Meet the Team

Our Professional Education Team are proven PK-12 educators with a passion for effective teaching, student learning and equity.

Two teammates in discussion.

Meet the Professional Education Team

Our people are the heart of our organization. Relay’s leadership team is a diverse group of individuals committed to Relay's mission of providing all PK-12 students with high-quality education and choice-filled lives, and to translating our bold vision for educator preparation into a powerful impact across the country.

Provost's Office

The Office of the Provost leads and supports the Professional Education team. Alongside a team of Vice Provosts and Managing Directors, the Provost oversees the development and implementation of Relay Professional Education’s academic plans and policies, and supervises the work of its faculty, teams, and operations to ensure a high-quality experience for all partners.

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Dr. Shavonne Gibson

Provost, Professional Education

In her role as Provost, Professional Education, Dr. Shavonne Gibson leads the Professional Education team at Relay. 

Prior to this role, Shavonne was the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in Washington, DC. Shavonne had oversight of training and technical assistance for educators, educator quality and effectiveness, including educator licensure and approval of teacher preparation programs, English learner education policy, and educator awards. Shavonne is a career educator having held roles ranging from teacher, assistant principal, principal, and managing director of schools/principal supervisor in New York City and Washington, DC schools. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester, a master’s degree in Secondary Education-Social Studies from Long Island University, second master’s degree in Educational Leadership from George Mason University, and her doctorate in Learning and Organizational Change from Baylor University. Shavonne lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons.


Dr. Shavonne Gibson

Provost, Professional Education
Steph Bates
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Steph Bates

Senior Director of Special Projects
Steph Bates

As the Senior Director of Special Projects for the Professional Education team, Steph manages inclusive and transparent meeting and communication structures for a growing team, steers cross-functional projects, and ensures team focus on strategic goals as well as urgent priorities. She enjoys creating clarity from ambiguity and building collaborative groups.

Previously, Steph was a founding team member at Leading Educators, where she worked across the organization in areas including PR, program delivery, development, event marketing, operations, and partner relationships. She also lived and worked in Athens, Greece, developing writing tutoring and teaching programs for English Language Learner students at Hellenic American University.

Steph graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in English and History and earned her M.B.A at Loyola University New Orleans. Steph lives in New Orleans with her partner, daughter, pets, and many house plants.

Steph Bates

Senior Director of Special Projects
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Dior Davenport

Executive Assistant

Dior Davenport is the Executive Assistant for  Relay’s Professional Education team.  In this role she supports Kari Feinberg,  Ben Klompus , Sarah Marder-Eppstein, Vernon-James Riley and Jesse Rector.

Working as an administrative professional for 18 years Dior has developed skills in business, calendar, team and project management and supporting executive level teams.  She has a bachelor degree in communications, a masters in higher education and twenty years experience in racial equity work.  Dior’s administrative skills have helped to support businesses in planning, implementing, and maintaining day-to-day operations while providing a wide variety of complex and confidential executive support.


Dior was born and raised in Seattle, WA where she graduated from Washington State University.  Dior currently lives in London England with her partner.  Even though she lives in England she still prefers a cup of coffee opposed to a cup of tea. 


Dior Davenport

Executive Assistant

Operations & Partnerships

The Operations and Partnerships teams work closely with partnering organizations and their participating educators to provide a high quality customer service experience from the initial interest call through session implementation.

Warren Chancellor
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Warren Chancellor

Managing Director of Strategy & Operations
Warren Chancellor

Warren Chancellor is the Managing Director of Strategy & Operations for the Professional Education team at Relay. In this role, he supervises the events and operations team as they plan and execute 50+ intersessions per year as well as the partnerships team as they enroll thousands of teachers and leaders in our teacher and leader programs.

Prior to joining Relay, Warren served as the Managing Director of Events & Operations at Teach For America, leading the operations team in the planning and execution of the 25th Anniversary Summit that was hosted in Washington D.C. in 2016, attracting more than 15,000 participants from all over the country. Warren began his professional career in the classroom teaching high school math in Atlanta Public Schools and is a graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a bachelors of science in mathematics. He was born in Charlotte, NC and raised in Irian Jaya, Indonesia but currently resides in Washington, DC.

