Have you previously served on the NEXT High School Board (Planning Committee)?
The state charter school law requires at least 50% of the elected board members have either K-12 experience or business experience. Do you meet this requirement?
Please give a brief biographical sketch. (Include connection to NEXT High School)
As a native Californian, I'm proud to call South Carolina my adopted state after many experiences across the country: going to college in Oregon (Go Ducks!), teaching with Teach For America (TFA) and finishing graduate school in Baltimore, Maryland, leading a charter school district in Boston, Massachusetts, and finally managing the Automotive Engineering program at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) here in Greenville.
I've led classrooms, charter schools, and now an internationally recognized graduate program. I've been fortunate to have gainful experience in K-12 and Higher Education. Though the two are linked so closely, rarely do they collaborate.
NEXT's model is one that I wish was available to my students in Baltimore and Boston. It is one that I seek to strengthen and expand for more students in Greenville. I hope to further continue NEXT's partnership with CU-ICAR and other divisions of Clemson to bridge the collaborative gap between K-12 and Higher Education.
Please briefly state your qualifications and reasons for serving on the board at NEXT High School.
I was the only corps member in TFA to obtain MBA concurrently, graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. In my classroom, I strove to ingrain into my curriculum the soft-skills honed in business school: critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. Student's reading scores averaged 1.5 years of growth during the 10-month academic calendar. Given many of my students entered my class 2 years or more behind in reading levels, it was not enough. I was not a transformational teacher, but I do know what it takes to lead a successful classroom.
I used this context from my classroom and previous experience to lead the finance and operations of a charter school network in Boston (Excel Academies). Excel's operating budget was ~$14 million with about 600 students in grades five through eight. At Excel we funded and began construction of our first high school for our three middle schools to feed into. Excel is ranked the #1 charter school network in the state based on test-scores.
I am now the Program Manager for the Automotive Engineering division at Clemson, CU-CAR. I oversee the entire administrative and laboratory staff to ensure the continuity and success of our academic program. This includes the composition of our five year strategic plan and our K-20 outreach program, building a pipeline of engineers for the future of Greenville, the Upstate, and our nation. I am simultaneously pursuing my PhD in Education Leadership at Clemson.