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.

Kari Feinberg
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Kari Feinberg

Provost
Kari Feinberg

Kari Feinberg is the Provost of Professional Education at Relay GSE. In this role, Kari leads the Professional Education Team in its work to provide both long and short-course offerings to school and district leaders as well as teachers across the country. Previously, she was National Dean of Regional Leadership Programs and led Relay Leadership's work and strategic planning efforts to provide network-embedded professional learning, coaching, and support for CAOs, principal managers, and school leaders in the areas of observation and feedback, school culture, data driven instruction.

Before joining Relay in the summer of 2017, Kari spent ten years with YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, Texas, most recently as the Head of Schools from 2013 to 2017. She has also worked as a school leader and teacher in Baton Rouge, LA and Durham, NC.

Kari holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Political Science and graduate degrees in School Leadership and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill. She continues to be Houston based.

Kari Feinberg

Provost
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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Riyad Mohammed

Manager of Events & Operations, Leverage Leadership Institute

Riyad has been with Relay for a little over two years, originally working with Relay GSE's traditional Master students to assist with their various financial needs.

Prior to Relay, Riyad had worked in finance, client management, and community investment in the Philadelphia region, where he is originally from.

Having earned his Masters and Bachelors in Business Communication, he continues to leverage his expertise and development of various communication and operational needs with the Leverage Leadership Institute. Riyad enjoys his spare time finding free and frugal activities so he can expense his passion for food and worldly excursions.

Riyad Mohammed

Manager of Events & Operations, Leverage Leadership Institute
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Melisa Hippolito

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 Hippolito

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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Yvonne Simms

Senior Director of Partnerships

Yvonne Simms is the Senior Director of Partnerships for Relay Professional Education. She manages partnerships and oversees the partnership process for over 300 schools, districts, networks, and funders. Prior to this role, Yvonne served as the Director of Strategy and Operations at Relay’s Delaware campus, where she led the expansion of Relay Delaware’s teacher residency program through strategic partnerships with districts and schools across the First State.

Before Relay, Yvonne supported network-wide family and community engagement initiatives across nearly 20 campuses at Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia and Camden. She began her career as an English and Social studies teacher in Philadelphia and earned her MS.Ed from The University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her husband and their three children.

Yvonne Simms

Senior Director of Partnerships
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Tim Maynes

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

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

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.

Sarah Marder Eppstein
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Dr. Sarah Marder-Eppstein

Managing Director
Sarah Marder Eppstein

As Managing Director of Professional Education, Teacher Programs, 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

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. 

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
Vernon James Riley
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Vernon-James Riley

Vice Provost, National Leadership Programs
Vernon James Riley

Vernon-James Riley is Vice Provost of National School Leader Programs at the Relay Graduate School of Education. In this role, Vernon-James leads the team responsible for the visioning, design, and execution of Relay Leadership Programs’ national programming, including: the National Principal Academy Fellowship (NPAF), National Principal Supervisor Academy (NPSA), Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute (ISLI), and National Instructional Leader Professional Development (ILPD). Collectively, these programs provide a world-class professional development experience to over 500 school leaders annually from 100 PK-12 school districts and charter management organizations across 30 states and the District of Columbia, in turn serving over 45,000 school teachers and 400,000 children. In previous roles at Relay, Vernon-James served as Dean of Leadership Programs and Associate Dean of Regional Support, providing professional development and on-the-ground coaching in the areas of school culture, instructional planning, observation-feedback, data-driven instruction, and strategic planning to instructional superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and instructional coaches in DC Public Schools and Atlanta Public Schools.

Prior to joining Relay, Vernon-James served as Principal at North Star Academy Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, a National Blue Ribbon School and part of the Uncommon Schools network. During his tenure as principal, Vernon-James led the West Side Park Middle School campus to strong academic gains, with all grades outperforming the state average in Math and all grades outperforming the state’s non-economically disadvantaged students in ELA. Vernon-James has also served as a teacher, Dean of Students, and Director of Operations.

Vernon-James received a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education at Michigan State University, Ed.M. in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.M. from Relay Graduate School of Education. He is an alumnus of the Education Pioneers Fellowship and the Leverage Leadership Institute.

Vernon-James Riley

Vice Provost, National 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

Dean, 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 almost 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

Dean, 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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Eneida Padró

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Dr. Eneida Padró serves schools and systems leaders as the Associate Dean of Regional Support at Relay GSE. In her role, she provides on-the-ground coaching and delivers professional development to school and systems leaders.

Eneida has worked in education for over seventeen years; serving communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and delivering professional development across the country and internationally. Prior to joining Relay, she was an Executive Director in Fort Worth ISD supervising a pyramid of schools K-12. In this role she coached and supported school principals in the development of equity literacy, instructional, culture and leadership systems. Previously a leadership development coach and program manager in the non-profit sector. As a school principal in Dallas ISD, Eneida and her team engaged in turnaround work with student progress ranking in the top 5.6% in the district and state.

Eneida received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at 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.

Eneida Padró

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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Megan Sands

Associate Dean, Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute

Megan Sands is an Associate 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

Associate Dean, Inclusive Schools Leadership Institute
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Josh Smith

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Joshua Smith is Associate Dean of Instructional Leadership Programs 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

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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Rebecca Utton

Associate Dean, Regional Support

Rebecca Utton is Associate Dean of Regional Support with Relay’s Leadership Programs. She leads the Midsouth ILPD and supports 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 in School Leadership from Harvard University. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her partner and two children.

Rebecca Utton

Associate Dean, Regional Support
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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