Maura Englender joined DC Prep in 2013, and is the Benning Elementary Campus (BEC) Principal. Prior to this role, she served as Resident Principal-in-Training as well as Assistant Principal of Academics at the school. Maura began her tenure at DC Prep as a Literacy Coordinator at BEC, working with the Kindergarten through 3rd grade Literacy teachers to develop curriculum and improve their instructional practices. Prior to joining the team, Maura taught high school history in North Carolina and served on Teach For America’s DC staff. Maura earned a BA from Lewis and Clark College and an MEd from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Neema Desai came to DC Prep in 2011 from a charter school in Bronx, NY. Prior to serving as the current Assistant Principal of Academics, she was the Assistant Principal of Culture where she strengthened student culture school-wide. Neema started at DC Prep as an Edgewood Middle Campus 4th grade teacher prior to transitioning to a founding faculty position with Benning Middle Campus, where she served as a 4th grade Literacy teacher and Grade Level Lead. She also has prior experience teaching at Democracy Prep PCS. Neema began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member in New York City in 2008. She holds a BA from The George Washington University and an MA from Bank Street College.
Jamie Hernandez joined DC Prep in 2009 as a Kindergarten teacher, and has experience working in charter schools with both special education and early childhood students. Currently, she serves as the Assistant Principal of Early Childhood, working closely with leadership and teams to ensure that Preppies have a solid academic foundation from the earliest years. Prior to this, she was the campus Early Childhood Instructional Coordinator - providing instructional support for preschool, prekindergarten, and Kindergarten teachers. Prior to joining DC Prep, she served as Special Education Coordinator at Nia Public Charter School in DC. Jamie received a BA in elementary education as well as an MA in special education, both from Catholic University.
Degarrius Cullum joined DC Prep in 2014 as a Kindergarten Teacher prior to taking on the role of Dean of Student Support. Previously, he served as the site director for the after school program “People Animals Love” and was a preschool teacher at DC Scholars. Degarrius also has extensive experience directing and supervising early childhood centers. He earned a BS from Benedict College and an MEd from Strayer University.
Jessica Herrmann | Kindergarten and 1st Grade Literacy Department Chair (BEC and EEC)
Jessica Herrmann is the Literacy Department Chair, having previously served as the Literacy Instructional Coordinator. She works with Kindergarten and 1st grade Literacy teachers at both Benning Elementary Campus and Edgewood Elementary Campus to develop curriculum and improve their instructional practices. She joined DC Prep in 2013 as a Kindergarten teacher. Before that, she was a kindergarten teacher in Philadelphia for two years. She received a BS from SUNY Geneseo and MEd from Chestnut Hill College.
Emily Jeffries joined DC Prep in 2013 after working for three years of teaching in New York. In her role as Special Education Coordinator, Emily works to ensure that the Benning Elementary Campus provides appropriate programs in the least restrictive environment for all students with special needs. She received her BA from Wagner College and MEd from Pace University.
Ashley Kobilka joined the DC Prep team in 2013 and works with Kindergarten and 1st grade Literacy teachers at both the Edgewood Elementary Campus and Benning Elementary Campus to develop curriculum and improve their instructional practices. Prior to this role, she was a Kindergarten Teacher at the campus. Before joining DC Prep, she was a tutor with Educational Connections, a basic skills instructor at Walter Reed National Military Center, and a special education teacher for 2nd and 3rd graders at The Kingsbury Center. She holds a BA from Gettysburg College.
Katie Kuzma | Elementary Science Department Chair (BEC and EEC)
Katie Kuzma joined DC Prep in 2013 as a 3rd Grade Social Studies/Science Teacher. Currently, she serves as the Elementary Science Department Chair supporting teams at both Edgewood Elementary Campus and Benning Elementary Campus. She was a Teach For America corps member in Atlanta, where she taught 4th grade English, social studies, and science. She earned her BA at Harvard College.
Danielle Palmer, Psychologist, joined DC Prep in 2013. She has extensive experience in clinical Psychology, most recently serving as a case manager for the Devereux Children’s Behavioral Health Services where she developed individualized treatment plans and provided individual and group psychotherapy for adolescents and their families. As the School Psychologist at DC Prep, Danielle provides hands-on support working with teachers and families of students with disabilities to map out solutions to learning and behavioral issues. In addition, she provides individual and group counseling/social skills training, and also administers social-emotional and psycho-educational testing. Danielle received a BS from Howard University and an MA and Ph.D. in School Psychology, both from Michigan State University.
Melissa Rich | Kindergarten and 1st Grade Math Department Chair (BEC and EEC)
Melissa Rich joined DC Prep in 2012 and originally served as a prekindergarten teacher and Grade Level Lead before transitioning into her current role as Math Department Chair, supporting Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers at the Benning Elementary Campus and Edgewood Elementary Campus. Prior to DC Prep, Melissa taught 3rd and 5th grades as a member of Teach For America’s 2010 Miami Corps. Melissa also coached a girls’ high school basketball team. She has both a BA and an MEd from Lehigh University.
Grace-Ann Taylor joined DC Prep in fall 2008 from Jamaica through Teachers Council and served as a Kindergarten teacher and Grade Level Lead at Edgewood Elementary Campus. Currently, she is the Early Childhood Support Coordinator at Benning Elementary Campus. Before coming to DC Prep, she taught for seven years in Jamaica at the kindergarten level. Grace-Ann has a BA from the University of the West Indies, and an MA from the University of South Florida.
