Vincent Alexis-Laona, Instructional Coach
Teresa Beshore, Director of Special Education
Vincent Alexis-Laona believes that all children are capable of rising to high academic expectations and all children deserve a school and teachers who will push them to achieve at the highest level. He is committed to creating a mathematics classroom that prepares students to be confident and successful in their future high school and college math courses. Before joining the team at the Kauffman School, Mr. Alexis-Laona was a 2011 Teach For America corps member, where he taught seventh and eighth grade math at Central Academy of Excellence (formerly Central High School) in the Kansas City Public Schools district. He received a Master of Education from Rockhurst University in 2013. As an undergraduate, Mr. Alexis-Laona earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University in 2011. He is excited to be part of the team of talented teachers working to create college graduates.
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 worked as a Learning Support Specialist on the Kauffman School team for two years before transitioning as the Director of Special Education. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA 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.
Gordon Brown, Dean of Students
Gordon Brown believes that every student has the potential to rise above circumstances that they believe are hindering them, with the help and encouragement given to him/her by the people that surrounds them. Mr. Brown has been in education for 33 years, teaching Heath and Physical Education in North Carolina, in Park Hill School District and within Kansas City Public Schools district. He has also worked as a Dean of Students at various schools throughout Kansas City. Mr. Brown received his Bachelor of Arts. in Health from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and his Master of Arts in Education and Leadership from Trident University in Cypress, CA. Mr. Brown believes that Kaufman School is changing the mindset of education within Kansas City and proving that with structure and transparency, educational success within our urban community can and will occur.
Hayley Burton, Dean of Students
Cat Cain, Director of Network Operations
Hayley Burton believes that, if equipped with the proper tools, students in Kansas City have the ability to change the world. She is committed to doing everything she can to help students obtain their short-term and long-term goals. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Burton taught eighth-, ninth-, and tenth-grade special education and English Language Arts at Southwest Early College Campus in the Kansas City Public Schools district. Mrs. Burton is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Saint Mary’s College of California in Morage, CA. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Mrs. Burton was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the impact the school is having on the students of Kansas City. She is excited to be part of a community dedicated to providing an excellent education to all Kansas City students.
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.
Erynn Campbell, Human Resources Specialist
Ms. Campbell is no stranger to the Kauffman family through her participation in the Kauffman Scholars program. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Campbell began her career in human resources with a subsidiary of Koch Industries, Flint Hills Resources. She also worked with the St. Mark Child and Family Development Center. Ms. Campbell is an alumna of the Kauffman Scholars program which granted her a full-ride scholarship to attend the University of Kansas. There she received her Bachelor of Sciences in Business Management and Leadership with a concentration in Human Resources. She is excited to be a part of the Kauffman School and support the mission of creating college graduates!
Ben Carman-Brown, High School Principal
Ben Carman-Brown 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-Brown taught middle and high school inclusion exceptional education at Central Academy of Excellence (formerly Central High School) in the Kansas City Public Schools district. 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-Brown 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.
Shelli Carman-Brown, Dean of Students
Shelli Carman-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, Mrs. Carman-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. Mrs. Carman-Brown is happy to be working with a staff of teachers who are dedicated to proving what is possible for students in Kansas City.
Ellen Clayton, College Persistence Counselor
Dana Coleman, 5th and 6th Grade Assistant Principal and Instructional Coach
Ellen Clayton believes that all students should have access to equitable resources in college. While working at a higher education institution, she noticed significant gaps in who had access to resources on campus. She is committed to leveling the playing field for all students, and helping students gain the tools they need to graduate from college. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Clayton taught Algebra II and served as the Special Projects Manager at Freedom Preparatory Academy in Memphis, TN. Mrs. Clayton is an alumna of Teach For America-Memphis. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. Mrs. Clayton was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its unique commitment to walking alongside students after high school graduation on the mission to create college graduates. She is excited to work alongside our first ever class of alumni and see them discover their purpose and passion in college.
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.
Kristen Crites, Director of Athletics and Activities
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, MO, 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.
Nita Daniels, Senior 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.
Tyla Daniels, Underclassmen Counselor
Lindsey Dolge, 7th and 8th 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, MO 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.
