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Summer Principals Academy in New Orleans
The Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership
Mr. Frank Anthony
Mr. Frank Anthony is currently retired after serving forty-four (44) years in public Education in the State of Arkansas. Prior to retirement he served as Superintendent of three School Districts: the Eudora School District, the Dollarway School District and the Pine Bluff School District. Mr. Anthony also served as School Principal, an Assistant Director for Accountability/School Improvement at Arkansas Department of Education, an Interim Superintendent, and an Assistant Superintendent. Mr. Anthony began his career in education as an elementary and high school teacher as well as a basketball coach. Mr. Anthony is experienced in developing financial plans and budget strategies for schools, designing policies grounded in most up-to-date data, and effectively improving student achievement in the most challenged public school settings. In addition to the professional roles mentioned, Mr. Anthony was the President of Arkansas Association of School Administrators and a member of the Executive Committee of the Arkansas Activities Association. Moreover, Mr. Anthony is an active member of Arkansas Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Education and Arkansas Legislative Committee as well as Phi Delta Kappa – an association for aspiring educators worldwide. For his dedication, commitment, and distinguished accomplishments in urban education, Mr. Anthony was awarded Arkansas Superintendent of the Year for 2006-2007.
Dr. Mokysha Benford
A native of Texas City, TX, Mokysha Benford earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin, her Masters of Education degree from the University of Houston, and her Doctoral Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas Southern University. Her portfolio includes serving at the elementary, middle, high school, and collegiate levels. She has served in some of America’s toughest schools working in La Marque, Fort Bend, and Houston ISD in roles ranging from long-term substitute, teacher, athletic coach, teacher leader, Campus Improvement Specialist, Title 1 Specialist, Assistant Principal, and Principal. Dr.Benford has founded her own consulting firm, DrB!Real Consulting, offering educational and non-educational services. DrB!Real Consulting was birthed out of life experiences and 18 years in the field of education. Serving in these professional roles, as well as the roles and circumstances that life has thrown at her, has afforded Dr. Benford multiple perspectives through which to work as she challenges the status quo and gives voice to those without. She is a high-spirited, energetic teacher who is passionate about her work. She is unrivaled in her gift of transparency in sharing Real Life experiences and engaging in Real Conversations leading to Real Change! She makes you think, causes you to reflect, and challenges you to refine your thinking and your practice.
Dr. Robert Bennett
It has been a pleasure to accumulate 36 years in the field of education. Bennett has recently retired from the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, Nevada serving 16 years as a school principal. Prior to these years, Bennett was an assistant principal, a Special Education Teacher and a Classroom Teacher. Along with his Administrative certification, he holds a dual certification in Elementary Education and Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Bennett taught in the 2nd grade and in the field of Blind Education for 18 years prior to becoming an administrator. His Bachelors was completed at Eastern Michigan University, Master’s Degree completed through Idaho State University and his ED.D was completed at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Bennett has enjoyed many roles in the field of education and still enjoys all the opportunities and possibilities to share his experiences and promote the education of our students.
Ms. Tamela Brown
Dr. Michael Cormack
Dr. Michael Cormack, Jr. is the CEO of the Barksdale Reading Institute. In this role, he sets the vision and direction for the Institute and also oversees the Mississippi Building Blocks, a program providing coaching and technical assistance to childcare centers throughout Mississippi. Before joining BRI, he served as the elementary principal at Quitman County Elementary School, a BRI partner school. Working as a team, QCES teachers, students, and parents dramatically raised student achievement at the school. Michael has served as a classroom teacher and a program director and manager for Teach For America. He received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College, and holds a master’s degree in elementary education from Delta State University, a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and earned his doctor of education degree in education leadership and policy studies at Vanderbilt University. Michael also serves as an Adjunct Professor in Education Leadership at the University of Mississippi. He is married to Krystal Cormack and together they have three children: Kennedy, Madison, and Maxwell.
Ms. Ana Escobedo
Ms. Bridgette Brent Frick
Bridgette Brent Frick is a native New Orleanian and has served in the New Orleans Public Schools System for thirty years. Currently she serves as a secondary school principal. She has served as a mentor for the Louisiana Department of Education for novice principals for ten years in the Greater New Orleans area. She has served as a long time officer on the Executive Board for the Professional Administrators of New Orleans Public Schools, Inc. Prior to becoming an administrator she served as a kindergarten teacher for thirteen years in the Housing Development of New Orleans. She enjoys serving as an intern coach with the Teacher College at Columbia University.
