Jessica Cunningham AkotoCHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Jessica Cunningham Akoto joined KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools as the Chief Executive Officer in June 2018. Previously, she worked as the KIPP Foundation’s Executive in Residence, where she provided critical on-site support to KIPP regional leaders to identify and execute the steps needed to produce superior results and healthy growth. Jessica joined the KIPP Foundation after 14 years with KIPP DC. She began her career as the sixth-grade math teacher at the region’s flagship school: KEY Academy. Upon completing the Fisher Fellowship, Jessica founded KIPP DC’s third middle school, WILL Academy, and served as the school’s principal for four years. Jessica then served as a Chief Academic Officer for two years before deciding to return to school leadership in 2012 as the principal of KIPP DC’s high school, KIPP DC College Prep. Jessica earned a B.S. in African American History from Florida A&M University and a Masters in Elementary Education from American University. She is a Fellow of the fourth class of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a 2015 Milken Educator Award winner. Jessica currently sits on the board of directors for both School Leader Lab and EdFuel. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, and exploring Philadelphia’s best restaurants.
Natalie WiltshireChief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer, Natalie Wiltshire is responsible for design, implementation and efficiency improvements for all areas of operations for KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools. In addition to Operations, Natalie manages the Finance, Human Resources and Real Estate for the region. Prior to joining KPS, Natalie was the Director of New York Operations for Achievement First, overseeing school operations for seven academies in Brooklyn, NY. Before joining Achievement First’s central management team, she served as the founding Director of School Operations for Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School. Natalie earned her BA in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA in Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Natalie and her husband, Larry, have two sons, Hayden and Mason.
Molly EigenCHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER
Molly Eigen serves as the Chief Academic Officer. In that role, she is responsible for supporting and driving the design of our student facing and teacher facing programming for KIPP Philadelphia schools. She also works with principals across school to support execution of our programming. Molly came most recently from Mastery Charter Schools, a turnaround charter network, where she served as the CAO – designing and overseeing the curriculum, student culture, teacher and leader training and coaching, and assessment programming across 26 schools. Prior to that, Molly worked at Teach For America in a variety of roles – driving teacher training and support. Molly started her career as a high school special education teacher in McAllen, Texas after graduating from University of Michigan with B.S. in Resource, Ecology and Management.
Carrie JolleyHead of Schools
Carrie Jolley joined KIPP Philadelphia Schools in July 2016 as the Managing Director of Academics. She started her career in education in 2004 through Teach For America Newark, where she taught first grade for three years. After her time as a TFA corps member, Carrie took on the role of Program Director for Teach For America New York City supporting Early Elementary corps members. After two years in this role, Carrie returned to Newark in 2009 to help found a KIPP School, SPARK Academy. At SPARK, Carrie served in a number of roles, including Kindergarten Teacher, New Teacher Coach, Dean of Instruction, Assistant Principal and, eventually, School Leader. She loved working with families and driving a vision of excellence across a school, as well as occasionally substituting in Guided Reading, her favorite time of day. Carrie has been a Jersey girl from day one, so is new to the Philly area. She is excited to get to know her new home and is open to any suggestions for fun places to shop, eat and sing karaoke.
Kate CrossettDirector of Special Education
Kate Crossett serves at KIPP Philadelphia Schools as the Director of Special Education and Student Supports. Kate comes to KIPP from four years as the founding Assistant Principal of Specialized Services at a middle school in North Philadelphia. Prior to that Kate worked for Teach For America in Baltimore coaching teachers in grades K-8, as well as teaching High School Special Education Math and Science in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Kate is a proud graduate of The University of Pittsburgh—Hail to PITT! She loves spending time at the beach with her husband and their dog. Kate is thrilled to join the team and family here at KIPP, and she looks forward to helping to continue to strengthen and grow the student supports across our region.
Mike MacArthurSenior Director of Data and Analytics
As the Director of Data and Analytics, Mike MacArthur supports data-informed decision-making across the region. He analyzes and generates reports of student-level achievement data; works cross-functionally to support data practices in all areas of regional operations, and; maintains the integrity of all student data through strong database management and by ensuring test protocols are followed. Mike moved into this role after serving four years as the Assistant Principal of Instruction at KIPP Dubois Collegiate Academy. Before joining the school, he worked for six years at Teach for America, where he started as a Program Director in South Louisiana, and then took on program leadership for the Greater Philadelphia region. Mike began his life as an educator at Franklin High, a small rural school nestled in the cane fields and marshland of South Louisiana. He taught Chemistry, Physics, and Physical Science, and led students to bring their passion for science to elementary students via a student-driven summer camp for 4th graders. The love of Cajun and Zydeco music and dancing that he developed in Louisiana continues today. Mike is a graduate of Cook College at Rutgers University where he majored in Natural Resource Management with a focus on Ecology and Evolution. Originally from Southern New Jersey, he now lives with his lovely wife, Tracy in the Point Breeze Neighborhood of South Philadelphia.
