About Us

Board and Staff

Kauffman School board of directors and staff members are the foundation of the school. Regularly scheduled board meetings and committee meetings are listed on the school's calendar at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting time.

Please refer all communications for the Kauffman School Board of Directors to board@kauffmanschool.org, or 4801 Rockhill Rd. Kansas City, MO 64110.

             
 

Board of Directors and Officers [top]

Mayra Aguirre

Mayra Aguirre is director of community investment at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and executive director of the Hispanic Development Fund. Mayra’s work has focused on the K-12 and higher education continuum with a commitment to decreasing educational disparities for low-income, first-generation and minority students. Additionally, her work has centered on promoting the importance of engaging Latino families and students in the educational system so that they may better reach their educational goals. Mayra is a graduate of Emporia State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

Kristin Bechard (Board Treasurer)

Kristin Bechard is a controller for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and provides insight and guidance to support the Foundation's finance initiatives. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Bechard was a senior corporate tax specialist for American Century Investments, where she applied current tax updates and laws to pursue tax opportunities for the company, and represented the firm with federal and state tax authorities. Bechard joined American Century in 2000 as an internal auditor. Previously, Bechard served as a tax accountant with Arthur Anderson LLP in Kansas City, Missouri. Bechard earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration, and a master's degree in accounting and information systems, both from the University of Kansas. She is a licensed CPA, and has been a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs since May 2001.

Hannah Lofthus (Founder and Chief Executive Officer): Non-voting Member

Hannah Lofthus is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Schools in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2014-2015, Kauffman students earned an average of 1.53 years growth in reading, and nearly every grade and subject met or exceeded the state average proficiency in the first year of Common Core State Standards aligned exams. Before entering EMKS, under a third of the founding class passed their 4th grade state exams. Four years later, the same students outperformed 93% of the state in English Language Arts, 96% of the state in Science, and 99% of the state in Mathematics. A five year study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research shows that students that attend the Kauffman School for three years achieve an average of 4.61 years learning in math and 4.64 years learning in reading. This impact, measured in additional years learning, is nearly double the impact of charter schools in Boston and New York City and 2.5 times greater than KIPP middle schools nationwide. Notably, the Kauffman School achieved these results in its first four years of operation.

Before joining the Kauffman School, Ms. Lofthus worked in the Uncommon Schools Network in New York City and is a 2007 Teach for America alumni. In 2015, Ms. Lofthus was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame. In 2016, the Kauffman School was named Missouri Charter School of the Year and Ms. Lofthus received the Ryan Award which is awarded to high-impact leaders who accelerate student achievement.

Gloria Jackson-Leathers

Gloria Jackson-Leathers’ responsibilities as a director at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation include afterschool initiatives and community relations. She also provides oversight for Kauffman Foundation sponsorships and the Kauffman Fund, which was established to address various social needs in the Kansas City area that fall outside the Foundation’s core focus areas. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Jackson-Leathers worked for many years in the banking industry as a Bank Examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; and as a Community Reinvestment Act Officer with Commerce Bank of Kansas City. She is also a graduate of the Foundation’s FastTrac New Ventures Program. She currently serves as a Commissioner of the Greater Kansas City Housing Authority and holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration-Management from Park College and a master's degree in Public Administration from the Bloch School of Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Tracy McFerrin

Tracy McFerrin is Vice President of the Hall Family Foundation, a private philanthropic organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of human life in Greater Kansas City. The Foundation supports a number of nonprofit organizations and community initiatives and contributes over $35 million to such programs annually. Tracy directs the Foundation’s grantmaking in the areas of early education, K-12 education, and neighborhood revitalization. In this role, she has helped the Foundation support the expansion of national education programs to Kansas City, co-founded a local education funders collaborative and supported community-wide efforts to increase access to quality early education programs. She has also overseen the Foundation’s multi-million dollar charitable investments in organizations dedicated to revitalizing urban core neighborhoods.

