Our Team

Our Team

The success of any organization’s mission is directly related to the quality of the people it recruits. At Achievement Prep, we work hard to get the right people “on the bus.” The Achievement Prep team is made up of the best, brightest, and most passionate in education. Working from a common mission and committed to shared goals, the Achievement Prep team works relentlessly to close the achievement gap for our scholars. We are non-negotiable in our beliefs, yet we are always striving to improve who we are and what we do. Together we do “three-generational work,” knowing if we change the lives of our scholars, we change the lives of their parents and the lives of their future children.

Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Campus Leadership

Wahler Place Elementary School
Jake Lappi, Principal, Wahler Place Elementary School

JLappiJake Lappi: As Principal of the Wahler Place Elementary School, Jake oversees scholar support, academics, and operations. He works with network leadership to build an effective and cohesive campus culture. Before coming to Achievement Prep, Jake served as an Assistant Principal at multiple schools in Charlotte, North Carolina after completing a principal residency through the highly selective New Leaders training program. Jake received his B.A. in English from Clemson University and entered the education field as a high school English teacher through Teach for America in North Carolina.

Cassandra Bailey, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction, Wahler Place Elementary School

Cassandra Bailey:image_cv As Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, Cassandra works closely with the Principal and Scholar Support Coordinator to provide all scholars with the skills, knowledge and experiences necessary to ensure continuous academic and social growth. After earning  a Bachelor of Arts English degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland Public Honors College, Cassandra launched her career in education with Prince George’s County Public Schools as a PGCPS Teaching Fellow with The New Teacher Project, dually certified  in Special Education K-12 and Elementary General Education. Beginning as a self-contained Special Education classroom Cassandra’s quick study and natural leadership capacity were quickly noticed by executive leadership and instructional directors for her masterful classroom demonstrations, refreshing instructional design, and curriculum proficiency, attaining fast-track promotion as a Professional Development Coordinator, Instructional Leadership Coach, and Curriculum writer. Cassandra earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from American University and Post-Master’s in Administrative licensure in Educational Leadership and Public Policy  from The George Washington University.  Cassandra and her husband, Tre, recently expanded their family and are new parents to their fur-baby, Thor, a french bulldog. Outside of school Cassandra can be found scoping the metropolitan restaurant and cafe scene, hosting dinner parties, antiquing, and training for her next half marathon!

Sarah Valverde, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction, Wahler Place Elementary School

Sarah Valverde: Sarah has always been passionate about serving under-served communities. Her passion for education in high-need communities began in Baltimore City as the After-school Program Coordinator for an elementary school. Sarah launched her teaching career with DC Public Schools as a DC Teaching Fellow with The New Teacher Project. She has had the pleasure of teaching 5th grade for 5 years, served as a Math Teacher Specialist and as an Assistant School Leader prior to becoming the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction with Achievement Prep. Sarah received her B.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and her M. Ed in Supervision and Administration from The University of Houston.

Wahler Place Middle School Campus
Shantelle Wright, Acting Principal, Wahler Place Middle School

SDW headshot 2Shantelle Wright: Shantelle founded Achievement Prep in 2007 as a Building Excellent Schools Fellow and has led the school to be one of the top performing schools in DC since its inception. Shantelle is a well-respected school leader and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in urban education. Prior to founding Achievement Prep, Shantelle practiced commercial real estate law for several years at a large, well-respected Washington, D.C. law firm. She is a proud “Hamptonian” and obtained her B.A. in Sociology from Hampton University. Shantelle is also a licensed attorney, having received a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University School of Law.

Erica Franklin, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction, Wahler Place Middle School

Erica FranklinErica Franklin: Erica joined Achievement Prep in 2012 and currently serves as the Dean of Curriculum & Instruction at the Wahler Place Elementary School. A Teach For America alumna, she taught 2nd and 4th grade special education and 5th grade general education for three years at her placement school in Atlanta, Georgia. While working in Atlanta, Erica held several positions with TFA’s Atlanta office, including Operations Coordinator, Summer Program Coordinator, Content Leader, Interviewer, Corps Member Advisor, and School Director. After teaching in Atlanta, Erica returned to the DC area and began work at Achievement Prep, where she taught 5th grade math before graduating to her current position as Dean of Curriculum & Instruction. Erica holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland – College Park in Communications and Sociology.

