law school to advocate for criminal justice reform.

Joanne Dawkins, ABE/GED Instructor

Joanne is our reading/writing teacher for our virtual classes on Wednesday nights. She brings a wealth of knowledge to All The Way Up, having worked as a special education elementary teacher for ten years, first in the New York City Department of Education and currently in the Norwalk Public Schools. Joanne graduated from Pace University with a Bachelors in Childhood Education and Masters on Special Education. She enjoys reading novels, traveling, spending time with my family, and attending church. I firmly believe in the words of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” 

John Jeffries, ABE/GED Instructor

John is a retired professor from Columbia University and Columbia High School in Maplewood. His diverse experiences and expertise in Social Studies, Civics, and American studies allows him to connect with students on a variety of levels and share his passion with these subjects in new and innovative ways.

Mahika Ahmen, Community Engagement Intern

Mahika is a rising sophomore at Yale University with a prospective major in Political Science. She is passionate about improving public policy and researching ways to give back to communities in need. She will work on a variety of research an planning projects to help us continue to build relationships with community partners and help our students connect with the resources they need to prepare for their future.

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Barry Crenstil, Communications Intern

Barry is a student at Allegheny College, majoring in Arts, Science, and Innovation and minoring in Theatre. We are excited to have him join our team this summer as he works on a variety of communications and media projects for All The Way Up.

Joan Eilbott, Nonprofit Management Consultant

Joan Eilbott is ATWU’s nonprofit management consultant and works closely with the directors on visioning, process improvement, achieving long-term metric gains, and nonprofit effectiveness. She holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from N.Y.U., an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in Mathematics from Stanford.

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Board of Directors

Joe LaVela, President

Dan Orchant, Treasurer 

Christie Zipfel, Secretary

Charlotte Chappel

Sandonna Jones

Juli Towell

Yaisha Thompson

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Founding Partners

Chris Whitaker, Startup Manager & Founding Executive Director,

Newark Shared Ministries: Tim Mulder, Mary Davis, Charotte Chappel, Rosailia Clegg, Juli Towell, Joe LaVela, Dave Jones, The Right Rev. Mark Beckwith

Help Us Empower Adult Learners Today!