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Summer Principals Academy in New Orleans
The Education Leadership Program in the Department of Organization and Leadership
2018 NOLA Cohort
Theodore Brannum is a native Washingtonian. Theodore received his undergraduate degree in Economics at Rutgers University. After Rutgers, he served as a Director of Programming for The Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund, a non profit that helped mentor, prepare, and send over 1000 students to college. He started as a top high school scholarship recipient to directing the mentoring/scholarship aspect of the organization . He is currently at KIPP DC where he has served in a myriad of roles: such as College Counselor, Business Manager, World History Teacher, Assistant Director of Operations for the network, and currently 9th grade Dean at KIPP DC: College Preparatory Academy. He finally followed his heart to make an impact on students. Theodore is excited to be a part of the 2018 SPA/NOLA Cohort
Myeshia Y. Bryant is a native of Goldsboro, North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and Education. She is also a graduate of Johns Hopkins University (MS.Ed). Myeshia is an alumna of Teach for America (2014) and continues to teach 7th and 8th grade Language Arts and Intensive Reading in Miami Dade County Public Schools at her placement school. As a school and community leader, Myeshia is the Middle School Team Leader and EESAC secretary, advises the Student Government Association, is a K-5 teacher with the Miami Children’s Initiative, and is an active member of the Miami Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Myeshia is a life-long learner and is passionate about developing capacity in those around her as a teacher-leader. As a future school-building leader, she seeks to research and craft sustainable models of building teacher-leadership in urban environments. She is excited to be a part of the 2018 SPA NOLA Cohort!
Vanessa Chen is a graduate of New York University with a B.A. in Sports Management. After graduation, Vanessa joined the Las Vegas Valley Teach For America Corps of 2013 where she taught 4th grade at Hickey Elementary School and received her master’s degree from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada in Curriculum and Instruction. After three years in the classroom, Vanessa transitioned into a Learning Strategist role, where she worked on a K-5 literacy initiative to promote school wide reading culture. This year, she has moved on with her former students and is a Learning Strategist at Bailey Middle School providing reading intervention as well as working to improve school wide literacy achievement. Through the SPA NOLA program, Vanessa hopes to develop her skills as a leader and hopes to create meaningful relationships with her classmates.
Destiny Davis is from St. Louis, Missouri, and a proud first generation graduate of The University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During her years at Tulsa, Destiny worked with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program where her passion for educational equity was unearthed. After graduation, she began working at a St. Louis city charter school teaching fourth-grade, and sixth-grade mathematics. In 2012 she began working at KIPP Inspire Academy in St. Louis as their founding eighth-grade mathematics teacher. Currently, Destiny serves as the Assistant School Leader at KIPP Inspire Academy. She looks forward to connecting with like-minded individuals and building strong relationships with her cohort.
Marquez is a native of Miami, Florida, where he attended Miami Northwestern Sr. High School, the place he attributes his stardom in leadership. In 2010, Marquez transitioned from the sunny City of Miami to the vibrant mecca of Atlanta, Georgia, to begin his journey at the Illustrious Clark Atlanta University (CAU), where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing in 2015.
Throughout his time at CAU, Marquez was heavily involved on campus and in the surrounding community. Experiences worthy of honorable mention for Mr. Davis include his former works with national College Access organization, College Summit (newly named Peer Forward), where he served as an Alumni Leader (2011-2013), Alumni Leader Coordinator (2014), and Assistant Director of Workshops for the FL Region (2015), assisting low-income high school rising seniors with the process to get to and through college, and equipping them with the tools and motivation to help lead their peers to do the same. Mr. Davis has also served as an AmeriCorps. member through his work with “Wings for Kids”, and a tutoring fellow with Hands On Atlanta for Title I schools, just to name a few. Upon graduating CAU, Marquez was honored with the Thomas W. Cole Presidential Leadership award for his outstanding leadership and service to the Clark Atlanta University community.
Today, Mr. Davis is a Founding 2nd Grade Lead English Language Arts Teacher at KIPP Pleasant Grove Primary, in Dallas, TX; the school’ first and only male Lead Teacher to date. He attributes his passion for service through education to his “village”, a grouping of individuals who, despite his communal and societal norms, did not allow him to succumb to mediocrity, but pushed him to be better than he at times didn’t even know he could be. Marquez is excited to be a part of the 2018 SPA|NOLA Cohort, and he is ready to use this experience to become better and stronger, and also allow it to serve as a springboard for his next phase in impacting deserving urban community youth through education.
