KIPP WAYS Academy Staff
Patrice Barnes, Cafeteria Manager
Pat is the Cafeteria Manager at KIPP WAYS Academy. She served as Cafeteria Manager at KIPP Vision Academy before transferring to KIPP WAYS. Prior to that, she was the Cafeteria Manager at Tara Christian Academy and worked for Sage Dining Services.
Temani Frances Beck, 8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
Temani currently serves as the 8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher. Temani began her teaching career at Westlawn Middle School in Tuscaloosa, AL. While at Westlawn, she served as the English Language Arts Department Chair, an Expert Content Teacher, a member of the Common Core Curriculum Design Team, and the Head Cheerleading Coach. She received her BS in Secondary Education and English from The University of Alabama
Nicole Brown, Learning Specialist
Nicole is the 7th and 8th Grade Learning Specialist. Following a successful career in corporate America as a contract manager, she began her career in education for DeKalb and Cobb County Schools where she served as a long-term substitute teacher and paraprofessional for students with disabilities. Nicole is a graduate of Mercer University. She earned a BAS in Organizational Leadership and a Project Management Certificate from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Ashley Byrd, 5th Grade Writing Teacher
Ashley serves as the 5th Grade Writing Teacher. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia and received a BA in English Education.
Nijia Byrd, Math Coordinator
Nijia is the Mathematics Coordinator. She most recently served as a Coach and Instructor for new mathematics teachers throughout five surrounding Metro Atlanta counties with The New Teacher Project. Prior to that, she taught mathematics at the middle, high and collegiate levels for nine years. Nijia has a BS and a Master’s in Middle Grades Education from Georgia State University and is currently pursuing an Educational Doctorate in Teacher Leadership.
Amber Cochran, Maintenance Support Technician
Amber serves as a Maintenance Support Technician. She has worked in construction for more than ten years and comes from five generations of construction workers. Amber attends Gwinnett Technical College and is pursuing a degree in Construction Development.
Jamal Cooper Jr, 5th Grade Science Teacher
Jamal is a 5th Grade Science Teacher. Jamal is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a BS in Secondary Education, Biology. Jamal is pursuing a Master’s in Educational Leadership.
Erinn Cottman, 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher and Grade Level Chair
Erinn is the 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher and Grade Level Chair. She began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member. Before pursuing a career in education, she previously worked in journalism as a writer for Black Enterprise magazine in New York, and continues to occasionally contribute articles to this leading business publication. She is an honors graduate of Hampton University where she received a BA in Print Journalism. Erin is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies at Georgia State University.
Darren Cotton, Educational Assistant
Darren is the Educational Assistant. He served as a teen summer camp coordinator and counselor at Carl E. Sanders YMCA of Buckhead before joining KIPP. He has a BA in Communications from William Penn University of Iowa.
Happi Dawsey, Dean of Culture
Happi is the Dean of Culture. Prior to this role, she served as a Learning Specialist and Director of Special Education. During her studies at Alabama A&M University, she served as an Administrative Specialist for the United States Army Reserve for eight years. Upon graduation, she began her teaching career in South Fulton County as a self-contained 3rd through 5th grade teacher. Happi earned a BA in Special Education and an MEd in Collaborative Consultation (Special Education) from Alabama A&M University.
Britnie Franklin, 8th Grade Math Teacher
Britnie currently serves as the 8th Math Teacher. Britnie began her teaching career in Hale County School District as a Teach For America Corps member. It was there that she taught seventh grade math, coached track and field, and middle school cheerleading. She also was one of the founding math teachers at West-Side Scholars Academy. Britnie received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at Austin.
Jackie Goodman-Cook, Director of Student and Family Culture – Parent Liaison
Jackie is the Director of Student and Family Culture. She initially joined the KIPP WAYS Academy family as an educational assistant. After her son became a part of the KIPP WAYS team and family, Ms. Goodman-Cook became active with the KIPP Team Alliance (KTA). She was secretary during the initial year and served as president.
C.R. Harris, School Operations Manager
Clyreon is the School Operations Manager. She attended Cal State University Dominguez Hills where she worked on earning her teacher certification and taught for five years. Clyreon earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Grambling State University.
Anniecia Ho-Sang, Dance Teacher
Anniecia is the Dance Teacher. She has been pursuing her love of dance for numerous years. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Fashion Design and Marketing at American Intercontinental University.
Dwight Ho-Sang, Principal
Dwight serves as the Principal. He began his teaching career as a Teach For America corps member at Dunbar Elementary School in Atlanta Public Schools. He began his work with KIPP as a social studies and language arts teacher at KIPP WAYS Academy. During his tenure with KIPP, Dwight completed the Teacher Leader and Leadership Team training programs and served as both the Lower School Dean and the Dean of Instruction at KIPP WAYS Academy. Before serving as Principal of KIPP WAYS Academy, Dwight served as School Leader of KIPP DIAMOND Academy in Memphis, TN. Dwight is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, MA.