Tracy has over fifteen years of experience in nonprofit board governance, having served on the boards of numerous community organizations. She was elected to chair the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City (2002), the KU Medical Center Research Institute (2007) and KCPT Channel 19 (2009). Tracy has also served as a member of the Kansas City regional review panel for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, which assists the Foundation in selecting Truman Scholars from Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. Currently, Tracy is a trustee for the Kansas City Art Institute, a four year college of art and design, and serves as a co-champion for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Big 5” initiative on kindergarten readiness.

Tracy is a graduate of Howard University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She earned her law degree from Harvard Law School. She currently lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband and daughter.

Aaron North (Board Chair)

Aaron North is the vice president of Education at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he serves as a member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team and leads a team of program officers and fellows who are funding or researching programs designed to ensure more Kansas City students have access to high-quality school options and opportunities preparing them for life and education after high school.

Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, North served as the founding executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA). Before leading the startup effort at MCPSA, North worked in Minnesota as a charter school sponsor, school resource center director, and in the Minnesota Department of Education’s Office of Choice and Innovation. He taught high school English in rural North Carolina as a Teach For America corps member and worked for Andersen Consulting and Sprint PCS prior to his teaching experience. North earned a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Kansas. He is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow and serves as board chair of both Kauffman Scholars, Inc., and the Ewing Marion Kauffman School.

John Tyler (Board Secretary): Non-voting Officer

John Tyler has been general counsel and corporate secretary for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation since 1999. Tyler works closely with other leadership and program personnel to design and operate initiatives, by understanding the theoretical and making it practical while complying with the law. Tyler frequently contributes to the Foundation’s policy work as a speaker and author on diverse topics such as reforming U.S. policy regarding high-skilled immigration, hybrid forms and their roles and regulation, and the need to improve university technology transfer. He also serves the Foundation as a liaison to national philanthropy and advocates for philanthropy more generally as a scholar and speaker. Among topics for his more than 100 presentations and two dozen publications are challenging presumptions that foundations’ and charities’ assets are “public money,” analyzing calls for mandating greater transparency and traditional notions of accountability, and advocating for greater engagement by foundations with policymakers. Among the national boards on which Tyler serves or has served are the Philanthropy Roundtable, the Philanthropic Collaborative, NYU law school’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law, and Independent Sector’s public policy committee. Tyler’s Kansas City-based board service and leadership positions include the school board for the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, Genesis School, Archbishop O’Hara High School, Kauffman Scholars, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City.

Before joining Kauffman, Tyler was a partner with one of Kansas City's oldest and largest law firms, Lathrop and Gage, where his practice focused on commercial litigation, personal injury litigation for railroads, and employment law. His undergraduate and law degrees are both from the University of Notre Dame.

Maurice Watson

Maurice became Chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012. In this role, he is responsible for developing and communicating the firm’s strategic direction and ensuring that its policies and culture align with this direction. He serves as the firm’s visible leader and public ambassador. As a member of the firm’s Healthcare, Life Sciences & Education industry team, Watson’s practice focuses on representation of educational institutions, including public and private schools and school systems, colleges and universities, and regional and national education associations. He has represented clients in state and federal courts in complaints brought by employees for employment discrimination, harassment and alleged violations of statutory and constitutional rights and cases filed by students for alleged violations of statutory and constitutional rights with favorable results.

Watson also advises public, private and nonprofit boards of education in sensitive investigations of misconduct involving executives, administrators and directors. He regularly speaks at national and regional meetings and conferences on the legal rights of students and employees in the school setting and also works with boards on best governance practices.

In addition to his role as Chairman, Watson is a member of the firm’s Executive and Partner Boards, and he serves on the firm’s Diversity Council. Before joining Husch Blackwell, Watson was a senior aide to U.S. Sen. John Danforth in Washington, D.C.

School Staff [top]

Christina Abood, Social Worker

Christina Abood believes all students deserve an education that enables them to be successful leaders who have the skills needed to persevere and flourish. She is committed to helping all students feel safe and valued. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, Ms. Abood served as an Americorps member at Gene Slay's Boys' Club as their Organizational Development Coordinator. She attended Southeast Missouri State University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work and received a Master of Social Work degree from Saint Louis University. Ms. Abood was drawn to Kauffman School because of its dedication to each and every student, as well as its commitment to creating college graduates. What excites her most about this year is getting to know students and helping them to excel in their learning because they have the skills and tools to do so.