Ashleymarie Dennis was born in Lanham, Maryland and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of six, Ashleymarie relocated to the Atlanta, Georgia with her mother, where she matriculated through the Clayton County Public School system. She attended The University of Georgia and received a B.A. in Sociology in 2015. Although she studied sociology at The University of Georgia, she has always had a deep passion for service and education that stemmed through her community involvement in high school and college. Ashleymarie served as a lead after school teacher at Chase Street Elementary School in Athens, Georgia. After graduation, Ashleymarie returned to Metro Atlanta as a Sponsorship Coordinator for Blue Sombrero, a Dick’s Sporting Goods Company. Shortly after working her first corporate job, Ashleymarie realized she wanted to have a direct impact on the youth. This epiphany caused her to leave corporate America and adventure into the wonderful world of teaching. Ashleymarie’s first full time position as a lead teacher within the public school sector was in Hartford, Connecticut at Achievement First Summit Middle School, a charter school serving low-income communities. She currently serves as a Science/STEM teacher at TEAM Academy Charter School, a KIPP New Jersey School. During her first two years as a teacher, Ashleymarie has taken advantage of the leadership opportunities at her respective schools. Ashleymarie currently serves as the Extracurricular Coordinator and the coach of the co-ed Volleyball program that she founded at KIPP TEAM Academy. Ashleymarie is eager use the tools and leadership skills that she has gained through this amazing experience at SPA NOLA in order to become an innovative leader.
Amy joins 2018 SPA|NOLA direct from The Netherlands where she owns an instructional consulting company. Expat Little Theatre began as Amsterdam’s premiere English-language children’s theatre and grew to help support arts integration in schools throughout the Netherlands. Prior to that Amy enjoyed 13 years as a classroom teacher and instructional mentor. She currently works coaching teachers in high-needs schools in Pinellas County, Florida. Amy was inspired to pursue leadership education following 6 years working in quasi leadership and evaluative roles. She traveled extensively throughout the Southeastern US supporting school districts in team-building through project-based initiatives. These experiences opened her eyes to the systemic need for strong leadership at the school site. Career development highlights include working with Ron Ritchhart of Harvard’s Project Zero as well as Martin Dolk of Context for Learning Mathematics. She’s excited to continue her leadership development with SPA|NOLA.
Adrian graduated from Bucknell University in 2013 with a B.A. in political science. Upon graduation she moved to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas as a 2013 Teach For America corps member where she began her teaching career at IDEA Pharr College Prep teaching 8th grade Algebra 1. After completing her two years with Teach For America, Adrian moved to Austin, Texas to teach at Austin Achieve. There she has taught 8th grade Algebra I, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus and served as a mentor teacher to new teachers. Through SPA NOLA Adrian is excited to strengthen her leadership skills as she moves into the role of Dean of Instruction at Austin Achieve High School.
Kate Geiss is the Academic Director and Principal of the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program, a trauma-informed separate setting that serves students with moderate to severe behavioral disabilities. Although the work can be both physically and emotionally demanding, Kate feels fortunate to work with students and staff that energize her daily. Kate started her teaching career in Jefferson Parish and has worked in New Orleans charter schools since. She was a founding teacher at ReNEW Schools, where she then worked as a leader in school culture, special education, and interventions for 5 years. Today, she continues to be a resource for local school leaders through informal consultations in developing whole school systems that are more appropriate for the unique needs of New Orleans area children including student-centered incentives and responsive discipline systems, special education programming, and healthy, inviting classroom culture. Kate, a southern California native, moved to New Orleans to begin teaching in 2008 and never plans to leave. She spends most of her free-time (and income) eating or planning her next delicious meal with friends. She also moonlights as a local DJ. Kate has a B.A. in political science and history from Boston University and continues to take psychology courses at night through Tulane. Kate is eager to grow with and learn from many of the city’s most talented education professionals in the SPA | NOLA 2018 Cohort.