Yolanda Barber, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction, Wahler Place Middle School

YB photo

Yolanda Barber is a career educator with experience as a middle school math teacher, an instructional coach, and as a Master Educator for DC Public Schools evaluating and supporting secondary math teachers. Yolanda began her career with Baltimore City Schools through the Baltimore City Teaching Residency, and has consistently committed herself to educating the whole child, particularly those in under-resourced urban areas. After six years in the classroom, Yolanda shifted her focus to teacher proficiency, hoping to impact educators in the same manner she did children. Prior to joining Achievement Prep, Yolanda’s work has included conducting classroom observations, providing targeted professional development, and analyzing quantitative and qualitative assessment data in order to build teacher capacity and positively influence student achievement.

Yolanda holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Howard University, and a Master of Arts in Leadership in Teaching degree with a specialization in STEM from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Network Office

Shantelle Wright, Founder and CEO

SDW headshot 2Shantelle Wright:
Shantelle founded Achievement Prep in 2007 as a Building Excellent Schools Fellow and has led the school to be one of the top performing schools in DC since its inception. Shantelle is a well-respected school leader and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in urban education. Prior to founding Achievement Prep, Shantelle practiced commercial real estate law for several years at a large, well-respected Washington, D.C. law firm. She is a proud “Hamptonian” and obtained her B.A. in Sociology from Hampton University. Shantelle is also a licensed attorney, having received a Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University School of Law.

Nikki Diamantes, Chief of Staff

HeadshotAs Chief of Staff, Nikki serves as a key leader for strategic initiatives with a focus on longer-term innovation and transformation. In addition to leading strategic expansion to increase the number of high-quality seats in Ward 8, she focuses internally to meet the challenges of scale – assessing and revising current processes and procedures, maintaining a strong organizational culture, refining systems for increasing scale, and developing the strategy needed to consistently deliver excellence.

Before her time at Achievement Prep, Nikki held several positions in education and non-profit organizations, including Leading Educators where she served as Vice President of Strategic Growth and the Recovery School District where she served as the Chief of Staff.   

Nikki received a Masters in Educational Leadership from the Broad Residency in Urban Education, a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University, and a B.A. in Political Science and Anthropology from George Mason University.

Susan Cannon, Chief Academic Officer

Susan Cannon ProfileSusan Cannon: Susan is the Chief Academic Officer of Achievement Prep. She joined Achievement Prep during the 2008 planning year as the founding Director of Academic Achievement. Since that time, Susan has worked to develop and oversee the academic program of the school. She has more than ten years of experience teaching and leading in both traditional public schools and public charter schools located in Wards 7 & 8 in Washington, DC. Susan holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Educational Leadership and Management from George Washington University. She is also a graduate of Princeton Alumni Corps’ Emerging Leaders program.

Greg Gaines, Chief Operating Officer

Greg Gaines HeadshotGreg Gaines: As Chief Operating Officer, Greg oversees operations on both the school and the network level, developing strategic plans for organizational growth and building systems to increase efficiency and efficacy. Prior to joining the Achievement Prep team, Greg served as Director of Budget Operations at another DC charter network and as a regional manager in the Washington DC Department of Parks and Recreation. He earned his B.S. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts and a Master’s of Public Policy from George Washington University. Greg was also an Associate Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research.

Valerie Evans, Chief Talent Officer

website photo-VEVANSValerie Evans: Valerie was a founding board member at Achievement Prep and was influential in developing the flagship campus’ charter application. In her role as Chief Talent Officer, she oversees talent acquisition and development and creates talent systems to engage applicants and current staff. She also manages career pathways within the organization, and leads organizational development as well as professional development efforts. Before her time at Achievement Prep, Valerie held several positions in education and non-profit organizations, including Education Pioneers, where she was the National Director of Curriculum Development & Training, as well as the DC Metro Area Program Director. Valerie earned a B.A. from Spelman College and an M.A. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Charlene Roach-Glymph, Chief Special Education Officer

CRG Head ShotCharlene Roach-Glymph: In her role as the Chief Special Education Officer, Charlene leads the Scholar Support Department, focusing specifically on improving educational outcomes and college readiness for students with disabilities. She has more than 20 years experience as a leader-educator in both traditional and public charter schools in the District of Columbia. Before joining the Achievement Prep Academy Network Office team Charlene served in senior leadership roles at two other charter school districts in the area of Student Support Services and as the Training and Technical Assistance Specialist– Least Restrictive Environment for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Charlene holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and M.A. in Special Education from the University of the District of Columbia. She has her Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Howard University.