Teresa Beshore, Director of Special Education

Teresa Beshore believes that every child deserves an excellent education, and that absolutely no challenge should limit his or her opportunity to receive that. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Beshore taught for three years in the Kansas City Public Schools as a special education teacher at Faxon Elementary School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education at Elizabethtown College (Pennsylvania) and is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. Ms. Beshore loves her neighborhood and her city and longs to see lasting transformation across all of Kansas City.

Shelli Brown, Dean of Students

Shelli Brown has never met a student who did not have greatness in them, and is excited to spend another year helping students discover their own greatness. Before teaching in Kansas City, Ms. Brown earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English from Auburn University. She was a 2011 Teach For America - Kansas City corps member and completed her Master in Special Education degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Ms. Brown is happy to be teaching with a staff of teachers who are dedicated to proving what is possible for students in Kansas City.

Nick Burgmeier, Instructional Coach

Nick Burgmeier believes that every student deserves, and is capable of, reaching his or her full potential. He is committed to holding students to the highest standards and getting them ready to accomplish their collegiate goals before pursuing great careers in a fields of their choosing. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mr. Burgmeier taught seventh-grade math for two years at East High School in the Kansas City Public Schools. Mr. Burgmeier is an alumnus of Teach For America - Kansas City. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Master of Education in Middle School Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. After observing at the Kauffman School, Mr. Burgmeier immediately felt at home. He loved the staff and student culture and couldn't wait to take part and contribute to it. He is very excited to have another successful year!

Cat Cain, Operations Manager

Cat Cain believes that all children can surpass any challenge presented to them and that a quality education is an essential right that should be available to students of every background. She is excited to be a part of a team that pushes its members toward a “whatever it takes” attitude regarding student success and achievement. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Ms. Cain taught for two years at Phillis Wheatley Elementary in the Kansas City Public School district. She is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management from Texas A&M University and a Master of Education degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Read Cat's Story >

Ben Carman, High School Principal 

Ben Carman envisions a future in which every one of Kansas City’s children receives an education that prevents where they grow up from defining how successful they become. Before joining the team at the Kauffman School, Mr. Carman taught middle and high school inclusion exceptional education at Central Academy of Excellence (formerly Central High School) in the Kansas City Public Schools. He is an alumnus of Teach For America - Kansas City. He holds a Master of Education in Special Education from University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wesleyan University. Mr. Carman looks forward to working and growing with the Kauffman School team to enable students to fulfill their potential as college graduates and successful adults that will positively impact society.

Dana Coleman, 7th and 8th Grade Principal

There aren’t a lot of things that make Dana Coleman's day brighter than seeing a student’s interest spark in a rigorous math class. She believes all students can be successful regardless of their backgrounds, and is dedicated to developing teachers who create classrooms where students are challenged and supported. Mrs. Coleman earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her Master of Education degree from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis. Before joining the Kauffman School, Mrs. Coleman was a Teach For America corps member, where she taught seventh- and eighth-grade math and science. Mrs. Coleman could not be more thrilled to work with the dedicated teachers, parents, and students that will send all PREPsters to and through college. She’s just crossing her fingers they all pick Mizzou.

Read Dana's Story >

Katelin Coonce, Senior Operations Specialist

Katelin Coonce is passionate about equal education for all and is dedicated to helping schools be strong in and out of the classroom. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Missouri - Columbia in 2011, and returned to receive her Master of Social Work degree in Policy, Planning, & Administration in 2016. She is thrilled to be a member of the Kauffman School family and to be a part of the Operations Team dedicated to ensuring that there are strong systems to support students and teachers.