Warren Chancellor

Managing Director of Strategy & Operations
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Justin Perry

Senior Director of Events & Operations

As the Senior Director of Events and Operations for Professional Education, Justin Perry leads the Events and Operations team in supporting faculty to create exceptional education and professional development experiences for 1,400+ school and systems leaders enrolled in Relay’s national and regional programs.

Previously, Justin spent 7 years in New York City primarily teaching middle and high school math. Outside of the classroom, he worked as a freelance events and operations consultant where he planned and executed components of Teach for America’s 25th Anniversary Summit in 2016 as well as a variety of their conferences, including The Convening: Black Men in Education Conference, National Day of Service, and much more.

Justin was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and currently resides in Atlanta, GA. He earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Morehouse College and his Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University.

Justin Perry

Senior Director of Events & Operations
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Tyrell Collier

SENIOR Manager of Events & Operations

Tyrell Collier is the Manager of Events & Operations, Professional Education at Relay Graduate School of Education. In this role, Tyrell executes professional development conferences and workshops for education leaders across the country. During the 2021-22 school year, he will be the operations lead for the Texas and California Instructional Leadership Professional Development programs.

Tyrell holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in Sociology and Afroamerican & African Studies. Previously, he has worked with Success Academy Charter Schools as an Operations Coordinator. He enjoys traveling, event planning and music. He currently resides in New York City.

Tyrell Collier

SENIOR Manager of Events & Operations
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Melisa Hipolito

Senior Coordinator of Events & Operations

Melisa Hipolito is the Senior Coordinator of Events and Operations for Relay’s Professional Education team. In this role, she leads operations for the North Carolina Instructional Leadership Academy and the Data-Informed Instruction Professional Learning Community. Additionally, she supports operations for Relay’s National programs.

Melisa earned her undergraduate degree in English and Economics from Barnard College of Columbia University. While at Barnard, she grew her passion for the literary world, urban planning, and educational reform. Prior to Relay, she worked as a bookseller and interned for several publishing houses, including Simon & Schuster and W.W. Norton & Co. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, where she currently resides. When she isn’t supporting the transformational change of education to support student lives, Melisa enjoys diving into books, exploring new bookstores, and spending time with her three dogs.

Melisa Hipolito

Senior Coordinator of Events & Operations
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Lmya Ahmed

Senior Coordinator of Operations, Teacher Professional Education

Lmya Ahmed is a Senior Coordinator of Events & Operations for Relay’s Professional Education Team. In her role,  she leads operations for our Teacher Programs. Lmya handles logistics, payments and event communication for a teacher programs team that served over 10,000 participants last year.


Before joining Relay, Lmya worked as a Special Education Teacher and Recreational Programs Coordinator for The Ivymount School for 8 years, primarily serving students with autism and their families. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she earned a bachelors of arts in public and community engagement and a masters of education in special education. Lmya was born in Omdurman, Sudan but was raised and still resides in the DMV with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys trekking the globe with her family and mild hot sauces.  

Lmya Ahmed

Senior Coordinator of Operations, Teacher Professional Education
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Tim Maynes

Senior Director of Partnerships

Tim Maynes is the Director of Partnerships for Relay Graduate School of Education’s Professional Education team. In this role, he manages partnerships with schools and districts around the county to connect their educators and school system leaders with Relay’s variety of training and professional development programs.

Prior to joining Relay, Tim began his career teaching high school English and theater in Vermont. He then transitioned to education administration, serving in multiple roles designing and managing arts education programming for organizations such as Disney Theatrical Group, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Tim earned his B.A. in Drama from Ithaca College and his M.A. in Arts Leadership from Syracuse University. He grew up in South Burlington, Vermont, and currently lives in Wilton Manors, Florida.

Tim Maynes

Senior Director of Partnerships
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Sahmed Poarch

Senior Coordinator of Partnership Operations

Sahmed is the Senior Coordinator of Partnership Operations for Relay Professional Education.In her role, she manages the enrollment and partnership tracking systems for national, regional, and teacher professional development programs. Sahmed also supports the maintenance and efficiency of partnership tracking. 


Prior to joining Relay, Sahmed served as the Administrative Assistant to Campus Ministry at an all girls private High School in Sacramento California. She managed different registration and financial databases, did program support for the department year round and maintained inter departmental communication.

