Washington, DC Coaches | Playworks

Playworks for every kid

Washington, DC Coaches

Lakia Meriwether: Bunker Hill Elementary

"Coach K" is returning to Bunker Hill Elementary (formerly Brookland Education Campus) this year as a third year Playworks coach. Lakia earned her degree in exercise science at Trinity University, while applying her studies coaching girls basketball at Drew Freeman Middle School, middle and JV volleyball and softball at the National Cathedral School, and tennis with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. In her non-work time, Lakia is found making music on her cello, going to the movies, and visiting DC's museums.


Shay Blanchard: Barnard Elementary School

“Coach Shay” is returning to her alma mater, Barnard Elementary School, to serve as a Playworks recess coach with AmeriCorps! Shay attended Lincoln University of PA and earned a degree in Health Science with a concentration in Physical Therapy. Not only does she love to play soccer, she also coaches the Capitol Community Soccer Club and E.L. Haynes MS girls soccer teams. She also brings years of experience from DCPS after-school programs and the Takoma Park Recreation Center. When you see Coach Shay, be sure to take a look at her socks because they never match.


Eric Lempa: Brightwood Education Campus

“Coach Eric” is happy to be serving as an AmeriCorps member in our nation’s capital after graduating with a degree in communications from Illinois State University. A native of Elgin, Illinois, Eric brings with him a great attitude and experience gained from YouthWorks and Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF). A Chicago Blackhawks fan, Eric can be found playing ultimate frisbee when he’s not leading games for others.


Emily Goldhammer: J.O. Wilson Elementary School 

“Coach Em”, a Williamsburg, VA native, is a first year Americorps coach with Playworks DC this year. Formerly an adaptive swim instructor, she enjoys helping children find confidence through physical activity and play. Her favorite place to hang out in DC is near the volleyball courts by the Lincoln Memorial. After Playworks, Coach Em hopes to work in a team-focused sports-based youth development field with an emphasis on resources/opportunities for underprivileged children.


Amber Shephard: Bancroft Elementary School 

“Coach Amber” excels at bringing creativity and passion to her work at Bancroft Elementary. Her experience as a learning coach with Elev8 Baltimore shows in her insightful debrief questions and well planned class game times. Coach Amber enjoys cheering on the Detroit Tigers and would like to further her photography and writing skills as she moves forward in her career.


Michael Johnson: Achievement Prep Academy

“Coach Mike” brings his passion for sports and youth development to everything he does with Playworks DC. Formerly a substitute PE teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools, he focused on establishing two-way, student-focused communication that empowered his students to enjoy the learning process. Michael graduated from North Carolina A&T University in 2012 with a degree in Sports Science and Sports Management.


Rachel Rogers: H.D. Cooke Elementary School 

“Coach Rae” has made her way to DC all the way from Orlando, FL and brings that sunshine to her work at Cooke Elementary. She graduated from University of Central Florida with a degree in Elementary Education and utilizes those skills to deliver excellent programming. Coach Rae loves walking her dogs and would like to be a marketing coordinator for a professional sports team after her time with Playworks.


Stephanie Etienne: Achievement Prep Academy 

“Coach Steph” comes to Playworks with a wealth of experience working with students through programs such as Elev8 Baltimore and MSU Tutoring. She is especially passionate about fostering an atmosphere of community and cooperation in her school, and enjoys finding new ways that play can support social and emotional learning. Stephanie graduated from Morgan State University in May of 2016 with her Bachelors of Science, Psychology.


Saba Rahman:  Tyler Elementary

"Coach S" is excited to be a first-time coach with Playworks DC after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2016. Formerly an outdoor educator at the National Zoo's nature camp, she is excited to bring her knowledge of teaching through gameplay to her school. She is especially looking forward to creating a sense of community among the students and helping them work on improving their social and emotional skills. Coach S can be found playing with animals or dancing at a concert when she's not playing games with students!