Steaven Hamlin, Director of Scholar Support

Steaven Hamlin: As Achievement Prep’s Director of Scholar Support, Steaven Hamlin develops and coordinates Special Education strategies, instruction, and goals to ensure all Star Scholars make college-ready growth. Steaven came to Achievement Prep with a background in Special Education, having worked as a Special Education Teacher and a Special Education Coordinator. Most recently, he served as the Director of Scholar Support Services for another DC charter school network. Steaven received his B.S. in Biology and Education from Virginia State University.

Tanya Tilghman, Director of Special Projects

Tanya Tilghman: Tanya Tilghman joined Achievement Prep in October of 2010. She currently serves as the Director of Special Projects, in which she oversees various network-wide initiatives for the organization. She works closely with the Founder & CEO, and school leadership to develop and oversee systems for all non-instructional activity to include school meal program management, facilities and maintenance contract management, and execution of various strategic plan initiatives. Prior to her current role, Mrs. Tilghman served as a campus-based Dean of Operations, as well as the Assistant to the Founder & Head of School. Before joining Achievement Prep, Mrs. Tilghman held various positions throughout the public and private sector of education in the state of Maryland. She holds a degree in Business Administration.

Tamiko Williams, Special Assistant to the CEO

DSC_9897b-LTamiko Williams: Tamiko joined Achievement Prep in May 2016 as the Special Assistant to the CEO. She assists with the management of the day-to-day affairs of the CEO’s office and maintains the systems of the network that are under the direct supervision of the CEO. Tamiko received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University and has nearly 10 years of experience working as a direct service provider in both school and community-based organizations. Tamiko is passionate about educating young people and helping them reach their full potential. She loves to travel and spend time with family, friends and her dog, Coco.

Board of Trustees

Taimarie Adams, Secretary, Board & Search Services Coordinator at the Association for Community College Trustees

Taimarie Adams is a Board and Search Services Coordinator at the Association for Community College Trustees (ACCT).  Her work focuses recruiting community college presidents and vice presidents for executive searches, board training and policy research.  Prior to joining ACCT she was a Senior Policy Officer at the Low Income Investment Fund where she advocated for strong public policies that support high-quality charter schools and led the Charter School Lenders’ Coalition.  Taimarie is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and received her Juris Doctor from the Harvard Law School.   

Jason E. Andrean, Chair, Vice President and Relationship Manager at Capital One Commercial Bank

Jason E. Andrean is an assistant vice president and relationship manager at Capital One Commercial Bank.  With more than 11 years of retail and commercial banking experience, Jason brings a strong background of financial analysis and management to the board.  Jason’s community involvement and leadership include serving on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, where he is the past president of the DC Region.  Currently he serves on the board of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust, DFER DC Advisory Board, and is the vice chair of Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Corporate Social Responsibility Council.  Jason graduated from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where he studied leadership and change management.

Maia Blankenship, Trustee, Executive Director at The Achievement Network

Maia A. Blankenship is the Executive Director of The Achievement Network (ANet). She serves as an organization-wide leader for the national nonprofit with oversight and management of the DC Network, which supports over 65 schools in the District of Columbia with data driven instruction and professional development of teachers. Maia brings a passion for transforming urban education and over 15 years of professional experience with process improvement, strategic planning and organizational design to her work. As a freelance consultant she is passionate about supporting school districts, charter schools and education organizations with recruitment, talent management and retention planning.

Prior to ANet, Maia served as the founder of Talent Share Strategies a talent management LLC designed to support human capital needs of public schools in the areas of staffing, recruitment and selection. As the Director of Staffing and Recruitment Services at DC Public Schools during the implementation and rollout of a new teacher evaluation system she gained a more nuanced perspective of the opportunities and challenges of teacher and leader recruitment in an urban school district. Maia obtained a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College and a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

John B. Mahaffie, Trustee, Co-founder and Principal at Leading Futurists LLC

John Mahaffie is a futurist who helps organizations interpret and respond to change they face, and to discover paths forward. He brings his clients two essential capabilities: a comprehensive knowledge of the future, and skill and experience at designing and leading processes to explore change and opportunity. John writes, speaks, and consults on topics including future consumers, work and worklife, science and technology, education, global economic change, and the environment. Since 1987 he has served dozens of Fortune 500 companies along with trade and professional associations, government agencies, and non-profits. John is a co-founder and past Board Chair of the Association of Professional Futurists. He has also served on the boards of the Northwest Washington Little League, the Urban Baseball Foundation, and the Edmund Burke School. Born and raised in Maryland, he has been a DC resident since 1983.