Danielle Cooper-WilliamsDirector of Equity & Cultural Proficiency
Danielle Cooper-Williams joined the regional office staff as the Director of Equity & Cultural Proficiency in the summer of 2017. Previously, Danielle was an assistant principal for 4 years at KPEA and previously taught art, physical education, and grades kindergarten through 2nd, as well as serving as a grade level chair. A Philadelphia native, Danielle has been teaching, tutoring and working with students since she was 14. She began her formal teaching experiences while attending Howard University in Washington, DC. As a Human Development major, she embraces a belief in whole child development. She believes that children’s lives should be enriched with experiences that foster their social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. During her graduate studies at Howard, she was able to conduct research on the experiences of students with ADHD. In previous years Danielle put all of her knowledge and experience to use as a second grade teacher in Southwest Philadelphia and the Founding Specials teacher at KPEA. She is classically trained in piano, an avid sports fan with a new love for Pilates and enjoys infusing art into her curriculum. Danielle became a teacher because she has a vested interest in the future of the children in her community. She will inspire and encourage her students to not just walk in her footsteps but take greater strides as they climb the mountain to college.
Christina AtterburyDirector of Culture
Christina Atterbury joined the KIPP Philadelphia Team as the Director of Culture in July 2018. Christina comes to KIPP with an experience in student Culture. Prior to coming to KIPP, Christina worked as an Assistant Principal of school Culture at a charter school in North Philadelphia. Christina is a graduate of Penn State University where she studied Criminal Justice. She loves reading and traveling, and watching re-runs of Law and Order SVU. Christina is excited about building strong and positive school Culture that will allow our students to make good choices and become critical thinkers.
Kimber HamiltonDirector of Literacy
Kimber Hamilton joined the KIPP Philadelphia team during the summer of 2018. Prior to joining the KIPP team, Kimber spent seven years coaching school leaders and teachers in literacy best practices and writing literacy curriculum at a charter network in Philadelphia. Kimber started her career as an elementary school teacher in Phoenix, Arizona with Teach for America. Kimber continued teaching elementary school upon moving to Philadelphia 14 years ago and also served on the regional staff of Teach For America Philadelphia for a number of years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in her home state of Indiana at Indiana University. Outside of work, Kimber enjoys exploring Philadelphia’s food scene, traveling, and relaxing at home with her wife, Jackie, and their daughter, Abigail.
Sajata LattenDirector of Mathematics
Sajata Latten joined KIPP Philadelphia Schools as the Director of Mathematics in July 2018. Sajata started her career in 2005 as a high school mathematics teacher in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and later transitioned to Atlanta, GA serving in Atlanta Public Schools and Fulton County Schools as a grade level chair, department chair, and an instructional coach. She is most passionate about forging a culture mimicking Nelson Mandela’s sentiment “education is the most powerful weapon which one can use to change the world”. Sajata is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she studied Mathematics and became a teacher’s assistant. She is a native of Charleston, South Carolina where she gleaned excellent teaching practices from her mother and middle school English and Math teachers. Sajata enjoys live music, research, traveling, and spending time with her niece. Sajata is excited to partner with a system that reaches our future with realms of integrity, social intelligence and fairness that will create the change that President Mandela spoke of.
External Impact Team
Zoë RankinManaging Director of External Impact
Zoë Rankin is the managing director of external impact at KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools, where she leads fundraising and external affairs to secure resources for the region. Zoë started at KIPP as the managing director of strategy, managing strategic projects for the CEO. Prior to joining the KIPP team, Zoë served as an Obama administration appointee as the deputy chief of staff for the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education, managing communications coordination throughout the department. Prior to that, Zoë was a special projects coordinator at Uncommon Schools. Zoë started her career as a 6th grade language arts teacher in Charlotte, NC with Teach For America. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Cornell University. Zoë is a native Philadelphian, and lives with her husband and two dogs around the corner from where she grew up.