Erin Hoskins grew up near San Diego, California and currently resides in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended the University of California, Irvine and graduated with her degree in Public Health Sciences. After graduating, Erin relocated to Greenville, Mississippi to serve with Teach for America in the 2010 Corps. Erin had the opportunity to work to develop a love of Science with her 7th and 8th grade students for three years in the classroom there before transitioning to become a Manager, Teacher Leadership Development with Teach for America in 2013. This role allowed Erin the chance to continue to coach and develop teachers and students in Greenville to help them prove what is possible for students everywhere. In 2016, Erin graduated from Johns Hopkins University with her Master’s in Secondary Educational Studies, and continues to use her knowledge from this program to fuel her work as the current Director of Science Education for the Teach for America: Mississippi team. Erin is excited to be a part of the 2018 SPA NOLA cohort and looks forward to forging relationships with her fellow cohort members and deepening her understanding of what it takes to be the type of leader that students in every school across the country deserve.
Kendall Hughes (Robinson) is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana with a degree in Biology and Religious Studies. Kendall was the president of the Centenary Chi Omega chapter and Student Government Association, which fueled her desire to pursue leadership as a career. Prompted by the Teach for America mission, she joined the 2013 Alabama Corps. During her time in Huntsville, she taught 7th and 8th grade science, created an inaugural soccer team, and served as the 7th grade team Chair. In 2015, she moved to Houston, TX to be a founding teacher at YES Prep Southside. Over the last three years, she has taught 6th and 8th grade science and began cultivating her passion for helping teachers as the 6th grade science course leader for the district. She is excited to learn more about coaching and teacher development as a member of the 2018 Cohort of SPA NOLA.
Chanda Jefferson was born in Augusta, Ga and raised in Beech Island, South Carolina. She received her Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences with a minor in General Education and her Masters in Teaching Secondary Sciences with emphasis in Biology and General Sciences from the University of South Carolina. She taught Biology, A.P. Biology, and Chorus at C.A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina for 4 years. As a science teacher, she started an after school program to increase students’ achievement in science and passage on the SC Biology End-of-Course Exam. During her time at C. A. Johnson she served as a District Science Teacher Facilitator, Mentor Teacher, Wellness Coordinator, 8.5 Summer Program Activity Coordinator, and Health Science Advisory Board Member. After notable gains each year and various leadership roles in the school and school district, Chanda was voted Teacher of the Year 2014-2015. She would go on to serve as an Early College Facilitator and Biology Teacher at Airport High School in West Columbia, SC. While serving at Airport High School, Chanda helped pilot the Freshmen Early College Cohort, in which a group of students would take college courses together and graduate with an Associate’s Degree of Arts or Science. Chanda currently serves as Science Department Chair, STEM Lead teacher, and Science teacher at Fairfield Central High School in Winnsboro, SC where she continues to use real- world science experiences to actively engage her classes and inspire students to become future leaders in STEM fields, while leading her science team to start new initiatives to increase student involvement in science. In the past, Chanda was selected for several noteworthy fellowships. She attended the Princeton University Molecular Biology Institute, NASA Airborne Research Experience for Educators, Siemen’s STARs institute and work with research teams at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, and served as an Academy Teacher for SC StudentsFirst, an organization dedicated to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform. In 2014, she was named Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year for South Carolina by the National Association of Biology Teacher’s and invited by a Harvard University professor to speak to world-renowned scientists and researchers at the 74th Annual Society of Developmental Biology Conference in Snowbird, Utah. Recently, she received a grant to attend the Amazon Educator Academy where she conducted ecological research in the rainforest. She worked with the National Institute of Health and National Human Genome Research Institute as a network partner for a special 15th Anniversary of DNA Day Celebration; contributing expertise in reviewing and curating genomics educational resources for other educators and students. Her contributions led to the Governor of South Carolina officially proclaiming SC DNA Day throughout the whole state. For the 2018- 2019 school year Chanda Jefferson will serve as Fairfield Central High Teacher of the Year where she continues to pursue her passion for education and student achievement. She is constantly searches for innovative ideas and strategies to positively impact the lives of her students and always encourages them to follow their dreams. Chanda is excited about joining the SPA New Orleans 2018 cohort and hopes to gain expertise in leadership strategies to pilot innovative programs for underserved students throughout the world.