Barbara Nophlin, Vice Chair, Education Consultant at Friendship Public Charter School Network

Barbara Nophlin is a long-time advocate of public education, she has been active in both Washington, DC public charter schools and traditional schools.  Currently an education consultant, she has worked as a principal, assistant principal, early childhood coordinator and instructional support specialist. Ms. Nophlin was the second head of school for Paul Public Charter School (formerly Paul JHS, a DCPS school), the city’s only conversion charter school.  She was principal at Community Academy Public Charter School and Amidon Elementary School (a DCPS school).  Ms. Nophlin was also the director of policy research and analysis in the former Washington, DC State Education Office.  Currently she coaches new principals for the Friendship Public Charter School network. Ms. Nophlin received her Bachelor of Science in early childhood education from the District of Columbia Teachers College and her Master of Education from Trinity College.

Stephanie Oliveras, Trustee, Senior Relationship Manager at Bank of America/Senior Vice President

Stephanie Oliveras is a Senior Relationship Manager at Bank of America where she has worked in Community Development Banking for over 10 years.   Stephanie has successfully worked in the Northeast, based in both Boston and NYC, and the West Coast.  Most recently, she has relocated to Washington D.C. to lead the Bank’s charter school financing efforts nationally.  Ms. Oliveras holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with a dual concentration in accounting and finance from Boston University.  Stephanie is an active member of her community and regularly provides mentorship as well as lessons in financial literacy.

Harlyn Pacheco, Trustee, Strategy Consultant at Accenture

Harlyn Pacheco is a Strategy Consultant at Accenture. He was previously CEO and Co-Founder of Qlovi, a startup winner in the Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge focused on accelerating literacy achievement. He has held roles managing education programs at Children’s Arts and Science Workshops, conducting due diligence for renewable energy investments at the Office of Management and Budget, and coordinating operations at the Major League Baseball World Baseball Classic. Harlyn is a 2013 Echoing Green Fellow and 2014 Ashoka Emerging Innovator. Harlyn holds an MBA, MPP, and BA from the University of Michigan.

Herb Tillery, Trustee, Executive Director at College Success Foundation - DC

Herbert R. Tillery is the Executive Director of the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia, a nonprofit that seeks to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing a unique, integrated system of supports, services and scholarships for underserved, low-income students starting in middle school, through high school completion, college graduation and into viable careers.  He is also the founder and co-chair of the city-wide Raise DC Partnership.

Herb Tillery served his country with distinction for over 26 years and retired with the rank of Colonel, U.S. Army.  He has held various senior executive leadership positions, most notable, Deputy Mayor for Operations, Government of the District of Columbia; Chief of Staff, District of Columbia Public Schools; Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Personnel Support, Families and Education; and an Inspector General for the Army.

Born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, D.C., Mr. Tillery graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from North Carolina A&T State University and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1970. While on active duty, he earned a Master’s of Public Administration from Jacksonville State University.

Timothy Tillman, Trustee, Director of Finance and Treasury at First Potomac Realty Trust

Tim Tillman is the Director, Finance & Treasury with First Potomac Realty Trust, (NYSE: FPO), where he manages the company’s debt and treasury functions. Previously, Tim was with RLJ Lodging Trust, where he worked on a variety of assignments including the negotiation, execution, and closing of asset acquisitions and dispositions, loan financings, and asset management. Prior to joining RLJ, Tim was with Credit Suisse in the Leveraged Finance Originations group, where he worked on various capital raising and merger and acquisition transactions. Tim’s professional career began with Bank of America Securities, where he worked as an analyst in the Real Estate Investment Bank. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from North Carolina A&T State University, where he graduated cum laude and he received his M.B.A. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Tim sits on the board of Achievement Prep, a public charter school and he has been a volunteer with the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the National Capitol Area.

Ursula Wright, Trustee, Managing Director, Education & Youth Practice at FSG

Ursula Wright is a founding trustee of Achievement Prep.  She currently co-leads the Education & Youth practice at FSG, a mission-driven consulting firm for leaders in search of large-scale, lasting social change. Through its combination of customized services, powerful ideas, and learning communities, FSG helps foundations, businesses, nonprofits, and governments around the world accelerate impact.  Ursula’s immediate past position was with the Obama Administration where she served as the Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to her government service, Ursula was an executive at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the quality growth of the charter school movement.  Before transitioning to the not-for-profit sector, Ursula developed functional competencies in strategy, operations, finance, and marketing at some of the nation’s most recognized private sector firms. Ursula earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has also completed executive education coursework at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.