Chatara BensonDirector of Development
As Director of Development, Chatara is responsible for grants management, annual giving, and serving as the point of contact for corporate and foundation partners. Before joining KIPP, Chatara served as Director of Operations for Parents for Great Camden Schools, a start-up parent advocacy non-profit in Camden, NJ. Prior to that, Chatara worked at Philadelphia School Partnership as a part of the school investment team. Chatara started her career in the financial services industry where she spent nearly seven years in various roles, primarily in asset management. Chatara has resided in Philadelphia for ten years by way of (North!) New Jersey and is a graduate of George Washington University where she earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Outside of work, Chatara enjoys reading, traveling, and trying new restaurants.
Eugénie ElieExecutive Assistant
Eugénie Elie serves as Executive Assistant to CEO Jessica Cunningham Akoto. Why KIPP you ask? As the great James Baldwin once stated, “The world is before you and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.” Eugénie hopes to support, sustain, and innovate the work that KIPP Philadelphia provides for youth voice/ development ensuring the world of beautiful and glorious progress. She previously earned a fellowship with the Newman’s Own Foundation and served as a Nutrition Policy Liaison at The Food Trust located in center city. Eugénie is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with areas of study in Anthropology, Africana Studies, and Public Health. Her hobbies include West African Dance, travelling as a citizen of the world and writing poetry.
Christopher JohnsonExternal Affairs Associate
As External Affairs Associate, Christopher Johnson is responsible for bridging the Greater Philadelphia community with KIPP Philadelphia schools by mobilizing family associations, engaging with community leaders, and managing public relation systems. Christopher is a Philadelphia native and a proud founding member of KIPP Philadelphia Charter School. He is a 2016 graduate of Oakwood University, a historically-black college in Huntsville, Alabama, where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Pre-Law with a concentration of Political Science. Christopher has completed internships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee in Philadelphia, and most recently worked as a Field Organizer in Cleveland, Ohio for the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Christopher is a lover of Philadelphia sports, live music concerts, and political discussions.
Jeremy HidalgoDevelopment Associate
Jeremy Hidalgo is the Development Associate at KIPP Philadelphia Schools. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of Delaware. After graduation, Jeremy retained a fellowship with the Rodel Foundation of Delaware working on projects like equitable education funding and English-language learner support, improving college and career outcomes from first-generation students, and social-emotional development. He also brings experience from the National Student Leadership Conference and the Delaware Center for Justice to KIPP. Jeremy has a passion for using data to drive positive change within school systems for educators and students alike. Outside of work, he enjoys reading, rock climbing, and catching a Phillies or Sixers game.
Whitney JonesManaging Director of Finance
Whitney Jones comes to KIPP Philadelphia from KIPP San Antonio where he served as the organization’s Director of Finance. In this role, Whitney led the organization’s budget development, financial reporting, internal controls, general accounting, and accounts payables. Prior to KIPP San Antonio, Whitney served as the School Finance Specialist at the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB), monitoring charters’ financial stability and ensuring adherence to federal and local laws. Before joining PCSB, Whitney was a Client Manager with EdTec, a niche consulting firm based in Emeryville, CA and dedicated to supporting charter schools’ financial and operational needs. While at EdTec, Whitney supported charters in Arkansas, California, New York, and Tennessee in a variety of functions including financial reporting, strategic planning and charter application development. Whitney began his career at Moody’s Corporation, working in both public finance credit ratings and strategic planning. Whitney received his Masters of Business Administration for New York University’s Stern School of Business and his Bachelors of Business Administration from Howard University.
Caroline GuSenior Director of Accounting
Caroline is the Senior Director of Accounting at KIPP Philadelphia Schools. Caroline was the Director of Finance at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society known for its Philadelphia Flower Show and the Philadelphia Green programs. Prior to joining KPS, she was the Interim Controller at Lincoln University led in the installation and operationalizing of a new payroll, human resources, and time attendance system conversion. Caroline earned a B.S. in Accounting from Villanova University. She received an M.B.A. in Finance from Villanova University. She is a CPA and is a Chartered Global Management Accountant. Caroline was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the greater Philadelphia area. She has two children and lives with her husband in Ardmore, PA.
Leonard BucknerAccounting Associate
Leonard Buckner is the Accounting Associate at KIPP Philadelphia Schools. He attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Accounting in spring 2017. Leonard came to KIPP as a temporary Accounting Associate in May 2017 to support the finance team and was hired on full time as the Development Associate before shifting back to the finance team in the Summer of 2018. During his time as a temp, he immediately fell in love with the warm and comforting culture that KIPP has and the passion that each employee takes towards their work to better the futures of the students. Being a Philadelphia native and growing up in its education system, Leonard always wanted to be a part of a network where he could give back and do meaningful work that gives inner-city youth the opportunity to become greater than their surrounding circumstances. This led him to jump on the first opportunity to become a part of this great community and play an important role in helping KIPP continue to deliver value to the students and families that it serves. Prior to working at KIPP, Leonard was an accounting intern from 2012 to 2015 at Project H.O.M.E., a non-profit organization that strives to end homelessness and a bookkeeping/marketing intern for Farmers Insurance Mike Costanzo Agency in 2016.