Kristen Crites, Dean of Students and Athletic and Activities Director 

Kristin Crites believes that all children are capable of success when they are given the proper tools and support. Her experience as a collegiate athlete and coach has solidified the importance of teamwork, goal-setting, and the self-motivation and effort needed to succeed. These are all qualities that will manifest themselves in her classroom. Ms. Crites studied physical education at Baker University where she received the Kansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (KAHPERD) Student Major of the Year award in physical education. She went on to receive her Master of Arts in Education, also at Baker University. Ms. Crites began her professional career at Foreign Language Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, where she taught a culturally rich population of kindergarten through eighth graders. Ms. Crites is excited to be part of the Kauffman team’s efforts to foster the education and personal growth of each student as they pursue their lifelong learning goals.

Max Daigh, Manager of Data and Technology

Max Daigh believes that every student deserves the very best education, and educators, possible. He is committed to ensuring that Kauffman School teachers and leaders have the right information and the most effective tools necessary to guarantee that Kauffman School students achieve at the highest levels. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Mr. Daigh was a Manager of School Performance with the Recovery School District in New Orleans/Louisiana Department of Education. Before that, Mr. Daigh taught sixth grade in Kansas City Public Schools at George Melcher Elementary. Mr. Daigh received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Psychology at Tulane University. Though an adopted New Orleanian, as a proud alumnus of Teach For America - Kansas City, he is extremely excited to be back in Kansas City and to be serving the Kauffman School community. Mr. Daigh was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its amazing staff and student culture, as well as the revolutionary ways in which the school is using data to transform the lives of students in Kansas City. He is excited to be part of this amazing team and watch as Kauffman School students continue to redefine what is possible for students in Kansas City and beyond.

Nita Daniels, Dean of Students

Nita Daniels has answered the call to encourage students to reach their full potential regardless of the obstacles life brings. Her passion comes from growing up in the same neighborhoods our kids come from and knowing they, too, can be whatever they choose through education and awareness. Before joining the Kauffman School, Ms. Daniels served with the Kauffman Scholars, Inc., program advocating for families. As a life-long supporter of Ewing Kauffman and his vision, Ms. Daniels created and implemented best practices that developed a strong team environment and cultivated a strong sense of belonging. Ms. Daniels is a member of Black Business Women of America Association (BBWAA) and the After-School Alliance (ASA) and an alumna of Stafford University in the United Kingdom. She continues her global connections by providing rescue services to earthquake victims in Haiti and educational benefits to students in Johannesburg, South Africa. The coming school year brings Ms. Daniels excitement because she knows our students are getting that much closer to experiencing the success of being college graduates.

Lindsey Dolge, 5th and 6th Grade Principal

Lindsey Dolge believes education is a gateway to opportunity. She leads with the conviction that every student has the ability to make significant academic progress while being held to high academic and behavioral expectations. Ms. Dolge worked with the founding team at the Kauffman School as a writing teacher, and later served as an Instructional Coach. She now serves as principal and continues to coach reading teachers. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Ms. Dolge worked at a local charter school in Kansas City, Missouri and spent her summers supporting and coaching first-year teachers. She holds her Masters of Education from Rockhurst University. This year, Ms. Dolge anticipates building on the strong foundation laid last year with staff and students. Her team is ready to prepare fifth and sixth graders for college and empower them to be successful leaders and global participants.

Ashley Franklin, Office Coordinator

Ashley Franklin believes that when students work hard in life, they can succeed; she also knows that teachers and school staff play an integral role in instilling this mindset. Originally from Texas, Ms. Franklin attended Paseo High School in Kansas City, Missouri and has worked various support staff roles in the Kansas City Public Schools for 10 years. She’s been a mentor in many group homes within the Kansas City core. Her children – John, Asia, and Jameer – are curious about life and already eager to understand their world. Ms. Franklin is honored to work at a school with a ground-breaking mission for the urban core.

Keshia Greve, Instructional Coach

Keshia Greve believes every student can go to and through college. She is committed to holding her students to high expectations in order to prepare them for college. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Greve taught seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade math in Oklahoma City Public Schools at Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High School. Ms. Greve is an alumna of Teach For America - Oklahoma. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Ms. Greve was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its incredible teacher development and high expectations for students. She is excited to be a part of the growing and strong high school team!