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."- Margaret Mead There are many social and economic disparities that plague our noble nation, only operating as a collective can we address our concerns and make change happen. Breana believes her place in this uphill battle is in the realm of education. Throughout Breana’s academic and professional career Margaret Mead’s ideology have been governing principals and common themes in many of her endeavors. Breana was born in the beautiful city of Miami, Florida and raised in the bustling city of Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Services from Georgia Southern University. While at GSU, Breana joined the illustrious Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, there she learned that Intelligence is the torch of wisdom! Shortly after graduation, Breana became a valiant member of City Year Miami, where she worked as an interventionist in a 10th grade English Language Arts classroom. There she adopted City Years core values such as Service to a Cause Greater Than Self, Students First, Collaboration Always, Belief in the Power of Young People and Social Justice For All. After dedicating one year of service to the amazing students of Overtown at Booker T. Washington Sr. High School. Breana became a proud member of Teach for America Miami-Dade, where she served as a dynamic physical science teacher at the same school. After teaching for only one year she became science department chair and the science transformational/instructional coach, while simultaneously earning her Master’s degree in Secondary Educational Studies from the great Johns Hopkins University. Under her leadership, she crafted a vision and mission specific for optimizing growth in her department. Biology end of course test data grew 15% in one year at her title 1 school. Breana now teaches multiple high school level sciences in an alternative setting in Atlanta Public schools. Breana is ecstatic about absorbing a wealth of knowledge and resources from her trusted SPA professors and valued cohort peers. Breana believes SPA is the foundation to transformimg her into a knowledgeable, responsive and capable school leader that fosters an environment in which all students and teachers can be successful.
Kelly Norris was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and is a graduate of DePaul University with a B.S. in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Sociology. Throughout her years in undergrad she volunteered, and student taught in private, public, religious, and urban school sites. Kelly graduated and began teaching general education in Chicago Public schools in 2013. In 2015 Kelly moved back to Los Angeles and established herself in Los Angeles Unified School District. Throughout the last three years, she has taught at Gerald A. Lawson Academy as a Special Education teacher, specifically working with students with Autism. Kelly is on the Leadership team at Lawson Academy as well as a grade level chair for the Special Education classrooms. Kelly is excited to be accepted into the 2018 SPA NOLA cohort and to use these new tools and connections to better advocate for the special education population on a higher leadership level.
Kevin Parkinson graduated from Illinois State University and taught high school social studies in the Mississippi Delta, where he received his school's Teacher of the Year award. He served as the Special Grants Coordinator and Assistant to the Superintendent for the North Bolivar School District, overseeing the district's 21st Century Grant, a $1M after-school enrichment program for middle and high school students. Kevin was the youngest member of the leadership team of Teach For America's inaugural Delta Institute summer training program, and he currently works as the Director of New Teacher Onboarding for Teach For America's Mississippi region. Kevin coordinates the Mississippi Pay It Forward Program, a non-profit designed to provide world-class leadership and service programs to Mississippi high school students. He lives with his wife and two kids in Jackson, MS.
DeMarco Pitre is a 3rd year teacher in Chicago, IL by way of Opelousas, LA and Atlanta, GA. He currently teaches 9th, 10th, and Advanced Placement English Language and Composition and serves as the 9th and 10th Grade Level Lead at Perspectives Charter School Rodney D. Joslin Campus. Teaching and school leadership have constantly surrounded DeMarco as he is the son, grandson, and nephew of teachers and school leaders. His passion for and commitment to education was sparked by the inequity he witnessed within the education system of southern Louisiana and his experience as a literature teacher for Breakthrough Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia during the summer of his freshman year of college. This passion was further developed and solidified when DeMarco became a TFA 2015 corps member. As a proud alumnus of Morehouse College, DeMarco uses many of the teachings and experiences from Morehouse to inform his personal teaching philosophy and his beliefs regarding education and more specifically the education of Black children. He believes that school should be a place for children to learn, grow, and experience joy, and he strives each day to ensure that his classroom is a reflection of this belief. After serving two summers on the TFA Chicago Summer Training staff, DeMarco realized that school leadership was a path for him and one that would challenge his practice and define his purpose even more. He is thoroughly excited to be a member of SPA NOLA’s 2018 Cohort, and he cannot wait to grow and lead with the other cohort members.