Sahmed is a graduate of California State University of Sacramento, where she received her Bacherlors of Art in Organizational Communications and an Associate of Science degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Sahmed was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico and moved to the United States as a child where she spent the rest of her young years growing up in a small town in Northern California. She now resides in Dixon, California with her husband and dog.  

Sahmed Poarch

Senior Coordinator of Partnership Operations
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Kajal Ravani

Director of Partnerships

Kajal Ravani is the Director of Partnerships for Relay’s Professional Education team. In this role, she manages partnerships with schools, districts, and other organizations around the country. She enjoys forming relationships with school partners and connecting their teachers and leaders to Relay's variety of high-impact training and professional development programs. ‍Kajal began her career as a college advisor in Detroit, Michigan, where she worked closely with high school students and their families to plan for life after high school. She moved to Washington, DC in 2017, where she began her career with Relay Graduate School of Education as the Director of Strategy & Operations for the Relay Washington, DC teacher training program. Kajal earned her B.A. in Social Policy from Michigan State University and currently lives in Detroit, MI.

Kajal Ravani

Director of Partnerships

Teacher Professional Education

Our team are proven PK-12 educators with a passion for effective teaching, student learning and equity. The Teacher Professional Education team creates workshops and fellowship offerings, facilitates sessions, and works directly with our partners to identify the right offerings for their staff and ensure their success.

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Dr. Sarah Marder-Eppstein

Managing Director

As Managing Director of Teacher Professional Education, Dr. Sarah Marder-Eppstein oversees all aspects of professional learning opportunities for teachers at Relay. Prior to joining professional education, Dr. Marder-Eppstein co-led degree-granting programming for over 1,500 teachers in Relay’s online campus and taught elementary methods and general pedagogy coursework. Dr. Marder-Eppstein also ran the annual Educator Summit conference for six years in partnership with the Character Lab, serving thousands of educators from around the world.

Before joining Relay in 2013, Dr. Marder-Eppstein taught third grade at Achievement First Brownsville in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Marder-Eppstein holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master’s in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education, and a Doctorate in Education from the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California. Her research interests include new teacher retention strategies, culturally responsive teaching, and character development.

Dr. Sarah Marder-Eppstein

Managing Director
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Zach Blattner

Senior Director

Before joining Relay Professional Education, Zach joined Relay Online as founding faculty where he taught graduate-level coursework to teachers across the country. In that role, he honed his skills in online teaching through combining his expertise in adult facilitation with digital technologies.

Zach has also recently served as a consultant to organizations striving to strengthen the quality and impact of their synchronous online offerings, including Next Gen Personal Finance and The Together Group. Prior to Relay, Zach served as an Assistant Principal in Southwest Philadelphia, helping lead his school to increased achievement results each year. Zach started his career as an AP English teacher in the Rio Grande Valley. His students became the first in school history to pass the AP Language and Composition exam.

Zach holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the George Washington University, a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and a principal certification through the National Principal Academy at Relay GSE.

Zach Blattner

Senior Director
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Chanel Ward Biddle

Senior Director

Prior to joining Professional Education, Chanel served as Director of Residency for Relay Online, partnering with numerous schools and networks nationally to build innovative support systems for teachers in residence. While serving as Director of Residency, Chanel also taught graduate courses in core pedagogy and elementary methods and supervised clinical practice.

Before joining the Relay faculty, Chanel was an Assistant Principal in South Philadelphia. During her time as Assistant Principal, the School District of Philadelphia ranked her school first within its peer group and second citywide for academic growth. Chanel began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Philadelphia.

Chanel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Barnard College of Columbia University, a Master’s in Education from University of Pennsylvania, and a principal certification through the National Principal Academy at Relay GSE. Chanel currently lives in her hometown of Philadelphia and serves as a proud board member of Philadelphia Hebrew Public, the city’s first racially and linguistically diverse-by-design public school, and member of Fleisher Art Memorial’s programs impact committee.

Chanel Ward Biddle

Senior Director
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Jamey Verrilli

Executive Director of the Hollyhock Humanities Fellowship

James Verrilli is the Executive Director for the Relay GSE Hollyhock Humanities Fellowship. He sees himself as having the soul of a teacher. His long career began in in 1984, as a part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. In 1985 he found his calling as a history teacher in Newark, NJ at the Link Community School. After graduate work at Brown University he became Link’s principal until 1997 significantly improving students’ high school graduation rates and student achievement. Then, he co-founded North Star Academy Charter School of Newark with Norman Atkins. During his 14-year tenure as middle school principal, he helped North Star grow to multiple campuses and to become a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School that was one of the highest performing urban schools in New Jersey.