Leischele Downs, Dean of Students
Leischele Downs believes that all students can achieve at high levels and that all students deserve their best chance at life. She knows that through a rich educational experience, a student can do just that. Ms. Downs is an alumna of the University of Kansas, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Sports Management with a Business minor. She is also an alumna of the Kauffman Scholars Program. During her college experience, she participated in CDF Freedom School and found her love for educating children. She is committed to providing her students a safe place to learn and develop their skills to become college graduates.
Jamon Finley, Dean of Students
Carolyn Gatewood, Dean of Students
Carolyn Gatewood believes every student is capable of and deserves an excellent education. She is committed to building strong relationships with her students and their families, in order to help equip her scholars with the skills, mindsets, and knowledge necessary to be successful in college and beyond. Coming from a family of educators, Ms. Gatewood always knew that she wanted to teach. She attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education - English. After graduation, she moved to Louisiana where she taught 9th, 10th, and 11th grade ELA at a rural, public high school outside of Baton Rouge. After three years in the South, Ms. Gatewood returned to Kansas City and joined the Kauffman School where she was drawn to the school's belief in equitable education for every student, no matter their background, and their deep investment in adult culture and teacher development. She is excited to be back home and working alongside students, families, colleagues, and communities to help re-write the narrative of education in Kansas City.
Cassie Gillam, Special Projects Manager
Cassandra Gillam is dedicated to ensure that every student receives the information and attention they deserve in order to excel in life through school and beyond. She believes that every student can overcome obstacles with the right tools afforded to them. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, Mrs. Gillam was a part of the administrative team for two non-profit organizations in Tennessee and Missouri. A KC native, Mrs. Gillam went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in English at Missouri State University. She was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the way it "hit home" with its ability to recognize and fulfill the potential of our youth no matter what life circumstances. She is exhilarated to be a supporting member of our staff and to watch our students triumph.
Kevin Hill, Social Worker
Kevin Hill believes every student should have access to a quality education no matter what community they may live in. He is committed to helping students achieve their full potential. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Mr. Hill spent multiple years providing therapeutic services to foster children and youth in residential care. Mr. Hill received both his Bachelor of Science in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Mr. Hill was drawn to the Kaufman School because of its mission to create college graduates. He is excited about building meaningful relationships with the students we serve.
Abigail Huff, Social Worker
Abigail Huff believes that all students are capable of doing amazing things. She is committed to supporting students in reaching their full potential. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team as a social worker, Ms. Huff served as a City Year AmeriCorps member at the Kauffman School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. She received her Master of Social Work from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was drawn to work at the Kauffman School because of the positive and supportive staff culture. Ms. Huff is excited to get to know the students and support them in achieving their goals.
Jerrad Jones, Director of Finance
Jerrad Jones combines his passion for improving his community with his support of the school's financial management while serving as the Director of Finance. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, Mr. Jones worked in affordable housing development in both Kansas City and Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Sciences in International Studies from the University of Nebraska in Omaha, NE where he served two years as an Americorps member. He later received a Master of Business from North Park University in Chicago, IL. Mr. Jones was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the opportunity to apply his education and experience to serve the school's scholars and to be part of the strong adult culture.
Maple Kirby, Instructional Coach
Maple Kirby believes that through their education, every single one of our students can become the self-advocating future leader of his or her life, our city, our nation, and our world. She earned high honors in Sociology and Organizational Studies from the University of Michigan. Ms. Kirby left Michigan and came to Kansas City in order to do everything possible to bring a high-quality education to students who have not always received it. An alumna of Teach For America, Ms. Kirby taught ninth- and tenth-grade English at Southwest Early College Campus before coming to the Kauffman School. She taught eighth grade textual analysis for four years at the Kauffman School team before moving into an Instructional Coach role. She loves being on the Kauffman School team because all of the strong shared vision for student success.
Amanda Labb, Data and Technology Specialist
Amanda Labb believes all students are capable of high achievement and deserve an education that helps them succeed. Prior to joining the Kauffman School, she taught Chemistry and Physical Science at University Academy in Kansas City, MO. Ms. Labb is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She attended the University of Virginia where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Psychology. More recently, Ms. Labb completed a Master of Education in Secondary Education with the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is excited about the opportunity to work with the operations team to ensure that the school runs as efficiently as possible so that student learning is the primary focus.
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.
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.