Tracy MacArthurSenior Director of Regional Operations
As the Senior Director of Regional Operations, Tracy MacArthur supports the school-based operations and is responsible for state reporting and compliance. Prior to working for KIPP, Tracy worked in school operations for the past eight years, most recently as a Managing Director of Operations for a multi-state charter network. Tracy started her career as an educator at a high school in Opelousas, LA as a 2004 Teach for America corps member. Tracy then served as the Volunteer Director for Volunteers In Public Schools, a non-profit organization working to foster student success for students by building public support for public education. She received her B.A. in Speech Communication from Ithaca College and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Tracy now lives with her husband, Mike in the Point Breeze Neighborhood of South Philadelphia.
Samuel BrewHuman Resources Associate
As the Human Resources Associate, Sam Brew is responsible for maintaining effective onboarding procedures, managing staff files, understanding and implementing employee benefits, as well as a slew of other HR related issues for all of KIPP Philadelphia Schools. Prior to joining KPS, Sam was a Human Resources Generalist for a top Philadelphia Law Firm working with 5 different locations, and a total of 400 employees, throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Sam earned his Bachelor degree in psychology in 2014 from Rutgers University . He is a native of Ghana and a North Jersey resident. In his spare time he enjoys watching and playing soccer and also enjoys binge watching Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
KIPP Through College Team
Vaneeda DaysManaging Director of KIPP Through College
Vaneeda Days joined the KIPP Through College team in Philadelphia as the Director of College Placement, helping students who attend non-KIPP high schools through the college admissions process. A native of Philadelphia, Vaneeda has a vested interest in education and incredibly committed to seeing the youth in our city go to and through college. Her background is in non-profit program management. She has spent the past four years leading the Philadelphia Scholars Program, an initiative of the Philadelphia Education Fund. In this role she provided college admissions and financial aid counseling and support to an annual cohort of over 300 Philadelphia high school and college students. She also tracked and supported the scholarship recipients’ college retention and graduation rates. Prior to her work at the Philadelphia Scholars Program, Vaneeda worked for the Philadelphia Youth Network in roles such as Re-engagement Specialist and Operations Coordinator. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Gwynedd – Mercy College. She enjoys traveling, shopping and dining with friends and family.
Stephen GarlingtonDirector of College and Career Readiness
Stephen Garlington joined KIPP Philadelphia in 2016 as Director of College and Career Readiness. In this role he is tasked with ensuring students are developing with regards to professional development and exploration of career pathways. Prior to joining KIPP, Stephen served as a Retention Counselor at North Carolina Central University where he supported students persevere barriers to academic performance. He earned a BSW from Coppin State University and MSW from The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.
Rachel KylerDirector of College Placement (Promise Alumni)
As Director of College Placement for Promise Students, Rachel Kyler works with non-KIPP high school students through the college admissions process. Rachel joined the KIPP Through College team in 2013 teaching Junior Seminar for KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy. Prior to joining KPS, Rachel began her career as an education reporter in Northwest Florida and then worked as an English teacher in Philadelphia. After several years of teaching stateside, she moved overseas to Beijing before returning to Philadelphia. Rachel earned her B.A. in Journalism from Penn State University and her M.Ed. in Education from Arcadia University. She enjoys traveling, yoga, and spending time with family and friends.
Susan LarsonDirector of College Support
Susan joined KIPP Philadelphia in 2003 as a founding teacher. In 2007, Susan moved out of the classroom and into the KIPP to College office as the Director of Alumni Support. Susan continues to love to help support students on their various paths to a happy and successful life.
Susan began her teaching career on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she taught third and fifth grades and coached the Varsity Field Hockey Team for St. Michaels High School. Outside of KIPP, Susan enjoys running and spending time with her husband Neil and their two children Zachary and Kaitlyn.
She primarily works with 4-year college students and helps to further the KIPP college partnership work for our region.
Mia Moore-TaylorDirector of Alumni Career Development
Mia joined the KIPP Through College team in 2016 and is leading the career integration strategies for KIPP Philadelphia’s alumni and high school students. She has worked in career development with regional Workforce Investment Boards in Florida, California and Louisiana, and as a career counselor and consultant in the opening of a Career One-Stop Center at the Berkeley Adult School, in Berkeley, CA. Mia has completed PhD coursework in Career and Workforce Education at the University of South Florida where her research included viable post-secondary options for students who do not attend college immediately after high school.
