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.

Coy Nesbitt, Chief People Officer

Coy Nesbitt: Coy serves as Achievement Prep’s Chief People Officer. He is focused on our people functions, ensuring integration and alignment between recruitment, onboarding, development, retention, succession and employee support/administration-ultimately leading efforts to make Achievement Prep a “best place to work”. Coy completed the Broad Residency at Tulsa Public Schools where he led teacher recruitment and retention for the district’s more than 2,500 instructional staff. Prior to TPS, Coy spent more than a decade in finance and healthcare both at the federal and provider level. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. College of Maryland and a master’s of science in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University.

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.

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.

Katrina Settles, Director of People Operations

Katrina Settles: As Achievement Prep’s Director of People Operations, Katrina develops and oversees the implementation of organization-wide HR policies and procedures. Katrina comes to Achievement Prep with a background in public and non-profit finance, charter school operations and human resources. Most recently she served as the Director of Finance and Human Capital for another DC charter school network. Katrina received her B.S. in Accounting from Frostburg State University.