The Simon Youth Foundation Board of Directors is passionately led by chairperson Deborah J. Simon.

View the complete listing of SYF Board of Directors members.



J. Michael Durnil, Ph.D., is the SYF President and CEO. Originally from Decatur, Illinois, Durnil took the helm at SYF in 2010. A longtime educator, his professional career includes experience as a university professor and administrator as well as executive positions at other national non-profit organizations. He holds a PhD in educational leadership and policy studies from Loyola University-Chicago and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Illinois State University.  Read his complete biography. Reach Michael at or 317-263-2361.

Jay Kenworthy is the SYF Communications Manager, directing internal and external communications efforts for the Foundation. After starting out as a newspaper reporter, Jay has spent more than a decade in marketing and public relations in Indiana, specializing in non-profit and political work. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University. Reach Jay at or 317-656-3272.

Adjei Nortey is the SYF Advancement Associate, providing targeted research to guide the Foundation’s fundraising efforts as well as digital and print collateral design services. A native of Accra, Ghana, Adjei joined SYF in 2008. His professional experience includes 12 years of marketing and communication design as well as positions in the entertainment industries. Adjei holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism graphics from Ball State University. Reach Adjei at or 317-263-7639.

John E. Suter is a SYF Program Coordinator, responsible for coordination of design and construction activities at the Foundation’s academies.  John is a lifelong Hoosier who has designed many complex, highly customized residential, commercial, corporate and educational projects.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Ball State University.  Reach John at or 317-263-2423.

Amy Updike is the SYF Vice President of Finance and Administration, serving as the Foundation’s chief financial officer and human relations director for the Foundation. Originally from Indiana, Amy joined SYF in 2001. Her professional experience spans a variety of industries including retailing, insurance and hospitality. Amy holds an MBA with an accounting option from California State University-Hayward and a bachelor’s degree in home economics-fashion merchandising from Indiana University-Bloomington. Reach Amy at or 317-263-2361.

Sarah Woodmansee is the SYF Advancement Administrative Assistant, supporting all aspects of the Foundation’s fundraising. A native of Indianapolis, Sarah joined SYF in 2012. Her professional experience includes a decade in television and radio broadcasting. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Reach Sarah or 317-263-2481.

Tamra O. Wright is the SYF Vice President for Programs, serving as the Foundation’s chief program officer providing support to SYF academies and facilitating partnerships with key stakeholders including public school districts. A New York native, Tamra joined SYF in 2015. Her professional experience includes extensive work in secondary and post-secondary education leading support programs. Tamra holds two master’s degrees, a master’s in public administration and a master’s  in criminal justice as well as a bachelor’s in speech communication from the University of Georgia. Reach Tamra at or 317-263-7648.

Brandi Young is the SYF Vice President, Advancement serving as chief liaison to the Foundation’s corporate donors, including Simon Property Group, and facilitating a wide-range of nationwide fundraising events each year. A native of the Hoosier state, Brandi joined SYF in 2004. Her professional experience includes retail marketing and management with Simon Malls throughout the U.S. Midwest. Brandi holds a bachelor’s degree in sports marketing from Indiana University-Bloomington. Reach Brandi at or 317-263-7694.

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