Kristin Hart, Dean of Students

Kristin Hart feels humbled to work everyday with such an amazing staff and inspirational students! Previously, Mrs. Hart taught second grade at James Elementary in Kansas City, Missouri and is an alumna of Teach For America. She spent her two summers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, supporting and coaching incoming Teach For America corps members. Mrs. Hart received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech: Communications at Saint Mary’s College and her Master of Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mrs. Hart earned an additional degree from RELAY Graduate School of Education.

Jada Huskey, School Nurse

Georgina Leslie, Instructional Coach

Georgina Leslie believes every child deserves a high-quality education and should have the opportunity to graduate from college. She is thrilled to be part of a team that makes sure students are held to high expectations and rigorous academic standards in every classroom. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Russian Area Studies at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and her Master in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, she taught fourth grade at African Centered College Preparatory in Kansas City, Missouri, as a corps member with the Teach For America program.

Ashley Lucas, Director of Strategic Projects

Ashley Lucas started her career as a civil engineer working on municipal, land development and transportation projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was an active member and board member of professional engineering organizations that fostered networking among community leaders as well as STEM-focused educational outreach to students of all ages. Ashley always had a passion for community service and education, and after years of volunteering, decided to pursue an MBA to pivot her career towards work in the social sector. During her graduate studies, she worked as an Education Pioneers Fellow in the 2015 New Orleans cohort. Ashley joined the Kauffman School earlier this year to pursue her passion for urban education. She will leverage the experience and insights from her private sector work as an engineer to bring an innovative perspective to her strategic projects work at the Kauffman School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and her Master of Business Administration from The University of Michigan.

Hannah Lofthus, Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Hannah Lofthus is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Schools in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2014-2015, Kauffman students earned an average of 1.53 years growth in reading, and nearly every grade and subject met or exceeded the state average proficiency in the first year of Common Core State Standards aligned exams. Before entering EMKS, under a third of the founding class passed their 4th grade state exams. Four years later, the same students outperformed 93% of the state in English Language Arts, 96% of the state in Science, and 99% of the state in Mathematics. A five year study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research shows that students that attend the Kauffman School for three years achieve an average of 4.61 years learning in math and 4.64 years learning in reading. This impact, measured in additional years learning, is nearly double the impact of charter schools in Boston and New York City and 2.5 times greater than KIPP middle schools nationwide. Notably, the Kauffman School achieved these results in its first four years of operation.

Before joining the Kauffman School, Ms. Lofthus worked in the Uncommon Schools Network in New York City and is a 2007 Teach for America alumni. In 2015, Ms. Lofthus was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame. In 2016, the Kauffman School was named Missouri Charter School of the Year and Ms. Lofthus received the Ryan Award which is awarded to high-impact leaders who accelerate student achievement.

Annie Murphy, Instructional Coach

Annie Murphy believes that every student deserves access to an excellent education and is capable of achieving at high levels. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Murphy taught seventh- through twelfth-grade French in the Kansas City Public Schools at Southwest Early College Campus. Mrs. Murphy is an alumna of Teach for America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She went on to receive her Master of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mrs. Murphy was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its pursuit of excellence for all students and high expectations and support systems for teachers.

Annie Olsen-Meehan, Social Worker

Annie Olsen-Meehan believes that every student deserves a well-rounded education. She is committed to helping all students feel safe and have the skills to pursue their dreams. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Olsen-Meehan as the Social Worker for Leadership Prep Charter School, part of Uncommon Schools, for seven years. Ms. Olsen-Meehan received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of Kansas. She moved back to Kansas to be closer to family and joined the Kauffman School because of its focus on creating a joyful learning environment for every child. She is excited to continue supporting students social/emotional needs to help them in their pursuit of going to college.

