Ankur Arya is a Delaware-based educator and founder of Leading Youth Through Empowerment, Inc. After growing up in the Philadelphia area and attending a Title I middle school, he received financial aid and scholarship to attend a Episcopal Academy, a prestigious private high school. Despite the challenge of adjusting to a rigorous academic curriculum, Ankur flourished in the new environment. After applying to elite colleges his senior year, Ankur eventually attended Haverford College, graduating with a BA in Political Science in 2012. Immediately after graduation Ankur joined the corps of Teach for America Delaware, and dedicated the following three years to teaching math to 7th and 8th graders at Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington, DE. During his formative time there, he became cognizant of the alarming statistic that 1 in 10 students from low-income communities in Delaware will graduate with a college degree by the age of 24. In addition to incorporating encouragement to change this statistic in the classroom, Ankur began meeting with a hardworking and talented group of students to apply to top performing high schools in the area. These collaborative afterschool efforts were the beginning of Leading Youth through Empowerment, which Ankur was able to develop into a 501(c)(3) non profit organization in November 2014.
Andrue Smith is the Program Director for Leading Youth Through Empowerment. At a young age, the importance of education was established in his life by his parents. In order to become a positive influence in Wilmington, Delaware where he grew up, Mr. Smith joined Teach for America Delaware in 2013 and became a teacher at Thomas A. Edison Charter School. He is dedicated to improving the lives of children through education. Mr. Smith earned his Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education and Middle School Mathematics from The University of Delaware and is working toward a Master of Education in School Leadership at Wilmington University.