Ms. Krystal Hardy Allen
A native of Selma, Alabama, Krystal Hardy Allen is a Doctoral student at Columbia University obtaining her Doctorate in Educational Leadership, a strong former elementary & middle school Principal, and Founder of K. Allen Consulting™, her own educational consulting firm. As a consultant, Krystal coaches and supports school leaders, teachers, and district leaders, as well as designs and leads professional development experiences for them. Her portfolio includes public schools & districts in a number of states - particularly in the Southeast and Midwest - as well as a few college & university partners, including Teachers College (Columbia University). A first generation college graduate, Krystal graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. Degree in Sociology & African-American Studies, and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University (Chicago, IL). Her career began in the classroom teaching as a Teach for America- South Louisiana alumnus teaching elementary school in rural Jackson, Louisiana; thereafter also teaching elementary school in central Alabama; and later dually teaching grades 1 and 2 during her time as an Assistant Principal within KIPP New Orleans Schools. As a teacher, Krystal led her students to an 83% passage rate of the Louisiana LEAP Exam, and was recognized and visited by Louisiana First Lady Supriya Jindal in 2009 in conjunction with NASA and Teach for America. She went on to serve as a Founding Program Director (MTLD) for Teach for America–Alabama, the Founding Assistant Principal of KIPP Believe Primary, and then the Principal of Sylvanie Williams, a Pre-K to 8th grade charter school. As Principal, she and her team led remarkable transformation of student culture reducing suspensions from an all-time high of 55% of students prior to her arrival down to only 3% of the student population after only her 1styear of leadership, and increased family engagement by over 3 times the average. She also led revolutionary social justice initiatives for children, inclusive of student travel to Ferguson, MO to meet and learn from Micheal Brown Sr., father of slain teen Michael Brown and to Selma, AL to meet Congressman John Lewis and retrace the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Krystal is a 2014 Deloitte Principal Fellow, the 2016 Teach for America-Greater New Orleans Catalyst Award winner on behalf of her leadership and activism with youth & families; and recipient of the 2016 Urban League of Louisiana ULEAD Activist Award.
Dr. Scott Hollinger
Scott Hollinger was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a child, he lived in Lima, Peru, for two years, where his father was a teacher at the FDR American School. Returning to the States, Scott went to elementary school in the Columbus, Ohio area and graduated from Vinson High School in Huntington, West Virginia. Scott attended The Ohio State University in Columbus, graduating with a BA in languages and a BS in education. While teaching Spanish and French at an inner-city middle school, he continued at The Ohio State University, studying deaf education and earning a Master's degree. Deaf education brought Scott to Memorial High School in McAllen, Texas, where he taught English and math, and eventually served as chair of the special education department. In 1989, Scott began his studies in Mid-Management at the then-Pan American University. Scott worked many years for the McAllen Independent School District. He took the central office position of Supervisor of the Regional School for the Deaf in 1989, became principal of Fields Elementary School in 1994, and then principal of McAuliffe Elementary School in 1998. During this time, he began his doctoral work, graduating from The University of Texas-Pan American in 2000. A highlight in Scott's professional career, he was named the National Distinguished Principal of Texas in 2003. He took the position of Principal at Quest College Preparatory School, a new McAllen-area public secondary charter school of the IDEA Public School System that opened in July of 2006. He also serves as a clinical professor in the UTPA College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership. Scott enjoys singing, is a member of the South Texas Symphony Chorale, and for 22 years has served as bivocational Minister of Music, leading worship at three McAllen churches.
Dr. Tonya Hyde
Dr. Tonya Hyde is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Lackland ISD, a role that fulfills her purpose and commitment to serve her country by developing and supporting military children.
Tonya began her career in education in 1990 in Department of Defense Child Development Centers then transitioned to public education at Fort Sam Houston ISD as teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She was awarded her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in 1989 from Weber State University of Ogden, Utah; her Master in Education degree with mid-management endorsement in 2001, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2014 from the University of Texas in San Antonio.
Throughout her personal and professional career, Tonya has served on various committees and volunteer organizations. She has presented her research on student bullying, collective efficacy, principal leadership, and community engagement as a doctoral student at both the American Educational Research Association and the University Council for Educational Administration.
