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Meet The Staff

Krystal Jones – Executive Director

Driven by passion and versatility, Krystal seeks out innovative and exciting opportunities that will expose our youth to new experiences beyond their immediate environment. Raised in an impoverished neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, Krystal believes that one of the many ways to success is through exposure. Youth may not always be aware of all they can achieve if it is never presented to them.

As the Executive Director of Planning Your Success, Krystal seeks out funding for their year-round activities, scholarships, and any additional programming. Krystal has also attained a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Loyola University Chicago. With over 15 years of financial experience, Krystal has supported a wide range of Fortune 50 companies from retail pharmacy to telecommunications.

Currently, Krystal holds a senior finance role where she specializes in financial and data analytics and reporting. Krystal also held a position on the first DEI&B Employee Advisory council (National and local chapter) with her current employer. This committee provides advice, recommendations, and feedback as well as pilot and preview new products or policies that are outcomes of our DE&I efforts. 

Outside of the office, Krystal is actively involved in her church, and she greatly enjoys spending time her husband and two amazing children

Courtney Southward – Education Coordinator

Courtney Southward, a passionate middle school math teacher, dedicated to empowering young minds. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics from DePaul University and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Phoenix. With over 16 years of teaching experience, Courtney has taught various math courses, including pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry.

Courtney’s teaching approach focuses on creating a supportive and engaging learning environment. She integrates hands-on activities, real-world examples, and technology tools to enhance student understanding and develop critical thinking skills. Courtney is committed to encouraging her students to embrace challenges and strive for academic excellence.

Outside of the classroom, Courtney enjoys traveling and volunteering in her community. She is the Education Coordinator for Planning Your Success, a Chicago based non-profit. She is also a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). She is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of young people, inspiring them to become lifelong learners.

Virginia Easton – Early Childhood Coordinator

Virginia is a highly accomplished early childhood educator and home daycare owner with over two decades of specialized experience. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, specialized credentials in Infant/Toddler and Early Childhood education, and a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Administration, both from National Lewis University. She stands out in her field. Virginia’s professional journey includes roles such as an Infant and Toddler Teacher and Specialist for 13 years, Lead Preschool and School-Age teacher, Early Childhood Program Coordinator, and Home-Based Educator for Early Head Start. Beyond traditional educational settings, she has served in community roles, from Sunday School teacher to sleep trainer, enhancing her understanding of child development and family dynamics. Currently, Virginia serves as the Director of Better Life Faith Church Children’s Ministry and the Early Childhood Coordinator for Planning Your Success. Her work is characterized by an unwavering commitment to excellence, a genuine love for children, and a dedication to providing high-quality early childhood education that lays the foundation for lifelong success.

Chidi Osuji 

In addition to serving as a tutor for Planning Your Success, he is also affiliated with Project SYNCERE, a nonprofit organization based on Chicago’s south side that seeks to bridge the digital divide for under-represented groups in STEM. Not only has he taught classes with Project SYNCERE, but he has hosted groups of students at his place of employment, Zebra Technologies Corp. For the past 15 years, Chidi has also served as a judge for the Chicago Public Schools city science fair, judging and advising young scientists who are the best among their classmates in the sciences. Chidi also has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University. He also is licensed in the State of Illinois as a Professional Engineer.