Claire Nilsen Blumenson, Esq.
Executive Director & Co-Founder
Claire has focused her career on the intersection of juvenile justice and education. After graduating from University of Virginia Law in 2011, Claire joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia ("PDS") as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. Through this two-year fellowship, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, Claire provided post-disposition special education representation to youth ages 18–22 who had been placed in DC's secure juvenile facility.
Prior to working at PDS, Claire received her Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, majoring in government, sociology, and psychology. Claire earned her Masters in Teaching while serving as a corps member of Teach for America in Brooklyn, New York. She taught third and fourth grade at Excellence Boys Charter School, part of Uncommon Schools, Inc.
Claire is an attorney admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Sarah Comeau, Esq.
Director of Programs & Co-Founder
Sarah graduated from American University’s Washington College of Law (WCL) cum laude in 2011. Prior to co-founding the School Justice Project, Sarah was an associate at a District of Columbia law firm that specialized in special education advocacy, representing students and families of students involved in both the juvenile justice and abuse and neglect systems. After graduating from law school, Sarah was awarded a JD Distinguished Fellowship at the Juvenile Services Program at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
Sarah focused her law school career on indigent representation and the protection of civil and human rights. She was a student defense practitioner at WCL's Criminal Justice Clinic, a law clerk at a Maryland law firm that specialized in post-conviction representation, and an advocate for international human rights. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications.
Sarah is an attorney admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and an inactive member of the New York Bar. Sarah is a member of the District of Columbia Superior Court Special Education Attorney Panel.
Rachel Russo, Esq.
Rachel graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2014. While in law school, Rachel interned at the National Juvenile Defender Center, the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore, Maryland. During her final year of law school, she served as a student attorney in Georgetown's Juvenile Justice Clinic. Rachel focused her practice on youth committed to the District's juvenile justice agency and also served as a teaching assistant for a course on representing committed youth.
Prior to law school, Rachel volunteered with youth in foster care and students with disabilities, experiences that informed her decision to go to law school to focus on youth advocacy. Rachel earned her Bachelor's Degree in Art History from the University of Miami.
Rachel is an attorney admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland.
Director of Operations
Prior to coming to School Justice Project, Donna spent five years at Netcentric Campaigns as Director of Administration and Finance. There, she provided network building services to foundations and nonprofits on a national basis. As Director of Administration and Finance at the Environmental Support Center, she spent 21 years working on environmental justice issues. She has lived in and traveled to over 20 countries around the world and this love of culture and travel has translated in an ability to work well with people from all backgrounds and belief systems. An alumnus of Georgetown University, class of 1984, she currently lives in Alexandria, V.A. and is looking forward to growing with SJP. She is the mother of two young adults, and loves cook and relax at the beach with a pile of good books or a Nook.
Leadership for Educational Equity Policy Advocacy Fellow
Erika graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Political Science. There, she worked as a research assistant for the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse and an assistant facilitator of the Youth Arts Alliance Program, working with detained youth. After graduation in 2014, Erika became a Teach for America Corps member in Charlotte, NC and is pursuing a Middle School and Secondary Social Studies certificate. She also has developed a student organization geared towards leadership and involvement with various community service and social action projects. Erika looks forward to pursuing a career in educational policy in the future.