Ashlee Pitts is a graduate of Knox College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. After graduation, Ashlee joined the 2015 Mississippi Teach For America corps where she taught 8th grade English Language Arts in Greenville. While at her placement school Ashlee developed a true passion for promoting a love of reading and creating literacy curriculum. She felt that literacy was a path that helped developed students communication and provide an opportunity for students to have gain their own voice and global perspectives. Ashlee wants to create an environment that allows teachers to have rigorous and joyful materials. In her second year of teaching Ashlee was named T.L. Weston's 2016 Teacher of the Year. After completing her two years as a corps member, Ashlee moved to Jackson, Mississippi to continue teaching literacy in the fifth grade. Ashlee was motivated to join SPA NOLA in order to engage with a community of passionate and diverse educators to continue her mission of providing classrooms that are both rigorous and joyful. She is excited to develop her leadership skills as she joins the 2018 Cohort of SPA NOLA.
Annemarie Potts is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Social Science Education. Upon graduation in 2012, Annemarie joined the education reform movement in Houston as a Teach for America corps member. While working in Houston, she taught mostly US History and AP US History to predominantly refugee and immigrant children in Houston’s Gulfton and Northside communities. In her first two years teaching, she more than quintupled Wisdom High School’s pass rate on the AP US History exam. After four years in Houston, Annemarie moved to Austin, TX to be closer to family and to join Austin Achieve Public School as the 10th grade US History teacher. Austin Achieve opened several leadership opportunities for her, including being a mentor teacher and eventually the Mentor Lead Teacher for the high school. For the 2018-2019 school year, Annemarie will be transitioning out of the classroom to serve as Assistant Principal of Operations for Austin Achieve High School.
Erin Sadler graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 2008 with a B.A. in English. After graduation, she moved to Houston Texas and began working as an English teacher at Sharpstown High School. While there, Erin worked as content team lead and as the ELA department chair to innovate instruction in all English classrooms. During the 2015 -2016 school year, Erin worked as an instructional coach with Teaching Excellence teacher development program of YES Prep. She then transitioned to the founding leadership team of YES Prep Eisenhower, the districts first 1:1 campus. She is very excited to be joining the SPA NOLA 2018 cohort and increasing her ability to effectively lead her campus.
Paige Stubbs is an alumna of Middle Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Mathematics Education. Throughout her undergraduate career, Paige was a McNair Scholar and did research on African American students’ participation in STEM disciplines, titled: “African American Students’ Participation in STEM Majors: Factoring Out Failure, Striving for Success”, with the help of her faculty mentor, Dr. Chappell. This intensive research was published in the McNair Scholars Journal and presented at “Posters at the Capitol” in Nashville. It was that experience that ignited the desire for Paige to become a leader in education. Presenting her passion about the underrepresentation of blacks in STEM on a platform where people who could implement change would listen, was a big deal to her and opened her eyes to policy-making. She had always had a desire to teach but did not quite understand that there were so many layers to education. After graduating college, Paige began teaching at Nicholas Hobbs Academy, Youth Villages. She spent two years teaching Mathematics from grades 7-12 and learned so much about how to serve and teach students with a wide range of emotional, mental and behavioral issues. In 2015, Paige began teaching at Booker T. Washington High school, located in South Memphis. She currently teaches 6-8th grade Math and has a passion for social justice and equality in education for all students. The young people at her school all have a unique story that will tug on your heart and they have certainly captured hers. While building relationships with the students and ensuring that they receive the education that they deserve, Paige has taken on the heart of her Principal, Alisha Kiner who believes that our kids deserve the BEST, and that education is the GREAT equalizer. Paige is very excited to have the privilege of being a student in the Summer Principals Academy. She hopes to learn as much as she can about school leadership, reform, policy-making and how to ensure that all students receive the absolute best education despite their socio-economic status or background.
