Comer Education Campus is anchored by Gary Comer Youth Center, Gary Comer Middle School, and Gary Comer College Prep.

Ayoka Noelle Mota Samuels

Center Director


In her capacity as Center Director, Ayoka oversees Gary Comer Youth Center operations and youth development program strategy and execution. She joined the organization when the Youth Center opened in 2006.  

A native Chicagoan, Ayoka studied at the University of Illinois in Agricultural Communications & Education and later received a Master of Non-Profit Management degree from Spertus Institute.Ayoka has utilized her talent in advancing positive youth development and non-profit management since 1993 at premier organizations in Chicago, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, New Concept Development Center, and Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. Additionally, Ayoka has served as a contributor to several organizations, initiatives and coalitions over the years. She served as a trainer for After School Matters, the Chicago Park District, the Illinois Afterschool Network and Chicago Area Project. She is a member of the Chicago Community Chorus, The Peace Hub, founding member of Antonio’s Response and a fellow of both Leadership Greater Chicago and the UBS Nonprofit Leadership Program at Northwestern University. Ayoka also serves as a board member of the Leadership Fellows Association of Leadership Greater Chicago and President of the Wright Connection (a family unity organization).