Through the Embark program, she primarily supports alumni who are enrolled in Career & Technical Education certification programs, or who are actively looking for opportunities to enter the workforce. Further career integration efforts include working with KTC Pre-College colleagues to guide Junior and Senior high school students in connecting career-awareness to post-secondary planning, along with offering career-readiness support for alumni on track to complete Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees.
Jason SmithSenior Director, Post-Secondary Outcomes
Jason joined KIPP Philadelphia’s KIPP Through College team in 2013. As a proud native of Philadelphia, he recognizes that this work is his way to give back and create change in the city.
Over the past 16 years, Jason has worked with various college access and success programs that served students in the Philadelphia public school system. In that time, he has served in various capacities from direct service to program design and management. He feels privileged to continue to serve in the role of “helper” in guiding students to opportunities beyond high school in the pursuit of achieving post-secondary success.
He leads the two-year college work as well as works on program strategy and design for the Post-Secondary team.
Nicholas WilsonDirector of College Placement (11th Grade, KIPP DuBois)
Nicholas Wilson joined KIPP Philadelphia in 2017 as the Director of College Placement. In this role, he teaches a college readiness curriculum to high school juniors and implements the early stages of our Match strategy which include self exploration, financial aid preparation, standardized test prep and registration. Prior to joining KIPP, Nicholas spent time at Breakthrough Philadelphia leading college readiness efforts for Philadelphia high school student and served as a teacher throughout area high schools in Philadelphia. Nicholas holds a B.S in Education from Cairn University.
Recruitment and Selection Team
Tasha CannonSenior Director of Recruitment and Selection
As the Senior Director of Recruitment and Selection, Tasha is responsible for managing the recruitment & selection process that results in a high quality teacher in every classroom for KIPP Philadelphia Schools. Prior to joining KIPP, she served as the Deputy Officer; Recruitment & Selection with the Delaware Department of Education. A 2004 Teach For America corps member, Tasha taught middle school science in Philadelphia public schools for 3 years. She has previously worked in both the charter management organization and district central office space. Tasha is a graduate from the University of Connecticut, where she earned her B.S. in Human Development Family Studies with a specialization in Adolescent Counseling. She also holds an M.S. in Education from Chestnut Hill College. In her free time Tasha enjoys spending time with her son, Corey who is an elementary KIPPster, thrift/vintage shopping and listening to 80’s/90’s hip hop.
Jill FarraraManaging Director of Recruitment and Selection
Jill joined the KIPP Philly team in November of 2017 as the Managing Director of Talent. In her role, Jill works to ensure that phenomenal folks are leading our schools and classrooms and that those phenomenal folks stay with us because they are inspired, supported, and developed every day! Prior to joining KIPP, Jill served in a variety of central leadership roles at Mastery Charter Schools (curriculum, instruction, assessment, operations, talent); prior to that, she was a high school English teacher. Jill graduated from NYU, where she studied English and Sociology. Jill loves hanging out with her family and is obsessed with puzzles of any kind.
Michelle AllenDirector of Recruitment and Selection
Michelle joined the KIPP Philly team in March of 2018 as Director of Recruitment and Selection. In her role, Michelle works to ensure that there is an effective teacher in every classroom to educate and support our diverse students and families. Prior to joining KIPP, Michelle most recently led the design and implementation of K-2 curriculum and assessments along with supporting professional development for teachers and leaders at 14 elementary schools across Philly and Camden as the Director of Early Elementary Teaching and Learning at Mastery Charter Schools. She began her leadership career at Mastery as a Founding Turn-Around Assistant Principal of Instruction in 2010 and before that she was an elementary teacher in the School District of Philadelphia for 5 years. Michelle is a graduate from Cabrini College where she earned her B.S in Education, B.A in Spanish and later her M.S in Education with a focus on literacy. Michelle loves spending time with her husband and two children, attending Zumba classes and listening to audio books while knitting.
Jenell McMillonRecruitment and Selection Associate
Jenell joined the KIPP Philadelphia team in June of 2017 as the Recruitment and Selection Associate to support KIPP Philadelphia’s goals to attract and retain top quality teachers. Prior to joining KIPP, she served as the Manager of Regional Recruitment and Talent Placement at Education Pioneers in New York. Jenell graduated from the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC where she studied Journalism of Mass Communications. In her free time, she loves event planning, cooking, spending time with friends/family and listening to 90s R&B music.