In 2011, after 25 years of teaching and leading schools, Verrilli joined the new Relay Graduate School of Education and launched the Newark campus as the founding Dean. Over his ten years at Relay, he has been both the Dean of the Newark Campus, a Senior Dean managing deans across Relay’s many campuses and in charge of faculty development. All the while, still teaching as a professor for Relay’s master’s level core pedagogy and residency courses. James has dedicated his professional career to working for social justice through teaching, school leadership, and fighting for educational equity.

Jamey Verrilli

Executive Director of the Hollyhock Humanities Fellowship
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Amy Rogen

Director of Content Development

As the Director of Content Development for the Teacher Professional Education Team, Amy collaborates with the design team, as well as with internal and external partners, to develop and facilitate practical workshops for teachers that are equity-centered and evidence-based.

Amy has significant experience in elementary and higher education. She began her career as an elementary teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. From this position, she was selected to coach other teachers in the building as a Multi-Classroom Leader. In this role, Amy realized her passion for helping teachers deliver excellent instruction and grow in their craft.

Prior to joining Professional Education, Amy served as a Faculty Site Coordinator at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She worked with school partners to supervise and coach undergraduate and graduate certificate candidates in their student teaching and internship semesters.

Amy has worked at Relay since 2017 in various capacities including as an Assistant Professor of Practice, teaching graduate-level coursework in elementary content and general pedagogy to K-12 teachers.  Amy taught online as both an Adjunct Instructor and as a Lead Facilitator for Teacher Professional Education, delivering synchronous professional development workshops to hundreds of teachers across the country.  

Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina, a Master’s Degree in Education in Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies from Vanderbilt University, and an English Language Learning Endorsement from Lipscomb University.  Amy is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with research interests in educational leadership, culturally responsive teaching, and teacher professional development. 

Amy Rogen

Director of Content Development

Leadership Programs

The Leadership Programs faculty are proven PK-12 school leaders with a commitment to all students attending schools led by exceptional leaders. Our team designs and facilitates professional development sessions, coaches school and system leaders on site,, and works with partners to identify programming that best meets their needs. 

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Dr. Eneida Padró

Vice Provost, National Leadership Programs

Dr. Eneida Padró is Vice Provost of National Leadership Programs at Relay GSE leading the team responsible for the vision, design, and execution of national school leadership programming. This includes the National Principal Academy Fellowship (NPAF), the National Principal Supervisor Academy (NPSA), the Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute (ISLI), the Leverage Leadership Institute (LLI) and the national Instructional Leader Professional Development (ILPD). In previous roles at Relay, Eneida served as Associate Dean of Regional Support providing on-the-ground coaching and delivering professional development to school and system-level leaders.

Eneida has worked in education for over eighteen years, primarily serving communities in Dallas-Fort Worth while delivering professional development across the country and internationally. Prior to joining Relay, she was an Executive Director in Fort Worth ISD supervising a group of PK-12 school principals in the development of equity literacy, instructional, culture and leadership systems. Dr. Padró has also served as a leadership development coach and program manager in the non-profit sector. She engaged in turnaround work as a former school principal in Dallas ISD, with student progress ranking in the top 5.6% in the district and state.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of North Texas. She is an alumna of the Leverage Leadership Institute Fellowship. Eneida resides in Dallas, TX, and enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband.

Dr. Eneida Padró

Vice Provost, National Leadership Programs
Jesse Rector
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Jesse Rector

Vice Provost, Regional Leadership Programs
Jesse Rector

As Dean of school leadership programs at Relay, Jesse Rector leads all aspects of training for current and aspiring school leaders. In this role, he teaches courses on instructional leadership and serves as an advisor to the participants in our leadership programs.

Previously, Rector spent sixteen years in Newark, New Jersey, as a high-performing teacher in both the Newark Public Schools and at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. During his last six years in Newark, Rector led North Star’s Clinton Hill Middle School.

