amanda sawyer: Founder, director
Amanda has been teaching students of all ages for over ten years. Before founding Dedimus Potestatem, Amanda held leadership positions in several industries and found that her passion lay in consulting mediation, and the motivation and empowerment of individuals and groups. Amanda currently works with international NGO's, NPO's and grassroots organizations in addition to her school partnerships in New York and New Jersey.
Amanda studied International Politics at Oxford University, Negotiation, and Leadership at the Harvard Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and Leadership Development at the Institute for Personal Leadership at Columbia Business School. Amanda has worked with startups and established organizations, on Presidential and Congressional campaigns and with UN-affiliated international humanitarian groups. Her aim in founding Dedimus Potestatem is to help people discover the joy and freedom that comes with the empowerment of the self and, consequently, the empowerment of others.
ross smirnoff: educator
Ross Smirnoff received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The George Washington University in 2004. He also graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts degree from SUNY New Paltz in 2008. For the past 10 years, Ross has been teaching in many different capacities. He has taught Middle School Art at Maritime Academy Charter School in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia he also work in a literacy outreach program run by the Free Library of Philadelphia. In 2010 he moved to New York where he has also helped build a non-profit educational outreach program in Brooklyn called 4Your Kids. In 2014, he supervised the creation of a mural for the Bronx Courthouse. He has worked with prekindergarten through High School as a substitute teacher for the past five years in New York City.
khalia herbin: educator
Born and raised in the most diverse city in the country, Jersey City native Khalia Janell Herbin has dedicated her professional life to the advancement of students. After a stellar high school career where she focused her attentions on English and Horticulture and graduated at the top of her class, Herbin went on to achieve a degree in Early Childhood education.
Over the past 9 years, Ms. Herbin has been able to fulfill her dream of enriching the Hudson County community by working for the Jersey City Board of Education as a substitute teacher. Utilizing her skills to work with and teach children in grades K-12 in all subjects gives her a unique insight into the world of our future leaders.
Her passion for communication led her to also work in the field of public relations where she leads small businesses and independent music artists toward the path of success with strategic marketing and PR execution. She ties her knowledge of the entertainment industry into her daily interactions with students giving her a decidedly significant edge when it comes to student engagement.
Khalia actively participates in community service activities and is a member of several civic and community based organizations where she is able to further work with students and parents in her community.
She current resides in Jersey City, NJ with her teenage son.
theo eguia: Educator
Theo was born and raised in Somerset, New Jersey and holds a B.A. in History from Rutgers University.Theo holds a TEFL certification from Sardinia, Italy. The TEFOL Academy Program that Theo has attended was an intense program that required him to work non-stop teaching English to Italian children and adults.
When the program ended, Theo traveled to Rome, Paris, Germany, and Poland to understand different cultures and to assist many individuals with English. Upon his return , he realized that he has no attachment to any country but his own. He feels its imperative to give back to his community and to the students of Dedimus Potestatem.
Jessica Nicole Jáuregui grew up in Union City, New Jersey known as Havana on the Hudson for its vibrant Cuban community. She graduated from Union Hill High School and went on to Rutgers University where she majored in Psychology and minored in Childhood Studies. It was here at school that she realized her passion for teaching and decided to pursue a career in education.
For the past six years she worked as a Montessori teacher in Hoboken specializing in early childhood education. She has taken many elements of her training in Montessori to become a successful educator. She strongly believes that each child has a unique learning style. She is excited to work with the students of Dedimus Potestatem and looks forward to the new experiences she will have.
In her spare time she enjoys reading and visiting cultural institutions in New York City. She is currently pursuing her Masters’ in Education and continues to show children that any dream is possible