After graduating from Swarthmore College in 2012, Joe discovered his passion for teaching during a Fulbright Fellowship in Bogota, Colombia, where he taught English to university students. The next year he joined the Greater New Orleans corps, where he was a math interventionist for 5th-8th graders at Phyllis Wheatley. The last three years Joe has spent teaching Algebra at George Washington Carver High School. The vast majority of his students have passed the Algebra End of Course test administered by the state, and most achieved a Good or an Excellent, the highest scores you can earn. Joe is proud of the the joyful culture of learning in his class, where kids show tons of teamwork and hustle every day. In addition to teaching, Joe is currently the Algebra Course Lead at Collegiate Academies, working with Algebra teachers across the network to successfully implement our curriculum.
Lori A. Williams is a graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. While there she earned a BA degree in Education and a MA degree in Counselor Education. She is a former middle school language arts teacher, kindergarten and first grade teacher. Lori has served in numerous leadership positions throughout her tenure as an educator. She has a been a Grade Level Chairperson, Literacy Coordinator, Title I Facilitator, Volunteer Coordinator, Student Assistance Program Coordinator, 504 Coordinator, MTSS Facilitator and Testing Coordinator. She’s served on various school leadership teams such as the School Improvement Team, Principal’s Advisory (Impact) Team, and District Emergency Response Team (SKIRRT). She also represented her school district on Legislature Day, where she lobbied state representatives regarding inequities in School Counselor pay. Perhaps Lori’s greatest joy thus far has been the opportunity to directly positively impact the lives of youth. Along with her credentials as a licensed School Counselor, Lori is also a Nationally Certified Counselor as well as a Licensed Practical Counselor Associate for the State of North Carolina. She has worked as an outpatient therapist for displaced youth who were unemployed, homeless and/or struggling with substance abuse. She has worked with high school students, supporting and guiding them through the graduation process as well as navigating social and emotional challenges. Her passion is to provide emotional support for students who identify as LGBTQ as well as their parents. Currently she is working as a School Counselor at a “high needs” Title I magnet school which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). In this setting she serves as the pre-kindergarten- second grade counselor. Lori is honored and excited to be a part of the 2018 SPA/NOLA Cohort. She looks forward to the opportunity to learn leadership skills that will allow her to further positively impact the lives of youth and fellow educators.
Kewanza Q. Williams is the daughter of Moress and Fannie Williams from Pelahatchie, Mississippi. She graduated from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science and went on to attend Tougaloo College where she majored in Chemistry. While at Tougaloo, she was a scholar with the Jackson Heart Study and the Minority Access to Research Careers. After graduating summa cum laude with a BS in Chemistry, she joined Teach For America-Mississippi and taught seventh and eighth grade Integrated Science at Ruleville Middle School for three years. As a teacher at Ruleville, she served as chair of various committees, including Student Wellness and the Science Department. She also coached T-Ball and was the founding Curriculum Coordinator for the United Female Empowerment (UFEW) Workshops for young girls in the Mississippi Delta region that focused on empowering young women with knowledge to make healthy life choices. In 2007, she was named Teacher of the Year for Ruleville Middle School and first-winner up for Sunflower County District Teacher of the Year. She then went on to teach biology, chemistry, and physics at Humphreys County High in Belzoni, Mississippi and Florence High School in her native Rankin County, Mississippi. After spending five years in the classroom, she joined Teach For America-Mississippi Delta staff as a Manager of Teacher Leadership and Development. She then went on to join the team and family of KIPP Delta Collegiate High School in Helena, Arkansas as Assistant Principal. While there, she was instrumental in developing Saturday Service School where students and teachers participated in community service activities throughout the Helena-West Helena, Arkansas community on a monthly basis. She currently resides in her hometown of Pelahatchie, Mississippi where she now works as the Regional Recruiter and Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness Coach for Teach For America-Mississippi. She enjoys spending time with her extensive family, especially her niece and nephew. Kewanza is excited to attend Summer Principals Academy to develop the essential knowledge, skills, mindsets, and beliefs of an effective school building leader in order to inspire, motive, and empower students and teachers to reach their full potential.
Deshanta Gooden is currently a teacher mentor in Memphis, TN. Ms. Gooden has translated her undergraduate degree in biology to a fruitful career as a science educator. Deshanta leads and teaches middle school science, for which she has an immense passion. Deshanta had been an educator for 5 years, 2 of which she spent engaging students in Brooklyn and 3 of which she has inspired young science minds in her hometown of Memphis. Deshanta looks forward to becoming a more transformational leader and bringing a new type of leadership back to Memphis!