Rector earned an M.A. in organizational leadership from Columbia University and a B.A. from Rutgers University.

Jesse Rector

Vice Provost, Regional Leadership Programs
Ben Klompus
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Ben Klompus

Managing Director of Impact & Innovation and Dean, NPSA
Ben Klompus

As Managing Director of Innovation and Impact, Dr. Klompus drives institutional efforts to identify, codify, and share impactful practice that measurably improves learning and experience for all PK-12 students. As the founding Dean of the National Principal Supervisor’s Academy, a selective, national cohort of accomplished system-level leaders, Klompus supports system level leaders in their quest to support and accelerate the development of the school level teams they serve. With more than 25 years of experience serving students at the classroom, school, and system level, Klompus has worked extensively at the nexus of data informed school improvement, instructional leadership development, and design thinking.

Dr. Klompus holds his Ed.L.D. and Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.S. in Philosophy from The Colorado College. He and his spouse Janine live in Williamstown, Massachusetts where their five sons keep them busy and smiling.

Ben Klompus

Managing Director of Impact & Innovation and Dean, NPSA
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Denise de la Rosa

Dean of Content

Denise de la Rosa serves schools and systems leaders as the Dean of Leadership Programs, Content Development at Relay GSE. In her role, she collaborates with members of the larger Professional Education team to co-create and implement the vision for both the Leadership Programs professional learning content and the Relay PE team design processes to embody the shared belief that equity is action. Denise also provides executive leadership coaching and professional development for systems leaders in north Texas.

Throughout her career in education, Denise has had the humbling privilege of serving families and communities in Atlanta, New York City, and across the state of Texas. Prior to joining Relay, she was the Senior Director of Leader Development at IDEA Public Schools, where she developed regional leader development systems and coached school leaders to sharpen their instructional practice in key Leverage Leadership levers. Previously a middle school principal in Dallas, Denise and her team achieved double-digit gains in student achievement and student progress.

Denise received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is an alumna of Relay’s NPSA Program and the Leverage Leadership Institute Fellowship. Denise resides in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, where they enjoy cooking, traveling, and hiking with their blue-nosed pup, Jojo.

Denise de la Rosa

Dean of Content
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Nicole Javier-Watson

Dean of Students

Nicole oversees the support of national school leaders participating in the National Principals Academy Fellowship and the National Principal Supervisors Academy. She started as a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia and then at Excellence Boys in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Prior to joining the Relay team in 2018, she served as a school leader at Mastery Charter Schools, Thomas Campus, in South Philadelphia.

 

Born and raised in Northern California, she currently lives with her family outside of Sacramento. Nicole graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in International Relations and from the University of Pennsylvania with an M.S. in Urban Education.

Nicole Javier-Watson

Dean of Students
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Meredith Anderson

Senior Dean, Regional Leadership Programs

Meredith Anderson is the Senior Dean of Regional Support on Relay GSE’s Professional Education team. In this role she supports the Associate Deans of Regional Support as they coach leaders to contextualize, implement and refine the Relay content in their organizations and communities. Meredith also leads the partnership and strategy work for the Regional Leadership team.

Prior to joining Relay, Meredith worked for Uncommon Schools as a teacher, instructional leader and eventually the founding Principal of Excellence Girls Middle Academy, which was awarded the National Blue Ribbon in 2016. Meredith is a 2006 Teach For America alumna who began her teaching career at MS 113 in Brooklyn, a community that instilled in her a passion and deep appreciation for the power of an arts-based education.

Meredith has a dual degree in Biology and Political Science from Lehigh University and a Masters in the Science of Teaching from Pace University.  She is a proud member of the Leverage Leadership Institute. Meredith currently lives in New Jersey with her partner and two daughters.

Meredith Anderson

Senior Dean, Regional Leadership Programs
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Greg Dutton

Dean of California

Greg Dutton is the Dean of California Leadership Programs for Relay. Greg leads the California ILPD series, in which he facilitates year long learning for over 200 school leaders in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Greg also provides leadership coaching for principals and principal managers with a focus on the implementation and execution of Relay instructional practices.

Prior to Relay, Greg worked in New York City as an assistant principal at Williamsburg Prep High School and principal at Queens Metropolitan High School. Most recently, Greg served as principal of Aspire Golden State Prep in East Oakland.

