Welcome to the Team

Welcome to the Team

While everyone else is prepping for back to school season, at Xcalibur we are busy on-boarding three new evaluation specialists!  We are excited to introduce Dr. Comfort Afolabi, Melisssa Gattuso, and Catherine Villnave to our Xcalibur clients and SCRIBE users.  Each of our new team members bring diverse experiences with GEAR UP, data, and evaluation.  Comfort, Melissa, and Catherine are engaged with Xcalibur on-boarding tasks, but they will begin supporting clients in late August.  We look forward to introducing them to our partners over the next few weeks!  Below you will find quick bios for Comfort, Melissa, and Catherine.

  • Comfort Afolabi: Comfort Afolabi is responsible for providing evaluation and data-related support to GEAR UP grantees across the country. As a seasoned professional, she has served in various data management and evaluation roles, generating statewide data reports and visualizations. She most recently served as Internal Evaluator for GEAR UP Georgia, where she led data collection, management and supported research and evaluation for the grant. Her previous experiences also include managing evaluations of Transition to Teaching Federal grants. Comfort enjoys working collaboratively, loves data and promotes data-informed and data-driven decision-making. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Melissa Gattuso: Melissa Gattuso has over twenty years of experience in the education field, primarily in GEAR UP grant management. Melissa understands the complex and various roles within college access communities and provides technical support across multiple levels of project teams with grant strategies, program design, operational plans, and implementation. Melissa is passionate about analyzing data and facilitating participatory evaluation to help programs make data-driven decisions that minimize risks, improve grant services, and better serve participants. Melissa has a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership and is currently enrolled in eCornell’s Data Analytics Certificate program. 
  • Catherine Villnave: Catherine Villnave believes that educational equity is critical to securing a prosperous future for everyone and that program evaluation is a valuable tool. She has contributed to leveling the playing field in a variety of roles including after school provider, classroom teacher, district administrator, GEAR UP program manager, and program evaluator. She loves exploring different local contexts and has lived and worked in several communities including Baltimore, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Oregon. Catherine has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Education. She currently lives in Appleton, Wisconsin with her wife and two children.

For more information about the Xcalibur team, visit our website at www.xcalibur.com and click on About Us. 

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