Jay Marshall, Information Technology Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Emily Martin, Social Worker
Emily Martin believes every child should have someone to turn to that they can trust. She is committed to helping students express themselves along with helping them solve and cope with their problems they may face every day. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Martin taught preschool for two years in Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools at Mary Elizabeth Pearson while pursuing her Master of Arts in Social Work at the University of Kansas. She received her Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Central Missouri. During her last year of her master's program, Ms. Martin had the opportunity to be a practicum student and intern for the Kauffman School. She was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the relationships she built with the students and the social work program Kauffman School offers. She is excited to continue her work, form new relationships and help students prepare for their successful futures!
Tylice Merritt, Office Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Henry Munk, College Counselor
Henry Munk believes every student deserves to both attend the college of their choice, but also to graduate from the college of their choice. He is fiercely committed to helping students throughout the college admissions process, and believes there are higher education opportunities for all students. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Mr. Munk taught AP World History at Freedom Preparatory Academy in Memphis, TN. He received his Bachelor of Sciences in Secondary Education and History from Vanderbilt University. Afterwards, he received his Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration from The University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Munk was drawn to Kauffman because of their undying commitment to create college graduates and because of its unique school culture. He is excited to celebrate students' acceptances into college throughout this school year!
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 working at the Kauffman School, Mrs. Murphy taught seventh- through twelfth-grade French in the Kansas City Public Schools district 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, TN. 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.
Deon Myer, Dean of Students and Instructional Coach
Deon Myer believes every student, no matter what race, gender, preference, etc., deserves equitable education. Mr. Myer believes children are our future and that it is imperative we invest in and shape our future. Before joining the Kauffman School, he taught at two private schools and Academia de Niños in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Myer is an alumni of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and received his Master of Arts in Education from Rockhurst University. Mr. Myer was drawn to the Kauffman School because of the professional development opportunities and the school’s authentic mindset around culture and social justice. He is excited and truly blessed to be working here this coming school year.
Katie Pasniewski, Chief Operating Officer
Katie Pasniewski believes a strong operations model underpins a school's success; she is committed to removing barriers so that teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus on learning. Prior to joining the Kauffman School team, Mrs. Pasniewski served as the Associate Director of The Network and a Director of Leadership Development at Building Excellent Schools. She also spent nearly 10 years in operations leadership at Excel Academy in Boston, MA most recently as Excel's Managing Director of Finance and Operations. Mrs. Pasniewski is an alumna of Teach For America - Philadelphia, where she taught eighth and ninth-grade English. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mrs. Pasniewski is thrilled to lead the Kauffman School's operations, finance, human resources, data, and technology teams.
Sam Preston, Operations Specialist
Samantha Preston believes that every student deserves access to quality education regardless of zip code. She is committed to ensuring students feel supported and empowered to become change makers. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Preston served two years with City Year Kansas City at Northeast High School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Preston was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its passion for student success and is excited to watch Kauffman School students reach their fullest potential.
Becky Quatrocky, School Nurse
Becky Quatrocky believes that working at the Kauffman School gives a unique opportunity to help mold the people that will be our future. She encourages students to be kind, compassionate, empathetic, goal driven, and have integrity. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Nurse Quatrocky worked as Director of Nursing at a rehabilitation facility and is an alumni of Metropolitan Community College where she completed her LPN and RN. Nurse Quatrocky chose to work at the Kauffman School because of its positive school culture. She is excited to contribute to this culture and student success by supporting student's physical, emotional, and social health needs throughout the school year.
Bailey Reimer, Operations Manager
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, Il. Ms. Reimer joined the Kauffman School because she knows that schools with excellent, efficient systems enable teachers to teach and students to learn.
Kimberly Rollins, Dean of Students
Kimberly Rollins believes every student deserves an excellent education. She is committed to holding all students to high expectations so they will be ready to excel in college and their future careers. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Rollins worked as a Recovery Room Monitor for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools district. Ms. Rollins is an alumna of Fort Hays State University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Ms. Rollins was drawn to the Kauffman School because of its unique and positive school culture. She is excited to celebrate students' successes and behavioral growth this upcoming school year.
Amy Rosenwald, 5th and 6th Grade Principal
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, SD, 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, 7th and 8th Grade Assistant Principal and 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 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 before moving into the Instructional Coach role. 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.
