Community maximized
Gateway U is powered by a group of diverse leaders who are committed to fighting the status quo. We believe things get done when we work together. All members of our community are here to help our students succeed in their higher education journey.

Meet our team

Saymah Nah

Executive Director

Saymah is a lifelong educator and proud Newark native. Throughout her journey, she has served in the capacity of senior leadership, school culture and climate, family engagement, and school operations. Saymah is a steadfast family and community advocate and her body of work serves as exemplars for building deep relationships with students, community organizations, and community leaders. Saymah received her Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Howard University.

Dominique Lee

Board Member

Dominique D. Lee is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Building Resilient Intelligent Creative Kids (BRICK) Education Network. Dominique has been awarded the Leaders and Legends Award for Outstanding Achievement in Early Childhood Education by Programs for Parents, the Russ Berrie Making a Difference award by The Russell Berrie Foundation, and the Young Changemakers Award by the Community Foundation of New Jersey. Previously, Dominique served as a service corps teacher with Teach for America. Dominique received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan and his M.A. in education leadership from New York University.

Michele Griffin

Board Member

Michele holds over 15 years of experience as a communications and project management professional. Prior to joining the Gateway U board, she led the marketing, student recruitment and development efforts for Marion P. Thomas Charter Schools and the MPTCS Foundation. She honed her project management skills as the associate director of events for ESSENCE magazine, where she worked on a variety of the magazine’s signature events and marketing programs. Michele is a graduate of Howard University, where she received a BA in Journalism, and she holds an MA in Education, Management, Leadership, and Policy from Seton Hall University.

Paymon Rouhanifard

Board Member

Paymon Rouhanifard is the CEO and co-founder of Propel America, a non-profit organization that empowers young adults with the skills, experiences, credentials, and social networks necessary to transition to a good job with career mobility. Previously, he served as the superintendent of Camden, New Jersey from 2013 to 2018 where he helped lead improvements in student outcomes, reductions in out-of-school suspensions, stronger family engagement, and critical capital investments in school facilities. Rouhanifard started his career in New York City as a 6th grade teacher in West Harlem and went on to work in the central office of the New York City Department of Education.

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