Greg graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.S. in Education and History and from the University of Maryland with a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Leadership. He is a proud member of New Leaders Cohort 8 and Leverage Leadership Institute Cohort 2. Greg and his family recently moved from Berkeley, California to just outside of Washington DC.

Greg Dutton

Dean of California
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Aja Settles

Dean of Texas

Aja Settles serves school and system leaders as the Dean of Texas Leadership Programs at Relay Graduate School of Education. In this role, she works closely with leaders across the great state of Texas to improve their instructional leadership practices to strengthen teaching and learning in their schools.

Working in education for over fifteen years, she has had diverse experiences as a teacher, curriculum writer, assistant principal, school leader, and school leader coach. Prior to joining Relay, Aja was an Instructional Leadership Director at the KIPP Foundation, providing support and training to leaders in over 200 schools. Before joining KIPP, Aja worked at Uncommon Schools where she founded North Star Academy’s second elementary school in Newark, NJ.

She is the co-author of the Great Habits, Great Readers: A Practical Guide for K-4 Reading in Light of the Common Core and is featured in Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide for Building Exceptional Schools. Aja received her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Columbia University in 2013 and her Primary Literacy Coordinator certification from Lesley University in 2007.

Aja Settles

Dean of Texas
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Kathleen Sullivan

Managing Director, Leverage Leadership Institute

Kathleen Sullivan is Managing Director of the Leverage Leadership Institute and a member of Relay's Leadership Programs instructional team.

She has been working in the field of education reform for over 25 years, including several years serving as a teacher in rural Mississippi and in farmworker communities in Florida and North Carolina, leading a 5-12 public school in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, and serving as a principal supervisor of high schools and middle schools at Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn, NY. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her family.

Kathleen Sullivan

Managing Director, Leverage Leadership Institute
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Jenn Baugher

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Jennifer Baugher is an Associate Dean of Leadership Support Programs at Relay. In this role, Jennifer coaches leaders throughout the country as they seek to increase effectiveness of their leaders and schools to ensure teaching and learning is the priority.

Prior to joining Relay, Jennifer spent 13 years in Houston, TX, working as a teacher and leader in both Houston ISD and at YES Prep Public Schools. During her last six years in Houston, Jennifer served as a Director of Academics at YES Prep Southwest and an Instructional Leadership Support Specialist coaching and developing instructional leaders for the YES Prep system. Jennifer holds an M.A.T. from Relay GSE, an M.A. from the University of Cincinnati, and a B.A. from Baker University.

Jenn Baugher

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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Jallon Brown-Croskey

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Jallon Brown-Croskey is an Associate Dean of Regional Support, Leadership Programs Team where she provides professional development and coaching to school leadership teams.

With over 20 years of experience in public education, Jallon has worked in elementary through high school grades as a teacher, full-time mentor, leader, and administrator. After working for several years as a classroom teacher, Jallon accepted a fellowship with the KIPP Foundation. In partnership with the KIPP, she founded one of the first charter schools in the state of Maryland. Jallon also served as the Director of Academics at The SEED School of Maryland, a public boarding school in Baltimore that serves low-income students. In her time at SEED, student achievement improved dramatically by over 30%. Additionally, Jallon led the academic program as the Chief Academic Officer for KIPP Baltimore, a charter network in Maryland. In her time there she supervised and coached principals and assistant principals, led the implementation of new curricula, and established an assessment strategy that was the foundation of a data driven culture.

Jallon has earned a BA in Sociology and Elementary Education from The College of William and Mary and a graduate degree from George Washington University in Educational Administration.

Jallon Brown-Croskey

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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Christopher Garcia

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Chris Garcia serves schools and systems leaders as the Associate Dean of Regional Support at Relay GSE. In this role, he provides on-the-ground coaching and delivers professional development to school and systems leaders.

Chris has worked in education for over twenty years, serving communities abroad in Japan, El Paso, TX, the Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Prior to joining Relay, he was a teacher at the primary, middle and high school levels and served as a Road to College Counselor and Advanced Programs Coordinator for a North Texas Charter school. His leadership journey began as an elementary school principal and the lead Director for the K-12 campus of Uplift Peak Preparatory. In that time the team was able to maintain exemplary school ratings and students graduated and earned college acceptance at a 100%. Following his tenure as a school leader, Chris became a Leadership Development coach and program manager in the non-profit sector for five years. Focusing his efforts on training and coaching district/school leaders and teams in Leverage Leadership content. Most recently Chris worked for the Region 10 Education Service Center where he was coaching and supporting schools to create sustainable schools of excellence utilizing the Leverage Leadership content.

Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership from Southern Methodist University. He resides in Dallas, TX, with his two beautiful children and incredible wife.

Christopher Garcia

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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Megan Sands

Dean, Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute

Megan Sands is an Dean with the Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute at Relay GSE. In this role, she supports school and district leaders across the United States to ensure equity for their Exceptional Learners.

Prior to joining Relay, Megan spent thirteen years in the Washington, DC area school systems as a teacher and leader in Montgomery County Public Schools, and a district and school leader in both DC charter and traditional public schools. She is a fervent believer that all students deserve an equitable education—one that is inclusive and focuses on achievement for all students.

Megan holds B.A.s in Spanish Language and Literature and Secondary Education and an M. Ed in Minority and Urban Education from University of Maryland, College Park, as well as certificates in Bilingual Special Education (GWU) and School Administration (McDaniel).

Megan Sands

Dean, Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute
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Josh Smith

Dean Fellow, Aspiring Leaders Program

Joshua Smith is Dean Fellow of Relay’s Aspiring Principals program. Previously, Josh served as an Associate Dean with Relay GSE, overseeing principal coaching and leadership development initiatives in Colorado.

Prior to this role, Josh served as Chief Academic Officer for STRIVE Prep, overseeing the academic programming across a network of 11 schools spanning grades K through 12. Previously, he was the founding Principal of STRIVE Prep’s Harvey Park Campus (now Westwood) for three years, leading the school in achieving the highest academic growth of any middle school in Colorado and earning the status of #1 (of approximately 160 schools) on Denver Public School’s School Performance Framework.

Josh was a Teach for America corps member in the Rio Grande Valley from 2001 to 2004, where he was recognized as Campus Teacher of the Year (2003-2004) and Wal-Mart Community Teacher of the Year (2003-2004). He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.

Josh Smith

Dean Fellow, Aspiring Leaders Program
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Rebecca Utton

Senior Dean, National Academies

Rebecca Utton is the Senior Dean of National Academies. She previously led the Midsouth ILPD and supported the California ILPD. Before joining the Relay team, she worked for STRIVE Prep Charter Schools in Denver, Colorado as a school leader then Managing Director of middle and high schools. She has a Bachelors in Pan-African Studies from Barnard College, a Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University and a Master of Science in School Leadership from Harvard University. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her two children.

Rebecca Utton

Senior Dean, National Academies
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Katie Yezzi

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Katie Yezzi is Associate Dean of Regional Support on Relay GSE’s Leadership Programs Team. In this role, she provides leadership coaching for a portfolio of school districts as well as creates and teaches content for our leadership programs.

Prior to joining Relay, Katie was an Assistant Superintendent with Uncommon Schools in Troy, NY, having founded both Troy Preparatory Charter Elementary and High Schools. She also served on the Teach Like a Champion Team. Previously, Katie taught English and served in several leadership roles in district (SFUSD) and charter high schools in San Francisco.

Katie is the co-author, with Doug Lemov and Erica Woolway of Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better. Ms. Yezzi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Civilization and her Master of Arts in Teaching English from Brown University and is a member of New Leaders Cohort 2.

Katie Yezzi

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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Trakela Small

Associate Dean of National Academy Fellowships

Katie Yezzi is Associate Dean of Regional Support on Relay GSE’s Leadership Programs Team. In this role, she provides leadership coaching for a portfolio of school districts as well as creates and teaches content for our leadership programs.

Prior to joining Relay, Katie was an Assistant Superintendent with Uncommon Schools in Troy, NY, having founded both Troy Preparatory Charter Elementary and High Schools. She also served on the Teach Like a Champion Team. Previously, Katie taught English and served in several leadership roles in district (SFUSD) and charter high schools in San Francisco.

Katie is the co-author, with Doug Lemov and Erica Woolway of Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better. Ms. Yezzi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Civilization and her Master of Arts in Teaching English from Brown University and is a member of New Leaders Cohort 2.

Trakela Small

Associate Dean of National Academy Fellowships