Amber McCrady Toeller joined DC Prep in 2012 as a 3rd grade Literacy Teacher. Currently, she serves as the School Counselor for Benning Elementary, where she provides a comprehensive, developmentally appropriate program of counseling and character education for students. Amber got her start in education as a member of Teach For America (TFA) in the Mississippi Delta region. Just prior to joining DC Prep, Amber coached new TFA teachers in the Metro DC region. She has also done volunteer work in Ecuador through the Travel to Teach program. She holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a MA in School Counseling from the George Washington University.
Sadiya Abubakri joined DC Prep in 2012 as a Teach For America (TFA) Corps Member. She completed a year in TFA in Greenville, Mississippi, before transferring to the Metro DC corps. Before teaching, Sadiya was the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Ayidas INC. She has a BS from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Kathleen Boland joined DC Prep in 2014 as a 3rd grade Literacy Teacher before moving into the Kindergarten level. Prior to joining DC Prep, she was a school librarian and a prekindergarten assistant in Maryland. Kathleen holds a BA from James Madison University and an MA from Loyola University of Maryland.
Erica Campbell joined DC Prep in 2015. Prior to the DC Prep, she taught Kindergarten at Democracy Prep PCS. She was previously a fellow at Appletree Early Learning PCS as well. She earned a BS from Hampton University and an MAT from Liberty University.
Jennifer Cayemite joined DC Prep in 2015. Prior to DC Prep, she taught SPED at Up Academy Dorchester. She was previously an ESL teacher at Teach For America in Boston. She earned her BA from Boston College.
Caitlin Clark joined DC Prep in 2014. Prior to joining DC Prep, she taught 7th grade English at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School. Caitlin tutored and mentored 7th graders as a City Year Corps Member in Washington, DC. She holds a BA from the University of Redlands.
Sherilyn Cummings joined DC Prep in 2012 and formerly served as the 2nd Grade Literacy Teacher and Grade Level Lead. Prior to joining DC Prep, she taught Kindergarten. Sherilyn received a BA from Howard University.
Kiera Grant joined DC Prep in 2013. She previously served as a Benning Middle Campus Operations Assistant and an Academic Intervention Fellow, before moving into the Preschool teaching role. Kiera earned a BA from Trinity Washington University.
Valerie Krauser joined DC Prep in 2009 and has served as a long-time 1st and 2nd grade Math teacher and Grade Level Lead. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, she student taught throughout the greater Boston area and completed full-time student teaching in Sydney, Australia. She has she served as a camp counselor on cross-country teen tours with American Trails West. Valerie has a BS from Boston University.
Ashlei Lytle joined DC Prep in 2015. She has 8 years of experience in the teaching profession. Ashlei holds a BA from Trinity University and an MEd in elementary education from Grand Canyon University. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in educational leadership with an emphasis in behavioral health from Grand Canyon University.
Virginia Maloney-Keagle joined DC Prep in 2015. Prior to DC Prep, she was the Writing Curriculum Director and an elementary school teacher at Nashville Classical Charter School. Before that, she taught middle school in Pennsylvania. She received a BS from Pennsylvania State University.
Katie Overland joined DC Prep in 2012. She is a member of the DC Teaching Fellows Summer 2012 Cohort, where she received certification to teach elementary special education. Katie received a BA from Muhlenberg College.
Louise Prince joined DC Prep as a Preschool teacher in 2013 before transitioning into her current role as Kindergarten Teacher. Prior to DC Prep, Louise taught at Bright Beginnings and Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School, where she also served as the Hiring Committee Chairperson. Louise also worked as a researcher at the Emory School of Public Health. Louise holds a bachelors degree from Spelman College and a masters degree from the Howard University School of Education.
Eleanor Sims joined DC Prep in 2008 as a founding faculty member at Benning Elementary Campus. She has extensive experience as an early childhood and elementary teacher at DC Prep and throughout metropolitan DC. Eleanor has a BA from Elizabeth City State University.
Ryan Townsley joined DC Prep in 2014 as a DC Teaching Fellow. Prior to joining DC Prep, he worked as a City Year Team Leader and Corps Member in DC. Ryan earned a BA from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Kalyn Blueitt joined DC Prep in 2015. Kalyn has several years of work experience in business operations and people management, and is particularly keen on providing a high-quality customer service experience for everyone he works with. He previously served as Certified Relationship Banker/Branch Designee for Capital One Bank in Silver Spring, MD, and as a Store Manager for a national retail chain. Kalyn holds a BFA from University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
Aja Bogan joined DC Prep in 2016 and serves as an Operations Assistant for the Benning Elementary Campus. She has been working in education since 2005, and holds a BA from the University of North Carolina - Charlotte.
Priestly Mance joined DC Prep in 2014. Priestly oversees HVAC systems and building maintenance for both Benning Campuses. He is has 35+ years of HVAC experience working in a school environment and is a retired Boiler Plant Operator Supervisor from District General Services. Priestly holds a DC 1st Class Engineer License and a Universal CFC Refrigeration Certification.
“I thank everyone at DC Prep for helping me – and my brothers – realize our full potential, and for the ongoing support of the DC Prep Community to enable students like me to attend great high schools and colleges.”