Candace Potter, Talent Recruiter

Candace Potter wholeheartedly believes that all kids deserve teachers and leaders that recognize the depths of their potential. That is why she is committed to finding leaders with that mindset for the Kauffman School. Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Ms. Potter attended Saint Louis University where she majored in Marketing and Communications. After graduating, she taught ninth grade English at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tennessee as a Teach For America corps member. Motivated by her own students' desires to have more teachers who believed in them, Ms. Potter joined Teach For America's national recruitment team and spent several years recruiting new teachers from the University of Kansas, Kansas State University and University of Missouri. Ms. Potter was drawn to the Kauffman School because she wanted to be part of finding the foundational teachers and staff that will set up the Kauffman School (and our students) for many more years of success.

Bailey Reimer, Senior Operations Specialist

Bailey Reimer just loves the Kansas City community, and knows that the families and students here deserve a school that will help every student on his or her path to graduating from college. Before joining the Kauffman School's operations team, Ms. Reimer was a kindergarten teacher and grade team leader at Chicago Public Schools' CICS-Basil Elementary. Ms. Reimer is a 2013 alumna of Teach For America - Chicago and a former TeachPlus Policy Fellow. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and American Studies from the University of Kansas and her Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Ms. Reimer joined the Kauffman School because she knows that schools with excellent, efficient systems enable teachers to teach and students to learn.

Amy Rosenwald, Instructional Coach

Amy Rosenwald believes that education can be a pathway to success for all students and is committed to ensuring students grow to be self-empowered, independent, and confident leaders. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Ms. Rosenwald served three years as a middle school teacher in Mission, South Dakota, where she helped develop year-long curriculum for all secondary literacy classrooms. Ms. Rosenwald, an alumna of Teach For America, received her Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and History from the University of Minnesota, and Master of Education from Black Hills State University. Ms. Rosenwald is proud to be part of PREPsters’ journey to college graduation.

Caitlin Sharp, Director of Technology and Data

Caitlin Sharp believes that an excellent education for all students is the most important mission of a community. Prior to coming to the Kauffman School, Ms. Sharp helped state education agencies design and build technology and data systems that would focus on continuously improving student outcomes. She draws on her experience as a third grade teacher and data coach at PS 230 in The Bronx, where she worked as a Teach For America - New York City corps member. Ms. Sharp received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Southern Methodist University and her Master of Arts in Public Policy from The University of Texas at Austin. She is the former Chair of the Teach For America - Austin Alumni Association and a founding member of Austin Kids First. Ms. Sharp was drawn to the Kauffman School by the innovative, high-performing culture and the great things happening in Kansas City.

Melissa Sprockel, Instructional Coach

Melissa Sprockel is committed to the vision that all students in Kansas City deserve a great education. Students deserve a school where they are nurtured to develop their passions, challenged to high expectations, and supported to reach success. Ms. Sprockel earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Boston College and is currently working toward obtaining a Master in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, Ms. Sprockel was a 2011 member of Teach For America where she taught fifth and sixth grades for two years at Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in the Kansas City Public Schools district. She spent two years teaching seventh grade science at the Kauffman School and now is an Instructional Coach. Ms. Sprockel is so excited to work alongside such dedicated teachers, parents, and students, making our mission of getting all our PREPsters to and through college possible.

Cescily Turner-Phillips, Dean of Students

Cescily Turner is a passionate teacher who believes that with the right motivation, tools, and encouragement, young people are capable of reaching new heights. Originally from inner city Chicago, Illinois, Ms. Turner grew up in an environment where she saw many opportunities for change and growth, and has since decided to make education her mission. She believes in pushing young people to reach their highest potential in spite of circumstances. Ms. Turner is looks forward to continuously getting to know and embracing her new community, while making a substantial impact on the lives of Kansas City youth. Prior to moving to Kansas City and joining the Kauffman School family, Ms. Turner taught Language Arts for three years in Columbia Public Schools at Gentry Middle School (sixth and seventh grades) and West Junior High School (eighth grade), as well as coaching eighth-grade basketball and facilitating a number of after-school activities. Ms. Turner received a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Education in Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum, as well as a Certificate in Multicultural Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is truly thrilled to be in Kansas City working with great people to make a difference that is sure to go far beyond the classroom.

