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 Campus
Yolanda Barber, Principal, Wahler Place Elementary School

Yolanda Barber: In her fifteenth year in education and third at Achievement Prep, Yolanda Barber is a career educator who currently serves as the Principal of our Elementary Campus. Yolanda began her career with Baltimore City Schools in 2004 and has consistently committed herself to educating the whole child, particularly those in under-resourced, urban areas.

After six years teaching mathematics, 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 to provide teachers feedback around instructional strategies, facilitating targeted professional development, and analyzing quantitative and qualitative assessment data in order to build teacher capacity and positively influence scholar achievement. While at Achievement Prep, she has served as Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, and as Assessment and Accountability Manager, building strong relationship with staff, scholars, and families alike.

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.

Tanya Tilghman, Assistant Principal, Wahler Place Elementary School

Tanya Tilghman: Tanya Tilghman joined Achievement Prep in October of 2010. She previously served as the Director of Special Projects, in which she oversaw various network-wide initiatives for the organization. She’s worked 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 also 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.

Shanquette Dannah, Operations Coordinator, Wahler Place Elementary School

Shanquette Dannah: Shanquette joined Achievement Prep in 2018 as the Operations Coordinator for the Elementary School. She handles day-to-day operations of the school, ensuring all of the small details of running a school are attended to, from data reporting to school supplies, family and community outreach, events planning and management, and communications. Shanquette received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Trinity Washington University and has over 6 years experience handling Operations in both school and business organizations. Shanquette believes education is the key to unlocking every child’s maximum potential.

Wahler Place Middle School Campus
Cyrkle Lomax, Principal, Wahler Place Middle School

Cyrkle Lomax: Cyrkle joined Achievement Prep in 2017 and currently serves as the Principal of the Wahler Place Middle School Campus after previously serving as Scholar Support Coordinator for the Middle School Campus. Cyrkle facilitated the special education processes that are necessary to maximize the growth potential of scholars with exceptional learning needs to include evaluating special education programs, training scholar support teaching staff and dedicated aides, and overseeing the development and application of individualized education programs (IEPs).  She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Towson University and a Masters of Leadership in Teaching with dual certification in Special Education and Secondary English from the Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Elizabeth Simpson, Assistant Principal, Wahler Place Middle School

Middle School Assistant Principal

Elizabeth Simpson: Elizabeth is entering into her thirteenth year in education and is excited to bring her expertise to Achievement Prep. Beginning her teaching career in Memphis City Schools, she taught high school Special Education for three years before transitioning to Algebra 1 and 8th grade math. She has worked in both the public and charter sectors and has experience at the elementary, middle, and high school levels with her students achieving results that outpaced state and district norms each year she taught.

Prior to moving to DC, Ms. Simpson trained with Building Excellent Schools and founded and led an all-boy’s charter school in Memphis. Her school ranked in the top tier each year according the the district’s scoring system, and is now recognized as a reward school. Since becoming a school leader, Ms. Simpson has also engaged in school turnaround efforts and has completed the National Principal’s Academy Relay GSE program. 

Ms. Simpson holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Richmond and an M.S. in Special Education from the University of Memphis.


Stephone Harris, Operations Coordinator, Wahler Place Middle School

Stephone Harris: Stephone Harris joined Achievement Prep in 2017 as the Operations Coordinator for the middle school.  Stephone handles the day to day operations of the middle school, including, but not limited to: enrollment, family outreach/communication, procuring school items needed, etc.  Stephone received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from West Virginia University and has over 7 years of experience in Operations.

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.

Greg Gaines, Chief Operating Officer

Greg 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.

Sarah Lewis, Chief of Schools

Sarah Lewis: Sarah is a Master educator with 15 years of demonstrated success across multiple geographies and genres – Kindergarten – 9th grade.  Lewis has maximized opportunities to promote excellence through best-in-class student achievement and leadership since receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from Hampton University. 