Morgan Tillett, Manager of College Access and Success
Morgan Tillett is a devoted advocate of children and their families. Mrs. Tillett grew up in Paducah, KY and graduated from the University of Louisville. Before coming to the Kauffman School, Mrs. Tillett taught reading for two years in Blytheville, AR as a Teach For America corps member. Having just completed her fourth year teaching high school English, Mrs. Tillett will be serving as the founding College Counselor. She looks forward to working alongside our founding class of seniors as they apply to and matriculate to college!
Alecia Tumpap, Instructional Coach
Alecia Tumpap believes all students are capable of achieving greatness. She is committed to holding students to high standards to ensure that they are able to overcome any obstacle that may impede their future success. Prior to working at the Kauffman School, Ms. Tumpap taught ninth-grade science at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in the Kansas City Public Schools district. Ms. Tumpap is an alumna of Teach For America - Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, and went on to receive teaching certification from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Ms. Tumpap was drawn to the Kauffman School’s rigorous curriculum and strong school culture. She is looking forward to coaching teachers on how to provide the academic skill sets and personal supports necessary for students to reach their highest potentials.
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, IL, 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 looks forward to continue getting to know and embracing her new community, while making a substantial impact on the lives of Kansas City youth. Prior to 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 bachelor's degree and master's degree 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.
Syreeta Washington, Office Coordinator
Syreeta Washington believes the Kauffman School is providing the tools children need to have a successful future and continue Mr. Kauffman's legacy. Prior to joining the Kauffman School operations team, Mrs. Washington ran a small plumbing business with her husband, worked for the KCMO Water Department, and worked for the State of Missouri. Mrs. Washington received her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and International Business at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. Mrs. Washington decided to join the Kauffman School team because she has a daughter who has been part of the founding class of students at the school. As a Project Choice alumna (early college support program founded by Mr. Kauffman), Mrs. Washington saw how hard the staff worked for her daughter; as a parent, she wanted to make sure she was doing her part to support the teachers and staff. What excites Mrs. Washington about this year, and every year, is being a part of the team that is producing academic superstars!
Margaret Watermann, Manager of Data and Technology
Margaret Watermann believes every student in Kansas City deserves access to a high-quality education. She is committed to building strong relationships with students and families to achieve the highest degree of academic success. Prior to teaching at the Kauffman School, Ms. Watermann served as the Assistant to the Executive Director for the Arkansas Teacher Corps program. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History, Political Science, and French from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Ms. Watermann is a Teach For America - Kansas City alumna and recently completed her Master of Education in secondary education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Ms. Watermann was attracted to the Kauffman School because of its high expectations and service to the community. She is ready to work hard and see students achieve tremendous growth.
Candace Wilson, Talent Recruiter
Candace Wilson 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, KS, Mrs. Wilson attended Saint Louis University where she majored in Marketing and Communications. After graduating, she taught ninth-grade English in Memphis, Tennessee as a Teach For America corps member. Motivated by her own students' desires to have more teachers who believed in them, Mrs. Wilson 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. Mrs. Wilson 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.
Deronne Wilson, Senior Operations Specialist
Deronne Wilson believes education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. He is passionate about giving students the tools needed to succeed both in the classroom and in life. Prior to joining the Operations team at Kauffman School, Mr. Wilson spent the past 16 years at Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia, MO serving as the Operations Director and Athletic Director. He also spent the past seven years as an assistant Varsity Boys Basketball coach at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School (2016 class 3A state champs) in Columbia, MO. Mr. Wilson received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Columbia College in Columbia, MO and will complete his Master of Arts in Coaching & Athletics Administration degree in May of 2020. Mr. Wilson was drawn to Kauffman School because of its academic excellence and commitment to all students becoming college graduates. He is excited to join the team and build positive relationships with students, families, staff, and community members.
Jason Wycoff, Operations Coordinator
Jason Wycoff believes that every student deserves an education that will help them achieve their goals. He is passionate about providing students and teachers with the resources they need to make that education possible. Before joining the Operations team at the Kauffman School, Mr. Wycoff taught seventh-grade math in Denver, CO. He is an alumnus of MATCH Teacher Residency in Boston, MA. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from UC Berkeley. Mr. Wycoff was drawn to the Kauffman School by the passion of its staff and students. He is excited to join the Kauffman School team in showing Kansas City what is possible for all of its students.