Justin Vavroch, Data Services Contractor

Justin Vavroch believes every Kauffman School student can, and will, graduate from college. He supports the academic success of Kauffman School students by providing performance data and assessment results to students, parents and instructional leaders. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, Mr. Vavroch worked as a data analyst for various healthcare and education agencies. He received both his Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Mr. Vavroch came to the Kauffman School both because of his belief in the abilities of local students, and because of his love for Kansas City. He cannot wait to support PREPsters this year, as they continue their path to college graduation.

Rachel Walker, Director of College Access

Rachel Walker believes that all students deserve access to a college education to help unleash their full potential and to be the authors of their own lives. Before coming to the Kauffman School, Ms. Walker helped students go to and through college in a variety of professional roles: as the Director of Upward Bound at the University of Washington, as the Assistant Director of Upward Bound at South Seattle College, and as the Learning Center Coordinator at the non-profit Treehouse for Kids. Ms. Walker received her undergraduate degree in English from Bethel College in North Newton, KS, and her master’s degree in Public Administration from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She cannot wait to see the first, "You Got In!" letters arrive for our students!


City Year AmeriCorps Members [top]

Leigh Garrett

Leigh Garrett serves because she believes every student deserves equal educational opportunities. Ms. Garrett received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Applied Psychology and Human Development from Boston College in Boston, MA and will attend the University of Michigan next year to pursue a Master of Social Work. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, she is thrilled to see the progress each student will make this year and to be serving with the dedicated and inspirational staff at the Kauffman School.

Jasmine Glasper, Impact Manager

Jasmine Glasper serves because she believes that every student can learn and be successful. She is dedicated to providing additional student supports through the power of the City Year AmeriCorps members who serve as tutors, mentors, and role models every day at the Kauffman School. Prior to serving as a staff member with City Year Kansas City, Ms. Glasper served as an AmeriCorps member in a middle school with City Year Baton Rouge and as an AmeriCorps Team Leader in a high school with City Year Dallas. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Accounting from Washington University in St. Louis. She is excited to partner with the Kauffman School, because the school truly believes in one of City Year's core values - students first, collaboration always. She looks forward to celebrating the academic and social emotional growth of our students over the course of the year.

Jacquinta Hammons

Jacquinta Hammons serves because she wants to be the active change she wants to see in her community, city, and eventually the world. Ms. Hammons recently received her Bachelors of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. She also minored in Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Ms. Hammons is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration with a Nonprofit Management emphasis at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, she is excited to assist students in realizing their dreams can be reality.

Rebecca Meyer, Team Leader

Rebecca Meyer serves because she wants to put her idealism into action and truly believes that every student can succeed given the right tools. Ms. Meyer attended Truman State University and graduated in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. She was a City Year AmeriCorps member at the Kauffman School last year and is continuing her commitment to serve as the Team Leader. She is most excited to get to know the students at the Kauffman School and help them realize their full potential.

Derek Ruszkowski

Derek Ruszkowski proudly serves because he believes in the power of youth. Mr. Ruszkowski received his Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville located in Edwardsville, IL. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, he is excited to serve at the Kauffman School to help provide an education that will help create future opportunities for every student he can.

Kaitlyn Reynolds

Kaitlynn Reynolds believes that students deserve an education that inspires deep thinking and fosters lifelong learning. Prior to assisting at the Kauffman School, Ms. Reynolds studied at the University of Missouri - Kansas City to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Interpersonal and Public Communication. Ms. Reynolds was inspired by the Kauffman School's dedication to its students’ success beyond high school and looks forward to continue to empower students to strive for lifelong success.

Rosalie Swingle

Rosalie Swingle serves because she believes education is key to social reform. She is eager to help the students of Kansas City achieve their dreams in college and beyond. Ms. Swingle received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, she is excited to build strong relationships with students and develop professional connections with the Kauffman community.

Sophia Tolentino

Sophia Tolentino serves because she believes that every young person needs a champion in their corner to help them work toward the education they deserve. Sophia received her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, she is excited to provide extra support to the students and staff at the Kauffman School and she is looking forward to building meaningful and encouraging relationships with each student.