Andrea Howard, 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Andrea is the 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher. She began her teaching career in Washington, DC, at Rock Creek International School. A native of Atlanta, Andrea graduated from Georgia State University with a BA in Sociology.
Alexandria Johnson, Learning Specialist
Alexandria is a Learning Specialist. She worked as a ninth grade Special Education teacher in Charlotte, NC, before joining KIPP WAYS. She earned a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Alexandria received her teaching license through the TEACH Charlotte program and is currently earning her MEd in Special Education from Grand Canyon University.
Alie Jones, Teacher Fellow
Alie is a 7th Grade English Language Arts Teacher Fellow. She previously worked as an intern at Sojourners magazine in Washington, DC. Alie has spent time working as a Gift Officer to raise support for student scholarships at LaGrange College. She is an honors graduate of LaGrange College where she received a BA in Religion and Philosophy.
Alisha Jones-Caldwell, 6th Grade English/Language Arts Teacher
Alisha is the 6th Grade English/Language Arts Teacher. She served as the 6th Grade Reading and Social Studies teacher at Atlanta Heights Charter School and as a middle grades Social Studies teacher at C.W. Long Middle School in Atlanta Public Schools before joining KIPP. Alisha has a BA in Sociology from Spelman College and a MAT in Middle Grades Language Arts and Social Studies from Mercer University.
Lauren Labitue, 5th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Lauren is the 5th Grade Social Studies Teacher. Lauren previously worked as a 5th Grade Teacher at the William H. Lincoln School in Brookline, MA. She has a BA in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University and a MEd in Elementary Education from Lesley University.
Robin Little, Director of Counseling & Social Work/Family Advocate
Robin is the Director of Counseling and School of Social Work Services. She has served in the social services arena working in various capacities, including guidance, counseling, advocacy and support to children, families, educational settings and private practitioners. Robin earned her BA in Psychology from DePauw University, located in Greencastle, IN. She later went on to further her education at Clark Atlanta University, where she received her MA in Counseling Psychology.
Ashley London, Teacher Fellow
Ashley London is a Teacher Fellow. She served as a Program Manager at City Year in Columbia, SC, before joining KWA. She has a BS in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University. She is currently working toward her Masters in Educational Leadership at NorthEastern University of Boston.
Taccara Marzette, 5th Grade Reading Teacher
Taccara is the 5th Grade Reading Teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Florida State University and continued her education at Christian Brothers University, earning a Masters degree in Education Leadership.
Elise Michael, Business Operations Manager
Elise is the Business Operations Manager. Previously, she worked in San Antonio as a Program Coordinator with Reasoning Mind. She has an MEd, in Applied Child Studies and a BS in Sociology and Child Studies from Vanderbilt University.
Joseph Miles, Athletic Director and 7th/8th Grade P.E. Instructor
Joseph is the Athletic Director and 7th/8th Grade P.E. Instructor. Previously, he served as Athletic Director and P.E. Instructor at KIPP STRIVE Academy. He was also the soccer coach for KIPP STRIVE and KIPP WAYS. He is a graduate of Westwood College with a degree in Medical Assisting.
David Miner, Building Engineer
Dave is the Building Engineer for KIPP WAYS Academy. Prior to joining KIPP, he worked a variety of jobs in Atlanta including assembly line, cook, construction, trim carpenter, and most specifically, a glazier. He specialized in stained- and leaded-glass restoration and had the privilege of contributing to the restoration of stained glass panels in almost every church in the downtown Atlanta area. He's also an artist and musician.
Sparkle Mitchell, Theater Teacher
Sparkle is the Theater Teacher. Prior to joining KIPP WAYS Academy, she was a part of the production team at Essential Theater at Florida A&M University. She worked on set for “Dream Girls,” “Crowns,” and the FAMU Connection. She was cast with a lead role in “A Christmas Story,” “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope,” “Caroline or Change," and “Tallahassee Nights Live,” which she co-produced. Sparkle attended Howard University where she majored in Music Education and Voice.
Vivian Owens, SST Chairperson
Vivian is the SST Chairperson. She began working in education as a substitute Educational Assistant at Milwaukee College Preparatory School of Wisconsin and later began teaching second grade. Vivian earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts from the University of Concordia Wisconsin.
Tamika Powell, 6th Grade Parent Volunteer and office Assistant
Tamika is the 6th Grade Parent Volunteer and Office Assistant. She served as the High School Advocate for the Urban Scholars Program in Harlem, NY, before relocating to Atlanta. She has a BA in Behavioral Science from Mercy College in the Bronx, NY.
Keith S. Russell II, Music Educator
Keith is the Assistant Band Director. He served as the Fulton County Elementary School Band Director and High School Percussion Instructor before joining KIPP. He has a BS in Music Education from Oakwood University and co-op from Alabama A&M University.
