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Afira DeVries

President & Chief Executive OfficerMonarch School

San Diego, CA

Member Since June 2022


Public Speaking
Executive Leadership
Social Strategy


I've enjoyed a more than two-decade career as a social care executive, successfully leading innovation and growth for six thriving nonprofit organizations, currently serving as the President & CEO for the Monarch School in San Diego. An afro-latinx leader and applied sociologist, my goal is to inspire genuine cross-sectoral progressive movement related to equity and justice.

Published content

From Savior To Servant: 4 Ways For Philanthropists To Avoid The “Savior Complex”


Servant philanthropists are committed to one core belief: that helping means working with, not for, those pursuing a more stable life.

14 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Assembling a Leadership Team

expert panel

To create an effective leadership team, it's important to consider everything each candidate can offer the business. Across industries, leadership plays an essential role in the success of a business. These leaders set the tone of the organization as a whole, impacting not only operations and decision making, but employees and customers as well.  To build the right leadership team, companies have to be willing to take their time with the process as every misstep could potentially negatively impact the business long term. Below, 14 Newsweek Expert Forum members explore common mistakes organizations make when assembling a leadership team and share advice on how those errors can be corrected.

14 Critical Signs Your Business Has Too Many Projects

expert panel

Before taking on any additional work, it's best to ensure you and your team have the capacity to complete the work. An increase in workload is one indication that a business is doing well in a market. However, if the capacity of the current team is not considered alongside growing responsibilities, a business may end up with too much work and no ability to ensure it’ll be done in a timely manner.  To help dial back and shift focus before efficiency decreases, 14 Newsweek Expert Forum members each share one critical sign that a leader or business has too many projects going on at once. 

Sociology Expert: Social Leaders Should Know Words Hurt When They Carry Stigma


Sticks, stones and stereotypes can all have a damaging impact on children served by social leaders.

Company details

Monarch School

Company bio

Monarch School has served as a place of hope and belonging to thousands of unhoused students since 1987. Our unique and innovative Kindergarten through 12th grade school provides students with the stability and security they need to heal and learn. Nearly 300 students attend Monarch School each day and are provided a holistic education designed to meet their academic, social, emotional, and life skill needs. Monarch School is a trauma-informed and strength-based community where students can persevere through the trauma of homelessness that has affected them and their success in education. At Monarch, we give students the skills and tools they need to overcome these odds. From increased attendance and academic performance to emotional wellness and earning a high school diploma, students are defining success on their own terms and thriving at Monarch. The school is a public-private partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and the nonprofit Monarch School Project, a 501(c)(3) corporation.



Area of focus

Non Profit
Social Innovation

Company size

51 - 200