She is the recipient of multiple certificates and awards for her unwavering belief and results.  In her most recent past as Dean and Principal of a high-performing CMO, she has utilized both conventional and unconventional modes to navigate Common Core and the needs of trauma-sensitive populations.  Sarah’s work extends beyond exemplary instruction to that of data and assessment analysis, people leadership, program development, teacher coaching, family mentorship, and school culture consulting.  

She relishes in the building blocks of teaching in her publication, The Educator’s Workbook: Core Keys to Classroom Success.  In addition, she partners with several organizations also committed to scholar greatness, including the Ed Council for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and National Alliance of Black School Educators.  Lewis brings a wealth of experience to her role as Chief of Schools for Achievement Prep and advocate for all children.

Rob Murphy, Managing Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Rob Murphy: As the Managing Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Rob is responsible for the overall academic performance of all schools. He oversees the academic program including curriculum, instruction, assessment, student learning and professional learning.   He helps both teachers and leaders develop a deep understanding of the written curriculum, assessment tools, effective instructional practices and student data. Rob collaborates closely with the instructional leaders across the organization to continually improve teacher practice and increase student achievement. He works to ensure that every scholar is taught by a highly effective teacher.

Before joining Achievement Prep, Rob served as a classroom teacher for 15 years. As a teacher, Rob was the recipient of the Agnes Myer Award for Excellence in Education presented by The Washington Post and was a nominee for Virginia Teacher of the Year. Since moving into a leadership role, he has worked as an instructional coach and as a leader at both the school and network level.

Rob holds a BS in Secondary Education and a BA in History from the University of Scranton. He received master’s degrees in Linguistics & Bilingual Education from Georgetown University and School Leadership & Supervision from George Mason University. He is also a certified reading specialist.

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.

Donté Ray, Director of Recruitment and Outreach

Donté Ray: As Achievement Prep’s Director of Recruitment and Outreach, Donté Ray develops and oversees Recruitment and Outreach strategies for finding talented people to join the Achievement Prep family.  Donté comes to Achievement Prep with a background in Teaching Elementary Education, Writing and Negotiating Contracts, and Recruitment.  Most recently, he’s served as the Director of Talent and Acquisition for Teach For America. Donté received his B.S. in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Erica Harrell, Director of Leadership Development

Erica Harrell: Erica joined Achievement Prep in 2012 and currently serves as the Director of Leadership Development. As 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 and Summer Institute, including Operations Coordinator, Summer Program Coordinator, Content Leader, Interviewer, Corps Member Advisor, and School Director. After teaching in Atlanta, Erica moved back to the D.C. area and began work at Achievement Prep, where she taught 5th grade math. Erica was a founding Co-Director of Academic Achievement and a Dean of Curriculum of Instruction at the Elementary School before returning to the Middle School. Upon her return to the middle school she served as the Dean of Curriculum & Instruction and Principal. Erica holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland – College Park in Communications and Sociology and a Masters of Education in Instructional School Leadership from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Board of Trustees

Ahmed Ali, Trustee, Senior Associate Director, Children's Hospital Foundation

Ahmed Ali: Ahmed Ali is a Senior Associate Director at the Children’s Hospital Foundation. With more than 10 years of nonprofits and sales experience, along with his passion for youth development & education, Ahmed brings a strong background in fundraising and management to the board.  Ahmed has worked for many nonprofits such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Whitman- Walker Health, and Boys Scouts of America.  Ahmed holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a master of nonprofits and associations management from the University of Maryland Global Campus.

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

Jason E. Andrean: Jason is a 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.

Email: drean@achievementprep.org

Rufus Davis, Trustee, Parent at Achievement Prep

Rufus Davis: Rufus has been a Platinum Parent since 2009. His daughter, Rushea Davis, joined Achievement Prep in second grade and graduated in 2015-16. His son, Rufus, joined us in 4th grade and his other daughter, D’Kayla Cobb, joined us in second grade and is currently in the 7th grade.

Since 2009, Mr. Davis has been an active Platinum Parent, earning the Parent of the Year award four years in a row. He has volunteered in the classroom and directed traffic during arrival and dismissal for multiple years, ensuring scholars arrived and departed safely.

