jimmy tadlock (1).jpg

Jimmy Tadlock

Executive Director


Prior to joining MERIT Health Leadership Academy, Jimmy Tadlock served
as the Program Director for CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore. Jimmy
helped rebuild the foundation of CollegeBound’s college access program by
creating its first college retention program and was actively involved in
numerous collaborative work groups and committees to support student
success in the Greater Baltimore Area

Jimmy Tadlock graduated from Florida State University and served as a
Cryptologist in the US Navy, where he posted in assignments in various
parts of the world and the National Security Agency (NSA). After the Gulf
War, he resigned his commission and taught middle school math and science
for the Baltimore City Public Schools. Concerned about students least likely
to succeed, Mr. Tadlock designed a model program which caught the
attention of NASA. The success of this program became the model for Earth
KAM, a project whereby school children throughout the country can
communicate with astronauts and monitor space shuttles. His success in the
classroom has led to his teaching summers at the University of Maryland
Eastern Shore.


Agzja Carey 

Program Director - High School Success

agzja.carey @meritbaltimore.org

Agzja Carey is a leadership and race equity professional with expertise in program design, strategic planning, community engagement and education leadership.  Graduating from Howard University with a B.B.A. in Business Management, Agzja leveraged her training in business best practices and talent management to serve the youth of Baltimore.  As a Teach For America alum, Agzja taught 3rd and 5th grade in Baltimore City Public Schools and went on to support countless scholars in her future roles within education policy, program management and student support. Most recently Agzja served as the External Opportunities Coordinator for SEED School of MD where she supported students applying to MERIT. Agzja is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and is excited to join the MERIT family.


India Leach

Program Director - College Success


India Leach is a dedicated College Access and Retention Guru, born and nurtured in Baltimore City. As a student‐focused leader who seeks to drive results around college access, she began her college advising career with the College Bound Foundation. That work led to positions in student support and academic advising at Walden University, KIPP through College ‐ Baltimore, and Towson University. At Towson, India served as the Coordinator of Outreach and Retention for the last four years. On Towson’s campus, India also served as an advisor to several student organizations and a member of several committees who support diversity and inclusion work on campus. India graduated from MERVO High School and then obtained her Bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland, College Park. India has a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Towson University and is now working to finish up her PHD at Morgan State University.


Cameron Wardell

High School Success Manager


Cameron Wardell is an experienced educator originating from Annapolis, MD. He received his undergraduate degree, a B.A. in History, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduation, Cameron taught Kindergarten-4th grade in Teach for America (San Antonio). He was twice Teacher of the Year and held many leadership roles in the organization and on his campus. Additionally, he has educational experience as a Center Director for Sylvan Learning, Outdoor Facilitator for Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center, & Vietnam High School Trip Leader for Putney Student Travel. Cameron enjoys his beloved Tar Heels, Reddit, and the show Survivor.


Lidia Hernandez

Program Coordinator - College Success


Lidia Hernandez is a proud MERIT Alumna and graduate of Western High School. She received her Bachelor's degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park in August of 2021, after completing her capstone internship at MERIT that summer. Throughout her time at UMD, she was very involved in the community and served as a Peer Educator for the University Health Center, held positions on various executive boards and participated in an Alternative Breaks experience in Los Andes, Guatemala. Lidia is eager to join the team and work alongside staff members to support scholars in their journeys of becoming change agents. 

MERIT Board of Directors

Board Chair

Dr. Sherita Golden

Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Staff Success Chair

Chitamawe Daka Mulwanda

Manager of Equity Programs

Baltimore City Public Schools

Strategic Growth Chair

Dr. John Kontor

Executive Vice President


Dr. David Hellmann


Johns Hopkins Center for Innovative Medicine

Dr. Ilana Mittman

Genetic Counselor

Anne Arundel Medical Center

Dione Powell

Vice President of Human Resources Employee and Labor Relations at Johns Hopkins Medicine

Latosha Annan

Chief Executive Officer

Trust Harmony

MERIT Co-Founder

Dr. Tyler Mains

Assistant Medical Officer

Jail Health Services at San Francisco Department of Health

Vice Chair

Dr. Rudy Ruiz


Four Point Education Partners

Fundraising Chair

Kristin Kosmides

Head of Global Citizenship

Franklin​ Templeton


Brian McDonald
Audit Partner


Geoffrey Genth

Principal Attorney

Kramon and Graham 

Karen Dates Dunmore

Senior Director of Community Engagement and Workforce Development

University of Maryland Medical Center

Dr. Scott Wright

Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

MERIT Co-Founder

Shyam Gadwal

Vice President of Programs

APIA Scholars