Tonya is the spouse of retired Air Force MSGT, Timothy Hyde. Tim and Tonya are the proud parents of Jasmine, an elementary special education teacher and graduate with a Master in Counseling degree from the University of North Texas in Denton, and Jordan, a budding entrepreneur and recent graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, and graduate student at Texas A & M State University at San Antonio in Business Administration.
Ms. Audrey Johnson
Audrey Johnson has been an educator for over 20 years and currently serves as a middle school principal in Memphis, TN. Ms. Johnson has worked at both the elementary and middle school level and has been a SPA Nola Leadership Coach for 3 years. She currently serves as the principal of Hamilton Middle School in Memphis which serves students in grades 6 – 8. Ms. Johnson’s first role as principal was in an elementary school which was on the priority list and a part of Shelby County Schools’ Striving School pilot. During her 4-year tenure of aggressive work, Ms. Johnson and her team were able to move this school from the priority list and shift the trajectory for the students in this school community. Ms. Johnson and her team were able to lead this school in becoming a 4-year Reward school in the state of Tennessee. Ms. Johnson has continued to serve students that are in high priority areas and worked in turn-around work. Currently she works in the district’s Innovation Zone which serves schools that are in the bottom 5% of achievement in the state of Tennessee. She has a passion to educate students in these areas. Seeing her students turn other people’s doubts and thoughts of impossibility to possibilities, these students, who she calls the underdogs becoming successful, turning disbelief into belief, fills her heart with joy. Prior to becoming an educator, she has served in the United States Air Force, became a waitress after being honorably discharged, worked at the Board of Education as a secretary in Kansas City, KS, and later became a teacher. Ms. Johnson holds a BA degree in Elementary Education, a MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, as well as a MA degree in Educational Supervision and Leadership. Other educational roles include her work as a School Counselor, Literacy Coach, and New Leader for New Schools Resident Principal. Ms. Johnson truly believes in the power leadership development whether it is personal, for teachers, or for students. Leadership has power, leadership moves mountains, leadership shapes nations, and leadership determines our future. Always a teacher…always a leader!
Dr. A'Lesia Land
During her 19 years in education Dr. Land has served as a mentor, Special Education Teacher of the Year, Lead Counselor, Principal, Assistant and Associate Principal. In addition to those duties, she has served as the administrator over Testing, Special Education, ESL and the Counseling Office. Just this past year Dr. Land has been the Principal for the Brazoswood 9th Grade Center in Brazoswood ISD and has recentely been named the principal of the alternative campus Lighthouse Learning Center in Brazosport ISD. Prior to that for the three years Dr. Land worked in Houston ISD.; she worked for Jack Yates Senior High School as the 9th Grade Assistant Principal, 2009-2011, and at Johnston Middle School as the Principal over House J where she was also responsible for the Special Education Department, ELA/R Department and the ESL Department. While at Johnston, Ms. Land created and ran a PLATO Lab for overage 8th grade students. She has created the master schedule for two middle schools in Fort Bend ISD. Dr. Land was very instrumental in helping Fort Bend ISD acculturate students who fled to the district when New Orleans was hit by hurricane Katrina. Dr. Land was the summer school principal at Hodges Bend Middle School specifically for these students to make sure that their transition was smooth.
Dr. Land received her EdD from Lamar University where she concentrated on Educational Leadership in Multiculturalism and Diversity. She received her Master of Education in Counseling from the University of Houston – Victoria and her Bachelor of Science in Social Science from the University of Houston-Downtown. She received her Superintendent and Principal certifications from the University of Houston – Victoria.
Mr. Michael McKenzie
Michael is an educational leader and leadership coach specializing in comprehensive leadership development including: school turn around, organizational culture, federal labor compliance, educational policy, organizational marketing, talent recruitment, professional development, fiscal management, big data management and community involvement.
Michael currently works for The University of Texas Charter School System as Head of Schools in the Houston-area.
Ms. Nancy Meador
Nancy Flatt Meador has enjoyed a successful career in education. A veteran educator with thirty-two years of experience and a former president (2013-2014) of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), Nancy retired from the Metropolitan Nashville Public School (MNPS) system in 2014. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Principals Association.
During the course of her MNPS career, Nancy served in several roles. She has been a classroom teacher (grades 1-8), assistant principal, elementary principal, middle school principal, and as prek-4 executive director for learning support services.