Miraca Scott, 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Miraca is the 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher. Prior to joining the KIPP WAYS family, she completed her student teaching at KIPP South Fulton Academy and Arabia Mountain High School. Miraca graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgia State University with a BA in Sociology and recently earned a MAT in Secondary Social Studies Education from Georgia State University.
Alyse Smith, 6th Grade Earth Science Teacher
Alyse is the 6th Grade Earth Science Teacher. She was a corps member of Georgia Teaching Fellows in Savannah, GA. She served as a 6th grade special education science teacher at Stone Mountain Middle School in DeKalb County before joining KIPP. She has a BA in Psychology from Spelman College.
Kelvin Smith, 8th Grade Science Teacher
Kelvin is the 8th Grade Science Teacher and Grade Level Chair. During his long professional career, Kelvin has worked for several leading industry companies including IBM, Walt Disney World, Intel, AT&T, and most recently UPS where he was an Industrial Engineering Supervisor. Kelvin Smith is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a BS in Industrial Engineering.
Erin Snell, Literacy Coordinator
Erin is the Literacy Coordinator. Before joining the WAYS team, Erin worked as Director of Literacy and Instructional Support Specialist for KIPP Metro Atlanta Collaborative and as a 5th grade English teacher at Charles R. Drew Charter School. She has a BA in History for the University of Texas at Austin, a MPA from Indiana University, and a PhD in Education Policy Studies also from Indiana University.
Nathaniel Snyder, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Nate is the 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher. He began his teaching career with Teach For America in Philadelphia where he taught middle school social studies at John B. Stetson Middle School. Most recently, he lived in Charlotte, NC, where he spent three years teaching high school law, civics, and economics courses. He has a BA in Communication from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and a MA in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Tara Stifler, Lower School Dean
Tara is the Lower School Dean. She returns to KIPP WAYS after working as a Literacy Specialist at Charles R. Drew Charter School in East Atlanta. She previously served as the 5th grade reading instructor and reading coach at KIPP WAYS. Tara has also taught Kindergarten and first grades at Parklane Elementary School in Fulton County. She has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a MAT in Early Childhood Education with a Reading Endorsement from Georgia State University.
Taisian Taylor, 7th Grade Life Science Teacher
Taisian is the 7th Grade Life Science Teacher. She served as the Academy Leader and Science Chairperson at West Bronx Academy in New York, NY. She also served as the 8th Grade Science Teacher at KIPP STAR Middle School in Harlem, NY, prior to joining the KIPP WAYS family. She earned her BS in Biology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD, and a MAT in Secondary Science Education from Lehman College in New York, NY.
Lance Templeton, 5th Grade Math Teacher
Lance is the 5th Grade Math Teacher. Prior to joining KIPP WAYS Academy, Lance worked for Atlanta Public Schools as an elementary school reading facilitator. Later he started tutoring math to middle and high school students in Metro Atlanta and decided to pursue a career in education. He attended Morehouse College where he earned a BA in History.
Carsundra Trice, Office Manager
Carsundra is the Office Manager. She is also a KIPP parent and a former volunteer. Before coming to work at KIPP, Carsundra went back to school to study medical billing and coding while enjoying a schedule that allowed her to spend time volunteering at her daughter’s school. Previously, she enjoyed a 20+ year career in property management with the city of Atlanta Housing Authority.
Claudine Varela, Upper School Dean
Claudine is the Upper School Dean. Previously, she was the 6th Grade Earth Science Teacher and Grade Level Chair. She began her career in education with Teach For America - Metro Atlanta. She is a honors graduate with a BA in English from Hampton University.
Authur Washington, Band Director and Fine Arts Chair
Authur is the Band Director and Fine Arts Chair. Before coming to KIPP, he was an Assistant Band Director at Banneker High School in College Park, GA, which is his former high school. While at Howard University, Authur was the Student Conductor, Drum Major, and Student Arranger. He was awarded Howard University's Most Outstanding Musician and Bandsman for three years in a row. He obtained his BA in Music Business from Howard University.
Tanaya Washington, 6th Grade Math Teacher and Saturday School Coordinator
Tanaya is the 6th Grade Math Teacher and Grade Level Chair. Tanaya is a member of the second graduating class of KIPP Academy in the Bronx, NY. She began her career in education at KIPP WAYS Academy and has served as an educational and student support assistant, as well as a math support teacher. She received a BA in Economics from Spelman College.
Muhammad Yungai, Visual Arts Teacher
Muhammed is the Visual Arts Teacher. He has built a name for himself as one of Atlanta's best emerging artists, with a focus on portraits and jazz. He was most recently commissioned by Northlake Medical Center to conceptualize and paint a wall mural in conjunction with its expansive renovation. He discovered KIPP WAYS Academy as a parent who sought a better education for his two daughters.