Mr. Davis selected Achievement Prep because he appreciated the structure the school provides. He recognizes that there are great people from Achievement Prep supporting and rooting for his scholars to succeed.

Mr. Davis was born and raised in Northeast DC and currently resides in Ward 8 of Southeast DC. He is a local sports fan, loyal to the Washington Redskins, and expresses a strong commitment and dedication to his family. “I’m dedicated to my kids. I believe God has blessed me to do exactly what I’m doing right now which is being there for them.”

DeeDee George, Trustee, Director of Affordable Housing at UPO

DeeDee George:  DeeDee is Director of Affordable Housing, at the United Planning Organization (UPO). DeeDee is a strategic real estate executive with over 15 years of experience in Portfolio Management and Performance Oversight in Affordable Housing and Institutional Real Estate. Her prior leadership positions as Portfolio Manager for the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority and Assistant Vice President for New Tower Trust Company provide a strong background in financial analysis and management. Currently she is focused on her passion for helping vulnerable populations with equitable access to affordable homes and educational opportunities. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Siena College and a Masters of Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University.

Patricia Grant, Trustee, Dean, Undergraduate Programs at Georgetown University

Patricia Grant: Patricia is the dean for the Undergraduate Programs at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. At Georgetown McDonough, she has revamped the undergraduate advising structure; expanded career trek opportunities; laid the groundwork for a young alumni advisory group; contributed to curricular innovations such as an entrepreneurship fellows program and first-year seminar program; and created two diversity and inclusion initiatives for incoming students, including one that partners with PwC.

Grant joined Georgetown McDonough in 2010 with more than 15 years of experience in undergraduate, graduate, and executive education program administration. She has taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania, the College of New Jersey, Temple University, and Georgetown. Additionally, she worked in the Office of Executive Education at Penn to develop and launch six master’s and doctoral programs.

She holds an Ed.D. and M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. from Cornell University.

Amber Jackson, Trustee, Parent at Achievement Prep

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Amber Jackson: Amber Jackson is a Platinum Parent with four scholars attending Achievement Prep ranging from PK4 through 8th grade.  Since joining Achievement Prep in 2015, Mrs. Jackson continues to volunteer in classrooms, chaperone field trips, and special events. She is dedicated to being a partner exemplifies love for her children and expects the best for them; she believes Achievement Prep has been a stepping stone in achieving what they can do and proud that her family will be apart of Achievement Prep’s legacy.  Mrs. Jackson chose Achievement Prep because she’s their dedication and passion platinum teachers bring everyday to scholars.  Mrs. Jackson is currently a Managing Member for Rockstar Inkk LLC and also President of K.N.O.T.T.Y Gurl Natural Hair Care.  She was raised in Washington, DC and currently resides in Ward 7 of Southeast DC.

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

Barbara Nophlin: Barbara 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.

Email: drean@achievementprep.org

Kenneth Ward, Trustee, Executive Director at College Bound Inc.

Kenneth Ward: Kenneth is a native North Carolinian, born in Halifax County; home of the Halifax Resolves, which is the precursor of the Declaration of Independence. After graduating as valedictorian of his senior class at Enfield High, he matriculated at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill on a Pogue Scholarship. After relocating to Washington DC, Mr. Ward obtained a Master’s Degree in Education from Trinity College and has worked at the Library of Congress, Charles Young (5th Grade), Harriet Tubman (Summer School Principal), and Paul Public Charter School. Mr. Ward has been a part of the College Bound Organization for the past 20 years serving as the site coordinator at the Gonzaga and Beacon House sites before being selected as the Executive Director of College Bound.

Shantelle Wright, Ex Officio, Founder/CEO at Achievement Prep

Shantelle 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.

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

Ursula Wright: Ursula 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.

If you are interested in attending an Achievement Prep’s Board of Trustees meeting, please contact Tamiko Singleton at tsingleton@achievementprep.org.  Please see our meeting calendar here.