Additional career accomplishments include:
- Served as President-Elect, President and Past Present of NAESP, an organization that provides leadership and support for over 20,000 principals nationwide (April, 2012 – June, 2015).
- Successfully completed the National Principal Mentor K-12 Training and Certification Program and received National Principal Mentor Certification (August 2015).
- Successfully completed the Prospective Superintendents Academy hosted by the Tennessee School Boards Association, the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents and the Niswonger Foundation (February 2010).
- An accomplished writer, her articles have been published in Principal Magazine, Tennessee Principal Magazine, and the TPA Frontline Newsletter.
Also very active in her community, Dr. Meador is a member of the Old Hickory Area Chamber of Commerce, and was Chamber co-president during 2003-2004. She has been married to Phil Meador for thirty-two years. Nancy and Phil are members of Madison Church of Christ.
Ms. Lee Nelson
Ms. Elizabeth Ostberg
Ms. Ostberg developed The NET Charter High School in response to the high drop out rate in her beloved adopted city, New Orleans. She has lead the school as principal since it opened in 2011.
After teaching students who had dropped out of high school in Philadelphia, Ms. Ostberg moved to New Orleans to build the student support system for The New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School. Subsequently she served as Director of Talent Management/HR for FirstLine Schools supporting them through their expansion from one to five schools over the course of three years.
She holds an MEd. from Harvard University with a focus on education in crisis zones. She is married to the best man in New Orleans and together they are raising too many cats and a dog.
Ms. Melissa Sweazy
Melissa is in her sixth year as the founding school principal of Esmeralda Santiago Charter School, a K-8 school located on the west side of Chicago. Prior to opening Santiago, she taught for eight years on Chicago’s north and west sides. Melissa was recently named Principal of the Year by Illinois Network of Charter Schools for leading a high-performing and innovative school with a strong culture. Esmeralda Santiago has ranked as the top performing charter elementary school (Level 1+) in Chicago for the last two years and appeared in Chicago Magazine this past fall for their Best Public Schools issue as the number one charter elementary. One of the school’s proudest successes is the student attendance rate, as last year’s average was 97.7%. Melissa believes that ensuring high attendance rates for students is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against poverty and that the most effective way to get students to stay engaged with their learning is by capitalizing on student needs and interests and co-creating the school model with both students and teachers. Melissa is most passionate about equipping students with the skills, confidence, and social political consciousness necessary to exercise their voice and choice in their school, community, and beyond. The best part of Melissa’s job is working alongside her teachers and seeing the smiles on her students’ faces as their confidence grows, achievement levels rise, and ultimately, they disrupt the status quo. Melissa holds a B.S. in Psychology and an Ed. M. in Elementary Education from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an Ed. M. in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Mr. Randy Thompson
Randy Thompson serves as Principal of Idlewild Science & Technology Elementary School, serving 470 Kindergarten through Fifth grade students in the Midtown neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee. As a team, Idlewild Elementary strives each day to make their motto, “Children First. Excellence Always!” a reality for EVERY child. Randy earned his undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Elementary Education at LSU and completed his Master’s at the University of Memphis. A member of New Leaders New Schools first Memphis cohort in 2004, he has served as principal for 12 years and as mentor principal with New Leaders for New Schools for seven years. He is past president of the Shelby County Schools Principals Association and currently serves on the Central Grades Historic Neighborhood board of directors. Randy is a passionate “Fixer Upper”!
Dr. James “Jimmy” Zoll
James “Jimmy” Zoll currently serves at the principal of Johns Creek High School in Johns Creek, Georgia. He has been a principal in Fulton County Schools for twenty years beginning as principal of Title 1 schools in south Fulton County. In 2000, Jimmy was asked to move to a school that had experienced major upheaval due to the quick departure of the principal. Working with the staff to create professional learning communities and a focus on academic excellence, a new culture was created at the school. In 2004, Jimmy was given the opportunity to open a brand new elementary school in Johns Creek, Georgia. After seven years, the school became a great success even winning the Platinum Award from the Governor’s Office of Student Affairs, the highest award for student achievement. Jimmy began his career teaching social studies in middle school and thus chose to become a middle school principal before moving to the high school level. He believes that building strong school cultures that are true professional learning communities is the route to successful schools. He received his PhD from Mercer University and is an avid University of Georgia Bulldogs fan! Jimmy currently teaches classes for Kennesaw State University. His wife Laura is also a principal in Fulton County and they have two grown sons.